Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sports Bra Q&A:

How to find the perfect bra fit.
The most important thing is to measure.  You have probably heard that an estimated 80% of women are in the wrong bra size.   If you aren’t sure of your size after measuring, you may need to order more than one size to try on.  Once you have your size, it will make ordering in the future a breeze.

How to Care for Sport Bras?
Delicate wash by hand or washer and line dry or dry flat.  Do not put in the dryer.  This will lengthen the life of your bras.  No need for special washes, but using a lingerie wash is fine.

When should you buy new sports bras?
It’s hard to give up a comfortable sport bra, but when the stretch starts to go, so should the bra.

Do you need a different bra for different activities?
Yes.  If you do a wide variety of things, you’ll want several different bras.  For example, running will require a lot of bounce control and a snug fit, while weights and yoga needs a soft control bra.  The larger your cup size, the more likely you’ll need more bra choices to match your comfort with your activity. 

How can I improve bounce control?
This is a problem for many women, especially those with larger cup sizes.  Look for the best sport bra that has your size.  Consider layering a sport bra top over your structured sport bra.  For Aqua classes, wear a sport bra or actual bra inside. 

Dare I wear my sport bra without something over it?
Of course!  Many women like to wear a tee to yoga or spinning class and after they get sweating, pull it off.  If feels great.  And JunoActive cuts its plus size bra tops generously for full and flattering coverage.

What about Color?
Just because it’s a sports bra doesn’t mean it has to be boring!  Enjoy a pop of color underneath a mesh top or tank!

Friday, February 24, 2012

X – Country skiing. A beginner’s perspective in winter fitness while attempting a new sport.

Many instructors say cross-country skiing is just like walking.  Not for me!  At first it was more like sliding and falling.  But the great thing was that everything was relaxed, even falling was kind of fun.  When I  stopped trying to go fast, and relaxed, it DID become like walking on the snow.  I love the quiet schussing sound through the woods.  And when the snow is fresh and the trail freshly groomed, even I feel like an athlete!  I’m still a real chicken on hills, preferring to go up in a herring bone than to go down a steep hill.  But I’m getting better about remembering to crouch low to the ground on the down hills to keep my center of gravity low. 

I finally took a lesson last year after years of flailing about on my skis.  It was amazing what a little instruction can do for confidence, not to mention technique!  I’ve tried skate skiing and that was ridiculous.  For now I am sticking with the classic diagonal style, telling myself that it is a better all-body workout anyway. 

Be sure to layer when you go out, you’ll more often find yourself shedding layers than adding them.  Wicking base layer, fleece inner layer, windproof but breathable outer layer.  Wear warm mittens for hands and keep those ears protected.  You’ll burn lots of calories but won’t be sore the next day because the motion is so easy on the body. 

Ski with someone close to your level so you can enjoy yourself.   My favorite skiing companion in my sister’s dog Jack.  He’s a lovely personality, a mastiff/lab mix who enjoys a brief run once in a while.  She’s trained him to pull in a skijoring harness, and he’s my ski dog!  We toddle along quite nicely without too much rush.  And on the hills he chugs on up, making any hill a joy for me.  It’s really fun.  You’ll earn your dinner and a soak in the hot tub, and be ready to do it again the next day.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Snowmobiling and Ladies! It’s not just fun it’s a great work out!

Minnesota is home to two famous snowmobile companies, Arctic Cat and Polaris.  We have the snow and we have the trails.  It’s become big business in northern Minnesota and many other snowy states and Canada.  It’s popular with men, but families and many women are discovering the thrills, too!  It’s quite a rush to blast through a snowdrift or scream across an icy lake. 

If you’ve never tried it, you can rent a machine at many lodges.  It’s unbelievably fun.  You don’t’ have to be a super athlete to run a machine, especially for a leisurely ride.  And unlike motorcycles, snowmobiles (sleds) shift automatically.

On the other hand, a day in the saddle is an amazing workout.   Steering works your shoulders and chest, while bumpy trails require a “pop up” standing position giving your legs a workout. If you are riding where there are a lot of curves you will start to lean into the curve working you stomach and core muscles. For a sport that consists of riding on a machine you will be surprised at how sore you might be after a 30 mile ride.

Safety comes first! Make sure you understand the type of terrain you will be riding. If you are riding through towns obey all traffic laws. Remember, cars can come up behind you and often sleds do not have mirrors. Check over your shoulder to make sure you have not lost anyone in your party and allow cars to pass. Trails are mostly 2-way, just like a car ride on the right. Always wear a helmet that fits properly.  And if you are renting a sled make sure you ask for a demonstration on operation before starting out. Most rentals are more of the cruiser type of sled not racing sleds or high performance sleds. But ask just to make sure. Carry a map of the local trails along with a compass, matches and some granola bars.

What to wear? Warm clothing is essential! You will need warm gloves, woolly socks and lots of layers. As you can work up a sweat easily when the temperature is warm, anything over 20 degrees, a wicking base layer is recommended. Vests are a good idea as it allows your arms more movement, but keeps your core warm.  Junonia’s three in one ski jacket is perfect over our highwaist ski pants.   Toasty!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Getting comfortable in a workout routine as a plus size woman

Getting comfortable in a workout routine as a plus size woman

Are you a larger woman?  I am, so I know what it feels like to the biggest person in a beginning running group, or a boot camp class. Here’s some advice to help make you comfortable and to make your experience really fun.
  1. Bring someone about at your level, whatever their size may be.  That way when you decide to run/walk, fast walk, or just walk as you get started, you will enjoy it, and not feel isolated. 
  2. You will get there!  When you are carrying more mass, it will take you a little longer to build the muscle you need to carry you the distance, but you’ll be surprised how fast that will happen.  But be patient so you don’t get injured.  Follow the 10% rule: increase intensity OR distance by NO MORE than 10% each workout.  Celebrate every small success.  Don’t get overwhelmed by the big goal, step by step is how you will get there.
  3. Understand heat.  When you are larger, the fat you carry is nature’s insulation.  So when you work out you will heat up faster than your skinny friends, especially at the beginning when your body is getting use to exercise. Pay attention!  Do not get over-heated.  Slow down.  It is OK.  Drink water. Wear a hat. Wear light wicking layers close to your skin so you can strip down as you heat up.  Junonia has what you need!
  4. Sweat is your friend.  If you haven’t exercised in a long time, it may take a few weeks for your body to learn to sweat again.  Until then be especially careful about over-heating!
  5. Talk, laugh, get to know your exercise “neighbors,” invite them out to tea after.  Don’t discriminate against them just because they are small! 

Tips from Anne Kelly, President of, specialists in plus size active and casual clothing.

This blog post from Junonia was created for Moms on the Run, a Minnesota-based organization about Fitness, Fun, and Friendship with 5k training classes for runners, intermediates and walkers.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Anne and the Art of Ice Fishing!

I remember going ice fishing as young girl up on Lake Mills Lacs in Minnesota, where in a typical year there are so many fish houses, there is an actual state highway created across the ice!  A whole community is created each winter.

But as an adult who no longer ice fishes, I have often wondered, if any fishing at all is being done, or is it just one huge excuse for a party?  And what fashion statement does an ice-fisherwoman make? 

But to get the real perspective I had to ask Junonia’s banker, Nate, an ice fishing lover. 

So Nate, what is so special about ice fishing?  
It’s getting away! 

Do you do ANY fishing?  
You do fish, but my favorite thing is going out by myself in my own shack, have the radio on, away from everything.   It’s more private than being in a boat in the summer. 

So what else do you like? 
  There’s a party aspect and the comraderie is fun. I’m not going to lie, there is a lot of drinking and gambling going on.  But there’s family stuff too.  I’ve taken my family up for the day and we spend the night at the lodge.  My daughter likes it even more than my wife.  Sometimes one of the guys shovels off an ice skating rink for the kids, and we grill out for meals.  It’s a lot of fun for the kids.

Do any women ice fish?  
There are more than you think.  There are quite a few couples, too.

So Nate, What do women who ice fish wear? 
  "Women wear fur!”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Romantic Dinner Suggestion from Professional Personal Chef and Cookbook Author, Peggy Stuart.

A friend of mine, Peggy Stuart, was kind enough to talk with me today and give me her suggestion for a romantic and healthy Valentine’s Day dinner.

Peggy is a professional chef and gardener.  She gardens in the summer and work as a private chef in the winter.  Perfect for Minnesota!

“I normally cook fish on Valentine’s Day,” says Peggy.   The healthiest way to cook fish is to poach it, then serve it with a fresh berry vinaigrette.  Blackberries and raspberries are in the market right now.”
Anne asks, “So how do you make vinaigrette?”

“I make it just like you’d make citric or balsamic vinaigrette, only crushing in some of the berries.  I drizzle the vinaigrette over the fish then sprinkle whole berries on top,” said Peggy.

Here is the ratio of berries to acid found in the excellent cookbook: The Café Brenda Cookbook.
  • 2 cups of juice and 1 cup of fresh or frozen berries to ½ cup of oil (walnut, canola).
  • Add salt and pepper, and a little lemon depending on how tart the berries are.  (Anne: I was surprised to learn not every vinaigrette uses vinegar!)

 For the full recipe for cooking the fish, check out The Café Brenda Cookbook recipe for poached rainbow trout or salmon with fresh berry vinaigrette.   Brenda Langton, the author is the former owner of Café Brenda, and now owner of SpoonRiver.  She and Peggy are sisters and have collaborated on a new cookbook, called SpoonRiver, coming out in April everywhere.  Watch for it! 

Anne asks, “What do you like to serve with the fish?” 
“I like to serve a green vegetable or a salad.  In the winter it’s a little hard, so I like greens like kale and Swiss chard or spinach.  A spinach salad is great.  If you want a grain, I would do brown rice. ”

Anne asks, “Would wild rice be too heavy?”  
“Oh no, that would be good, too,” says Peggy.

"What do you like to do for dessert for Valentine’s Day?” asks Anne. 
“One of my favorites in the winter is sorbet.  Three little scoops of three different flavors looks beautiful in a bowl, and is very low calorie. Also a little bit of angel food cake with strawberries with a little whipped cream or just a fruit sauce on top, is lovely.  Certainly you could a little chocolate cookie with the sorbet, or serve chocolate sauce on top of the sorbet.  And of course a little dish of chocolate hearts on the table is nice.  You can also buy little chocolate shells to put the sorbet in as well. “

“Peggy, any tips to dress up the table?” 
“Sometimes I do flowers, and sometimes I do a bowl of fresh fruits like pomegranate and grapefruits.  It saves money on flowers and you can eat it later!  I always like to do candles.” says Peggy.

Sounds romantic!   Thanks, Peggy!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Healthy Ideas for Valentine’s Day

If you are planning a special meal for you and your sweetie for Valentine’s Day, you might consider adding one or more of these heart-healthy and sensuous foods.

  • Artichokes:  Steam the entire head and pull off the leaves one by one, dipping the meaty end in olive-oil aioli.
  • Strawberries:  Find the biggest, sweetest ones in the store and eat whole while lounging.  Add sensuousness by dipping in the darkest chocolate sauce you can find.
  • Chocolate:  The darker the healthier.  Try chocolate made with sea salt for a burst of intensity.
  • Have you tried Liberte Yogurt?  Oh my!  It’s better than ice cream!
  • Oysters!  Take your date to your favorite oyster bar and try several varieties.  They promise to steam up your love life.
  • Soup:  Nothing says loving like a bowl of homemade soup.
  • Sushi:  Elegant, subtle, refreshing leaves you ready for love.
  • Tea:  A nice cup of tea is filled with micronutrients, and just warms the soul, especially when you share a pot with that special someone.
  • Artisan cheeses: Nibble from France to Spain to Wisconsin, enjoy the sensuous flavors.  Include soft cheeses and goat cheese.
  • The little special extras:  Dates, nuts, dried fruits, figs, imported waters, flavored coffee.
And spend some quality time with your sweetie in the kitchen while preparing all your favorites! Put on some music and dance your way through food prep. Look and feel great in something casual that will let you move and flirt! Add some jewelry to quickly glam up the look. What could be better than delicious food, great tunes, lots of laughs and your sweetie by your side?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

MizzFit's Fashion Forward Food Tips

MizzFit, our fashion-trend friend at, commented recently about eating more fashionably for fitness.  The idea is to slow it down and SAVOR!  Fast food is, well, fast!  And not particularly satisfying, because you just end up wanting more and more!  Her favorite suggestion is to pair something delectable, like almond or cashew butter with carrots, celery or jicama strips.  Much healthier, satisfying, and rather elegant! 
·        Pair smooth with crunch.  For smooth think nut butters, humus, canola oil based dips, and aioli.  For crunch think vegetables like organic carrots, conventional cauliflower, jimaca, fennel, organic celery – and skip the crackers! 

·        Fruits solo.  No need to spend a lot of time making a fruit salad.  Serve finger fruits.  Just wash and leave them au natural with stems and leaves intact.  Think lounging in a toga.  Buy organic if you can.  Grapes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries are just the start.  So elegant.  If you must, dip in mascarpone with honey for a treat. 

·        It’s the pits.  Buy olives with pits intact.  Slows you down to notice the wonderful flavors.  Buy lots of different types and discuss the relative merits as you nibble.

·        Apples and Pears are a great alternative to chips and crackers.  Buy organic and slice into clever wedges and use them to dip into almost anything!  Go savory! Try nut butters, or gorgonzola in some cream cheese.  Then there is sweet with cinnamon sugar, or a honey dip, and my favorite, caramel.

·        Dried fruit and nuts.  Mix up trail mix with your favorite flavors.  Go to the bulk section of your coop or grocery to save money and fuel your creativity.  Savor slowly by serving in mini cupcake cups.

·        Citrus!  It’s like natural sorbet.  Just cut up conventionally grown into easy to bite off chunks, skin and all!  Try all the variations of oranges and grapefruits, and give the exotics a try too! 

Recipe:   Curry Dip with Cauliflower Florets
Anne Kelly’s favorite recipe from her Mother-in-Law Grace
A sure-fire, so simple-you-can’t-believe-it, hit appetizer 
1 head of cauliflower broken up into bite size florets
Dip:  (Make one day ahead for full flavor)
1 cup canola mayonnaise
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp horseradish sauce
Stir together
Serve dip in a lovely small bowl in the center of the cauliflower on a plate.

That’s it!  You’ll be amazed that it will be the first thing to disappear from your buffet.  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Finding Time to Exercise

The main reason people give for not exercising is that they don’t have the time.  It does not take much physical activity to meet the minimum that doctors recommend to keep generally fit. The rule of thumb is 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. Some studies suggest that shorter periods of exercise, 10 minutes say, spaced through the day can be just as effective.  Click here for some easy ideas on fitting in 10 minutes of exercise in your day.

  • Park in the FARTHEST spot away from the door for work and shopping.  
  • Take the stairs, 2 flights up, 3 flights down.
  • Take a 10 minute walk at lunch.  
  • Keep walking shoes and socks in your desk.  
  • Stay standing on your bus or train.
  • Walk away from your destination a few stops to pick up a bus, get steps in and get a seat!
  • At home, go up and down stairs with light loads often, rather than heavy loads once.
  • Do your distasteful tasks; laundry, cleaning, yard work, in 10 minute intense bursts.  
  • Watch the news or read on your treadmill or exercise bike.
  • Invite a friend for a walk to a coffee shop 10 minutes away. 
  • Walk instead of taking a car if the trip is under a mile.  Use a backpack.  
  • Walk and play with children whenever you can.
  • Rescue a dog!  Walk at least twice daily.