An Uncommon Mother’s Day

Did you know that Mother’s Day is right around the corner? It snuck up on me, too! It is Sunday, May 10 this year. Besides my own lovely mother, I have my sister and grandmother to celebrate, not to mention all my friends who are amazing mothers as well. So when Uncommon Goods asked me if I’d like to look through their choices for Mother’s Day gifts, I jumped at the chance! Uncommon Goods is known for featuring artists and handmade goods, and for their commitment to the environment. According to their website, their products are made without harming animals, and they have a number of items made from recycled materials. You can look through some of their Mother’s Day Gifts here. And here’s a few items I wanted to highlight — all of which would make great gifts! IMG_2357This beautiful Slate Cheese Board comes in red or black ($29) and makes such a pretty platter for a fruit and cheese plate! It comes with soapstone chalk, which wipes off easily. According to the website: “Created by Brooklynites (and self-described foodies) Sean Tice and Kristy Hadeka, they source their gorgeous pieces of natural slate from Kristy’s third-generation family quarry in upstate New York.” So cool! IMG_2362The board comes with a natural burlap bag to store it in, plus cork pads so the slate won’t scratch furniture. I happen to love anything that’s personalized, as most women who live in the South do, so when I saw these State Dish Towels ($20), I immediately wanted one for Alabama (my bestie Dominika gave me a New Jersey one last year as a housewarming gift!). IMG_2353I love the detail of all the different regions, the Yellowhammer bird — they even have Vulcan on the towel! IMG_2360Uncommon Goods also sells awesome Country Dish Towels for a handful of countries, too. Finally, if you see me out and about, you will likely see me with this new water bottle! I know most of us are trying to drink more water, and this handy fruit infuser takes that up a notch. It would definitely be easy for moms on the go! IMG_2363I filled my bottle up with strawberries, but I can’t wait to try oranges, limes, lemons … the Flavor Infuser Water Bottle ($15) even comes with a booklet with ideas for combos to try out! IMG_2370While you can’t put this water bottle in the freezer, it is dishwasher safe — sweet! Make sure you check out Uncommon Goods for other ideas for Mother’s Day! They have beautiful jewelry, soaps, glassware, candles and more. Disclaimer: These items were gifted to me from Uncommon Goods, however, all opinions are my own.

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Run With Me Saturday: IRL Or Virtually!

5k magnet

Well, April 25 is two days away, and I for one am ready to run a 5k!

First, I have to address the weather, at least here in Birmingham. The Weather Channel is calling for thunderstorms on Saturday.

weather

I’m crossing my fingers that the storms will leave us be until the afternoon, but if it’s a torrential downpour or there’s lightning, I will cancel the run. (We will reschedule!) We don’t need any twisted ankles on slippery leaves or dangerous conditions. So please keep an eye on my Facebook page for an announcement; I will make the call by 8 a.m. CT that morning if we are running at 9 a.m. or not.

Here are the other details you need to know:

Please participate no matter where you live! If you’re a reader and you live outside Birmingham, please run with us on Saturday! We will start at 9 a.m. CT, and I’m encouraging you to let me know that you’re running, too, by taking a photo of yourself, your scenery, your Nike+ app — whatever you like — and posting it on Instagram using the hashtags #stellarmiles or #makeshift5k. Post these pics by noon CT (for all you West Coast runners and walkers!), and I will choose one participant, either local here in Birmingham or somewhere else out there, to win a prize! (Prize details to come!)

Please run OR walk! Don’t feel like you have to run if you’re a walker, or like you have to run the whole way. Go at your pace, at your ability … the only goal is to cover 3.1 miles!

Location, for my locals. If you’re planning to meet me Saturday morning, I will be at our meet-up spot by 8:45 a.m. CT. We will meet at the start of Lakeshore Trail on the Green Springs side, at the water fountain. If you’re on Green Springs, coming from Lakeshore Drive, you take a left right after passing the Circle K. Then, before you get to the soccer fields parking lot, there’s a smaller lot on your left where I will be. Here’s a map:

google map1

Google maps

We will run or walk to the entrance of Samford University, then turn around and come back. This is about 3.1 miles. (I encourage you to track yourself via an app like Nike+ or a Garmin watch, if you have one.)

Map My Run

Map My Run

If you have any questions for me, please post them on my Facebook page or email me: stellarfashionandfitness[at]gmail.com.

One note: I am not a professional running coach or a running expert. So, if you have never run or walked 3.1 miles before, please use caution and only go as far as you can. It’s always a good idea to see a doctor when starting a new exercise regimen, if you don’t already workout regularly.

I can’t wait to run on Saturday, and I hope you’ll be running or walking with me!

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Embrace Your Evolution

photo (15)

Last night I attended a roundtable discussion with See Jane Write with local women looking to work on their blogs and businesses. The question our leader Javacia asked us to consider was: What is our biggest frustration regarding blogging, writing or entrepreneurship?

My frustration was feeling unfocused and uncertain that I was taking my blog in the direction I wanted it to go, and that my readers would want it to go. Thankfully, I left the event feeling inspired and confident. I still feel like I’m just starting out when it comes to blogging as I haven’t yet turned it into a real business. But I have been writing here for several years, and while I do sometimes feel that the topics I write about are disjointed, the women I met with last night assured me that’s not the case.

In my heart, I know this is true. I know that I write here to guide myself toward self-acceptance, toward a stronger self-esteem and more confidence. I am hoping that I inspire others to feel the same about themselves, too. I do this by exploring my own quest to be healthier, to find a happy balance between working out, eating healthfully and living a full life. I examine my love for fashion, my desire to express myself through my own style. And I work on my own feelings about my body and hopefully promote an attitude of self-love and body positivity.

All of these things, in my mind, equal a stellar life. They all come together to help me, hopefully, become a better person and challenge others to do the same.

One woman at the event last night told me she felt that, through my blog, I am peeling back my layers, sharing them with others and learning from that connection. She encouraged me to “embrace my evolution.”

Those words stuck with me, and I’m sharing them with you today to encourage you to do the same. Embrace your journey. Embrace your ups and downs, joys and pains. Peel back your layers and share them with your loved ones. Embrace who you are and who you are becoming.

Posted in Acceptance, Blogging, Body Image, Body Positive, Confidence | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Get Ready To Run!

This Saturday is my Makeshift 5k — are any of you planning to come? Watch out for a Facebook post about it soon! I want to make sure if anyone locally here in Birmingham wants to run with me that day, that I don’t start without ya!

So this past weekend I went home for a surprise visit — it was my Dad’s 60th birthday and he had no idea that I was coming home! My sister and niece were part of the surprise to, and we got him good!

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At the Philadelphia Zoo!

I didn’t take the time to run while I was in New Jersey last weekend, but I did a lot of walking on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant, and again Sunday at the Philadelphia Zoo.

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With my beautiful sister at Martell’s Tiki Bar, Point Pleasant, NJ

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With my lovely mom at the zoo!

This week I am hoping to get in two runs before doing the Makeshift 5k on Saturday (9 a.m. — and we’ll keep an eye on the weather!). I didn’t focus as much as I wanted to on getting faster this month. I intended to work on speed by doing intervals and hill training … but time got away from me, other workouts seemed more appealing, and it didn’t really happen. Nevertheless, I’m determined to beat my last 5k time by even just a little bit, and then move forward from there. Maybe we’ll have another Makeshift 5k in a couple of months!

I hope to see you out running this weekend! And if you’re planning to run your own 5k from wherever you live, be sure to let me know on my Facebook page!

Posted in Family, Running, Travel | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Fashion Friday: Midi Skirts

Happy Friday! Today I have some fun spring skirts for you — midi skirts, to be exact. This length is all the rage, and with fun prints, you can buy now and wear through the entire year (pair with tights and a cardi this fall!).

But let’s not think about fall now. Let’s think about flirty skirts paired with sandals, oxford shirts, crop tops and simple Ts. Here are 7 skirts I love — two that are on sale for $9! So get to shopping!

asos85

ASOS, $85

asos 40

ASOS, $40

asos81

ASOS, $81

 

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Midmonth Check-in: April Goals

I’m checking in with y’all this month to report on how my fitness goals are going so far. I can’t believe it’s the 15th already!

I have been working on my speed to get ready for the Makeshift 5k I will run on Saturday, April 25. I haven’t run this month as often as I would like, however, as I started going to a new-to-me boot camp class! It is INTENSE — but I’ve left each class feeling strong and invigorated.

I like to imagine I'm The Rock while at boot camp — ha!

I like to imagine I’m The Rock while at boot camp — ha!

My plan is to continue that class twice a week, and get my workout schedule more down pat so I can also run a couple of times a week, too. I also still want to get to yoga on Wednesdays and spinning on Tuesdays as much as I can. I went to spinning last night and realized it had been too long!

When I switch up my workouts like this, it really does help keep me excited about exercising. Sometimes I get too bogged down in a routine, so a fresh class, a new challenge, really does go a long way with me.

I recently reposted on Instagram a photo and message from Lena Duhnam, of Girls on HBO. She wrote that working out has helped her anxiety, OCD and depression. I am blessed that I don’t deal with those issues, but I do have some stressful factors in my life that, without regular exercise, I’m sure would cause me to worry (sometimes needlessly) even more.

Whether you like to walk, run, dance, lift weights … it doesn’t matter! I just think finding a physical activity, no matter what it is, is so important. I know it helps me tremendously!

Another thing that helps me? An accountability partner! As Sherri and I were going through our Scale Back Alabama program, I was so pleased to find someone who didn’t mind if I texted her when I was tempted to eat something not so healthy … or after I had already done so! She’s a great, natural-born cheerleader who supports the goals of everyone around her. We both lost some weight during the challenge, which was great! But we gained something, too — a great friend! Although we had been friends before this challenge, coaching each other toward a goal brought us closer, and I’m so grateful for that!

We celebrated at a Birmingham Barons baseball game with our husbands this past weekend!

We celebrated at a Birmingham Barons baseball game with our husbands this past weekend!

How is your month going? What would you like to accomplish during the rest of April?

Posted in Accountability, exercise, Fitness, Health, mental health, Running, Workouts | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Cheers For Lane Bryant’s I’m No Angel Campaign

I’m a few days late in commenting about this awesome new advertising campaign from one of my favorite stores, Lane Bryant. When it was revealed on Monday, my first reaction was “how clever!” Then I stepped back and thought, “why does it have to be us v. them?” As in, thinner girls v. curvier girls? Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 7.59.15 AM But after thinking about it for a few days, I realize now that it’s not saying that curvier is better. What it does is give some power to women who, for a long time, have been shunned from media campaigns, who have been hidden under big T-shirts and cardigans, rather than showing off their shapes proudly. And that? That I’m all for! These women are stunning — and so are you!

Encouraging women to redefine sexy, to broaden that definition, sounds like a great goal to me, so I’m glad that Lane Bryant has taken that leap and asked women to share their personal statement of confidence using the hashtag #ImNoAngel. To me, this isn’t about pitting women against each other. Similar to the “healthy is the new skinny” movement, I believe efforts like this help to change society’s ideas of what “perfect” means. In fact, I hope it helps us realize that there is no “perfect” and that our differences are beautiful. photo (9) I have friends of all shapes, some who wish they were curvier, some who wish they were thinner. I hope for a day when we can all celebrate our bodies, no matter what size they are. Whether you consider yourself thin or curvy or plus-size or whatever — you should love who you are and learn to present that body, yourself, to the world with confidence!

Posted in Acceptance, Body Image, Body Positive, Confidence | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments