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Tag Archives: review

2012 Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon!

27 Jun

I’m officially a half marathoner! This Sunday, after months of training, I ran my first half marathon.

The 2012 Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon had an 8:30 am start time, so Matt, my mom and I met up and headed out early to make it to the race by 7 am. I had two eggs over easy, toast and an apple for breakfast. Parking was sparse even by the time we got to Jennings beach.

A pre-race photo on the beach.

It ended up being a gorgeous day, warm with a bit of a breeze. Though this was my first half marathon I’ve done plenty of races, so it was interesting to see how this race was set-up. I was a little confused picking up my number because they were not sorted by name. Instead you had to find a separate table and look-up your number then return to the table to for your number.

The race had separate start lines for men and women, which I wasn’t a big fan of. I couldn’t quite figure out the reasoning behind this because everyone merged after a mile. Some couples that were running together disregarded this so there were a few men in the women’s start.

Matt and I standing by the start line.

I felt prepared for the race because I heard ahead of time that it was hilly. I took the first 3 miles out kind of quick I was running about 8 min per mile. After this I slowed down. My goal for the race was to just not stop and if possible finish under 2 hours. Around mile 4 I started to get a cramp, but there were plenty of water stations every couple of miles and this helped, the cramp slowly went away. I slowed down for the water stations since it was hot I wanted to stay hydrated. Also, along the course there were plenty of sprinklers, I ran through most of them.

Nearing the finish line. Only a few more meters left.

There was a good amount of shade throughout the course. The toughest part for me was the last 3 miles. Although this part was relatively flat it was mostly in the sun. It was hard keeping up my pace, but I did it. I finished the race in 1:59:12 with a 9:06 pace per mile. I was so happy to be done and that I made it under 2 hours.

It was also great being able to run the race with my mom. She also had a great time and finished in 2:33:56. We both had an amazing sense of accomplishment.

The post race shot. Check out the medals.

I felt really prepared for the race. The Nike training program definitely helped with getting my endurance and strength up. Although it was a major commitment to make sure I went on my runs and did workouts, I’m glad I was prepared. It also gave me some great new workouts I can start to use when I go back to my regular for-fun training. I will incorporate more speed work and weight lifting into my routine.

What has been your personal favorite race? Why?

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Spring Dresses for the Office

19 Mar

I’m loving this weather! This weekend was in the 50s and 60s and today it’s in the 70s, this is crazy.

This weekend Matt and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary. It was nice and low key, which was amazing. We went to the movies to see 21 Jump Street, which I thought was hilarious.

Still from 21 Jump Street.

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Matt liked it too, he described it as trippy. There are parts of it that were a little weird, but it’s probably one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a while. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill have great comedic chemistry and they seem like they are actually best friends. You get the impression that they had a great time filming this movie together.

Saturday night we roasted a chicken for our anniversary dinner. It was my first time throwing a whole chicken in the oven, but it turned out great. Matt made some delicious garlic mashed potatoes.

When Matt left yesterday I went for a nice long run. The weather was perfect. I was able to wear shorts and a tank top and it wasn’t too hot out. I ran for about 7.5 miles and it felt really good.

All this warm weather got me thinking about all of the spring wardrobe possibilities.

Office Wardrobe Inspiration

Spring Dresses for the Office

Spring Dresses for the Office by the5kfashionista featuring cross earrings

Mango dress, £45, H m dress, £25, Lace cardigan, $80, Topshop boyfriend blazer, $70, Topshop vintage high heels, $100, Calvin Klein low heels, $88, FOSSIL leather flat, $78, Zara shop handbag, $80, Oasis top handle handbag, $70, Dorothy Perkins brown shoulder bag, $59 Kate Spade post earrings, $58, Jones New York cuff bracelet, $50, Gorjana stud earrings, $25, 1928 cross earrings, $18, Forever 21 chain necklace, $13, Dorothy Perkins tall dress, $59

Outfit #1

The first outfit would be great for for a formal office setting where a jacket is required. Without the jacket this is also a great office look. I love this shift dress and the blocks of color on the sides and the slight peplum at the hips. Playing off the blue a great bib necklace and earrings add some added interest to this outfit.

Outfit #2

This outfit would be great for a business casual work environment. I’m a fan of dresses that combine a top and bottom in a way that doesn’t look cheesy. The belt does a great job of cinching the waistline and providing that hourglass shape. The colors are fun and bright, which makes this great for spring. This is paired with some simple gold jewelry and black kitten heels and handbag.

Outfit #3

This outfit would be good for a casual Friday. The print is fun and the bursts of color in the flats and handbag play off the great pattern on the dress. A light cardigan is great for a cold office, or the dress can be worn alone. The earrings are subtle and also play off the pinks and peaches in the dress.

What piece of your wardrobe are you excited to bring back into rotation with the warmer weather?

I have a pair of white trousers that I wear to work in the Spring and Summer. They will be coming out of hibernation very soon.

Save Your Do – Gym Wrap Review

15 Mar

As I mentioned last week I purchased the Save Your Do Gym Wrap online a few weeks ago. I’ve used sweat bands for my workouts and always found that though they kept the sweat out of my eyes during my workouts they just left my hair a sweaty mess, so I haven’t used one in years.

I found out about the Save Your Do Gymwrap on Twitter and thought it was a great idea. It was created by actress Nicole Ari Parker as a way to wick moisture away from your hair and leave hair drier and flatter. She created it also so women would stop using their hair as an excuse to not workout.

“The idea for the Save Your Do™ Gymwrap came to me last year when I noticed a common excuse emerge among busy everyday women (myself included) about why they couldn’t work out: their hair. Hair is a serious issue for most of us women because after spending a ton of time and money to have it washed, blowdried, flat-ironed and curled, none of us want to sweat and mess it up all over again.” Nicole Ari Parker

The Gym Wrap comes in 3 sizes and a few colors, a bandana, medium and narrow width.

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I purchased the narrow width, which cost $24.98. The company was having a $5 off deal if you liked the product during checkout. Shipping was $7.20 and the final cost was $27.15, kind of steep but I was willing to spend it if the product worked and some of the proceeds go to a great cause. 10% of the proceeds go to the Sophie’s Voice Foundation. A non-profit created by Nicole and her husband actor Boris Kodjoe that was create in honor of their daughter to further research for Spina Bifida.

I ordered the Gym Wrap on February 21 and it arrived on March 8, about 14 business days.

Before my run

I tried out the Gym Wrap for an in-home strength training/ cardio workout and also out on a run.

After the at home workout I noticed that my hair was pretty dry and the Gym Wrap did a great job of keeping the sweat out of my eyes.

Kind of stylish, I like the simple black color.

The real test though was the run. I went on a 6.5 mile run and was out for about an hour in 60 degree weather. During the run I liked that the Gym Wrap felt airy. Normally with other sweat bands you can feel the heaviness of it, but that is not the case with the Gym Wrap. The only thing that I found a little uncomfortable at first were the ties at the neck. They flapped around during the run so next time around I think I’ll try to find a better way to tie it to avoid that.

After my run I stretched at home. I took the Gym Wrap off and it was soaked through, which I wasn’t expecting since it felt so light during the run. My hair was noticeably drier than it usually is after my runs, I was really surprised. I also didn’t have to constantly wipe sweat from my eyes. My hair wasn’t totally dry (I think that would be unrealistic), but I am very satisfied with the Gym Wrap.

The Gym wrap is also very easy to clean. It says it can be put in the washing machine and tumble dried. I put it on the gentle cycle and let it air dry. I do this with a lot of my exercise clothes that have wicking material to try to extend the life.

I would definitely recommend the Gym Wrap. I feel like anything that keeps my hair in decent shape after a run is worth it. The cost is somewhat high, but I will be getting a lot of use out of it. In the future I might consider trying out the bandana or even the wider width band so I can have a few to transition through between washes.

A Little Weekend P90X

27 Feb

I left work early Friday and made it into CT early. Matt picked me up from the bus station at 5 p.m. and it was great to have some extra time together this weekend.

This weekend involved some relaxing, which was nice. We made homemade pizza and rented two movies, Drive and Real Steel. Real Steel was so cute and I really enjoyed it. Matt described it as a robot version of Rocky. It was predictable, but just a fun film to watch.

Drive was on the total opposite end of the spectrum, it wasn’t a fun light hearted movie at all. The end of the movie was actually pretty gory, but in terms of directing and cinematic style it was beautifully filmed.

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I completed a film minor with my bachelor’s degree so I love watching well made movies. In my classes we would analyze a range of movies. For one class we had to do a shot by shot analysis of a scene, literally dissecting every element on the screen. These classes gave me a very discerning eye and made me realize a good director has a reason for every camera movement, shadow, and piece of scenery on the screen. The whole time I was watching Drive I was amazed at how much you could interpret from the movie just by seeing what was on the screen. There isn’t much dialogue so I felt that the imagery was really important. Ryan Gosling does a great job as the film’s protagonist and the supporting cast also does a great job. Since I’ve been watching Mad Men I was excited to see Christina Hendricks, but she had a very small role. I would definitely recommend Drive, especially for any film buffs, but it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

Saturday night we did some late night bowling with some of Matt’s friends. I’m not much of a bowler, I’m not very good and I’ve had some carpal tunnel issues (I wear a brace on my wrist at night for it) so I can’t play for long, but this was a lot of fun. It was nice to go with a group of people and the bowling alley had a great atmosphere. They turned down the lights and had blacklights and neon lights around the lanes. They also had a DJ playing music and had music videos playing on screens above the lanes.

Lately on the weekends Matt and I haven’t really done much exercising, but Sunday morning I asked him if he wanted to. We ended up doing one of his P90x videos for chest and back. The video included a lot of pushup, pullups (assisted for me), and some dumbbell work. After the workout there was a bonus ab exercise which was short but tough and effective. My arms shoulders, arms and abs are pretty sore today.

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Matt has the whole P90x series. The other discs I’ve done with him are the plyometrics and yoga workouts and every one I’ve tried has been super tough. I’m always sore after and feel like I’ve gotten in a great workout. It seems like a lot of the discs are interval based with high intensity reps. It’s definitely my kind of exercise routine. I know the set of discs is recommended to be done as a program. I’ve never completed the program, but when I first met Matt he had just finished the series. He recommends it and tells me all the time that it got him into amazing shape. When Matt and I end up living closer together I will definitely be adding these DVDs into my routine more often.

The rest of my Sunday evening was spent on school work when I made it back to Boston. I stayed up late last night finishing up some assignments. I keep reminding myself that it’s almost over, but the end of the semester and my graduate career cannot come soon enough.

This morning, through my soreness, I did this 10 minute workout from Zuzana Light. Now, on top of my arms being tight, I’m sure my legs will be sore tomorrow too.

Has anyone else tried P90x or another long-term training program? What are your thoughts?

President’s Day Weekend Shenanigans

21 Feb

I took about a week off of running because I was experiencing some pain on the top of my foot. I think it may have been tendonitis from wearing some flats that didn’t fit that great. Last week included a lot of resting, ice and ibuprofen. I’m feeling a lot better now, every once in a while I’ll get a little pain in my left foot, but I’m still icing it occasionally.

Speaking of running, I was contacted on twitter by a company called Celliant. They mailed me a free performance pack that consisted of 2 pairs of socks, a sweatband and pair of wristbands.

I haven’t used sweatbands in year, but the socks ended up being super useful and comfy. I wore them Sunday and yesterday on my runs.

What I personally like about the sock is the cushioning throughout the bottom of the foot. There is also some great arch support and the top of the sock offered a lot of breathability. The nice soft cushy feel of the fabric can also be felt on the sweatbands.

What actually differentiates this company is the fabric they use. Their fiber increases blood flow and blood oxygen levels in the tissue of the body. The technology is used in their own branded athletic clothing and some Adidas and Reebok clothing listed on their web site.

Weekend Fun

One of my best friends from home came to visit this weekend. Jill came to visit Saturday and spent the night. It was awesome being able to catch up since we only saw each other briefly during the holidays and this was her first time visiting me in Boston. We walked around Cambridge during the day, then headed into Boston at night with another friend from high school. It was a lot of fun showing her around the city.

Me and Jill waiting for the T.

Jill left Sunday and I basically vegged out on the couch. I bought season 2 of Mad Men a few weeks back and I had a bit of a marathon this weekend. I have one more episode until I’m done with the season and I’m kind of obsessed. I love that it’s about the advertising industry (which I’m interested in getting in to), the fashion from the early 60’s was amazing, and the script and directing is definitely thoughtful and different.

I didn’t just watch TV all weekend though. I went for two runs outside which felt amazing. I really can’t wait for the weather to warm up and the days to get longer. I also went to the gym for a run and a little lifting.

Yesterday I made it out to the mall for a little President’s Day shopping.

Recent Shopping TripRecent Shopping Trip by the5kfashionista featuring slim fit pants

H M top, £3.99, H M top, £3.99, Banana Republic slim fit pants, $90

My trip ended up consisting of mostly basics. I have been searching for a nice ankle length cigarette pant for a while and this one from Banana Republic fit perfectly and came in a petite size. I also grabbed the tanks to act as layering pieces for the cold and they will look great on their own come the spring and summer. Not shown here I also picked up two pairs of running shorts from old navy and an orange pencil skirt from H&M that I can wear for work. I love the color of the H&M skirt and I think it will be great for color blocking.

I have the worst time finding shirts. I’m done buying pants and bottoms for a while, until I can get some decent tops for work and day to day wear.

I had a great weekend and not only had fun, but was able to get a lot of school work done.

Did anyone else find any good deals this weekend?

Valentine’s Weekend Festivities

13 Feb

The weekend was way to short, but I had a great time celebrating Valentine’s Day with Matt. Friday night I got into CT and we pretty much just relaxed. We exchanged small gifts. I got Matt a box of Valentine’s Russell Stover Chocolates and he got me a box of Reese’s Valentine’s chocolates (chocolate and peanut butter is my favorite combination).

Saturday we went to see the Vow.

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I wanted to go see a romantic movie this weekend. I wasn’t expecting much going into this movie, but I was actually surprised how much I liked it. It was incredibly sweet and not totally predictable, which I liked. Matt joked that he had never heard so much crying in a theater. Parts of it were sad but I would definitely recommend it.

After the movie we went for our couples massage! I think I enjoyed the experience a little more than the massage. It wasn’t the typical swedish or deep tissue massage I’m used to. The masseuse stretched my limbs a lot during the massage and it involved some shaking. Some parts were actually a little uncomfortable. I was kind of looking forward to just lying there, but this massage included a lot of movement. I did some searching online and I think we got a thai or shiatsu massage. After the massage we were offered a glass of wine some chocolates. We were able to sit down and just enjoy that. I did feel relaxed afterward and it was great sharing the experience with Matt, but I doubt I would go back to that spa again. I’m going to stick with relaxing massages.

I couldn't resist this picture, too cute.

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For dinner we went to this small pizza place that had amazing fresh bread and the pie we got was fantastic. We grabbed a bottle of wine for home and ended up watching a movie on NetFlix. I have wanted to watch An Affair to Remember for a long time, so we ended up watching that. I love old movies and this one is definitely a classic.

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Sunday I got caught up on Gossip Girl and I’m super frustrated with this season. I’ve been watching the show since the beginning. I love the fashion, but I think I really watch for the Chuck and Blair storyline. Now it’s just getting a little ridiculous, I hate that Chuck’s been chasing Blair for so long. I hope the show develops his character by himself without Blair for a while.

So that sums up my romantic little weekend with the boy.

Did anyone else see any good movies this weekend?

Valentine’s Day Outfit Ideas

10 Feb

I think I may have found the half marathon I’m going to run this year. It’s at the end of June, so I would need to start training around April. I’m a little undecided, but I will keep you all posted when/ if I sign-up!

I started out the morning with a new DVD ab workout I picked up about a month ago. It’s taken me a while to get through it since there are multiple routines, but I’m going to write up a quick review for next week.

This weekend Matt and I are celebrating Valentine’s Day since we won’t see each other on Tuesday. We are going to go for a couple’s massage. The place we are going to offers chocolate and champagne as part of it. I’m really excited to spend time with him and also for the massage. School and work have been a little stressful so it will be nice to unwind with the person I love.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner here are some outfit ideas for an evening and day date. Enjoy!

Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

Valentine's Day Evening Date

Valentine’s Day Evening Date by the5kfashionista featuring slimming dresses

Mango slimming dress, £45, Steve Madden leather pumps, $80, MICHAEL Michael Kors clutch handbag, $80, Sequin gold plated jewelry, $58, French Connection twist jewelry, £10

I saw this dress and instantly fell in love with the color. If you walk into the room with this gorgeous dress on you will instantly be the center of attention. The slight draping in the front and belt around the waist make this dress sexy and timeless. To let the dress take center stage I paired this outfit with neutral accessories. Nude pumps will make your legs appear super long, the hints of gold in the jewelry and bag help to bring everything together. This is a great combination for dinner and dancing.

Valentine's Day Day Date

Valentine’s Day Day Date by the5kfashionista featuring hematite earrings

Oasis sleeveless ruffle blouse, £30, Cropped jacket, $120, Del Forte bootcut jeans, £54, Chinese Laundry peep toe platform pumps, $69, BCBGeneration quilted clutch, $68, Vince Camuto hematite earrings, $32

I’m a sucker for a great blazer and this white is crisp and I love the flowiness in the front, versus a regular structured jacket. A great dark wide leg jean will make your legs appear long. The jeans paired with a cute tucked in red blouse adds a bit of class and subtle sexiness. The peep toe pumps are gorgeous and pair easily with the neutral clutch. This outfit would be great for lunch and a movie.

Definitely don’t be afraid of adding some color this Valentine’s day. It’s fun and playful for any plans.

Are you doing anything special for Valentine’s Day?

This year and last year are the only times I’ve had a boyfriend for Valentine’s Day, in the past I’ve normally hung out with girlfriends and had wine and watched chick flicks, it was always a great time.

Have a great weekend!

Super Bowl Champs! Plus A Glimpse of Warm Weather

6 Feb

First and foremost, the Giants are the Super Bowl Champions!!

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It was a nerve wracking game, but I loved every minute of it. No matter who you were rooting for, this was a great game. Of course I’m happy that my favorite team one :)

I started a lifting routine last week and I am so incredibly sore.  I guess I really am using muscles that I don’t normally engage with my runs or my morning body weight training routines. It’s a good feeling and I’m definitely going to keep this up.

Speaking of running, I bought new running sneakers this weekend. It’s been about a year and 500 miles since my last pair and it was definitely time for an upgrade. My knees and feet were starting to bother me and I think it was from overuse.

I went to City Sports after doing a lot of research on different shoes. I wanted to be sure I was buying a good shoe for my foot type and running style. I ended up buying the Nike LunarEclipse + 2. It’s a stability shoe, but also has a nice cushy feel. I tried them out on the treadmill yesterday and loved them.

I have the Nike + kit for my Ipod so I’m able to track my runs very easily with the + shoes. I did hear that if you have the chip for the shoes that you can buy a separate running pouch so you don’t need to buy Nike shoes. I did try on a few other brands, but these were by far my favorite.

A Glimpse of Warm Weather

Last week there were a few days of unseasonably warm weather, one day it was up almost to 60. I also got my first major swim issue of the Victoria’s Secret catalog.

All of this had me dreaming of warmer weather, beaches and bathing suits. Here are a few trends I’ve noticed for swim suits this year:

Swim Trends 2012

Swim Trends 2012 by the5kfashionista featuring bikini bathing suits

L Space bikini swimwear, $134, Bikini swimwear, $50, Bikini bathing suit, $46, Violet Lake bandeau swimwear, $85, Violet Lake bikini bathing suit, $85, Sequin bathing suit, £10, H m swimwear, £9.99, H M bikini bathing suit, £7.99

Many of the swim trends are mimicking what we are seeing in day to day style. Last year color blocking and playing with bright colors was big and that is evident in many of the swimsuits this year. Animal prints are also staying in style but taking on new colors with everything from zebra, leopard to snake skin patterns. Large pieces of hardware are also making a big statement, adding a little bit of swim jewelry to bikinis and one-pieces. This may not be the most swim friendly option, but would look great while sun bathing.

Bathing suits are also taking on a bit of femininity with ruffles and fringe. There are also a variety of swimsuits in soft pastel colors. The last trend that is holding strong is sparkle. Swimsuits will be glittering with sequins and other types of sparkle, again this is a good option if you plan on just laying on the beach.

For those of you headed on vacation or getting ready for spring break, these are some great options for pool side attire.

This winter has really flown by and didn’t seem like winter at all. There wasn’t much snow and it was a lot warmer than usual. Although I really enjoy the winter, with the crisp air and fun winter activities, the days are getting longer and I’m anxious for the first signs of spring. The official start is just about a month away.

What’s your favorite part of the start of spring?

I love that the days are getting longer and we are slowly getting more sunlight. It also means I can start going for runs after work again!

A Twilight Weekend

21 Nov

I’m officially counting down the days until Thanksgiving. This weekend was pretty low-key (my fav). Matt and I rented Bad Teacher to watch on Friday night. For dinner we had some doctored up macaroni and cheese with green peas and spicy chicken sausage. I’m not big on dessert, but my favorite cold treat is Ciao Bella Mango Sorbet. I like that there are very few ingredients and the company uses real fruit in their sorbets. I think Matt and I have tried most of their sorbets and gelatos, but the mango is by far my favorite. It’s naturally fat free and has 120 calories per half cup serving.

Mango is by far the best Ciao Bella flavor


Saturday we decided to walk around Boston a bit before we went to go see Breaking Dawn Part I. I’m not a huge Twilight fan, but I have seen all the movies. The movie wasn’t bad, but I still think the first one might be my favorite. It was entertaining and more graphic than I thought it would be. Matt doesn’t like blood so there were a few scenes he thought were pretty gross. I was also a little surprised to see a little nudity during one of the honeymoon scenes, did anyone else catch the side shot of Kristen Stewart’s breast? I totally wasn’t expecting that. I’ve been avoiding reading the series, but I may try to suck it up and just get through it before the last movie comes out next year.

The honeymoon took up a good portion of Breaking Dawn, but it was really cute

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Yesterday, Matt drove back to Connecticut early so I went for a longish 5 mile run. It was right around two in the afternoon and it was absolutely gorgeous out. I ran through a few areas where the leaves had just fallen and I could smell that dry leaves as I crunched through them. I took a slower pace than usual, but my legs felt so tight. It was my first time running outdoors since the time change so it’s been a couple of weeks. Although I run 5 miles on the treadmill pretty regularly I felt like I was dragging. The run made me realize how much I miss my outdoor runs too.

Today I started out the morning with a BodyRock.tv routine called the Booty Shaping workout, which I felt more in my abs and arms than my butt. After work I was back on the treadmill. I did some intervals for 3.4 miles. This is my last run before the Turkey Trot. Tomorrow I’ll do a morning workout and Wednesday will be a day off.

Does anyone else notice a difference between running outdoors versus on a treadmill?

New Nail Polish from Essie

3 Oct

I picked up a new nail polish color this weekend. It’s from Essie and it’s called Power Clutch and it’s a nice dark grey. I had been eyeing the color, but I wasn’t sure how it would look against my skin tone. I get most of my nail polishes from Sally Hansen because they are inexpensive and get some great wear. At just under $8 this was a little more expensive than what I’m used to. To get the sort of coverage I like I had to put the coats on very thick. A regular coat looked too opaque. Overall I think it’s a great color for the fall and winter.

Do you have a favorite nail polish color right now?