Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Learning to Swim – as an Adult


I was terrified of the water as a kid.  I took lessons, trying to swim with one hand over my mouth, the other pinching my nose and holding my eyes shut.  At the lake I remember my mom standing on the dock, trying to bribe me off the swimming platform I was scared to jump off of.  How I got out there, I don’t remember!  So needless to say, I didn’t start out a water baby.

As an adult I’ve always been larger, so there was the swimsuit issue to contend with.   When I got married, my husband was always going to the pool, so somehow I started to tag along.  I realized once I took my glassese off, I couldn’t see anything but fuzzy people, so I decided that they couldn’t see me either—giving me a great sense of privacy, even in a swimsuit!

I also decided to only do the sidestroke and backstroke to keep my face out of the water.  I discovered a great work out that way, without all the fear.  In fact, the more inefficient I was, the better the work out!  Gradually I became quite comfortable in the water.  I became an efficient side-stroker.  I’d love to see side-stroking as a demonstration event at the Olympics!

But recently I noticed that I wasn’t getting a good a workout because of that efficiency.  I started to wonder if I could try the “crawl” again.  A notice at my pool offering a few lessons caught my attention, and I met with Beth who has me started into the new world of freestyle as an adult.  

Big tip: Get lessons.  Things have changed.  Beth teaches a lot of adults, and she uses a very careful method that breaks down the stroke into components so you can focus on just one thing at a time.  She also uses fins (and goggles, of course.)  You don’t need to flail in the water, but can focus on your body position and stay relaxed.  That’s the key:  Relaxation.  By breaking it down,  you have a beautiful stroke from day one. 
Beth wouldn’t let me put all the components together even by lesson three, but she had given me all the tools to work on it.  Even now, months later, I usually am cruising the pool doing some version of the freestyle stroke broken down.  I know I have plenty of time to put it all together.  One of these days I might even try a flip turn.  I’m enjoying learning to stay relaxed in the water, even when my face is in it!   You can too!  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Clothes that Last! The “New” Eco-Friendly Trend from JunoActive by Junonia


 “Disposable clothing.”  You’ve probably heard the term.  You’ve probably got a lot of it in your closet—usually way at the back!

As the clothing industry has been gobbled up by extremely large players like Wal-mart (who sell about 25% of clothing in the US), and international fast-fashion retailers like H&M, clothing has become a commodity.  To encourage people to buy more they have become expert at creating trendy clothing at very low prices.  But in many cases, that clothing simply doesn’t last very long.  The cost is kept down by thinner and thinner fabrics, and constructions techniques like unfinished hems and lightweight elastics.  Cute and fun, perfect for one season or a special event, but not meant to last.  And that means all the environmental costs of production are tossed away or shipped overseas in containers filled with disposable clothing.

So why do we think it matters to have clothing for plus size women that lasts a long time?  
  1. Our passion is to make life better for our customers with great-fitting, functional clothing that has timeless appeal.  When that happens, our customers want to wear that item for a long time, and not see their clothing sort of “disappear” when they wash it.  We use heavier grade fabrics that have the “Oomph” to wash beautifully, keep their shape and their function for a long time.  We are picky about our fabrics, and frankly they aren’t cheap!  We routinely get letters from customers who want to replace a favorite tee or swimsuit – after 6 or even 10 years!  Planned obsolescence might be a more profitable business plan, but our loyal customers love their Junonia products.  
  2. Creating and manufacturing clothing, even with the most eco friendly fabrics, has an environmental impact.  So we believe we need to make sure we are using the best fabrics for the purpose, so their replenishment cycle is as long as possible.  In swimwear we have looked hard for the very best fabrics and now using only two main fabrics, both Italian made.  Our 100% poly AquaSport fabric lasts, well, longer than any other suit you’ve ever bought!  For more stretch and control we only use a very high content spandex Nylon that is very chlorine resistant.  In our cottons, we only use weights that look great on plus sizes, usually heavier so that they skim the body, wash like a dream, and yes, last a very long time.
  3. Some people say why invest if I will likely lose weight?  We support all our customers on their life journeys and encourage the healthiest lifestyles possible.  Having the great clothes to do it in has made a positive different to many customers and we are proud of that.  If someone writes to say they are now smaller than our size XL I am happy.  I am even happier because so many also mention that they are passing along their Junonia favorites to friends and family!    While we aren’t making the kind of pinstripe suits on Saville row that get handed down through the generations, we are proud to be creating wonderful clothing that people are so happy with they want to pass them along.
  4. Value.  Now there’s an old fashioned word!  Value to us means that wearing for wearing, you’ll get more value out of your Junonia purchases than any other items in your wardrobe.  Great fit, great fabrics, and styles that go from gym to casual and even work have the highest value.  

Junonia customers are smart.  They often say, your clothes are worth it!  Our job is to make that happen with every item, every day.

Anne Kelly, President
annekelly@junonia.com

P.S.  Our heavy jersey tops and pants, including center seam styles, will be in the warehouse this next week.  Check it out at www.junonia.com.