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! 

StitchFix Shipment No. 10 Review

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StitchFix no. nine landed me a comfy-yet-cute sweater (read about it here) after I tasked my stylist with finding belly-friendly items to fit an eight-plus-months pregnant lady but also be versatile enough to be used postpartum.

For my tenth installment, I waited until three months after giving birth to try to avoid too much transitional clothing. Although I’m just about back in my old sizes, things don’t quite fit the same yet; I’m still carrying a bit of extra weight, and it’s distributed a bit differently nowadays (hello, boobs!).

For this particular fix, I told my stylist I was looking for mom-friendly (read: cute, but easy-care and easy-fit) items that would work for summer. And since we’ve got a wedding coming up in August, I also asked for a breezy-yet-bright dress option that would flatter my new-found “mombod.”

New to StitchFix? Read all about how it works here

Let’s take a peek at what came in this month’s box, shall we?

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First up was the Kut from the Kloth Kate Distressed Boyfriend Jean ($78). The big bummer? I was sent these in a previous fix!

But the good news is that I kept the previous pair because I liked the fit, so I decided to give these another chance. Not only was the wash darker, but my stylist said they’re perfect for summer with flats or sandals.

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Next was the Loveappella Jono Mixed Print Top ($48). It was love at first sight; the cut and color were right up my alley.

My stylist thought it was a great option for summer, especially with white jeans or denim shorts. Although the material is pretty thin, I thought the asymmetrical print at the collar was a nice touch.

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Third was the Mystree Chamberlin Striped Drape Front Cardigan ($78). Horizontal stripes, though? This one would really have to wow me.

The neutral tones are pretty, and I love having the option of something to throw on when it inevitably gets chilly on Portland summer nights. My stylist clearly thought the same, and likely figured the draping would be flattering on a still-shifting shape.

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After that was the Donna Morgan Lideea Dress ($158). My stylist called this one a “show-stopper romantic dress.”

Sure enough, the floral print is perfect for a summer wedding, and the A-line shape is one of my favorites. I particularly liked the extra details at the bust and hem, however this style seemed to run large even though the numerical size was correct.

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And, finally, came the Loveappella Olivier Crochet Yoke Knit Top ($54). Light and airy, this sweater looked like the perfect summer layering piece.

According to my stylist, it should be worn with the jeans and flats as an easygoing outfit. I liked how the crochet detail up top broadened my shoulders, although the fit was a little looser than I usually wear.

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So what did I end up keeping?

In the end, second time was a charm for the Kut from the Kloth jeans. Although I was disappointed to not have a whole new style to try, my previous pair has been getting a lot of use so I figured it’d be good to have a backup (baby spit-up, anyone?).

I felt like I was swimming in both of the sweaters, and the dress would have to be take in and hemmed to fit properly, as well (I’m holding it in the back in the picture to cinch it). And I just couldn’t justify spending nearly $50 on the coral top because the material was super thin, even though the color and style were on point.

My next fix is scheduled for August, and I’m requesting some trend-driven pieces for fall because I’m hoping to be a tad closer to pre-baby shape by then and I love layering up as the temperatures drop! So stay tuned to see what kind of magic my stylist works for StitchFix no. 11…

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! 

Fave Fix: XShot Pro Camera Extender

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It’s true — the running joke among bloggers and social media-philes is that if it didn’t get posted, tweeted or shared (gasp!) it may not have happened. This is particularly true when it comes to workouts with the fitness crowd.

But in all seriousness, I typically carry my phone for safety reasons (particularly when running), and sometimes it is nice to have a camera on hand to document breathtaking scenery, grab a group shot or capture the adrenaline high after conquering an especially tough challenge.

That’s where my trusty GoPro usually comes in. While I absolutely love it, I’ll admit it hasn’t gotten as much use as I would like because my arm length (or lack thereof) is limiting and can make it tough to get the exact shot I want.

Enter the XShot Pro Camera Extender ($64.95), which is a must-have accessory for any GoPro owner (in fact, they’ve got a whole series of Go Pro Poles). Not only does it help make a great camera even more versatile, but it also give you a lot of room to get creative and work all kinds of new angles.

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Here’s the lowdown, from my perspective:

Features: 

  • Aluminum GoPro mount with thumbscrew
  • Aluminum tripod mount included for other cameras
  • XShot Mount rotates 360°
  • Compatible with HERO, HERO2, HERO3, HERO3+ and HERO4 cameras
  • Compatible with other action cameras (e.g., Sony, Ion, JVC)
  • Compatible with any compact camera

Pros:

  • SUPER easy to use — attach, adjust angle, extend, aim and smile 🙂
  • Compatible with many different kinds of cameras — pick your poison!
  • Durable, yet secure — aircraft-grade aluminum, over-sized wrist strap, non-slip rubber grip
  • Pocket-friendly — weighs less than seven ounces, collapses to seven inches long and extends to 32 inches
  • Gives new life to your GoPro…the picture options and angles are pretty much endless!

Cons:

  • Another thing to carry — not as run-friendly for the “naked” runner, but would fit well in a trail vest
  • Swapping camera mounts (GoPro/universal) requires an Allen wrench, which can be a bit tedious while on-the-go
  • Maximum camera weight is listed at 1.25 pounds, so while you can technically put any kind on it…there is a limit
  • Mixed feedback on underwater and saltwater use (I haven’t tested it that way, though, so do your research before buying!)

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But the best part? I went from having to grab haphazard shots like this (taken almost exactly a year ago!)…

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To being able to take fun pictures like this with more people — and scenery — in them!

Well, eventually…but you get the point. While Baby H has me sidelined from my usual trail adventures at the moment, I’m itching to hit the track with the LUNA ladies next month and get some great images of them doing their thing. 

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What’s your favorite piece of equipment for capturing moments — and action shots — worth sharing? I’d love to hear other recommendations below! 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the XShot Pro for free as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication. All opinions are my own. 

StitchFix Shipment No. 9 Review

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My last StitchFix netted me two solid basics for pregnancy and beyond (read about it here) after asking my stylist for items that would grow with me and my ever-changing belly.

The dress was a life-saver this fall at both a retirement party and, sadly, a funeral. And while I have yet to wear the blouse (it’s just a tad roomy, and I’m trying to get away with wrapping the bump while I still can), I know it’s time is coming…as in when I need to switch to tent-like styles in the last month or so of pregnancy, plus afterwords while nursing.

For my ninth fix, I gave my stylist a heads up that I’d be a little more than eight months along. But rather than investing in additional maternity clothing at this stage of the game, I asked her to get creative with items that would double as both late-pregnancy and postpartum wardrobe staples.

New to StitchFix? Read all about how it works here

Let’s take a peek at what came in this month’s box, shall we?

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First up was the Le Lis Bray Raglan Textured Knit Top ($58). I have a hard time passing up a baseball-sleeve top for whatever reason, so this one was immediately intriguing.

My stylist picked it because I’d asked about chunky knit sweaters, so she thought this one would be a fun take on the traditional look. It’s super comfy and I love how stretchy it is; however, the thin, delicate — almost airy — knit of the sleeves makes me nervous, considering I’ll have a kiddo clinging to me soon.

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Next was the Laila Jayde Malaga Drape Cardigan ($48). This one had me at the robin-egg blue; what a great color, right?

I tried it out below with a casual tank and ballet flats, but it can really be dressed up or down depending on the clothing and accessories with which it’s paired. My stylist, for example, showed me two versions — one with a t-shirt, jeans and boots; the other with a pencil skirt, shell and heels — so if I can step out of my comfort zone with this one, it might be a good addition to my wardrobe.

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Third was the Mystree Rigley Knit Top ($58). I’m pretty sure my stylist included this one because I requested some fun, longer tops I could pair with leggings to look somewhat pulled-together when what I really want is to be in pajamas.

It seems like a pretty versatile top that I can wear with different kinds of pants and layer with scarves, sweaters and jackets. But the material is super thin, which is surprising with regards to the price tag, plus I’m not sure I’m loving where the length hits me.

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After that was the Skies are Blue Torry Embroidered Tunic ($64). By this point in pregnancy, anything that slims is beyond appreciated (my sister’s comment: “You don’t even look pregnant in that!”)…but I wanted to keep my wits about me when considering this one.

My stylist suggested this top for a dressier look when paired with any cut of jeans or even a dress pant. The collar detail and shape are flattering, as is the cut and color, but I’m just not sure if I need another blouse like this in my closet.

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And, finally, came the Rune Porter Leggings ($38). My stylist chose these because they’ve got a mid-rise, thicker waistband and feel more substantial than your typical legging, meaning they’re very post-baby friendly.

As you can see in the pictures below, they’re comfortable, versatile and flattering (well, as much as possible at 8.5-months pregnant), which is a win. But, again, I’m just not sure if I can justify that kind of price tag without any other bells, whistles — or slimming belly panels!

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So what did I end up keeping?

In the end, I opted for just the Le Lis Bray Raglan Textured Knit Top. The other items were nice, but this one got both my sister and Ben’s top vote for being cute, comfortable and unlike anything I’ve currently got in my closet.

My next fix is scheduled for May, and I requested items to perk up my warm-weather wardrobe. I know I won’t necessarily be back to pre-baby shape by then, but I’m hoping it’ll give me a little inspiration for some summer events we’ve got scheduled. So stay tuned to see what she’s got up her sleeve for fix no. 10!

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! 

Fave Fix: Feetures! Elite Socks

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What do you do when you’re not able to run at the moment, let alone walk at a very brisk pace without getting winded or causing contractions?

You geek out over running accessories in the hopes that testing some new gear will help keep you from trying to distract yourself by cranking up the resistance during your current low-intensity, low-impact workouts.

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Which is why we’re talking socks today, particularly the Feetures! Elite Collection ($14.99 per pair), the brand’s most technically advanced product (yep, they had me at “targeted compression”).

Designed to provide maximum support in all the right places, these socks also feature a construction that reduces irritation and discomfort (i.e. protection from blisters), as well as material that wicks moisture to keep feet cool and dry.

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I tried out a pair from each end of the cushioning spectrum — one with light cushioning (in “Ultraviolet”) and the other with maximum cushioning (in “Atlantis”).

And no, not all of Feetures!’ socks come in such bright colors; they just knew I’m a sucker for loud workout gear, so they sent me two fun colorways to check out. 

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Since I have a pretty narrow heel, I prefer thick running socks; what I love about this max cushioning style is that the tab at the back is nice and cushy (see picture below) to act as both a buffer and a barrier as your feet inevitably shift in your shoes.

They held up nicely during a long walk on the treadmill in which I played with speeds and incline to try them from different angles, so I can only assume they’ll perform just as well once I’m back running out on the roads post-baby.

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As for the pair with light cushioning, they’re perfect for cross-training — so I tried them out during a bootcamp session, as well as the walk to and from class.

What I like about these is that they’re slightly less bulky, yet still provide plenty of protection thanks to an anatomical design in which there’s extra cushioning in high-impact areas (see the picture below where I flipped it inside out to illustrate), as well as seamless construction that virtually eliminates any irritation.

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Sure, “A sock is a sock,” you may be saying to yourself. But you’ll beg to differ the first time you have to cut a run short — or grit your teeth and tough it out if you’re far from your home/car — due to a hot spot that develops into a painful blister.

So do yourself a favor, whether your’re ramping up workouts, still enjoying your off-season, doing some pre-training planning for the year or simply sidelined (like me!) for the next few months, and take a moment to inventory and update your outdated running attire and accessories.

You’d be surprised at how quickly technology changes and how much more pleasant workouts can be when your gear works with you rather than against you!

When’s the last time you re-vamped your workout gear?

Treating Winter Skincare Woes

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned about pregnancy so far it’s that there are a lot of constants — fluctuating hormones, escalating excitement, random discomforts and exponential expansion, just to name a few. Oh, and the fact that just when you think you’ve got things figured out, your body will throw you for a loop.

Case in point: Schizophrenic skin.

I’m pretty good about trying to meet my daily quota of water to keep the inside of my body (and Baby H) hydrated. But despite Portland’s nonstop-soggy climate, the humidity in the air wasn’t enough; our cold winter weather was still managing to wreak havoc on my now-sensitive skin (read: dry patches and red blotches on my face, along with chapped hands from frequent hand-washing during cold & flu season).

Since so many skincare ingredients are no-nos for preggos, I went in search of a few new products that would not only be safe, but also ultra-nourishing. I ended up revamping my regimen with the following, which I wanted to share in case you’re experiencing similar skin maladies this season:

Remove Makeup: Wipe face gently with Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleansing Towelettes with Cotton Extract to remove dirt, oil and makeup.

Cleanse: Massage Mad Hippie Cream Cleanser into damp skin fro 20 seconds, then rinse with warm water to hydrate and help balance skin.

Moisturize: Apply Farmaesthetics Nourishing Lavender Milk to clean, slightly-damp face (morning and night) to mend freaked-out skin.

Treat: Slather on good ole Mentholatum Ointment for chapped lips and Farmaesthetics Hand to Heel Softening Salve on cracked hands, heels and ashy elbows.

Prevent: Alternate Farmaesthetics Nourishing Herbal Cream with The Spoiled Mama Tummy Butter and Booda Butter to keep belly itchiness at bay and help prevent stretch marks.

Pamper: Spritz pillow with Earth Mama Angel Baby Morning Wellness Spray for aromatherapy effects, soak swollen feet with Farmaesthetics Field Lavender Solar Salt Mineral Bath, soothe tense muscles with Farmaesthetics Deep Lavender Rub and ease anxiety with Farmaesthetics Lemon Balm Remedy Oil.

Note: As it turns out, Farmaesthetics has a special New & Nursing Mothers Gift Set, which effectively kills many birds with one stone (i.e. ALL the Farmaesthetics products mentioned about are included), so I’d suggest checking it out.

Not only because you can sample a smorgasbord of products at once, but also because all six formulations come in convenient travel-sized containers — perfect for babymooning or in your hospital bag!

What are your best tips for treating winter skincare woes? 

Fave Fix: Mumberry’s Fashionable Maternity Activewear

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So right off the bat, you’re probably thinking: Isn’t that headline an oxymoron?! Do “fashionable” and “maternity” actually fit in the same sentence?

Well, there’s an upside and a downside to being pregnant at the moment.

The upside? Gone are the tented MuMus of days past; whether you want to camouflage the bump or shrink-wrap it and put it on display, there are a bunch of great brands out there with beautiful street clothing in flattering silhouettes.

The downside? For whatever reason, most of the big-name sportswear companies have yet to step up to the plate when it comes to their baby-on-board consumers. Sure, they may have dabbled in maternity lines here and there, but the fact remains that maternity activewear — and I mean the stuff that’s meant to really perform during hard workouts — is seriously lacking.

The good news, though, is that there are a number of smaller companies springing up to take advantage of this gap in the market. Like, Mumberry, for example, who reached out to ask me to try out their signature Mumband™, which is built into all of their apparel and provides crucial belly and back support.

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Having stretched most of my usual workout wardrobe to its limits, I quickly agreed. Even though I’m not fully bumped-out yet, but the need for back and belly support is becoming much more apparent as the weeks go on.

So they sent the Boost Tank ($72) and Move Active Capri ($72) for me to test out. I’ve since worn them through a variety of workouts, from walking, “ellipticaling” and strength training to Pilates, yoga and even my prenatal movement class.

Right out of the box I could tell they were high-quality products, both from the weight of the fabric and the solid construction. And even though I’ve got a few more weeks until I can fully fill them out, they’re perfectly comfortable for those weird pre-bump and post-baby stages when you want to wear something a little body-skimming without feeling too self-conscious about every lump and soft spot.

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The top’s not only a gorgeous, vibrant shade of emerald, but it’s also made of super-stretchy fabric that allows both freedom of movement and belly growth. Between the built-in bra and the Mumband (I’ve flipped it inside out in the photos below so you can see), there’s a gentle compression and upward lift, which I’m developing a real appreciation for as Baby H keeps getting bigger…and bigger.

Here are some of the other features:

  • Patent-pending Mumband
  • High-support bra with removable cups
  • Moisture-wicking fabric and breathable mesh
  • 4-way stretch fabric
  • Chafe resistant seams
  • Machine-washable
  • Made in the USA of imported components

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As for the capris, they’ve got somewhat of a double waistband — both the traditional under-belly one, as well as the Mumband, which comes up over the bump and stays secure thanks to an elastic band at the top. And bonus points for a nice, high rise in the back on these puppies!

Other features include:

  • Patent-pending Mumband belly support band
  • Pocket large enough for large smart phones
  • Moisture-wicking fabric to keep you feeling cool
  • 4-way stretch fabric with chafe resistant seams for ultimate comfort and freedom of movement
  • Made in the USA of imported components

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Overall, I was really impressed with Mumberry’s products. The materials and design have been done with care, and the fact that you can double up on the Mumband (one in the top, one in the bottom), makes it a versatile option for workouts since you can wear it at all stages of pregnancy — and beyond! — as well as customize the level of support.

All Mumberry products are machine-washable, too, so whether you’re covered in sweat now or — dare I say — baby food/pee/poop/puke (or some combination of them) later, you can just toss ’em in the wash and you’re good to go for your next workout. I’m excited to see what styles and colors they come out with next because you all know I’m a sucker when it comes to cute, colorful fitness gear that works as hard as I do!

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For more information and to shop the line, visit Mumberry.com. Save 20% on your next order, too, when you sign up for emails.

Have you found any maternity workout wear that rocks your world? 

I received an outfit from Mumberry to try. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who support KineticFix!

Fave Fix: Farm to Fit Delivers Farm-Sourced Dishes to Your Doorstep

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Chef Jeremy prepping breakfast, courtesy of Farm to Fit

We all know that living a healthy lifestyle has just as much — if not more — to do with properly fueling your body as it does with hitting up the gym. Yes, I’m talking about balanced meals, portion control and keeping calories in check. Simple, in theory, but many of us (me included) struggle with regularly putting it into practice.

I’m the first to admit that I’m not perfect when it comes to eating habits. For every beautiful nutrient-packed, whole-food meal I proudly make from scratch, there are a few nights each week where Ben and I find ourselves dining in a restaurant, grabbing something on the run or (gasp!) microwaving up a frozen pot pie, which was one of my early pregnancy cravings. Don’t judge. 

While we try to batch-cook on weekends as much as possible, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. But we still want to prioritize healthy, home-cooked meals — now, and especially in the first few months after Baby H comes when we know we’ll be even shorter on time, sleep and energy.

One potential solution? I’ve got to credit Ben with this one: Farm to Fit, Portland’s own locally-sourced, portion-controlled, chef-powered meal delivery service. He met the owners and was intrigued by the description (I mean, it’s gotta be good to survive in a foodie town like this, right?), so we tested it out recently to give ourselves a break from the daily shop-chop-cook-collapse grind.

Chicken fajitas, courtesy of Farm to Fit

Chicken fajitas, courtesy of Farm to Fit

Farm to Fit graciously sent us a week’s worth of the 1,200-calorie a day plan, knowing that there would be plenty of wiggle room in there for ample snacking in between. Disclaimer: neither of us is on a diet — especially me right now — and while we don’t count calories because of our activity levels, we do snack consistently throughout the day to maintain weight and muscle mass.

The meals — breakfasts, lunches and dinners — arrived neatly packaged in an insulated cooler and each dish was labeled with nutritional info and microwave directions, if needed. Farm to Fit also included a handy print-out with a suggested order for consuming the meals, which is probably partly to do with the balance of calories for each day and partly to do with some foods being more perishable than others

Regardless, we dug in and were pleasantly surprised with the amount of food, the taste and the variety. Some of my favorites were the breakfast crepes (eggs, ricotta, spinach, basil, mozzarella, parsnip puree…oh, that puree), beef pho lunch (timely for rainy Portland soup-slurping weather), along with a perfectly-cooked and tender balsamic-glazed steak (with horseradish creme fraiche, sugar snap peas and a yummy root vegetable gratin). Ben also loved the paella with chicken, chorizo and shrimp, plus the Grecian frittatas with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, olive, feta and sausage.

As you can see, these aren’t your run-of-the-mill delivery meals; Farm to Fit’s team takes as much pride in meal planning, sourcing and prep as any of the restaurants around town. And the best part? You can enjoy some of Portland’s freshest seasonal produce in the comfort of your own home — without spending all of your free time in the kitchen.

Kahlua pork, courtesy of Farm to Fit

Kahlua pork, courtesy of Farm to Fit

Farm to Fit offers flexible weekly meal plans that are portion controlled, with the option of 1200, 1600, or 2000 calories per day, plus gluten-intolerant, low carb and diabetic-friendly options. Customers can choose from three-, five- and seven-day meal plans that are conveniently delivered every Monday and Thursday around Portland (for a $5-15 fee) or can be picked up at a number of specified pick-up locations around the area.

Menus change with the seasons to take advantage of fresh produce, and Farm to Fit makes more than 21 different meals per week. The company is also committed to locally-sourcing other ingredients, wherever possible; here’s a list of their local farm partners.

If you’re a picky eater, don’t despair; Farm to Fit also offers a special Signature Dish plan, which allows clients to customize menus to suit their tastes. Other special requests and/or substitutions can also be made at an additional charge.

Since Ben and I do enjoy cooking when we can, we’re not likely to use Farm to Fit indefinitely. However, it’s something we’re planning on signing up for intermittently when we want an occasional break, and Ben mentioned it might be a great way to take some of the pressure off when Baby H comes, so we can stay committed to eating healthy, nutritious meals while muddling our way through the early weeks of parenthood. Yes, please. 

Grilled Oregon coast salmon, courtesy of Farm to Fit

Grilled Oregon coast salmon, courtesy of Farm to Fit

For more information and ordering details, visit Farm to Fit’s website or call 503-688-9248.

Fave Fix: My Latest Compression Obsession

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned about pregnancy and running, it’s to expect the unexpected. Especially at this stage in the game (about 23 weeks) where some days I barely feel like I know my own body anymore…let alone know how to maneuver it through mileage that used to be a breeze but now has pausing every now and then to catch my breath, constantly re-adjusting my ever-shrinking workout wardrobe and stopping for (inevitable…and consistent) pee breaks.

With my mid-run annoyance meter set to super-sensitive, it’s more important now than ever before to limit additional distractions while working out. After all, the point is to get out, stretch my legs and clear my head — and that’s a lot easier said than done unless I make sure to get a few variables under control, such as fueling, hydration and gear.

Since food and water are priority numeros uno and dos these days, those are pretty much a given. But gear, that’s something I’m always tinkering with, trying to find the right combination to make my body happy so my brain can turn off for a while during a run.

And, as you know, I’ve been extolling the virtues of compression for years so it was high time that I put it to the test during pregnancy. While the actual claims are always up for debate (more power and endurance, less exertion and vibration), the placebo effect has won me over time and time again…so when Legend Compression Wear sent me a pair of their compression performance socks to check out, I could.not.wait to get out on the roads with ’em.

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“My Vision for LEGEND™ began with the notion of …Be a LEGEND™ which really formed our thinking around our Performance Wear products,” said the company’s president and founder, John Thomas. “We want to provide the necessary support for athletes to reach their goals.”

Geared specifically towards improving performance, Legend’s muscle stabilization and overall graduated compression technology (15-20 mmHg) claims to help improve endurance, decrease injuries and speed recovery times thanks to increased oxygen levels and blood circulation. Now, I’m not sure if that’s true, clinically, but I’ve worn my fair share of compression gear, so I’m always interested to see how the different brands stack up against each other.

Immediately out of the package, I liked how soft and stretchy the fabric was, along with the seamless toe and foot that is cushioned yet made to expand slightly to the shape of your tootsies. These may seem like minor points, but trust me — when you’re a few miles into a run and get blindsided with a blister, you’ll start thinking twice about what you put on your feet!

Legend’s Compression Performance Socks also get bonus points for arch support to keep the socks from slipping and extra support at the heel and Achilles, along with special yarn and stitching that not only wicks moisture, but also allows legs and feet to breathe.

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Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re thinking. That all sounds great. But what’s the verdict post-run?

First off, let’s talk fit and form: I particularly loved how easy these socks were to get on; I’ve never liked breaking a sweat trying to wrestle myself into my compression gear before, but now ain’t nobody got time for that with a growing belly getting in the way. And an added perk is that Legend’s socks are nice and long; one of my pet peeves are knee-high socks that don’t come up to the knee..and these will accommodate even the leggiest of runners.

As for function, I tested them out on several runs ranging from three to six miles, and they passed my tests with flying colors. Not only were they comfortable and supportive without being overly restrictive, but they also were thick enough to feel substantial while remaining breathable. Honestly, I was having so much fun plodding along each time (gotta love fall running!) that I forgot I had ’em on, which is always the mark of great gear.

The only downsides? Well, besides the fact that they’re only available in a few colors (you can tell from the pics that subtlety is not my strong point when it comes to workout wear...but I’ll give the brand a break because they’re new and growing), they’re a bit of an investment ($49.99), yet pretty comparable to what else is out there.

But before you balk at the piece, remember that these socks are for more than just running; I always wear a pair when flying and love to lounge around in them on off days, plus I know they’ll also come in handy when combating pregnancy “cankles.” So when you factor cost-per-use, they’re not as outrageous as you’d think!

For more info on Legend’s compression wear, visit the company’s website here.

To compress or not to compress, that is the question… Do you think it’s a trend or do you use it as a training staple?

Back to Basics: My Favorite All-Natural Skincare Products

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Welcome to your 30’s, where it’s possible to have both pimples and wrinkles at the same time. And don’t even get me started on what pregnancy hormones do when thrown into the mix. 

You know what that means, though? Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t just limited to what you put into your body (nutrition) or how you keep it in shape (exercise); it’s also about developing a strategy for keeping its largest, most protective organ — aka our skin — in tip-top shape.

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So I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m a total junkie when it comes to beauty products. Maybe it was watching my mom do Miracle Whip facials and mayonnaise hair conditioning treatments when I was a kid, but you name it, and I’ll try it on the quest for smoother skin, shinier hair or a dewier glow.

And while I typically don’t discriminate against ingredients (I know, I know…but I have yet to find a natural deodorant or shampoo/conditioner that actually works), I’ve done a 180 with Baby H on board these past few months.

The last thing I want to do is expose him/her to harmful chemicals, regardless of how small the amounts may be, so I’ve been on the hunt for the best all-natural (or as close as possible) alternatives. Here are the current favorites on heavy rotation in my routine:

Step 1: Remove Makeup

At 99.1% natural, Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes ($6) supposedly remove makeup, cleanse and tone in one easy step, leaving skin clean without the need for rinsing. But I prefer to use them as a first line of defense in removing even the most stubborn makeup without irritating skin.

Step 2: Cleanse

Made with 100% Certified Fair Trade ingredients, I first spotted Alaffia EveryDay Coconut Cleansing Face Wash ($13) while shopping at Whole Foods and decided to give it a whirl. Because it’s all-natural, it isn’t quite powerful enough to remove heavy-duty makeup or waterproof mascara on its own, but works well in conjunction with the Burt’s Bees towelettes.

My friend Corey also shared some Arbonne Calm ($123 for the full-sized set) samples with me because the line is not only free from the usual chemical suspects, but it’s also made up of naturally-derived and food-grade ingredients that do not contain fragrance or color. I’ve been using these mostly while traveling a) because they’re travel-sized and b) because dry airplane air can wreak havoc on skin, but the products have lived up to their name.

Step 3: Tone

After years of using harsh toners that would leave my skin feeling stripped and tight, I’ve learned my lesson and now take a gentler approach with Scientific Organics Spirulina Toner ($30), which adjusts pH, removes dead skin cells and prepares skin for better product absorption. Best of all, it’s made of pure, potent botanicals instead of chemicals and has a minimum of 70% organic ingredients.

Step 4: Treat

Because some of the best anti-agers (retinols) are a no-no during pregnancy, I’ve adopted Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum ($34) as my new treatment of choice. It’s got eight “actives” or ingredients with known antioxidant and skin rejuvenating properties and none of the bad stuff, so I can help reduce the effects of photoaging and not feel guilty in the process.

And when I want to have a “spa moment” but don’t have extra time or cash for a facial, I turn to BioRepublic Eco-Friendly Sheet Masks ($5 each) which is are ultra-soothing facial masks infused with natural cucumber extract, plant collagen and vitamin E. I’ll pop one on during an evening TV show, and in 20 minutes stressed out skin feels soothed and rejuvenated.

Step 5: Moisturize

I’m been a big fan of Acure Organics Night Cream ($18), which I found at the local Pharmaca and used for about four months with great results (they don’t call it “nature’s nocturnal miracle” for nothin’). However, the scent became a little too much thanks to the association with the first trimester queasies, so I’ve been looking for something new that would still do the trick for tired skin.

Enter Farmaesthetics Nourishing Lavender Milk ($38), which is my new multitasking best friend at bedtime; not only is it made of 100% natural ingredients that are certified organic (as indicated), but the lavender smell helps me relax as I drift off to sleep. Plus, it’s got one of the all-time best skincare ingredients — Calendula — which is an ancient remedy for healing wounds (as well as a diaper rash treatment that my sister swears by).

Step 6: Remember the Body

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also include some skincare items for the benefit of your body, as well (because hello, pregnancy bacne)…

Case in point: Pura Naturals Peppermint Volcano Soap-Infused Active Slice Sponges ($9 for a 3-pack), which are awesome, patent-pending soap infusion sponges that will cut your shower time in half. They’re infused with ground pumice and a bunch of rich extracts and oils — all great, yes — but what makes them really cool is that they’re created from renewable plant materials and the manufacturing process actually removes carbon from the atmosphere, so every purchase is akin to buying a personal carbon offset.

And, finally, no skincare post that references pregnancy would be complete without mention of something to keep the dreaded itchy belly at bay. My two favorites are Booda Butter ($14) and  The Spoiled Mama Tummy Butter ($34), both of which smell like cocoa and immediately give me a chocolate chip cookie craving each time I apply them. But they’re also smooth without being greasy and mild enough scent-wise to be used all throughout pregnancy.

Which natural beauty items are on your must-have list? I’d love to hear which products you swear by!