Other Musings

Look Smokin’ While Getting Your Sweat On

Summer is a fabulous season. It bring sunshine, warm weather and fantastic memories. Along with said benefits comes the potential of needing to be in a bathing suit at any time with no notice. Yay bikini season!

If you’re still working off that little extra bit of padding that made its way on to your delicate frame this winter (um, bears hibernate, so can we), I highly recommend you take a trip to lululemon. At lululemon, you can find all you need to look fabulous even if you don’t feel so fabulous as your sweaty, huffing and puffing self. With an endless assortment of tops, bottoms and accessories, you can search for your new workout wears by sport, function or just because it looks pretty. And trust me, all their things look pretty. Now, I will caution you. The price point is probably a bit more than you are used to paying for some sweaty gym clothes. However, the price is worth it for most items, as the quality is top notch.

As a runner, I discovered lulu about midway through training for my first marathon in 2008. I purchased a pair of running crops (similar to these) for training. With a nearly $90 price tag, I wasn’t sure I could afford anything else. Four years later, I am training for my third marathon with those same pair of pants. So ladies and gents, consider lulu purchases as a bit of an investment. They will last and they will look darn good on you, too.

Their items are designed to flatter, taking into account all of the things that make slipping on spandex and stretchy fabrics less than exciting, including muffin top. You can get double time out of many of their items as their leggings, yoga pants and tops can work their way into your daytime wardrobe. Did I mention that the brand is not afraid of color either?

Here are some of the goods on my wish list:

Run: Sun Sprinter Crops – $88 (comes in purple, pink and black)
Run: Tie And Fly Tank – $52 (pink, neon yellow, purple and black)
Run: For Your Money Tank – $68

Who says you can’t look good while working on your fitness? The company is also committed to community involvement and works with local fitness studios to offer complimentary classes.

Find out which store is closest to you and check out their calendar! For you DCers, there are stores in Clarendon, Logan Circle, Georgetown and Tysons. Check it out for yourself and let me know what your favorites are!


Apartment Hunting? Look No Further!

There is only one thing I despise as much as moving, and that is moving in the summer. We had to do it last July and now, due to unforeseen circumstances and greedy property management companies, we might be looking at moving AGAIN this July.

After scouring craigslist and finding very little of interest, I had to wonder, isn’t there a better way to do this?

Well, yes. There is!  Live Lovely – a darling site a friend passed along to me to help aid in my apartment search. And that is what Live Lovely promises to do, “help renters save time, stay organized and get the edge in their apartment rental search.”

The brilliant concept allows you to plug in your desired neighborhood address and search criteria, # of bedrooms, price range, pets, etc. and then returns all of the listings in your area. The interface shows the listings on a map, so you can view them geographically which, let’s face it, is always where a housing search starts – location, location, location!

Live Lovely distinguishes new listings from old ones and let’s the searcher know how long something has been on the market. Users can create a profile, save and organize properties, print property information and even create a Renter’s Resume to help get the leg up on the property.

The site is beyond user-friendly, it is user-focused, which is refreshing when dealing with the stresses of finding a new apartment in a competitive market such as DC. Open houses draw more people than Local 16’s rooftop and listings go faster than you can say Obama. Seriously, the place is gone before I have time to hit send my craigslist inquiry.

Take a look at the site yourself and I promise it will be your go-to for your all of your apartment searching needs.  Spend five minutes on the site and you’ll never visit craigslist again. Lovely pulls all of the data from there anyways, so you won’t miss a thing!

Here is a screenshot of a search for 2 bedrooms in DC:

Blue pins are older listings and orange pins are new listings I haven’t viewed yet.

Check out the site and let me know what you think! Maybe they can post some recommendations on movers or how to negotiate with property managers!


Picasso’s Got Nothin’ on You!

I’m always on the lookout for new, unorthodox things to do in DC. New York may be the city that doesn’t sleep, but DC is the city that will never bore. From street performances, to art installations, to jazz in the sculpture garden to Screen at the Green – there is always something unique happening in our nation’s capital.

The newest kid on the block? ArtJamz Paint in the Park! Every Thursday in June, ArtJamz invites anyone and everyone with a creative inkling to pick up a paintbrush and be inspired by the city’s great outdoors that is Farragut Square Park. For $30, future picasso’s receive a 16×20 stretch canvas on which to paint your creation, an easel and of course, all of the materials you’ll need to assuage your creative juices, acrylic paints, brushes, etc. Top it off with live music from the Golden Triangle Summer Concert Series and your inner artist will practically jump onto the canvas!

Purchase your tickets in advance online to snag your spot. Blankets and chairs are recommended!

If Thursday’s don’t work for you, check out some of ArtJamz studios sessions!

Don’t worry if you have no natural artistic ability – just get out there and have some fun with friends! Live music, sunshine and good people are all you really need to have a great time!


Mother’s Day Gifts

Mother’s Day is fast approaching! For those of you living under a hole, it is THIS Sunday, May 13th. Before your freak out, run to the nearest CVS to buy a cheesy Hallmark card to throw in the mail before the mailman comes, take a deep breath and look no further.

This is the first year that I have to buy for TWO moms and now two grandmothers. My mom is always easy. We have similar taste in clothing and anything from Ann Taylor Loft is an excellent bet. Luckily, they are running a 30% off promotion for all dresses, jewelry and cardigans. I picked up a very nice summery dress that I know she will be able to wear immediately in the hot Florida spring and summer sun. It can be dressed up for a date night with dad or even worn casual as a super cute beach cover up. Unfortunately, Ann Taylor Loft doesn’t have the dress on their website, but here are some other great options for your persual:

The S-M-L sizing makes this dress an easy purchase for even the most clueless of buyers!
Give mom the gift of style! These bright colors are totally in for summer!

Does the though of buying clothes for your mom make you want to run screaming in the other direction? Size, shape, cut, fit, style can all be too much to handle. However, the traditional candle set or Bath and Body Works gift basket also look a bit thoughtless. After all, it is the thought that counts! So put some thought into it, people!

There are two very important things in common with my mother in law. A love of wine and enjoying said wine outdoors. I wanted to get her something really special since it is our first Mother’s Day. After a lot of poking around, I came across the most ingenious invention since wine and dine plates – Steady Stick wine glass holders! That’s right, this lovely contraption holds on to your wine for you while you enjoy the great outdoors. I paired a few sets of these with some fancy citronella candles and bam, we’re in business! The most exciting part is that I get to test them out for myself when we head down there for Memorial Day!

Wine outdoors made easy!

I’m still making my way through several Mother’s Day Gift Guides to see what else is out there, but Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn are some nice places to start for creative homegoods!


Cinco de Mayo Plans?

The DC food truck scene has exploded as of late. Head over to Farragut Square any time between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm on a weekday and you’ll have no shortage of epicurean options to satisfy your taste buds. DCers Twitter feeds are inundated with updates on the latest location of Curbside Cupcakes, Fojol Brothers, and how could we forget Jose Andres’ Pepe. Sure, it’s a trend, but one that my inner fat kid can totally get on board with.

So, you can imagine when I heard that all of DC’s best food trucks would be in ONE LOCATION for 8 hours, I got just a little excited. Then I found it was at RFK Stadium and got a little less excited. However, I don’t think I can pass up the opportunity to enjoy all the DC food truck scene has to offer in one fell swoop at the Curbside Cookoff: Trucko de Mayo. Can’t resist either? Here are the details:

When: Saturday, May 5th (TOMORROW) from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm

Where: RFK Stadium, Lot 3 (Closest lot to the Metro), 2400 East Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

What: 40 of DC’s yummiest food truck vendors in one place accompanied by live music. Admission is free, food is not. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase and you can participate in a sweepstakes to win a free pass to a meal at every DCFTA food truck (Man vs. Food anyone?). 

How to get there: The closest metro is Stadium Armory on the Orange/Blue line (but be careful of track work this weekend!) and parking is free in lots 4 and 5.

Photo courtesy of DC Food Trucks

I’d recommend bringing some cash in case some of the food vendors don’t take credit card. You don’t want to be left salivating at this event, folks! Hopefully I’ll make my way over there, but I have a very important meeting with a rooftop in Dupont, some margaritas and some great friends earlier in the day. Who knows how long I’ll be detained…


Derby Hats!

Anyone heading to the Kentucky Derby this weekend? It’s on my bucket list, but I won’t be going this year. I’ve had my fair share of horse race experiences at Gold Cup, Foxfields and Preakness. However, nothing quite compares to the headwear at the Derby! Need some ideas – look no further – and several options can be found at local stop Propper Topper!

Derby Hats!

Derby Hats! by kerrychannon featuring a floppy straw hat

$250 – delmarhat.com

Hatbox black hat
£45 – debenhams.com

Floppy straw hat
$14 – target.com

Louise Green Emily Wide Brim
$225 – propertopper.com

Christys’ London Panama Sunhat
$145 – propertopper.com

Braided Raffia Sunhat
$35 – propertopper.com


A Little Contemplation

The other day, my boss sent around an article from the Harvard Business Review, Turning 60: The Twelve Most Important Lessons I’ve Learned So Far.

I decided to overlook the fact that I have just gotten over the shock of officially being in my late twenties and consider some life lessons I’ve experienced in my 27 short years.

  1. People change – embrace it. Our twenties are a turbulent time. We go from college students, to young professionals to, in some cases, husbands or wives. We HAVE to change to survive! In just ten short years, we experience such major life changes that we must embrace how we change and how those we love change. One of life’s biggest challenges is understanding that we can’t keep life as it is or people as they are. We have to understand that people are meant to grow and change. Guess that is why they call it growing up!
  2. Your job may not be your career. Post graduation, a job is everything. After four years (maybe five or six, this is a judgement-free zone) of studying for the real world, I finally made my entrance. Guess what? It wasn’t all that grand! I jumped around from PR to Events to Marketing and never stopped questioning along the way. Even now, I am incredibly happy in my job, but I am not sure that it is going to be my career. Don’t expect each job to be your life’s purpose. A job is something you do, not who you are. Keep your long-term goals in mind and view each job as a stepping stone to achieving them.
  3. Appreciate everything. The good, the bad, the ugly; they all have an impact. Life moves on before we know it, all that we’ll have left is memories of that time when. Savor every moment. Appreciate every person, thing and occurrence. Regardless of how big or small, they all matter.
  4. Always consider perspective. Your perspective is your reality. Sometimes, all that is needed is a shift in perspective to view a situation or circumstance in a whole new light. You have the power to determine what kind of impact you let things have on your life.

Still contemplating? Here are Tony Schwartz’s life lessons from the article in the Harvard Business Review:

  1. The more we know about ourselves, the more power we have to behave better.
  2. Notice the good.
  3. Let go of certainty.
  4. Never seek your value at the expense of someone else’s.
  5. Do the most important thing first int he morning and you’ll never have an unproductive day.
  6. It’s possible to be excellent at anything, but nothing valuable comes easy and discomfort is part of growth.
  7. The more behaviors you intentionally make automatic in your life, the more you’ll get done.
  8. Slow down.
  9. The feeling of having enough is magical.
  10. 10. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, and don’t expect anything in return.
  11. Add more value in the world than you’re using up.
  12. Savor every moment – even the difficult ones. It all goes so fast.

Do you have Klout?

Clout ˈklau̇t: Pull, influence

Do you have it in this day and age of social media? How can you tell? As a blogger, I found this question particularly relevant. Then, I stumbled across an article in Wired magazine, “What Your Klout Score Really Means.” What the heck is Klout?

Klout is a company dedicated to determining the influence of every online user. Using specific criteria, each online user is given a Klout Score. If you have a Facebook account or twitter account, you have a Klout score, you just might not know it. According to Klout, your score is composed of the following measurements:

  • True Reach: How many people you influence
  • Amplification: How much you influence them
  • Network Impact: The influence of your network

Why does this matter?

As someone who blogs, my Klout score matters because the higher it is, the more successful I am at reaching and influencing people. If you aren’t a blogger, why should you care about a Klout score? A few reasons:

1) If you are in any type of Marketing, Communications, Social Media or consumer-driven profession, then you want to know your Klout score. Before you know it, your Klout score will become part of interview criteria. Potential employes are going to want to know the power you have to influence audiences and your Klout score is a direct reflection of your ability.

2) You can earn free stuff! Yes, REALLY! Good free stuff too – top influencers have even earned laptops and airline tickets! You can earn discounts in various categories, ranging from entertainment to food to retail. The idea behind the free perks is that if you are an influencer, people will look to you for your opinion of a brand. If the brand gives you something for a discount or for free, then you are more likely to share your thoughts on the brand or product. So get to it, folks!

3) You can’t fight the future. Social Media is driving consumer marketing. Gone are the days of traditional marketing. Instead, we look to the people we know and trust to tell us whether a product or service is worth our time and money. It’s time to embrace the future of consumer-driven consumption!

Get started on Klout here. At least check out your score to see where you stand!

Questions about Klout? Check out their FAQ page.


Quick Updo: Quick Hair Tutorial

I came across this fabulous resource to share! The blog, She Lets Her Hair Down, is run by a Parisian stylist named Rubi and, you guessed it, manes are her main attraction! Her blog offers all kinds of new styles, tips and tutorials on some key looks. I love the look of a simple bun, but with my crazy thick hair, I need some serious reinforcement. Voila – check out Rubi’s version of a classic bun! All the steps (below) are clear and easy to understand. Be sure to head over to She Lets Her Hair Down to see what other fun resources you can use!

1. Flip your head over and rake your fingers through your hair to make it all go towards the top of your head, leaving out a bang section.

2. Once all your hair is smoothly going up, tightly gather it in a fist at the top of your head.

3. Secure it with an elastic.

4. Split your pony tail in three sections. If your hair is fine you can lightly backcomb each section to make it bigger.

5. Hold one section up by the ends and then bring it down so it sits on your head. It will naturally fold onto itself.

6. Pin at the folds.

7. Repeat with the other two sections making sure to hide your hair pins and bobby pins.

8. Pin your bangs back so they connect to your bun and everything flows together.

*Photos and instructions courtesy of She Lets Her Hair Down.


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