StitchFix Shipment No. 13 Review

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After scoring a cozy cowl-neck sweater for winter from StitchFix no. 12 (read about it here), I requested some bright spring pieces to help lift me out of the dreariness that is Portland right now.

Thanks to weaning and half marathon training, my body continues to shape-shift. But I went ahead and asked for form-fitting pieces because I’m feeling fitter than I have in months — and so ready for warm weather already.

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So let’s take a peek at what showed up in this month’s box…

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First up was the Coffeeshop Aerin Hooded Cargo Jacket. I have yet to jump on the cargo jacket bandwagon, which makes me wonder if I’m too late to the party at this point?

The fact that this jacket came in a different color than the usual army green was intriguing, though. But I’m just not sure how practical it is, considering how much rain we get here…

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Next was the 41Hawthorn Portar Fitted Pullover. Stripes? Check. Bright spring accent colors? Check. Chic French flair? Check.

The only thing that gave me slight pause on this one was the length (maybe a tad too long?), but I’d have to see it on before making the final decision.

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Third was the StateSide Kirsta Knit Top. And there was only one thought in my mind when I laid eyes upon it: A glorified SWEATSHIRT that I can wear out and not look like a total slob?! Yes, please.

I can’t even begin to describe how soft the fabric is, too. Even though the price made me shudder, it’d have to look pretty horrible on for me to be able to send it back.

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After that was the Tolani LeeLee Silk Maxi Dress. My stylist said she’d seen a number of maxi dresses on my Pinterest page, which was the inspiration behind this pick.

I just couldn’t get past a few things, however: First, it’s waaay too bohemian for my taste. Second, it’s soft but thin and unstructured. And, third, it’s $200. So unless it looked absolutely fantastic on, it’d be going back.

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And last but not least was the Papermoon Annebel Cross Front Knit Top. At first glance, this one only registered as “meh” to me.

But then I took a closer look at some of the details — the collar, the soft fabric and the longer length in the back, in particular — and figured I should withhold judgement until trying it on, as well.

So what did I end up keeping? I’ll give you a hint: Two pieces.

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Give up?

Well, the jacket and top in the photo on the left both left me wanting more when it came to fit; the jacket flared out oddly at the waist, and the striped shirt was just too long for my figure. And the dress…it was ok, but I just don’t like the style — I prefer a lot more structure.

So the teal and light purple knit tops were the clear winners this round. Not only am I excited to wear some pretty pastels for spring, but they meet my criteria for part-time-working-mom-on-the-go criteria: Cute and comfy.

My next fix is scheduled for early summer. I haven’t put in my request yet, but it’s a pretty safe bet I’ll be looking for something fun to celebrate the warm weather!

Want to try StitchFix? Use my referral link to fill out your style profile and get started.

Disclosure: This is *not* a sponsored post; I pay for StitchFix on my own, and since I love the service, it’s fun to share my experience. If you sign up using my referral link, I’ll get a credit…so thanks in advance for fueling the next fix! 

Recipe: Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Gnocchi

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Homemade gnocchi on a weeknight? Yep, and we’ve got Olympic steeplechaser Emma Coburn to thank for it.

I spotted the recipe on her Instagram Stories; not only is it simple to make, but it’s also got a subtle sweet flavor that makes these little pillows of dough just delicious.

Not too shabby for something she whipped up using a combination of recipes and ingredients already in her fridge, as she told me via Twitter.

Emma Coburn’s Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cup sweet potato, roasted & blended
  • 1.5 cup butternut squash, roasted & blended
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 4 cups flour
  • Pancetta
  • Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Using flour to coat hands, roll into ropes & cut.
  3. Boil for 5 minutes in small batches.
  4. Toss with pancetta, top with Parmesan & serve.

Bonus: It’s excellent fuel for this week’s half marathon training!

Portland Fit Fix: Feeling the MegaBurn in the ‘Burbs

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Moving to the ‘burbs has certainly had its perks: Baby’s own room. A good night’s sleep. A yard.

But it’s also got its drawbacks: Chain restaurants. Urban sprawl. Fewer/farther fitness options.

Until now, that is.

Just as I was mourning the loss of my studio-hopping days in the city, one of my favorite Portland instructors, Ellie, and her business partner, Carolynn, brought the heat to Beaverton in the form of MegaBurn Fitness.

The industrial-chic studio’s high-intensity, low-impact Megaformer M3S workouts are known for utilizing slow and controlled movements instead of momentum, which makes this a full-body burn that’s also friendly for joints.

Haven’t been properly introduced to the Megaformer yet? Think of it as Pilates on steroids at the hands of a medieval torture device (er, spring-loaded “carriage”). No matter how good of shape I think I’m in, the Megaformer always brings me back to reality.

So, yes, if you can’t already tell, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this machine. Sure, working out with it will sculpt your core, tone your legs, increase flexibility and chisel your arms like no other. But there’s also a good chance you’ll be shaking with muscle failure and mentally swearing up a storm in the process (trust me, it helps).

Luckily, though, Ellie and Carolynn are as motivational as they are knowledgeable, which translates to constant movement and quick transitions during class — including counting into and out of exercises — so none of those panicked moments where you’re left wondering, “How much longer?!”

In fact, both ladies specialize in choreographing seamless transitions between moves in an effort to keep your heart rate up throughout class. No fumbling around here; it’s a fast-paced and, dare I say, fun way to improve endurance while testing your mental mettle.

Just don’t let Ellie and Carolynn’s kind faces fool you; they’ll have you begging for mercy in a matter of minutes…yet coming back for more when you realize just how efficient and effective this workout can be.

For more info, visit MegaBurnFitness.com.

Less Talking, More Doing

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That’s my resolution for 2017. Simple and to the point.

Because hopes and aspirations are all well and good. But in the end, results — not desire — will get you to your destination.

First up: Finding myself in the midst of motherhood by getting back in touch with running.

It’s been a constant in my life for the past 20+ years, although pregnancy recently wreaked havoc on the relationship. What previously felt great was uncomfortable, and where I once was confident now filled me with self-doubt.

As a new-ish mom, taking time for yourself feels incredibly selfish. But after almost a year at this gig, I’m a believer that happy people make better moms, so it’s imperative not to lose touch with your passions. Even if a current one is scrolling through baby pictures after you put your little one to sleep at night.

So after stepping back from training and racing for the better part of a year, I’m making good on my intention above and am back at it. Knowing that I thrive on having goals, being on a schedule, pushing myself and checking off a to-do list made the decision a no-brainer.

Gut instinct told me that 26.2 is too much at the moment, so I’m focusing instead on the 13.1 distance. And now that training is officially underway, I can say that it feels good to prioritize self-care again…even if it’s just for a few minutes a day on the treadmill during naptime.

There’s also something different this time around: I hired a coach. Getting certified recently as a running coach myself makes me appreciate a more tailored approach to training, plus he came highly recommended from a college friend who successfully juggles family, career and racing.

His task? Helping me (safely and conservatively) get back in the game. I especially appreciate not having to overthink workouts; based on my feedback, he adjusts paces and mileage, so all I need to do is just trust the process.

Which leaves me more time and energy for paying it forward via Portland Women’s Run Club where I’m helping other women find themselves through running, as well. We fill the void for ladies who want to step up to a challenge, whether it’s getting out of a comfort zone, achieving a personal best or making an impact on their community.

That’s my challenge to you, as well, with whatever your intention is for the year: Don’t talk, but act. Don’t say, but show. And don’t just promise, prove.

So far so good, 2017.

A new addition for 2017…

pwrc_launch_pageNo, this isn’t a pregnancy announcement (sorry, grandmas) but if you’ve been wondering why things have been a bit quiet around here lately it’s because I do have a new “baby” in the works…

I’m thrilled to announce that 2017 will be the inaugural year for Portland Women’s Run Club!

Sadly, LUNA is winding down their local teams’ program. So even though Team LUNA Chix Portland Run will technically be no more, the company will still remain as a sponsor and support us as we transition into a team with a local focus.

What does this mean? Well, a few things (all of which are really exciting):

  • A brand new name, logo and website, along with social media accounts (give us a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!)
  • Team-based, run-specific workouts led by a certified running coach (yep, I’ve been making the most of the off-season)
  • Partnership with a Portland-based charity (to be announced soon!), allowing us to make more of a local impact, as well as donate our time along with money raised
  • Dedicated walk captains, so we can truly offer something for every ability and level at each workout
  • Team races, which we will be working toward throughout the season, plus training plans for non-PWRC practice days
  • Awesome branded club gear, so you can show your team pride both during workouts and when racing!
  • All the usual seasonal swag for our regular participants – including attendance rewards and other fun surprises
  • Special discounts and perks at local businesses with whom we’re partnering for the upcoming season
  • Additional workouts for people interested in co-ed sweat sessions, group long runs, trail running, as well as rotating locations
  • Social events, clinics, charitable opportunities and much, much more!

And last, but certainly not least, our workouts will remain FREE for everyone. Adulting is tough enough; we want you to just show up, get after those goals, make some new friends and be able to give back to a good cause without having to dig into your wallets.

So if you’ve been wanting to nab that new PR, attempt a new distance or simply start from square one and see where it takes you, now’s your chance to be a part of Portland’s fastest-growing running team.

Don’t miss out – sign up here to get our latest updates as we prepare for our 2017 season!

We’ve got big things in store for 2017, and we’re looking forward to get faster, stronger, better – together.

StitchFix Shipment No. 12 Review

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After keeping all five pieces from StitchFix no. 11 (read about it here), I knew the bar would be set pretty high for my next installment.

Although I haven’t been on a scale in a month or so, I was maybe six pounds up from my pre-pregnancy weight at the last check-in. So since I’m feeling almost back to my old self, I gave my stylist the go-ahead to experiment with trendier pieces (a la last Fix’s jumpsuit) as long as they were easy-wear and easy-care.

And even though I complained about getting more jeans last round, I actually requested a pair this time. My hope was to find a straight or legging-type fit to wear with tall boots, but when I opened the box there was no denim to be found. Go figure!

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So let’s take a peek at what did come in this month’s box…

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First up was the Coffeeshop Arion Cargo Jacket. I had also requested a cargo-type jacket, so this was exciting to unwrap.

The coat was super cozy with the shearling hood, but I wasn’t thrilled about the patches, particularly the California one. Sure, we’re proud to be one-time residents there, but it seemed a little loud for a jacket that’s supposed to be understated.

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Next was the Market & Spruce Brookline Mix Material Sweater. I could swear I was sent this top before (or something similar), although the deep plum color is perfect for fall and winter.

The back zipper detailing is nice, too; you can zip it open for a peek-a-boo of sheer fabric or zip it closed for a more fitted look. Either way, it’s a good wardrobe basic, plus I like the fact that it slopes down a bit in the back for extra coverage in the rear.

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Third was the Rails Ellson One Pocket Top. This one was love at first sight…until I saw the price tag.

I’m a sucker for a soft, fuzzy flannel, but I was able to get a similar Buffalo plaid shirt from the same brand from Saks Off 5th last year for around $50. It’s hard to justify playing $100 more for another red and black flannel, so I’d have to restrain myself with this one. Sigh.

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After that was the RD Style Lada Cowl Neck Sweater. I have a love/hate relationship with cowl necks: I love how they look on other people, but it seems like I can rarely pull them off myself.

I did like the chunky knit of this sweater, however, and the neck was large and comfy. Plus, the length would be perfect for pairing with boots and leggings.

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And last but not least was the Treme Knit Jacket from Evolution by Cyrus. With a straight cut and large print, it was out of my usual wheelhouse, but worth trying on to see how it looked.

The material is a super-soft knit and pretty dense, making this jacket ideal for those crisp days where you don’t need a heavy parka. I couldn’t help but want a little more shape to this, though, so I’d have to think about it…

So what did I end up keeping?

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Well, after consulting with my sister and husband — they both liked the plaid shirt…until I told them how much it cost — I ended up keeping only the cowl neck sweater.

It’s not the piece that first jumped out at me, but it’s just so snuggly and different from what’s already in my closet that it’s worth the gamble. Besides, my intention with this service is to go out on a limb with new looks, and this is about as risky as I feel like getting at the moment as a new mom, LOL.

My next fix is scheduled for late winter. I haven’t decided what to request, although I’m leaning toward asking for a bright palette to lighten things up after the next few dreary Portland months!

Want to try StitchFix? Use my referral link to fill out your style profile and get started.

Disclosure: This is *not* a sponsored post. I simply love the service and think it’s fun to share my experience. I pay for Stitch Fix on my own. If you sign up using my referral link, I’ll get a credit…so thanks in advance for fueling my next fix! 

Recipe: DIY Chipotle Burrito Bowl

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When people talk about weird cravings during pregnancy, I often forget to mention what Ben likes to call the “Chipotle trimester.” Burritos were my jam, and I was a regular staple in the lunch line for several months…well, pre-E. coli-outbreak, that is.

Fast forward to having said baby and moving to the ‘burbs, though, and it’s a lot tougher to make regular pit stops into ‘potle these days. Plus there’s that whole wanting-to-eat-healthier thing and the there’s-barely-enough-time-to-eat-lunch-let-alone-make-it thing, which means meal planning and prep have become necessities for us.

Enter the following DIY recipe, which tastes almost as good as the real deal. Toss with greens for extra nutrients, fold into burrito form or scoop straight out of the bowl with chips!

DIY Chipotle Burrito Bowl

(adapted from What’s Gaby Cooking)

Ingredients:

For the Chicken

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

For the Rice

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
  • kosher salt to taste

For the toppings

  • 1 cup pinto beans (warmed)
  • 1 cup black beans (warmed)
  • 1 cup fresh corn, cut from the cob
  • 1 cup guacamole
  • 1 cup pico de gallo
  • 1 cup finely shredded monterey jack cheese

Directions:

For the Chicken

  1. Combine the vegetable oil, chopped chipotle peppers in adobo, garlic powder, cumin, dried oregano, and black pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Place the chicken in a large zip top plastic bag and add the marinade. Zip the bag and mix the chicken into the marinade. Place it into the fridge and let it marinate for at least an hour.
  3. Heat an outdoor grill to about 400 degrees F (medium high heat). Place the chicken onto the grill and grill 5 to 6 minutes per side, until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes. Chop the chicken into small bite-sized pieces.

For the Rice

  1. In a heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the brown rice and lime juice and sauté for 60 seconds to toast the rice.
  2. Add the water and bring the rice to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low and cook until the rice is tender and all the water is absorbed.
  3. Add in the cilantro and fluff rice with a fork.

To assemble

  1. Arrange equal parts of the brown rice and chopped grilled chicken in 4 bowls.
  2. Top with equal parts of the pinto beans, black beans, corn, guacamole, pico and cheese.
  3. Season with salt and pepper as needed and serve immediately.
To Chipotle or not to Chipotle…that is today’s question. Have you been back since the E. coli scare?