Outdoor Voices

Image credit to  Outdoor Voices .

Image credit to Outdoor Voices.

For the past few months, I've become devoted to this incredible pilates studio near my office called Fierce45.  It's a shift for me to do anything but run or do some other high-intensity aerobic workout, but I absolutely love the classes and find I'm really enjoying the challenge of something new.  For most of my workouts, you'll see me sporting shorts and a t-shirt rather than spandex of any kind, but you really have to wear spandex for pilates.  I was planning to just pick up a new pair or two of Lululemon capri pants, but I was concerned about all of the criticism about their pants being see-through and then I stumbled on this piece and was intrigued by Outdoor Voices.

Not only are their products stylish and understated, but I love the back story of the 27-year-old founder, Tyler Haney (who, incidentally, grew up in Boulder, Colorado), and the idea of supporting a business owned and run by a young woman.  

I've now worn my new 3/4 Length Warmup Leggings (in mint and navy) several times.  The fit is perfect, they feel thick enough to be supportive and not see-through, and the color options are understated, which suits me.  One thing I particularly love is that these aren't low-rise -- I find that after two pregnancies, I far prefer workout bottoms with a higher rise.  Has anyone else tried Outdoor Voices for their athleisure needs?  I highly recommend their gear. 

Good Eggs

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Good Eggs is a website and delivery service that gives you the opportunity to order food from local farmers and artisanal food markets.  I read about it in the New York Times this week - what a great idea!  Good Eggs opened in February and currently operates in San Francisco and has pilot programs running in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and New Orleans.  

Once you select a city, you choose a delivery date and then begin shopping!  You can select from different sellers in various categories - dairy/eggs, fruits and veggies, baked goods and sweets, meat and fish, etc.  You can pick up your order or have it delivered for just $3.99.

The products aren't cheap, but they are comparable to what you'd pay at a farmer's market or artisanal bakery.  In San Francisco, they are currently taking pre-orders for Thanksgiving turkeys, pies, and side dishes that look divine.  Has anyone tried Good Eggs?  I'd love to hear how it actually works.  The New York Times article suggest there are still a few glitches (including some really early delivery windows), but that the products were worth it.

The Boston Marathon

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This space is usually reserved for documenting "pretty things" or adventures in the kitchen, but today I can't fathom writing about anything but what occurred at the Boston Marathon yesterday. I lived in Boston for seven years and have run the Boston Marathon five times. Patriot's Day is a sacred day in the city, a tribute to the Battles of Lexington and Concord that is observed on a Monday, and a day that the entire city embraces to the fullest. Thousands of people line the streets of Boston and nearby suburbs to cheer on the runners as they make their way back to Boylston Street, and the city turns out to support the marathon rain or shine. Bostonians do things like use old running shoes to plant flowers in their window box (see above - I look for this display every year on Beacon Street), handout goodies along the race course (this ranges from brownies in Wellesley to beer in Chestnut Hill), and spend their entire day screaming in support of people who have trained for months and actually paid money to run 26.2 miles (check out this slideshow for pre-race and race images from yesterday). Everyone looks for Team Hoyt and you can't see Dick pushing his son Rick without it bringing tears to your eyes and inspiring you to be a more selfless person. It's a day when 500,000 people set aside their differences and unite to watch an historic event.

For the runners, you can hear the roar of the crowd on Boylston Street from Commonwealth Avenue, and as you turn onto Hereford Street you know you've made it. And when you actually make a left onto Boylston Street, you find yourself in a tunnel of screaming spectators and regardless of your pace and how you've felt for the previous 26 miles, you feel like a hero.

It sickens me that someone would attack the human spirit in such a disgusting way. I can't stop thinking about the three victims, including an 8-year-old boy who was cheering for his father and whose sister and mom were also injured, and those who are still hospitalized and fighting for their lives. It's hard not to lose faith in humanity when acts such as these occur.

But then you hear stories about how people responded yesterday, and it gives you hope that there is more good in the world than evil. What I do know is that next April, the Boston Marathon will be run for the 118th time. People will still push themselves to qualify or raise a large sum of money to benefit a worthy charity. Undoubtedly, there will be more security and the spirit of the race will change and the events of the 2013 race will be at the forefront of everyone's mind, but this horrific act won't put a stop to the running. As Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon wrote, “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon." I know people will do just that.

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My Mom and I after the 2012 Boston Marathon - we promised we'd be back to run again. Maybe 2014 will be our year?

Politics & Paper

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You can't listen to the news or open a newspaper right now without hearing about the impending Presidential election.  While I have my own political beliefs, I always think it is interesting to take a step back, think about the issues that really matter to me, and then reassess to be certain I am not being swept up in the party tide rather than thinking for myself.  I stumbled upon a neat website, ElectNext, which is a very simple platform where you choose the issues most important to you, rank them in order of importance, and answer a few questions about those issues.  ElectNext then reveals the names of politicians whose stated views align with yours.  Obviously this is an incredibly simplified approach, but sometimes that is what you want!

If you'd prefer to just have a sense of humor about politics, why not send one of the awesome cards pictured below from hat + wig + glove co. to someone whose political views differ from yours  (ahem... one of these is on the way to a dear friend as I type this)?  In addition, they have other offensive but hilarious cards (if you know someone who is pregnant, how about viva la epidural or Children will ruin your life).

Always Dress to Impress - WSJ

Thanks to C for sharing this great article from the Wall Street Journal today.  Since I go to work every day, I have to dress to meet certain standards, but I am guilty of leaving the house looking like less than my best on a regular basis (for me, the biggest challenge is convincing myself to take the time to blow dry my hair).  I don't think you need to get dressed up all the time and I certainly grocery shop in my running clothes more than I'd like to admit, but it is true that you usually feel better when you look better so I am going to try to keep this in mind!

Photo courtesy of the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's via the WSJ

Always Dress to Impress by Annette Tapert (June 15, 2012 WSJ)

"I CAN'T UNDERSTAND how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little, if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that's the day she has a date with destiny and it's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny," said Coco Chanel.

Chanel's words, I assume, had a romantic provenance. After all, a few of her affairs were fortuitous encounters that brought love plus fashion inspiration and career advancement. Destiny aside, I'm more interested in what she termed "politeness." In other words, respect for others.

The first time I realized it was disrespectful to make a public appearance of any kind without looking pulled together occurred in 1988. I was at home writing in sweatpants and a baggy sweater that I'd had on since taking my daughter, then 8, to school that morning. When it was time to pick her up in the afternoon, I didn't bother to change. I reached to take her hand as we exited the building, but she pushed it away and glared. "Why don't you dress nicely when you pick me up?" she asked. Kids do say the darndest things. She was simply embarrassed, but, in truth, my shoddy outfit exhibited disregard for her. Ironic when you consider that I was a stickler for making sure she was well-dressed and groomed when she went anywhere with me.

"Frankly, I couldn't go mail a letter if I didn't feel I looked right," the late Nan Kempner once told me. In the last two decades since that seminal moment with my daughter, I've often lapsed into the "Oh well, I'm just running out to do an errand" frame of mind. But recently, I've had Nan's dictum on my brain. A couple of months ago I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror at the Neiman Marcus shoe department. I'd taken a quick detour on my way home from the gym. I was trying on a pair of Prada platforms in workout clothes (and not Lululemon), no makeup and a baseball cap. I grimaced at my reflection. Never again, I promised myself.

I polled a few of my stylish friends and colleagues to hear what they had to say about looking good no matter what.

Sarah Gore Reeves, stylist and fashion editor for Vogue Latin America and Mexico said: "Looking good is important to me as a woman. As a child it was something never discussed but quietly observed. My mother was always, and still is, beautiful and stylish. She's the president of the Humane Society of New York and she looks as good going to work every day with all the dogs as she does out at night with humans."

For writer Susan Fales-Hill, it's a topic she's dissected for years, and not merely because she's a member of the International Best-Dressed List Hall of Fame. Her mother was the late Josephine Premice, a noted black actress and singer who crossed racial divides in her industry. "My mother, the chicest woman I've ever known, and her friends used sartorial splendor as their armor in an unjust and oppressive world," she said. Barrier-breaking black performers couldn't control their access to roles, but they could express artistic genius through unrelenting elegance. "Their motto could well have been 'We shall overcome, in couture,' " said Ms. Fales-Hill. "Though I never knew a 16th of the hardships my mother experienced, like many black women, I was raised to use elegance as a pre-emptive strike: Do not give people the opportunity to dismiss you or mistreat you by looking less than your best. That means everywhere, even to the grocery store."

Amy Fine Collins, fashion and style correspondent for Vanity Fair, observed: "I appear to be the only one in my Pilates studio who changes in and out of workout clothes. The other clients appear to wear theirs to and from the sessions. I just can't do that. There's a kind of decorum of the street I like to follow. It is, of course, a respect for other people as well as a form of self-respect. It's just wishful thinking that you won't run into anyone you know, or would like to know, when you're looking your worst. Also, it's quite amazing who you see even if you're gliding by in a taxi. I often receive emails and calls from friends telling me I was just spotted at X corner wearing Y outfit—people observe, comment, notice. Who wouldn't want to look good for those fishbowl moments?"

Gigi Mortimer, an accessories designer, believes "all of us wish we had the time to look our best when we leave the house. Even when there is no time I have two quick tricks: a tinted moisturizer from Laura Mercier does wonders for the face and a stylish coat can hide a multitude of sins. As a child I remember my mother throwing a fur coat over her nightie to drive me to school. Even though I've have been married for 23 years, I always want to look nice for a quiet dinner at home with my husband. The question is how to be comfortable and still look acceptable. In the summer, I love to wear caftans for dinner—they are a glorified nightgown, comfortable yet stylish.

And lastly, I asked Georgia Howe, an interior designer and co-founder of the furniture design and textile company Carolina George. She also happens to be the daughter who scolded me for my sloppy appearance all those years ago. She recently moved to Los Angeles, where it's perfectly acceptable to be seen in gym attire even at chic restaurants. "I wouldn't be caught dead on the street in workout gear," she said. "But in an attempt to blend into L.A. life, I purchased my first workout ensemble. On several occasions I have stayed in it and met a friend for lunch, but it certainly won't be a habit. I felt uncomfortable and even found myself apologizing to my husband for looking like a slob. To a degree I dress for my husband and make an effort to be put together, but more than anything it's for me."

Once again, my daughter is right. In any venue, public or private, making an effort makes you feel good. Now when I write, I dress as if I'm going to an office or a casual lunch date. Maybe it's a placebo effect, but I think I'm more efficient, more focused, and it adds a little spice to an otherwise lonely profession.

Someone once told me that "glamour has no alarm clock." I won't lie, trying to be consistently pulled together takes extra time and dedication. Which reminds me of a story Oscar de la Renta once told me about Daisy Fellowes, the stylish Singer sewing machine heiress. In the 1950s, she invited fashion designer Antonio Castillo to her house in the south of France. The two traveled together from Paris on the overnight luxury train, which was scheduled to arrive at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin shortly after dawn. Long before sunrise, Mr. Castillo was awakened by a commotion coming from the next cabin, where Daisy was ensconced. When she emerged from her quarters shortly before their arrival, he thought to ask why she awakened so early. Then he realized that Daisy was perfectly dressed and in full makeup.

"Is there a gentleman waiting for you at the station, Daisy?" Mr. Castillo asked.

"Only my driver," she replied

"Then why are you dressed up? Why not just a pair of sunglasses?"

"I did it for myself." Daisy explained. "It's a question of discipline, you see."