Christmas Gift Guide: For Her

via Pinterest

One of my best guy friends is getting ready for his first Christmas with his girlfriend, and after spoiling her these past few months, he needs a little help topping himself. I already suggested this leopard print Louis Vuitton scarf because it’s fabulous and I’ve been asking for it for myself for 2 years now. I want someone I know to own it! But I put together this gift guide just in case he needs more options…

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Gift Guide: For Her


Alexander Wang sweater
£415 – net-a-porter.com

Current/Elliott leopard skinny jeans
£200 – net-a-porter.com

Shoes
$605 – net-a-porter.com

Reed Krakoff leather shoes
$495 – net-a-porter.com

Christian Louboutin high heel shoes
$1,495 – net-a-porter.com

Proenza Schouler suede bag
$895 – lagarconne.com

Alexander Wang sling bag
£655 – net-a-porter.com

Marc by Marc Jacobs python handbag
$190 – net-a-porter.com

Yves Saint Laurent gold plated jewelry
$250 – net-a-porter.com

Happy Shopping!!

Long Run ‘List: Inspiration Edition

I’m kind of ashamed to admit it but…this week of running has been extremely blah for me.  I’ve finished my runs without any major problems. I don’t have any injuries. I’ve just been on auto-pilot. Even at my first speed workout on Wednesday, my mind was somewhere else. Actually this entire week has been blah for me in general. I have a 6 mile run planned for tomorrow and I really want to enjoy it so this week’s playlist is all about inspiration. I need some songs that will wake me up and push me out of this funk. Warning: this playlist is superrrr random.

1. Paramore. Hallelujah :: One of my favorite Paramore songs. I love that it’s upbeat and mellow at the same time.

2. Flo Rida. Good Feeling :: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love this song. How can you listen to it and not move your shoulders? Try it. I dare you.

3. Lady Antebellum. Just A Kiss :: I’m not really a Country music fan, but this song is so sweet. It’s the perfect description of new love. And it’s slower so it’ll bring my pace back down after my Flo Rida jam.

4. Jessie J. Nobody’s Perfect :: Favorite Jessie J song for sure. Especially this acoustic version. I’ve watched it at least 100 times. (She starts singing at 1:00)

5. Kirk Franklin. I Smile :: There’s no room for blah feelings when this song is on. It wills you into a happy state.

6. Natalie Maines. God Only Knows :: I love the original Beach Boys version of this song, but this version is definitely my favorite.

7. BarlowGirl. Sing Me A Love Song :: I couldn’t find a good video of this song anywhere (sad face), but its a beautiful song about letting God remind you of who you are and who He created you to be in the midst of those times when you’re feeling unsure/insecure/useless/etc.

8. Kanye West feat. Adam Levine. Heard ‘Em Say :: I could listen to Adam Levine all day long. I have no idea why, I just love his voice. This is one of my favorite Kanye songs. I have about 25 favorite Kanye songs in case you hadn’t already noticed.

9. Lily Allen. The Fear :: I really miss Lily Allen. The lyrics to this song are so relevant to today’s obsessive culture.

10. Glee Cast. We Are Young :: I may have gotten a little teary-eyed when they performed this song last week. Although the verses aren’t that..uplifting…the chorus is. It makes me want to do something young and amazing. Like form a band. or write a book. or run 6 miles. Let’s all watch it again…

DIY Christmas.

Yesterday, I talked about homemade/edible Christmas gifts and I hinted that I had a few DIY (do-it-yourself) projects for you to try as well. I’ve always wanted to be that creative girl who makes all of her own jewelry and copies every major runway trend, but I’ve honestly never even tried. I’m making a change this Christmas! Here are a few great ideas I found on some of my favorite blogs…

If you’re making something for the girl who loves jewelry and accessories…

via Jak & Jil. Friendship bracelet tutorial here.

via Honestly…WTF. Braided Hex Nut bracelet tutorial here.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive and creative gift to bring your host/hostess, try this…

Wine Bag Kit sold here. Tutorial here.

For the girl/guy who is addicted to Instagram, try framing a few of their favorites or making an Instagram photo collage.

photos and inspiration via Girls on the Style and Because I’m Addicted.

If your gift recipient has an iPad (or is getting one for Christmas), save them some money and make them a bright and bold iPad case.

via P.S. – I Made This. Full tutorial here.

And for the girl who likes to stand out…

via Just B. Full tutorial here.

There are so many other great DIY projects online. If you do a little research, you can find instructions to make pretty much anything you want. These are the ones I’m thinking about making for my family members…and myself. If you do end up making something, please post it on my facebook page or tweet me a picture of it! I’d love to see how they all turn out!

i love your style: Elizabeth Olsen

I’m a little over a month younger than the Olsen twins and as a kid, I adored them. That adoration continues to this day. I die for 75% of Ashley’s wardrobe. But lately, their younger sister Elizabeth has stolen the spotlight. I love that her personal style shines through in everything she wears whether she’s at a movie premiere, a party or just walking down a NYC street. She knows how to build a look around one statement piece and her style is pretty much the definition of effortless chic.

New York Times

Wonderland Magazine

Wearing Calvin Klein at Elle’s Women in Hollywood Tribute

Wearing the Louboutin Mikarani flat.

With MKA at a NYLON party.

a person’s airport style says as much about them as their party style.

In Cannes promoting her film Martha Marcy May Marlene

Statement necklace at the HFPA Luncheon

I die for Missoni.

Thirsty Thursday: Homemade

I’ve warned my entire family that everyone will be receiving homemade gifts for Christmas because I’m a poor law student who can’t afford anything else. Plus, my last final is 5 days before Christmas and I can’t put myself through the stress of last-minute shopping this year. I just can’t do it.

I found some great DIY project ideas that I’ll share soon, but I was reading Cupcakes and Cashmere yesterday and got some great ideas for edible gifts as well. For example, homemade Peppermint Marshmallows! These would make such a great gift for anyone with children. I’d pair it with a Hot Chocolate mix and put it in a cute box or basket.

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For a more grown-up gift, try making jalapeño and pineapple infused tequila. If your gift recipient isn’t a fan of tequila, play around with different flavors/liquors (there are other flavor/liquor combinations at that link). Strain the infused liquor into a pretty jar or bottle. And don’t forget the jingle bell!

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I’ve always found that I’m amazed by even the simplest homemade gifts. Tell someone you made it yourself and it becomes an instant hit. Which brings me to my next idea…

Since I won’t be wowing anyone with my designer gifts this year, I should probably try to wow them with a looks-really-impressive-but-is-actually-super-easy dessert. Enter The Barefoot Contessa.

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When I first started cooking, I downloaded a bunch of old Food Network episodes and my absolute favorite one featured a Holiday menu by Ina Garten. She made a simple stuffed chicken breast, roasted carrots and parsnips, pasta with truffle butter and finished it off with a gorgeous red berry trifle.

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I’ve been waiting for the day when I could attempt this recipe. I will definitely be making this for Christmas dinner. You can find the recipe here and a short video recipe here. The video doesn’t include the pound cake recipe, but it’s included in the full recipe. I also recommend downloading the full episode on iTunes and making the entire meal as a pre-holiday dinner for your family, friends or boyfriend. It’s called Perfect Holiday Dinner from Season 2 of Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics.

Let me know if you have any other homemade gift ideas and/or recipes and stay tuned for a DIY:Christmas post coming soon!

What’s Happening Wednesday: Resolutions.

We’re a little under 3 weeks away from 2012 which means most people are already planning their New Year’s Resolutions. For some, those resolutions might have to do with goals they have for their lives: get into grad school, become more organized, etc. For others, many others, those resolutions are health and fitness related. (In the Pilates class at my gym, we all keep joking about how we should enjoy the space now because come January, our mats will be on top of each other.)

I’m really hoping that some of my readers are planning to become runners in 2012 and today I want to encourage you to start now! I’ve never had any luck with resolutions. I always start them and give up by February 1st. But running was different. I started running in November 2011, and I’m still running 13 months later with no plans to stop. Ever. I think that starting early gives you the momentum you need to keep it going after the New Year has come and gone. Here are a few simple tips to get you going…

1. Purchase a good pair of running shoes.

Please please please. If you never listen to anything else I say, hear this: go to a running store and get fitted for the right running shoes for your foot. At a good running store (try Potomac River Running if you live in NoVa), they’ll put you in a neutral pair of shoes and have you run on a treadmill while they analyze your gait. I had lots of IT band pain before I did this, but ever since I purchased the right shoe for my foot (Asics GT-2160), I haven’t had any injuries or pain. And here’s a tip: once you find the right shoe for you, stock up. I found 2 pairs of the 2160 on sale for $60 right after I bought my first pair and scooped them right up. When it was time to switch out my old shoes (which you should do every 2 months or so when you’re training), I didn’t have to worry about buying any.

2. Purchase key winter running items.

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You don’t have to spend a ton of money on these items and you only need a few things. It’s quality over quantity when it comes to Winter running. I’d suggest purchasing a winter running jacket (wind and water resistant is a must), running tights (love my Nike tights!), running gloves (mine are from The North Face), one or two long-sleeve technical shirts (Nike and Lululemon make the best ones), and a hat or headband that covers your ears. I bought all of these items and have found that I’ve never been cold during a run and I actually enjoy running in the cold now. So weird.

3. Find a plan. 

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You’ve heard the saying a thousand times: “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I’m not saying that if you don’t follow a plan you’ll fail as a runner, but I do think that having one will make the process a lot easier to stick with. Often, new runners lace up their shoes, head outside and try to run as fast and as far as they can. Unless they’re already in shape, and sometimes even if they are, they’ll find that after a few minutes they’re gasping for air and stopping to walk. A program like C25k (which has an iPhone app now!) will ease your body into running and will help you gain endurance. If you don’t like C25k, try the Nike+ Coach’s Walk to Run program or try Hal Higdon’s 30/30 method. You can also try searching the Runner’s World website for articles/training plans geared toward beginners (which is what I did).

4. Take it easy.

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As a beginner, you shouldn’t be running all out. I’m not a running coach or a fitness expert so I don’t know how to explain this scientifically or even eloquently, but I’m going to try. When I first started running, I would run hard during my run intervals and then walk superrrr slow during my walk intervals while I tried to catch my breath. I finally got to where I could run an entire mile, but I would have a cramp immediately after and would have to go back to my run/walk intervals for the remainder of the run. I was so frustrated because I wasn’t seeing enough progress. It wasn’t until I started running at an easy, conversational pace that I was able to run for longer periods of time. My body learned how to perform at that speed for more than just a few minutes and now I’m ready to teach it how to perform at higher speeds. If you want to grow as a runner, you have to start slowly. Focus on steadying your breath without walking, even if it means slowing way down. Trust me, it works. Try running with a friend. If you can’t finish a sentence without sounding like you’re running up stairs, you’re running too fast.

5. Enjoy the run.

So many people have told me that they want to run like me, but they just hate running. I used to hate running too. That was when I thought of it as a means to an end. Running was just a way to lose weight and get in shape. Now, running is a way to clear my mind. It’s a way to explore a new city. It’s a moment in life that belongs to only me. It gives new meaning and beauty to places and things I’ve seen a hundred times before. It makes room in my head for an epiphany. It has brought me a sense of pride and accomplishment I’ve never felt before. Burning 300 calories in 30 minutes…that’s just a bonus.

Don’t wait for January 1st. Start today. Start right now. Make yourself a runner.

Christmas Gift Guide: For Him

I’m a single girl right now, but I do have a baby brother (who’s actually 22 and about 8 inches taller than me) and a “cool” dad so I’m always brainstorming good Christmas ideas for them.

I threw in some fitness items because they both exercise daily, but I’ve also included a few “clean-up” items for when they go out. My brother would wear every single item on this list so for any of you dating a 20-something guy, take notes.

*disclaimer: I obviously have expensive taste and I know a lot of the items I post are a bit pricey. That does not mean that I always buy those things. That’s just where I start. I find what I love and then if I can’t afford it, I find the best less-expensive version of it. I think mixing highs and lows is the best thing about fashion and it makes shopping more fun. (Post on that coming soon…)

Gift Guide: For Him


Let’s Recap: Week One.

I made it through my first full week of half marathon training and I am so so so happy with the way it turned out!

Monday, 12/5/11 – Power Yoga (Vinyasa) for 1 hour

Went to my first flow yoga class. My legs were feeling really tired after the Hot Chocolate 15k and I needed a good stretch. This class gave me that plus a good sweat. I loved the challenge and can’t wait to go again. I also learned some great new stretches for my legs and hips.

Tuesday, 12/6/11 – 2.52 miles in 30:06 (11:56 avg. pace) + 1 hr Pilates class

One thing I love about my training schedule is that my weekly runs focus on time instead of distance. Over the last two weeks, I had some bad runs and races where I walked a little bit. I understand that this is a process and that will happen from time to time, but it was a definite confidence boost to hop on that treadmill and run for 30 minutes without stopping. I was tired, but I definitely could’ve kept going which is exactly how you’re supposed to feel after an easy run. I set the speed to 4.8mph which equals out to 12:30/mile, but my nike+ app says I ran 30 seconds faster than that. I felt pretty good and didn’t feel like my breathing was labored, but I’m going to wear my heart rate monitor next time to be sure that I’m keeping it easy.

After my run, I went to a Pilates Fundamentals class at my gym. I’ve been once before and loved it. The class was just what I needed. We did strength moves for our hips, legs, shoulders/arms and core. I felt challenged and sore but not to the point where my runs will suffer. I think Pilates and yoga will be the perfect cross-training for my training schedule (plus a Zumba class when I can fit it in). After the run and the class, my body felt amazing. If that’s not incentive to keep going, I don’t know what is.

Wednesday, 12/7/11 – 3.77 miles in 45:04 (11:56 avg. pace)

Thanks to the rain this was another easy day. I headed to the gym and decided to try out the Cardio Cinema for the first time. Best decision of the day! They were playing Crazy, Stupid, Love which I’ve never seen so it was the perfect distraction from the dreadmill. I did 30 minutes easy followed by 6 thirty-second strides (2 at 6.0mph and 4 at 6.5mph) with 90 seconds rest in between (at 4.5mph). The strides were comfortably hard and I probably could’ve gone faster but I wanted to test things out, focus on keeping good form at a higher speed and finish feeling like I could’ve done more. Mission accomplished.

Thursday, 12/8/11 – 2.5 miles in 30:00 (12:00 avg. pace)

First outdoor run of the week. I wanted to do the track workout I missed on Wednesday (due to rain and a finals review), but it was better for my schedule to do a 30 minute easy run. My goal was to run for 30 minutes straight and to keep my pace as close to 12:00/mile as possible. Miles one and two were 12:12 and 12:11 respectively and when I saw that I was behind, I pushed it to 11:20/mile for the last half mile. I’m really happy with that time because not only was I able to stay close to what I can do on a flat treadmill, but I was also able to push it at the end when I was getting tired. I definitely felt this run more in my legs with the little rolling hills which was good. I needed to wake them up a little after an easy first half of the week.

Friday, 12/9/11 – Rest

Finals started on Friday and I thought about taking a yoga class before or after my first one, but I figured a day of complete rest would be fine too. My body is loving this recovery/base building week in my training schedule. It was exactly what I needed after a few heavy weeks training for the 10k and 15k.

Saturday, 12/10/11 – 5 miles in 1:02:08 (12:25 avg. pace)

This was possibly my best long run to date. It was my second group run with =PR= Distance Training Program, but since last week was a recovery run for most people (after running various races last weekend) it was really the first official long run. I brought headphones with me so that I wouldn’t get caught up running with other people and fail to keep an easy pace like I did last week. As much as I love having running partners, I’ve noticed that sometimes it’s enough to know that I’m a part of the group.

My goal was to stay as close to 12:30/mile as I could the entire time…

Mission accomplished! I started dragging a little bit during mile 4 from a combination of little hills and hunger, but I pushed through it and even sped up at the end. It’s amazing what scaling back can do for your running. I ran consistently this week, but I lowered my mileage/speed and my legs really appreciated it. I’m crossing my fingers that I feel this great throughout this entire training cycle!

Sunday, 12/11/11 – 3.55 miles in 43:35 (12:16 avg. pace)

Today was my first run ever with a run club. I joined Jessica from Pace of Me at her new Lululemon/Reston Pilates run club. I can’t say enough good things about it. We started with a short beginner’s Pilates class taught by Jessica’s sister, Jodi (and assisted by Jess!), before heading out to the W&OD trail for a 40 minute out and back run. We split into groups of runners, run/walkers and walkers. I decided to go with the run/walkers since I didn’t think I’d be able to keep up with the runners. I ran the first 2 miles with a girl about my age and then ran/walked the last 1.5 with the sweetest lady who just started running and was having trouble running nonstop. I did a 3:1 run/walk interval with her and it reminded me so much of myself last year. When I told her we had hit 3 miles she got so excited and said “My husband will be so surprised!” Running with her couldn’t have come at a better time. I needed a reminder of how far I’ve come and a moment to be proud of that, before I really begin pushing myself in this training cycle. No matter what happens, I have finally become a runner and that’s all I wanted in the first place. I seriously cannot wait to go back next week!

Totals –

miles this week :: 17.34

miles this month :: 34.25

miles this year :: 302.55

Christmas Gift Guide: Winter Runner

It’s Saturday and, although I’ll be in a final exam this afternoon, I’m guessing most of you will be out Christmas shopping. I’m super behind on my shopping, and by behind I mean haven’t even started, so during my study breaks I’ve been online window shopping. You know what that means! You’re getting your very own JerrellReneeRun’s Gift Guides! Starting with (what else?) a runner’s Christmas list.

A Runner's Christmas List

 


Nike activewear
$50 – nordstrom.com
Every runner needs a pair of warm-weather running tights this season. Besides Lululemon, Nike is my go-to brand for running gear because it lasts forever and always delivers.

Nike activewear
$175 – nike.com
Nike keeps sending me emails taunting me with this jacket. It’s pricey, but it’s wind and water resistant (you’d be surprised how many running jackets aren’t), it has thumbholes and hand warmers and a thermal lining. I hope you’re reading this Mom!

It’s no secret that I love this shirt. I have it in 3 colors and I want 13 more. It keeps me so warm and this pink color will keep me looking cute even when I’m freezing.

Equipment sports activewear
$25 – lululemon.com
I just love all Lulu water bottles. This one says “I love running…it makes my calves look good in heels.” This is a cute stocking stuffer for the runner in your life.

I’ve recently fallen back in love with yoga and it has become essential to my half-marathon training. I think every runner should try a yoga class at least once a week to get a good stretch and with this mat, they’ll have no excuse not to go.

Nike shoes
$100 – nike.com
I’ve been wanting to try out a pair of barefoot running shoes for a while now, but I didn’t want to risk an injury while I was building my training base. Now that I have my training calendar and noticed that I have lots of easy mid-week runs, I think now would be a good time to test them out. These have a shield so they stay dry in rain and snow.

I already have 2 Garmin watches (remember that compulsive shopping problem), but I’m still interested in this watch. Not only does it track your runs using GPS like the Garmin watches, it syncs with Nike+. I use a Nike+ app on my phone and I’ve become obsessed with logging miles and winning challenges. It’s such a great motivation tool.

These Nike gloves were all over the Hot Chocolate 15k expo last weekend. I love that they have fleece on the inside because I’ve noticed that during long runs, my hands stay chilly through the entire run. I need these in my life as soon as possible.

First of all, this headband is super cute. Second, it covers your ears. Do I need to explain anything else? I didn’t think so.