Categories
Dirty Laundry

Sugar Jets and Horse Feathers

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Well, it’s happened. My son is not even two years of age and I’ve already heard him curse. My husband and I (mostly) watch our language around the children, but there are times when you just need to swear, and substitute phrases just don’t feel the same. Things like “sugar jets and horse feathers” seem promising until you try to say them with conviction and it’s like singing your favorite song out loud to the Kidz Bop version of it.

You know those sweet tales new parents tell of their children’s first words? The “milestone moment” when a baby graduates from babble to actual speech? This is not going to be one of those stories. Instead, I’m going to share the swear words my son has learned and the context for which each one happened. It’s my way of taking my mom guilt and making it into something a bit more lighthearted!

The word: Dammit

The Context: Our senior dog shitting.on.floor.again. What makes “new life” in the home wicked awesome? Managing “old life” around it at the same time. I’m a mom to two under two, and a 13-year old pug. All three of them weigh under 30 lbs, but probably produce 60 lbs of crap each day. I’m lucky if half of that makes it into a diaper. Mostly it’s presented on the floor, the wall, everyone’s clothes and my bare hands.

The day it happened: I was feeling strong in the poo-pocalypse because I’d successfully walked the dog until she gave me a #2 outside while the baby was napping and my son was enjoying the rest of his cheese stick in the high chair. Then suddenly, as we came through the kitchen door, the dog tore ass all over the rug. The door swung over the warm steamy nuggets spreading them over the floor like a knife gliding over butter cream frosting on a sheet cake. Needless to say, there was vocabulary involved. My son picked it up, and proceeded to say “dammit, dammit, dammit” in every tone and inflection he has while playing with magnets on the refrigerator.

The word: Jesus Christ.

The Context: One of the first things I noticed when I became a part-time stay-at-home-mom is the loss of urgency people have on the road between the hours of 9:00AM-4:00PM. The go-go-go traffic of rush hour just isn’t happening in the middle of the day. Nobody seems to care about getting anywhere quickly, and this means Type-A mommas like myself might freak out if they get in the car and get stuck behind “Sunday drivers” on a Tuesday.

The day it happened: I was cleaning the house in the morning because I had this fantasy that I could get it done and then use my entire afternoon to do work during the kids’ naps. Story time always ensures a long nappies so though I was pushing it on time that morning (there’s always just one more thing you can get done, right?), I raced to get the kids out the door and to the library. Of course we ended up behind an old man in a pick-up truck who was zero concerned about my ability to advance the car any faster than 30MPH on a 50MPH no-passing road. Since putting my foot on the gas and driving like an asshole isn’t an option with my kids in the car, the alternative is shouting curse words over my steering wheel. I shouted “Jesus Christ,” and while that’s bad, I think I deserve points for not adding, “Are you fucking kidding me?” The moment we walked into the library, my son hit me with a “Jeez rice.” I’m hoping other moms just thought he was hungry.

The Word: Mother-F-er. Only it wasn’t “F-er” that he said, it was the full version. I can’t even bring myself to type it out.

The Context: Ever have to empty an overly-loaded, broken diaper genie? Let me tell you something. It’s an experience. From the soiled diapers spilling forth and unfolding so their contents go rogue everywhere, to the sharp bits of plastic inside the “craptraption” that scrape your freshly-pooed hands. And did I mention the stench? Febreeze couldn’t even.

The day it happened: My son (22 months old) came up with me and the baby to change her diaper in the nursery. He was on the floor stacking some blocks and I was dealing with sweet potato surprise on the changing table. Everything was going swell until I lifted the lid to the diaper genie and tried to push the dirty diaper down the tube. It was getting stuck on something, and on a particularly forceful push, the diaper retaliated and sort of popped like a water balloon. Yes, it was awesome. As I used one hand to manage a curious toddler to stay away from the mess and stifle the writhing of the baby who continued cranking out #2 goodness directly onto her receiving blanket, I used the other hand to “repair” the diaper genie by forcing my fist through the hole to clear the blockage and ended up scraping myself on a chard of plastic. And that’s when the “MF-er” burst forth from my lips like the steed of all swear words, pausing time as my son looked at me sweetly. “Mucker,” he said. And we never spoke of it again.

Categories
Tri Mojo

From Ironman to Ironmom: 10 Truths for the Postpartum Athlete

postpartumtruthsThey tell you life will change when you become a parent. They don’t necessarily tell you how triathlon will change. Here are just a few of the ways I’ve changed between three Ironmans and two babies.

1. You have a new definition for “fit.”

THEN: One of the barometers for “fitness” was how I looked in my race kit. If things weren’t popping out, being pinched or otherwise out-of-place, I considered at least some aspect of my training to be successful.

NOW: Fit has nothing to do with what you see on the outside. I might not be able to rock a “performance tri skin” without incident, but I was walking laps around the labor and delivery wing one day post C-section. BOOM!

2. Your alarm clock is no longer needed.

THEN: You triple-checked your phone to make sure the alarm would go off at least twice the next morning, lest you miss the opportunity to arrive at the pool in time to get a lane or need a reminder as to why you’re up so early.

NOW: You wake up every morning at 5:00AM. No reminder needed, that’s what the wailing baby is for.

3. Training is not a priority.

THEN: Happy hour? Bachelorette Party? Holiday family dinner? It really doesn’t matter what comes on the schedule, it WILL be managed around your workout. Git-r-done.

NOW: Hustling a toddler around IS training, right? It’s cardio and weight-lifting all at once, and makes good use of the 200 calories you maybe got to eat in a 12-hour period.  GIT-R-TO SLEEP.

4. You fall behind.

THEN: From trends to training partners, you were on top of your game. You rocked the latest gear and you ran with the fast crowd. You PR’ed and you were awesome.

NOW: What fits? I’ll wear that. I’ll show up and that’s plenty awesome!

5. You forget what it’s like.

THEN: You used social media to post all kinds of summaries on fantastic workouts, grueling race reports, and play-by-play updates on all training experiences.

NOW: You read those same updates from other people and think, “Don’t they have anything else to do besides train and post about training?”

6. You schadenfreude. Just a little.

THEN: One of your peers has a bad race day, and you legitimately feel terrible for her. She’s trained so hard and deserved such a better experience.

NOW: One of your peers has a bad race day and for a split second you feel glad that someone else is suffering out there—though a crappy race is nothing compared to a literally crappy hand/floor/wall/outfit.

7. You imagine racing again, and it’s daunting.

THEN: You hum to yourself during taper week while enthusiastically creating gear/nutrition/clothing checklists for everything you’ll need to be race-day ready.

NOW: You’ve been packing the diaper bag so much these days, the thought of anything above and beyond basic needs is too much to fathom.

8. Sleep is NOT overrated.

THEN: If the only time you can get that two-hour ride in is on your trainer at 3:00AM, then so be it. Who needs that much sleep anyway?

NOW: If you’re awake at 3:00AM, your boobs are probably out, and not in a fun way.

9. 4:00PM is your new “22 Mile” marker.

THEN: Your race is going well, you’ve caught a second wind and you’re headed into the home stretch. Suddenly, it feels like you hit a wall at the end of the marathon and you must summon all mental strength to get to the finish line.

NOW: Every day is race day, and 4:00PM is the wall. Just two more hours until the bed-time routine can commence. JUST.TWO.MORE.HOURS.

10. Your finish lines are less important.

THEN: Crossing your first Ironman finish line seemed like the most important thing you could accomplish in the world. Once you did it, crossing it with a PR became your next focus.

NOW: You’re still focused on finish lines, but none of them are yours. Your enthusiasm for milestones has shifted from running a sub-8-minute mile pace to seeing if your son can count to ten, identify all the colors of the rainbow, and go down the slide by himself at the playground. There’s no finisher medal for those moments, but there’s nothing that could truly represent your pride in those accomplishments anyway.

Categories
Dirty Laundry

Dear Fit Pregnancy, Let’s Get Real.

During my first pregnancy, I was fresh off my third Ironman race and used to training 17-20 hours a week. Naturally, I was interested in maintaining my fitness (at an appropriate level) and keeping my body in the best shape possible as an expectant mom. I gravitated to the “Fit Pregnancy” magazine as soon as I saw it in the doctor’s office, thrilled to discover a resource that promised to help me maintain some sense of my old self as my new self began to take shape.

And take shape it did.

Like every new mom, I grappled with my changing body during pregnancy. It wasn’t just my belly that got rounder, but just about any part of me that had a curve before, got curvier. And softer.

As a “fit” person, I wasn’t expecting to gain weight everywhere. I wasn’t expecting to go from my “peak season” race weight of 133 lbs, to a first trimester weight of 160 lbs. Luckily, most of my pregnancy took place over the winter and I was happy to hide my body under sweaters and layers of scarves. I felt detached from Fit Pregnancy and its “polished prego” motif. It seemed that the pictures of the women in the articles and the magazine’s Facebook stream were always thin, tan, glamorous, trendy… It was as if a fashion magazine got all of its models knocked up and reassigned them to baby-bump photo shoots for a year before they (probably) shrank back down to runway-shape (in like, a month post-partum).

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Pictures taken from Fit Pregnancy’s Facebook Page

 

Now I’m pregnant with my second baby. I’m not fresh off an Ironman, but fresh off a Little Man as my son just turned one year old. My body immediately went into bump mode around the “10 week” mark, and I’m rolling (literally) into my second trimester through “uncharted pregnancy wardrobe” territory. I’ve always been a “less is more” kind of girl when it came to summer clothing. Long runs in shorts and a sports bra, nights out in a mini skirt and strappy tank-top. That was before the surface area of my body tripled. The maternity sweater collection doesn’t pair well with the 80-degree, humid days of June, July and August. Where would I hide my evolving body? And more importantly, why do I feel like I SHOULD be hiding it?

Last summer I was melting off the pounds with breastfeeding and power-walking. This summer I’m melting under the pounds as my body balloons out with each passing week. I’m not “Ironman fit,” but I think most who know me would say I’m still “fit.” I’m currently teaching three spin classes per week, and only recently gave up teaching a weekly Group CORE fitness class because being on your back after the first trimester is a no-no. I walk three miles every day with my son. I break a sweat when I clean my house. It’s not 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running, but I know that my “pregnant” activity level rivals what the average non-pregnant American does for exercise each week.

So this brings me to my point. I’ve been feeling really annoyed with Fit Pregnancy lately, as it populates my Facebook stream with unrealistic images of a pregnant woman’s body. The women don’t physically represent what most of us actually look like when we’re carrying a child. It’s as if they’ve hand-picked the most attractive representations of the “mother to be” and put them out there for the rest of us (who debate whether the “pregnancy glow” is actually some bullshit urban legend) to “aspire” to.

In my day job, I work at an advertising agency as an account planner where I’m responsible for representing the “voice of customer.” In other words, I make sure that our clients know what their target audiences are truly thinking and feeling so that when we reach out to them through marketing, we know what kind of message will resonate best with them. We know their goals, pain points, what motivates them and their attitudes and perceptions about certain things. I can’t help but to think about Fit Pregnancy through the “voice of customer” lens and come to the conclusion that they DON’T GET IT. I’m the target audience, but I’m not feeling like they know me or understand what I’d like to be exposed to as an expectant mom.

In my “not day job” I’ve worked for nearly a decade as a fitness instructor and triathlon coach. Part of my responsibility in that role is helping people of  all shapes, sizes and abilities feel good about themselves and their bodies as they push through physical challenges to meet their goals. When I look at Fit Pregnancy through the “coach” lens, I feel the image they’re portraying is setting an unrealistic example for women who are pregnant. For those of us who don’t naturally look like Gisele Bundchen when we have a bun in the oven, we might see images of airbrushed women and model baby bumps as the “bar” we must meet—the “look” we should go for. It could be dangerous for women who fall prey to that kind of pressure, who may stop eating an appropriate diet for pregnancy, or may start working out at intensities that could be dangerous for their babies. As a coach, I know that “fit” means “being healthy in your context, within your unique circumstances.” A big part of being successful at fitness is setting realistic goals.

As a hormonal, pregnant woman? I might see Fit Pregnancy and think, “I’m missing the mark. I’m fat and unattractive.” Provoking a woman’s self esteem during such a sensitive period of her life is not a great idea. This kind of emotional stress can harm mother and child, and works against Fit Pregnancy’s mission.

According to the Facebook page:

Fit Pregnancy guides women through the most exciting ride of their life—becoming a mom. We provide the news, workouts, style and shopping coverage, and supportive service readers need to take stellar care of themselves, nourish their baby, relish their pregnancy and feel calm and confident as a new mom.

Fit Pregnancy, I beg you. Start showing us images of real pregnant women—I know your models ARE real women, but can’t you feature a variety of body types? Can’t you show us that a beautiful and fit woman can carry a child AND some extra weight?

The last line of your mission talks about making women feel calm and confident as they become moms. I don’t know about other women, but comparing my body to the images of your moms does not make me feel confident. It makes me feel crappy. And I’m a pretty freaking confident woman overall. I’m comfortable in my own skin, even when there’s more of it. But give me a break—can you please stop shoving the image of an airbrushed, smiling woman caressing her perfectly round baby bump down my throat? I’ve already had my share of morning sickness and I’m tired of gagging.

Real women in their real bodies want to read your magazine—we want your news, workouts and style tips. We want to nourish our babies, and relish our pregnancies.

And we want you to show us that it’s possible even if you’re sizing up in clothing and rocking a 5’3″ frame.

Let’s get real. I’ll go first…

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This is what a three-time Ironman finisher on her second baby in less than two years looks like. I’m no Alessandra Ambrosio, but I don’t think fitness and beauty only reside within supermodel bodies, and I think you’re doing women a disservice by choosing to show so many examples of this kind of “fitness.”  This isn’t a photo shoot. It’s an impromptu selfie of a real woman straight out of the shower with no make-up, wet hair, wearing a sports bra and bathing suit bottom.

And there’s back fat and cellulite. And most importantly…

A smile.

Help us be happy and embrace pregnancy by showing that fitness is about more than just conventional good looks.

 

Categories
Dirty Laundry

A Mama at Gaga

artpopmama
Pregnantly rocking Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP shirt

That awkward moment when you realize you’re stashing a breast pump under your seat at a rave.

That was me earlier this week, while attending Lady Gaga’s artRAVE, The Artpop Ball. Long a fan of the eccentric pop star, I’d been to see her at Madison Square Garden years ago at the Monster Ball—her first-ever show at Madison Square Garden in her hometown city, Manhattan. It was a fantastic show. So when ARTPOP came out, I strongly hinted that I’d like to see her in concert again and Santa (Krispin) made it happen. Smartly, he made arrangements to send me off to the city and attend the concert with my friend Danielle who lives in the area. And so our adventure began.

Arriving to MSG, we took stock of the parade of “Little Monsters” dressed up in their favorite iterations of Lady Gaga. Suffice it to say, I saw more parts of more people’s bodies than I needed to. I had contemplated dressing up myself, making my emerging baby bump look like a giant blue mirror ball in honor of the ARTPOP album cover, but I convinced myself I was too old for that (and too lazy, as I’d have to try and find a way to get everything I needed for a costume AND an overnight into a single carry-on bag for the flight). Meh.

We got to the security gate, and a male guard began going through my bag, which was a Medela Pump-In-Style bag that looks like a normal purse, except for there’s a huge motor built into it with some tubing and dials hidden in a zip compartment on the side. I watched his puzzled expression as he tried to make sense of the bag’s weight while sifting through the few items he could see in the top (a scarf, a lip gloss, etc.).

“It’s a breast pump, that’s what you’re feeling.” I offered as his hand cupped the large square shape that concealed the motor. His hands released from the bag in a flash. “Okay, you’re all set,” he said. No eye contact, no concern, just the little “yucky” dance of a grown man who had the heebie jeebies from touching a breast pump. Alright then. With the bag slung fashionably over my shoulder, I mommed my way into the venue with Danielle, and stared lustfully at the beer taps in all the vendor windows en route to our seats. I had no idea how badly I would REALLY want a drink once the show started.

The opening act was a “vocaloid” named Hatsune Miku, an anime-like cartoon with long teal hair who sings Japanese pop music. Yes, a cartoon was on the stage entertaining us (didn’t I take this mini vacation away from my son to NOT watch cartoons!?). It took Danielle and I about 20 minutes to realize it was the actual opening act and not some kind of funky, expensive advertisement. All around us, tweens were rocking out to the music. I leaned over to ask the girl next to me what “it” was. Her mouth said, “Hatsune Miku.” Her gaze said, “You’re old as hell, why are you here?” Danielle and I pondered the reasons why someone like Lady Gaga would choose such a horrible opening act. “Maybe she’s trying to be innovative by showing a different kind of medium in the performing arts space, that artists don’t have to be actual people,” I offered. “No, I think we’re just using our adult marketing brains to try and justify this,” Danielle said. Shit, she was right. We were simply NOT the target audience for this kind of thing, but it amused us all the same for different reasons.

After the cartoon was over, we thought Gaga would be taking the stage soon. We were SO wrong. Next up was Lady Starlight. Wikipedia will tell you she is an American musical performer. I will tell you she is a complete waste of your time. From what I can tell, her claim to fame is collaborating with Lady Gaga in the very earliest years of her career, when the pair did go-go dancing at local festivals and lit hairspray cans on fire to liven up their stage presence. That would have been loads more entertaining than what she did for nearly an hour as the second part of Gaga’s opening act. Armed with two drum machines (and WAY too much time), she “dazzled” the crowd with her tribute to techno. Looping random beats and sounds together for 10-minute blocks, teasing us with “this sounds like the end of the song” before going into another seemingly identical “set” of terrible, awful techno. (Full disclosure, I LIKE techno… I do not like watching someone attempt to fist pump off beat to a drum machine that’s being poorly operated. For 45 minutes). Danielle and I spent most of the set discussing whether or not she used to be a man (after some Google research, we determined she had not). But her outfit and wig (?) made her look like a drag version of Cher.

One hour and forty minutes after the opening acts began, Lady Gaga FINALLY took the stage. At this point the many empty seats around us were filled (people must have had a heads up about Hatsune and TechNO), including a row of young girls seated with their parents in front of us. Danielle, (unfamiliar with Gaga’s latest album), said she thought it was nice of the parents to bring their children to the concert. Later she would retract that statement. Somewhere around the song “Sex Dreams,” or perhaps it was one of the dozens of times Lady Gaga impulsively shouted the F-word into her lyrics or stage monologues. At any rate, the show began and it was pretty awesome.

The stage was always morphing into one captivating scene to another thanks to the vibrant lighting, and she wore a lot of great costumes (or not, at one point she did an on-stage change letting her breasts fall into plain view as three attendants fastened a clear plastic top to her, and some furry knee-high legwarmers with sneakers). But the best part of the performance was when she stripped down the actual music to SING. It was obvious that she wasn’t going to hit any of her high notes or put too much passion into her lyrics while she was on the move. Dancing seemed to take the priority in most songs, where strong back tracks and “masking” beats saved her from having to sing too much. Her piano-only version of “Born This Way” reminded everyone that she actually CAN sing, which I appreciated. And to her credit, she didn’t appear to be lip-syncing to her other songs, she just seemed to be (tele)phoning them in (she’s ka-kinda busy).

Did you get that last line? It was a Gaga pun. Just checking.

Another thing I’ll give her credit for is being comfortable with her body. Dressed in midriff-baring, skin tight outfits for the majority of the evening, Gaga treated the audience to the visual of what I would say is a pretty normal female body. You could see cellulite at times, muffin top, and “junk in the trunk.” It was all great, in my opinion. Given the struggles she had with her body in the past, and the message she has been promoting to love the skin you’re in, I thought it was refreshing to see a pop star performing with supreme confidence, without looking strained to try and meet some kind of “acceptable standard” in the process.

She also took the time to read a few of the letters that fans were launching onto the stage. Some of them were very touching, and my hormones definitely got the best of me when they showed a happy fan crying tears of joy while having his moment with Gaga reading his letter and inviting him back stage after the show.

As the concert came to a close, I had to muscle my way past drunk teeny-boppers to get a soft pretzel and some juice (it was 11:00PM after all, and a pregnant woman needs her snacks). My lust for the booze subsided, as I watched a pair of girls tripping on their way into the bathroom. Someone would be going home and laying down with the “spins” later, but it wasn’t gonna be me. Ah, the simple pleasures in life.

Back in my seat, Danielle and I discussed a game plan for beating the crowds (especially now that the crowds were intoxicated and stoned—the smell of weed was omnipresent). We decided to skip the encore performance. Since GAGA came on so late, it was getting close to midnight now and I was quickly fading as PREGO began to trump all. I just needed bed and to not have my pants on anymore. Point of fact, I don’t think anyone would have noticed if I took my pants off at that concert.

Danielle and I are old pros when it comes to “barely” catching forms of public transportation. Prior to living in Manhattan together as roommates years ago, we’d also spent six months together studying abroad in Europe. We’ve dived through the closing doors of many a train in our time together. And we succeeded again that night—catching the PATH to Hoboken with seconds to spare, giving us a tentative bedtime of about 1:30AM.

I don’t know which we were more excited about—that Lady Starlight had finally stopped pushing buttons on those damn drum machines when the evening started, or that we were getting home to a cozy bed and some sweatpants before 2:00AM.

We crashed that night with smiles on our faces, amusing ourselves with all the moments we felt “old” at the Gaga show. We compared notes on how many times (and for what reasons) we caught the alarm in the parents’ faces who brought their 9-year olds to the show. We made fun of Lady Starlight some more, and we swore to each other we’d brush up on the latest Hatsune hits before we got together again. (And yes, for good measure, we also talked about how great the show was overall. Lady Gaga is talented and I was happy to see her live again, and thrilled that my husband surprised me with the tickets).

The next morning, I got up with Danielle as she got ready for work and I set off on my adventures of mass transit to get back to the airport. I scrolled through pictures of my son on my phone, eager to see him again. It was the first time I’d left him overnight! When I got home, my husband was waiting in the car outside the airport, and my son was in his car seat smiling and laughing. I realized right then that THEY are the real rock stars in my life now. Nothing makes me as happy as spending time with them, and nothing is as entertaining as watching my son learn something new (he just learned to wave, and was giving me his very best hello as I approached the car that afternoon).

I might be feeling “older” these days, but it actually felt pretty damn good to be a 35-year old woman walking into Madison Square Garden with a breast pump in one hand and a ticket to Lady Gaga in the other. Like wearing a new pair of shoes to my old stomping grounds.

And I love me some new shoes.

 

Categories
Tri Mojo

T3 Project: Bolder Bands Bring It

BB1
Easy style, before and after your workout

Hair. No matter what length or style you rock, your locks can become an issue during and after your workout. In the throws of training, it can be annoying to readjust hats, headbands and elastic ties to keep sweaty strands out of our eyes. And post-workout, there’s not always time for coiffing and primping. The ol’ “pull it back in a ponytail” look can get old pretty quickly, so what’s a girl to do?

Grab a Bolder Band.

The unique design of these fabric headbands adjusts to accommodate a range of “fit” needs for various hairstyles. In the past year, I’ve gone from long hair, to a shoulder-length bob, to a pixie cut and have found the Bolder Band to be effective (and stylish) at every length. The secret is in the way the band is crafted. It can be folded so that the coverage is more narrow (about an inch and a half wide), or expanded to act almost like a handkerchief covering most of the head.

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Warning: Bolder Bands can cause extreme cases of SASS!

To style the band for a post-workout look, try pulling different pieces of hair beneath the band to frame the face, while letting the fabric expand over the “obviously just worked out” areas (for me, that’s usually where my hair parts, and things look sweaty even after I’ve cooled down and air dried).

Bolder Band comes in a range of colors and patterns to customize your look, and comes with an awesome motivational card to remind you exactly how awesome (and busy!) you are. I keep mine tacked over my desk in my home office.

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Pink chevron band + words of wisdom

 

Let’s see how Bolder Band measures up against the T3 criteria:

T3 Brands Must Do Good — Bolder Bands Keep the Love Local

These handcrafted headbands are 100% made in Colorado, USA. A percentage of the profits from Bolder Band’s Breast Cancer Band sales are donated to local women fighting the disease, and the company also donates headbands to the local high school track team, and supports several races and fundraisers in the area.

T3 Brands Must Be Innovative — Bolder Band Fills a Gap in the Market

Amy Crouse, founder and creator of Bolder Band, is a cross-fitting, running mom of three kids who enjoys working out but could never find the right thing to hold her hair back. Tired of the name-brand elastic headbands popping off  after every third burpee, she decided to take matters into her own hands and created an alternative. Her tagline, “chick headbands that stay put so you don’t have to,” says it all. It’s the only headband on the market that can be worn six different ways, offering unparalleled versatility, and crafted from absorbent Lycra to keep you dry during your workout (or help to wick away moisture post-workout).

T3 Brands Must Be Non-Multisport — Bolder Band is For Women Who Are Busy, Balanced and Bangin’ On All Cylinders

Bolder Band’s ode to its customers does a nice job summarizing WHO the product is for, and all of the reasons why we sometimes need to get our hair out of the way. Ms. Crouse reminds us, “To be the bold, beautiful, web blogging, downward-dogging, ball chasing, marathon racing, racket swinging, laundry slinging, baby-sitting, crossfitting, chance-taking, booty shaking, snow obsessing, bench-pressing, grocery shopping, never stopping YOU.” Amen.

FROM BEAST TO BABE:
The run might be over, but that doesn’t mean you’re done running! You don’t have to hide your hair under visors, dri-fit caps and heavy hats. Instead, style it with an absorbent headband that gives you the perfect blend of fashion and function.

Categories
Tri Mojo

#SitDownKayla: 11 Reasons Why #FitFam and the Fitness Culture on Social Media Is Inspiring

47217753Recently, blogger Kayla Inglima (self-proclaimed “likeable human”) shared a post on why she believed the fitness culture on social media needs to be stopped—citing, among other things—that this culture may be the next pitfall of civilization, and that it could potentially ruin the world. While her target was people in the bodybuilding world, her real problem seems to be with the pride and passion this “cult of people” displays on their social media profiles. I’m not a bodybuilder, but I’m a three-time Ironman finisher…and like bodybuilders, triathletes spend a great deal of time preparing, planning for, and yes—taking pride in—our accomplishments as athletes.

I believe this pride and passion are important to share, and I’ve created a neat little list to argue each of Kayla’s issues with the “antics” of the #FitFam.

Kayla: They make completely average people think they are famous.

Reason 1: Social media connects us to success stories beyond our immediate circles.

When average people do extraordinary things, people not only notice, they begin to think of the possibilities for themselves. I would be willing to bet that for every runner, triathlete or bodybuilder out there, there are a handful of people that person inspired to set a new goal. For some of these people, it may have lead to their first steps toward a healthier lifestyle. For others, it could have been the impetus for reaching out of their comfort zones to grow and thrive in new ways (in fitness or otherwise). If we’re “famous” on social media because we dared to challenge ourselves and were consequently recognized for it by friends, family and acquaintances who decided to share our experiences with a broader audience, what is so bad about that? How is that ruining civilization? In a world where obesity is increasingly on the rise, maybe it’s not the worst thing for average people to see themselves as celebrities, and therefore responsible for acting like role models.

Kayla: They make you feel bad for eating normal food

Reason 2: Social media exposes you to a variety of ideas and methods for doing things.

In the fitness world, you quickly learn there is no “normal” when it comes to success—you have to know your own body and manage it accordingly.

There is also no such thing as “normal food” and nobody can make you feel bad about what you put in your mouth except for yourself. Since Kayla’s post appears on a site that represents “the voice of Generation Y,” I can understand why she might find it easier to blame others for her struggles rather than be accountable for her own actions.

Last I checked, grilled tilapia, string beans and sweet potatoes were standard culinary fare. Even so, runners, triathletes and bodybuilders actually do indulge in a fair amount of “blasphemous” food. It’s called “cheat day” or “post-race dinner.” We don’t deprive ourselves; we just factor in foods that EVERYONE should eat in moderation around other elements of a nutritional profile that helps us to be successful in meeting our goals.

And I’m sorry, Kayla, that you feel bad about eating certain foods. We don’t feel bad about eating the occasional grilled cheese sandwich because we don’t eat six of them at a time, washed down by a liter of soda. People’s emotions with food often have little to do with the food itself.

Rather than feeling “limited and sad” about what you should and shouldn’t eat, use social media to find new inspiration for clean eating.

Kayla: They think this is sexy (insert image of muscular woman). Caption reads, “gross.”

Reason 3: Social media reminds us that “sexy” comes in a variety of flavors, and there’s no “ONE” body type to strive for in order to be a successful athlete.

Kayla, I’m just wondering if there are any other images you’d like to share in your proclamation of what is and isn’t sexy? Perhaps you don’t like redheads either. Do you have any preference on race when it comes to your sexual attraction?

The point is that people come in all shapes, sizes and colors and there isn’t a pre-defined standard to what constitutes sexy. When you look at a woman that has a strong, muscular build, maybe it’s unappealing to you. To others, the landscape of a physically fit body is a symbol of a strong work ethic, unparalleled dedication and a drive to succeed. I’m not sure where those attributes fall on your “sexy meter,” but they rate pretty high on mine.

Kayla: They only know how to express themselves in meme form

Reason 4: Memes are the digital form of motivational Post-It notes, a light-hearted way to overcome excuses and obstacles.

If only we had the luxury of “sitting around all day” to create memes, as Kayla describes. Maybe she’s not aware of how easy it is to put text over an image and post it to Facebook (it took me less than one minute to make the meme accompanying this blog).

To be honest, us crazy athletes find memes to be an entertaining and easy way to share some inspiration and joy during a chaotic day wherein we must juggle full-time jobs, childcare and social obligations around 17-20 hours of training time. Do that math—because it’s a tough equation, sister. Solving it requires sacrifice, compromise and discipline. (Or you can just Choose C, “working out is too hard, I’ll just complain and make excuses instead”).

Kayla, please excuse us if we happen to feel inspired by clever sayings or images while we’re on social media, and that we feel compelled to share them somtimes. Sorry it’s causing you a case of the Mondays. While you’re complaining about memes and hitting snooze on your alarm clock, we’ve already worked out, showered, and are picking up a coffee on the way to our job (yes, we have those, too).

Kayla: They complain about their self-imposed lifestyle (e.g. “meal-prepping”)

Reason 5: Social media reminds us that every lifestyle comes with challenges and therefore complaints.

Think the grass is greener on the other side? Social media would prove otherwise. I’m friends with people from all kinds of professions, and it doesn’t look like ANYONE can escape the urge to share a little bit of their frustration with the daily grind, whatever grind that might be. Misery loves company. Sometimes even the most dedicated athlete needs to know that somewhere out there, someone else is struggling with the same things to get to their goal. Part of the way humans overcome challenges is by commiserating with others.

Kayla, if you don’t want to see updates from people who are “meal-prepping,” you can use the “block” feature to get your newsfeed focused on the things you do care about (which according to your blog, includes pictures of brunch, Italians making sauce and stories of drunken Saturday nights).

Scintillating.

Kayla: They upload photos and videos of workouts that anyone can do.

Reason 6: Social media is a go-to resource to learn about fitness—even for beginners.

Kayla, maybe you’ve never been to a gym before (sounds like you probably don’t have that kind of time), but as it turns out, “anyone” can’t actually do workouts. There’s a reason why people hire personal trainers. Working out isn’t as simple as doing bicep curls and squats, and even when these simple exercises are performed incorrectly, a person can become injured. If you don’t need the guidance on how to execute certain movements, don’t watch the videos. I’m just trying to make your life easier, dude.

Kayla: They suddenly believe they are certified nutritionists

Reason 7: Sharing is caring, and knowledge is power. Social media puts that all together for you. Thank you, social media!

Pinterest is full of ideas for decorating one’s home through a series of DIY projects that everyday people shared (from their experience, gasp!). You don’t have to be a professional interior designer to figure out how to make a Ball jar into a vase, or an electrician to figure out how to make that same jar into a cool lightning pendant.

And you don’t have to be a certified nutritionist to know how many antioxidants are in a cup of blueberries, or how many calories are in the foods you eat.

Personally, I think it’s awesome that a quick reference to social media can help us make smarter eating decisions as opposed to having to schedule an appointment and spend a ton of cash on a professional to draft a food plan. (Coincidentally, a lot of serious athletes do work with nutritionists, and are likely sharing information on food and diet based on what they’ve learned in those experiences).

Kayla: They “follow” and “like” people and posts as if they belong to some sort of cult…which they do.

Reason 8: Social media builds camaraderie.

I have to ask, Kayla, did you come up with this “issue” while you were hung-over scrolling through your Instagram feed looking for brunch photos? Because really, it just seems stupid that anyone would have a problem with people liking and friending things they have in common.

Maybe “Italians making sauce on a Sunday” don’t form the same kind of camaraderie as bodybuilders and triathletes do, but in our world having friends to hang out with and learn from is actually kind of cool. “Fitness girls” and “bros who lift” aren’t horrible people, and yes, we cheer each other on because we know how hard it is to maintain this kind of lifestyle.

Kayla: Neon: (Insert image of two buff chicks wearing neon colored sports bras), caption reads: “The worst to happen to neon since EDM.”

Reason 9: Social media is proof that everybody is wearing what they feel comfortable in, and you should too.

If you have concerns about what to wear at the gym, you shouldn’t, and social media can help you overcome those fears. Worried you’ll look sweaty, off-trend, outdated or that you’ll call too much attention to yourself? You’ll be in good company. One of the perks of getting in shape is developing a better self-esteem…and with improved self-esteem comes a liberation that empowers you to wear what you feel comfortable and attractive in, versus what you think you “should” wear. (If Kayla had it her way, I guess we’d all be wearing black stretch pants and gray sweatshirts when we work out).

And Kayla, if you don’t like Electronic Dance Music then listen to something else. You probably can’t handle those sick beats anyway.

Kayla: Their food makes us sad.

Reason 10: A healthy diet doesn’t have to be a letdown—it’s all about your attitude.

Kayla, if pictures of grilled chicken and steamed asparagus make you sad, you might want to take a pregnancy test. I’m speaking from experience when I say the most RANDOM and seemingly insignificant things can elicit sadness when you’re knocked up. And watch your flippant references to antidepressants, because there happen to be lot of legitimate reasons to “pop” pills. Just sayin.

When I see the foods that some of my bodybuilder friends post on Facebook, I actually think that I would like some of it. Egg white omelets with fresh salsa? Whole-grain toast with avocado slices? Those are some of the nutritional staples of the successful athletes I know. Eating clean actually forces people to get creative in the kitchen. The key to embracing (and being excited by) a new diet is to approach it with a positive attitude, rather than finding the worst-case scenario and fixating on what it lacks.

Kayla: They date each other, procreate and form tribes of weight-lifting spawn.

Reason 11: Social media helps connect people that proactively want better things for themselves and others. You can build a network for increased opportunities.

Whether you find your future love interest, a training buddy or a business partner, you’re sure to strike up a conversation with someone meaningful through fitness. Some of these relationships have formed “tribes” that do a lot of good in the world. (I’ve written dozens of profiles on Ironman athletes who have used their sport and connections throughout the industry to raise millions of dollars for charities and generate unprecedented awareness for a variety of causes ranging from mental illness to helping disabled children—or spawn, as Kayla might refer to them).

I’ll tell you what, Kayla. We’ll continue hooking up with each other in the gym, and leave it to you to bear the children that sit in their basements playing video games for hours with Cheeto-stained fingers, okay?

The nerve of healthy people getting together with other healthy people to form strong families with good exercise and eating habits. Really, what is the world coming to?

 

Categories
Dirty Laundry

Mother’s Little Helper

helperWell here it is. The post I’ve been avoiding. The post I said I wouldn’t write, but the post that needs to be written.

Because I didn’t start a blog called “Dirty Laundry” to keep things neat and tidy, right?

I have a confession to make: For almost eight months, I’ve been taking Zoloft, following a diagnosis of postpartum depression. I’ll never forget how low I felt sitting in the doctor’s office during a follow-up appointment with my OBGYN, as he explained to me that this—like so many other aspects of my son’s birth—was something I had no control over. I was prepared to lose control of my body while I was pregnant, smiling through each bigger jeans size. Giggling to myself as I ate a large container of fries from McDonald’s with ZERO shame. Crying over anything from bent paper clips to text messages I read the wrong way.

And I accepted it when I suddenly realized I would have no control over Emmett’s birth. The day he was born, I actually brought a copy of our natural birth plan along with me to the doctor’s office. Hours after arriving to that appointment, I was sent to the hospital for an emergency C-section.

But postpartum depression? That I did not see coming.

I am a fitness instructor. An Ironman. A coach. I am can-do attitude personified. I preach positivity. I write a blog about mojo and mental skills training. I wield the power of my mind like a light sabre, so how could I fall prey to postpartum depression? And worse still, how could I continue being a poster-girl for “embracing the suck” when I was losing my grip on this particular “suck”?

It took me a while to process the idea that my brain could push me through three 140.6-mile races, totaling literally years of rigorous training and sacrifice, yet it could not get me through more than two months of “bad days” as a new mom. On one hand, I refused to believe that I couldn’t just FORCE myself to feel better. On the other hand, I really couldn’t manage the emotional landmines and total exhaustion that came with feeling so down and out all the time. While filling out the “wellbeing” questionnaire at my postpartum appointment, I answered the questions honestly, and watched the pen ink smear as giant tears bombarded the clipboard. I knew I’d likely be leaving with a prescription. I wouldn’t be able to fake my way through this.

No “smiling at mile 20!” of the marathon this time…

In the exam room, I sat in my napkin dress ashamed of myself. Not because of the hugeness that still lurked beneath the flimsy paper (feeling fat was oddly the LEAST of my problems), but because I couldn’t muster the pride to sit tall. I was defeated, and I knew it.

The doctor entered and we discussed my state of mind. I told him about the mood swings. I never had urges to hurt my child, but my imagination would torture me with “What if?” scenarios focused on Emmett getting hurt, or struggling to live. Honestly, his birth was so shocking and scary to me that the imagery and emotions from seeing him in the NICU will always be with me, and always haunt me in some way. Even now on the drugs, I cannot shake the helplessness that I felt when I saw how small and fragile he was in his first few weeks. I still hear the alarms that went off when he stopped breathing. And I still treasure the immense relief that washed over us when we learned he would be okay and it was time to go home. He’s nearly 20 pounds now, and not even considered a preemie any longer at the rate he’s been developing. He’s moved on, and I need to do the same. Truly, I’ve always been bad at that.

The Zoloft has helped. I liken it to a filter. It enabled me to catch the “noise” that was coming into my life and left me with just the things I should be focusing on. I can spend time helping Emmett learn how to use his sippy cup now rather than imagine what would happen if I fell down the stairs with him 100 times. And much to my husband’s amazement, I can also leave a few dishes in the sink or forget about vacuuming for a week or two (but not three!) Zoloft is also used to help with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

I don’t think of myself as being crazy or “on drugs,” and I’m done feeling embarrassed about it. A part of me believes that I was conjuring up the same remedy through 20 hours of triathlon training every week. There were few stresses that would last through a five-hour bike ride or a 20-mile run. My bad moods fell behind me in the wake of a two-hour swim. The exercise high is real—and studies show that our brains do become altered when we work out. No pill can replace that feeling (nor should it), but I can’t deny that the Zoloft leaves me in a similar state of calm.

I think there’s still some taboo around postpartum depression and what we do behind closed doors to treat it. It throws a wrench in the “I’ve got it together” image new moms want to portray. My Instagram feed is filled with captured moments that would lead anyone to believe I’m a happy, fulfilled and successful mom.

And I am.

And so are most of us. It’s just that there’s an unexpected mania that comes with motherhood. It’s a combination of, “Pinch me, I can’t believe this is happening!” and, “Punch me, I can’t believe this is happening!”

We all deal with it differently. I don’t think we should regard one way as being more right than any other way. The goal is to be a good parent.

Do what needs to be done to be a good parent. Period.

I might not be able to get out the door for those soothing long runs as frequently as I used to, fueled by the need to move and process the mish-mash of thoughts and emotions floating around in my brain, but I still catch a few miles here and there. And I swallow my pills with pride, because I know I’m doing what’s best for me to be the healthy mom Emmett needs me to be. When things really get bad, we turn up the music and dance. We smile. We take it one step at a time. Sometimes to Mick Jagger…

Things are different today, I hear every mother say. Mother needs something today to calm her down. And though she’s not really ill, there’s a little yellow pill. She goes running for the shelter of her mother’s little helper and it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day.

And that’s okay.

Categories
Dirty Laundry

10 Ways I’m a Better Mom at 35

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I would have been a terrible young mom.
When I was 25, I was fed up with being the only single girl among my friends. The grass looked greener on the other side where the lawn was always decorated for a wedding or a baby shower. I used to stand in front of my bedroom mirror and push my stomach out to see what I might look like with a baby bump (should I ever find Mr. Right), and imagine what it was like to be in a steady relationship.

It would be nearly 10 years later before I’d really see my baby bump, and in hindsight I’m thankful to have found love and motherhood later in my life.

In honor of my 35th birthday and being an “older” mom, here are 10 reasons—one for each year of the past decade—why I’m a better mom at 35 than I would have been at 25.

1: I’m comfortable in my own skin. All of it. Because there’s more of it than there was when I was 25. And while this skin has been stretched and dimpled and cut open with a scalpel, I’ve learned to appreciate beauty that goes far beyond what I can see in the mirror.

2: Uprooting my life doesn’t have to mean upheaval in my life. At 26, I was unexpectedly laid off from my job, broken up with my boyfriend, and my roommate was moving out. I left Manhattan to go back home with my parents in Central New York. At the time, I was devastated. Looking back, this was a pivotal moment of change in my life that led to many great things—I became a fitness instructor and started doing triathlon. I’ve learned to embrace changes in life as opportunities, not obstacles.

3: There’s always time to make the right choice. I was engaged at 27, to a wonderful guy that would have made a great husband. Just not my husband. A year and a half later, I would call off the wedding—even though I’d bought a dress, paid all the deposits and was about to send out 200 Save-the-Date cards. I felt a lot of pressure to try and make it work because so many things were in motion and “already done,” but I broke it off anyway. Breaking up with my fiancé taught me that there’s always time to do the right thing, even at the last minute.

4: I’ve proven that patience really does pay off. I had a job at an NYC agency before I graduated college, and truly believed that my passion and preparation for advertising as an undergrad meant that I’d find success quickly and easily as I entered the workforce. It wasn’t until I was 28 that I landed the job that would actually become my career. My patchwork resume wove bits of experience together from a variety of roles in writing, editing and marketing. Despite my ongoing persistence to find new opportunities, nothing happened quickly. It felt like things would never turn around. Only in my late twenties did I see how all of those experiences eventually led me to success. I became a regular contributing writer for Ironman.com, and an Account Planner in a successful advertising agency. And, it would be at this agency where I met my Mr. Right.

5: I know that having the right attitude is everything. I celebrated my last year in the twenties with my first Ironman finish—140.6 miles of blood, sweat and tears (and at the 2008 Ironman Lake Placid, a LOT of rain). There was nothing better suited to represent my twenties than the journey over 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling and 26.2 miles of running. But what became my sweetest victory was almost my biggest failure. Getting off the bike after six hours of body-numbing, cold monsoon-like rain showers took its toll on me and I literally wept with pain and frustration in the transition area. I decided that I needed to at least try and run one mile before calling it quits…I owed that much to myself, and to the many athletes I trained at Gold’s Gym every week who constantly heard me preach about “can-do attitude.” One mile gave way to another, and before I knew it I was running the final mile into the Olympic Oval in Lake Placid, 16:30 hours later to become an Ironman.

6: Age is just a number, it doesn’t define me. Turning 30 was bittersweet. Our society gets caught up in milestones, and when you’re a woman there is an expectation that at a certain point you will settle down and start a family. For some reason, 30 is the cut-off age when people go from a “Take your time!” approach to marriage and motherhood, to “What are you waiting for?” With a broken engagement just a year behind me, I’d already messed up my milestone timeline and embraced 30 as a chance to saddle up for new adventures rather than settle down with old mistakes. I’ve learned that age doesn’t have to burden me with what I SHOULD be doing. It’s a demographic bit of data, not a built-in dictator.

7: I expect to push my limits—in sport, in life. I could have stopped at one Ironman—all I ever really wanted was to prove to myself that I could do it. But I knew I was capable of more than I did. There was a nagging voice in my head that couldn’t let my Ironman experience be tainted with the idea that I almost quit. I needed another go to make peace with my psyche, so at 31 I did just that—besting my time by more than three hours. That was when I learned that pushing my limits would be a lifelong tool I will never put down. I seek discomfort in all areas of my life, because I know it will motivate me to grow as a person.

8: I had time to love myself before I loved my husband. I married my Mr. Right at 32, with zero hesitation or fear. The twenties taught me what I didn’t want in a relationship. But entering my thirties taught me to appreciate more things about myself. I learned that I was stronger than I imagined, and came to enjoy the hundreds of hours I spent alone swimming, biking and running to do triathlon. I’ve always been an introspective person, but getting inside my head would sometimes lead me to feel more self-destructive than self-actualized. Taking the time to really explore new goals and interests as a young adult allowed me to become a person who was ready to make the kinds of compromises and sacrifices that marriage requires.

9: I’m good at setting (and reaching) goals. In my twenties, the concept of a goal was more like a “wish.” I’d think of something that I wanted then imagine what had to happen for my wish to come true. There was no concept of actually doing anything to make it come true, save for a few half-assed first steps that I hoped would lead to a serendipitous intervention of someone or something that would speed things along. Over time, I realized that wishing sucked—and DOING is where it’s at. As I got older, I started to see how success was engineered by people around me and learned that I could chart a course to my own success in whatever I wanted to do. Naturally, I signed up for a third Ironman to mull the concept over while going for yet another personal record. That spring, we bought a house. I planned my training around moving, working a full-time job and being a newlywed, and at the age of 33, I became a three-time Ironman finisher with a new best time of 13:07 hours. And a kick-ass house.

10: I’ve learned to let people go, and let people in. As the years go on, the invincible feeling of the twenties gets diluted little by little while life unfolds in unpredictable ways. Having a baby made this feeling exponentially stronger. At 34, with a preemie newborn in my arms, recovering from an emergency C-section, I realized that we are not superheroes after all and it takes a lot of energy to find real strength in life. I no longer give myself to people who don’t give back to me, and I don’t waste energy holding grudges or putting up walls. The ebb and flow of people coming in and out of my life is not as dramatic as it was in the past. Within my heart, I have an open-door policy. See yourself in if you’d like to be part of my life, see yourself out if you don’t.

No matter what age you are when you become a mother, the beautiful part about the experience is getting to help shape and guide the energy of new life—and feeling that energy guide and shape you, too. I hope that my 35 years on this planet will help me raise a wonderful man. His 9 months here have already made me a better woman.

Categories
Tri Mojo

T3 Project: Pacifica Brings Easy, Natural Beauty

Pacifica offers a quick beauty routine that fits in your pocket.
Pacifica offers a quick beauty routine that fits in your pocket.

Let me set the scene: It’s 4:59PM on a Thursday. You’re closing the laptop and hoping to get out of the office without delay so you can get that hour-long run in and still have time to get ready for a casual date with a few girlfriends. You drive to your favorite park, sip some coconut water, get through the run, and return to your car feeling good about the workout. Aggh, now you need to quickly freshen up for drinks with the girls — but how much freshening up can one do from the trunk of a car?

A surprising amount, actually.

It turns out that coconut water isn’t just a good way to naturally energize your workouts — it’s also a great way to energize your beauty routine. Pacifica’s PURIFY coconut water cleansing wipes remove toxins, oils, pollutants and make-up from your skin without water (and with a slight tingle and fresh island fragrance, they also enhance the post-workout feel-good factor!)

And what to do about make-up? Swap out the arsenal of creams, powders and brushes for a single, effective product: ALIGHT Multi-mineral BB Cream. This bare skin tint acts as a light foundation and illuminator in one. Build coverage as needed through several layers to even out skin tone and diminish the appearance of pores and fine lines. Top it off with your favorite lip gloss and get after those margaritas already!

Coconut wipes and mineral cream: a one-two punch for a winning beauty routine.
Coconut wipes and mineral cream: a one-two punch for a winning beauty routine.

The best part about these products? They don’t require a lot of real estate. Pack them into your gear bag on a bike, stash them in the glove compartment of your car, or have them handy in the side pocket of your gym bag.

Here’s how Pacifica performs on the T3 criteria:

T3 Brands Must Do Good — Pacifica is 100% vegan and cruelty free.

Products are never tested on animals, and always free of petrochemicals, sulfates, mineral oil, parabens, phthalates, peanut oil and propylene glycol. The brand was born after founder Brook Harvey Taylor returned from a surfing trip and decided to transform her background in aromatherapy and passion for the outdoors into a world of fragrance. Pacifica’s sustainable products stay true to the environment from which they were inspired.

T3 Brands Must Be Innovative — Pacifica is revolutionizing natural skincare.

Rich peptides, concentrated floral stem cells and coconut water combine to create a powerful, natural concoction for healthy, radiant skin. The coconut water infused natural towelettes feature papaya, a natural exfoliant, with aloe vera and calendula to sooth the skin. The wipes are also biodegradable. The multi-mineral BB cream enhances skin tone with specialized illuminating and brightening mineral pigments that adjust to your skin shade.

T3 Brands Must Be Non Multisport — Pacifica roots itself in a simple philosophy: “Romance, travel and adventure are all in a day’s work.”

The brand’s manifesto encourages us to love what we do, and do what we love—to not follow trends, but our hearts. To invent a new world but keep ties to the old one. While these sentiments were not written for triathletes, they certainly resonate with the PR-seeking woman who is comfortable in her wetsuit, her race kit, and most importantly…her own skin.

FROM BEAST TO BABE: You made it to your workout on time. You’re in a great mood after an amazing run. Now play up that natural beauty with a revitalizing coconut towelette and a fresh dewy glow. It’s an easy routine that fits perfectly into the seams between working out and going out.

Categories
Dirty Laundry

The Park-n-Cry (Post-Partum Fun)

keys
Sometimes you just need to park it out.

I have a secret parking lot. It’s where I go to cry.

The last time I visited my concrete oasis was following an argument with my husband over who would answer the door when the pizza delivery man arrived. Yes, that’s the kind of thing that can send a hormonal woman to her secret parking lot to weep.

Five weeks after Emmett’s birth, I’m not sure if that particular bout of sensitivity could still be classified as the socially acceptable “Baby Blues” or if it was a sign of the bigger, more taboo issue of post-partum depression. I’ve read the symptoms for each a dozen times, just to make sure I don’t wake up one morning with the uncontrollable urge to harm my child. So far, I’ve wanted to harm a lot of things (like the container of baby wipes that seems to malfunction exactly when Emmett starts to urinate on my forehead), but never my baby.

I’ve allowed myself to shift the expiration date on “Baby Blues” slightly based on Emmett’s birth. The week before he was born, I had already spent many days in the hospital as the complications of HELLP Syndrome started to unfold. I already rode the emotional roller coaster of “possible delivery/”just kidding, you’re fine!” So when things suddenly changed at the end of that week and Emmett was born, I was going into my first post-partum week with a bit of baggage. In the second post-partum week, when “Baby Blues” should begin to subside, I was overjoyed to be home with my healthy baby, but just beginning to see what life was like at home with an infant.

I thought I wasn’t getting sleep during his first week because I was trying to catch Z’s in a hospital bed. Now I know that the reason I’m not sleeping has nothing to do with the surface underneath me, it’s because of the shrieking infant rooming with us. I used to complain about camping in a tent — too many gnarly roots under my ass, the bugs, the chirping birds at 4:00AM, the sweaty film that encases your body after spending hours outside with no air conditioning… It’s all CAKE compared to sleeping with an infant. I’ve thought about going to my parking lot just to curl up for a nap one afternoon.

Some days, the idea of having gravel bits stick to my face as I drool into a much-needed slumber seems more favorable than sitting on the couch in 90-degree humidity with a fussing baby who is determined to crank out ear-piecing wails for hours on end.