Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Biking the Elroy-Sparta Trail in Wisconsin

Sometimes it just all works!  Friends Dave and Jane organized a group of us to bike the Elroy-Sparta Trail  in southwestern Wisconsin this past weekend, and everything clicked.  The trail is one of the oldest rails-to-trails conversions and is famous for its three long tunnels, one of which is so long, that in the middle you can’t see the entrance in either direction –totally dark!  Creepy and fun and the same time.  As we were approaching one of the tunnels, a group of hiking monks was just exiting, singing Gregorian chant!  It inspired us to sing rounds in the tunnels ourselves—very fun and surprisingly beautiful. 

I wore my trusty Junonia bike shorts (sans  underwear of course) and today, Monday,  I’m not sore at all!  This was my first outing of the year I’m embarrassed to say.  Why haven’t I gotten out sooner?  I really loved it.  I rode with my friend Michele, and we did about 18 the first day and at least 12 the second.  Not big miles, but just right for the first weekend.  We saw rose-breasted grosbeaks, and the frogs were peeping away until late in the night.  We camped out at a sweet little city campground in Wilton.  The public pool was the best $2 any of us ever spent!   We didn’t bring much food, choosing to eat out instead, and on Sunday morning the Lions Club provides a $5 all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast!  We’re planning for next year already.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Get Inspired by the Olympians

This Olympic Season, what sport will inspire you to new achievement?  Instead of just watching the great athletes, and saying, “I could never…… ,”  why not take inspiration from them? 

Pick a sport you love, and see what you can learn.    I love to swim, but I won’t ever be competing with Michael Phelps.  Yet I can take inspiration from his dedication to his sport over the last, long four years, and how even he sometimes had to take breaks and get his head back into his game.  I can also learn from his focus on getting the most out of every stroke and apply that even to my measly little side-stroking! 

How about you? What is your favorite sport?   Tennis?  Race-walking? The Marathon?  Horse jumping? 
Inspiration abounds.  Take some of that gold home for yourself! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Plan a London Olympics Party!!

The Brits know how to throw a party!  If the Queens Jubilee Celebration is any guide, get ready for some grand celebrations in London.

If you can’t get to London, you can bring England to your own home.  Get out the big screen, schedule your favorite Olympic event, and add some tried and true British pageantry.

  • Everyone wears a hat!  Top hats for men, outrageous style for women.
  • Bring your dog, especially if it’s a Corgi.
  • Fly the flag, Stars and Stripes, Union Jack, or wherever you are from. 
  • Get ready to toast the best performances with a “hip, hip, hurray!”
  • Crack out the lager, especially if you’re watching soccer.
  • Strawberries and cream are perfect for tennis, it’s being played a Wimbledon.
  • Pims is the choice for polo and equestrienne events.
  • And of course, tea!   Nothing soothes like a nice cuppa.  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Eat Like an Olympian

You might have seen the recent USA Today article on Olympian Garrett Weber-Gale.  He’s 26 and heading to the Olympic Trials this week to swim the 50 and 100 freestyle.  He hopes to make the team again.  (Remember that amazing relay in Beijing where Phelps swam first and Jason Lezak just out- reached at the end to get the gold in the 4X100?  Weber-Gale swam the second leg of that race.)

Surprisingly, in his sophmore year of college he was diagnosed with high blood pressure of 210 over 105.  He was told to not train or risk a stroke.  He was 19.  But he started researching  food, seeing a nutritionist and learning how to cook.  He found that better food meant better times in the water, as well as lower blood pressure.   As a result he founded the website, www.Athleticfoodie.com.

We are all athletes in some sense. Our bodies come along to all our successes in life just as they do for Olympians.  So we can learn a lot from the top performers.  Weber-Gale doesn’t count calories, but focuses on putting the right stuff into his body.  He has gone to great lengths to learn from top chefs and have apprenticed around the globe.  His videos on this site are sensible and he is such an engaging guy on his videos, you’ll just want to run out and buy kale!  Bring his gold home to your kitchen!  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The True Fashionista in the Gym

The True Fashionista in the Gym
Fashion is really about expressing oneself in a beautiful way.  Nothing is more beautiful than a woman just at the end of her workout.  It doesn’t matter what she is wearing! 

Working out and exercising is the ultimate personal experience, so dress for yourself.  At work, at the dance club, at your wedding, out shopping, you are dressing to impress others. Keep the gym, or wherever your exercise, your own personal experience. The only effect you really want is to feel great. 

Here are some ideas:

Choose the colors that brighten your spirit, and give you energy.  Basic black is fine, and on the bottoms it is definitely slimming, but my favorite pair of workout capris is light purple.  I just like the way my legs look when I am on my back doing leg lowers in boot camp. It makes me smile to see those crazy capris and keeps me going.

I like to wear crazy socks. You know all those funky Christmas gifts?  I wear them.  I even buy them!  My favorites are my beagle socks and my mountain goat socks from Glacier.  They feel nice, and I’ve had more fun conversations because of them.  When I put my clothes in my gym bag, I often start with my socks and coordinate the other items to them. 
What’s your fun thing?  Headbands?  Electronics?  Tees with messages? 

The goal is to feel great, so don’t compromise on things that fit.  If you are doing yoga, make sure everything is Uber-stretchy. (If you are busty, a controlling sport bra is a must.)  You’ll be amazed how fast your body will get limber and fitter, and you’ll want to go the full range of motion!  Buy things that are lightly controlling and comfortable--not constricting.  But don’t go too loose.  A great look for all sizes is a slim bottom and a longer, looser top.

I have a range of fabrics that I choose depending on the workout.  For a shorter, easier workouts I love cotton/spandex and a simple tee. They are my favorites for walking.  But if I’m going to be working out hard, or if I’m going to hike or bike or work up a sweat, it’s all wicking for me.  They keep me cooler when I start to sweat and I really like that!  

Don’t skimp on quality.  I find myself mixing my workout gear into my entire wardrobe, from casual to work to travel, so don’t skimp on quality.  You’ll get your money’s worth!  Spending on oneself is hard for some women, but these are the most important clothing items in your wardrobe.  They send the message to you that your health is your priority.          

Express yourself freely.  Edit your workout clothes and keep those that make you feel good inside and out.  Set some workout goals and reward yourself.  Put a schedule on the bathroom mirror, or better yet, into your computer/phone schedule.  If you share your calendar, call your workouts something like “health consultation” and make sure that time is sacred.  Enhance your clothing with other tools and tricks to stay motivated.  New music for your iPod?  A new swim cap or goggles? The perfect gym bag?  If your motivation flags, it’s time for a fashion change-up.  Time to go shopping!   Socks anyone?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Travelling In Junonia

It’s the travel season and with luggage restrictions and time crunches, packing has risen to a new art form.  Junonia can help.  Here are our suggestions:

  1.  Think multi-purpose.  That tankini swim top can double as a layering piece.  That walking skirt can double as a chic go dancing skirt. Zip off pants are great!
  2. Choose fast-drying items that wick so you can pack less.   Cotton takes a long time to dry, and is heavy to carry.  Think QuikWik and QuikCool  for your travels.  Rinse out the night before, roll lin a towel, and it will be dry by morning.  These lovely fabrics have a matte finish that looks quite elegant as casual wear, too.
  3. Choose a limited color story so everything mixes and matches.
  4. Take only things you love to wear.  If you don’t wear them at home, you surely won’t choose them while on vacation! 
  5. Never leave home without a swimsuit.
  6. Write down all your credit card #’s and leave at home with a friend, just in case.
  7. Include some inexpensive jewelry and a scarf or two to change things up.
  8. Remember your anti-chafing bike shorts.  You’ll be walking on your travels.
  9. Only take comfortable shoes, and bring two pairs so you can alternate.
  10. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  You can probably buy it where you are going.  Enjoy every moment.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Breaking All the (Fashion) Rules

Fashion Rules Worth Breaking:

#1 Wear what is “in fashion” to look good.   
Rule Breaker #1:  Only wear what makes you feel great.  Nothing is more attractive than confidence.

#2 Wear the hot colors of the season
Rule Breaker #2:  Trust your artistic eye.  Look in the mirror, and wear only those colors that make you glow.

#3  Have a lot of clothes to look great.
Rule Breaker #3:  A small wardrobe is an advantage.  Find those key items and wear them until they wear out!  Buy quality basics, then fill in with cheap and cheerful items for fun.  Less clothes mean less time worrying about what to wear, and less time taking care of clothing.  Give it away and enjoy the freedom.  

#4  There are rules of dressing that I need to follow, and I’ll look silly unless I follow them. 
Rule Breaker:  See #1 Confidence is key.  See #2 Trust your artistic eye.  Mix everything, have fun with your clothes, use your swim top at the gym, your gym top at work, your work top for going out-- you get the idea.  Enjoy that vintage jacket, borrow your sister’s jewelry, crochet your own hat.  Let your inner artist out!  Pretty sound you’ll be hearing people say, “Wow, you look great, I wish I could do that!”  (Then you can tell them about breaking the rules.)

Anne Kelly, President of www.junonia.com active & casual plus size apparel 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Trends in Bicycling

Anne spoke with Richard Arey, long-time director of the St Paul Bike Classic and the  Mankato River Ramble.  These are extremely popular, non-competitive bike events for people of all ages and abilities.  They benefit the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota.  Check them out at www.bikeclassic.org  and www.bikeriverramble.org

Anne:  How popular is biking? 
Richard:  It continues to grow and to move in new directions.  This year we will be up again with about 6,500 people riding in the St. Paul Bike Classic.  Minnesota is ahead of the curve being the #2 bike-friendly state in the nation.   An interesting trend is that the Minnesota high schools are creating cycling leagues.  They are creating a mountain bike sport for kids that aren't into ball sports.  They’ve had great success in CA and great response here.  Next year is the first official season.

Anne:  What other trends are you seeing?
Richard:  There are lots of new NICE ride bike sharing stations, that’s new.  We are one of the leaders on that where you can rent a bike right off the street with a credit card.  We’re a couple years ahead of NYC on that, beating the east coast trends. Blue Cross/Blue Shield is a major sponsor of these bike stations.
For the Bike Classic, we are getting more people interested in a scenic longer route.  The short routes are also popular so this year we’ll have 15, 30 and 41 miles options.  Half of our riders are women.

Anne: What about commuting?  I’m noticing more and more people on the roads, and lots of people using the dedicated bike lanes.  Everybody is biking.
Richard:  I’m especially noticing younger people commuting than ever before, seriously using bikes for transportation.  I’m also noticing more independent bike shops opening up.  I think that’s great because it is important when you are buying a bike to have it fitted to your body by a skilled bike technician.

Anne:  Any other trends out there?
Richard: Unfortunately, I’m still seeing a fair number of people biking without helmets.   Equipment is getting more high tech all the time, and color is everywhere.  A wacky trend are the single speed bikes that don’t have gears and maybe no brakes!  You literally have to be pedealing all the time—it’s for young people! High end bicycles are the real trend.  People that are retiring and have money are spending $2-3,000 on a beautiful bike. 

Anne:  Any advice on what to wear?
Richard:  At the Living Green Expo they had a bicycle fashion show, but anything loose and comfortable works!