Friday Favorites: What’s In My Gym Bag

It’s been quite some time since I did a Friday Favorites post! I thought now that I’m attending a lot of fitness classes, it would a great opportunity for me to share with you the favorite things I keep in my gym bag. So far since being injured I’ve taken a bunch of different yoga classes (including aerial!), spin classes, and my current beloved, Refine Method. It’s almost a guarantee that I’ll be a sweaty mess after every class, so I make sure to pack my bag accordingly – doesn’t matter whether I have errands to do after class or I’m just going home… no one wants to smell or be sweaty on the train or while walking home in the cold!

Gym Bag Essentials |

My collage making skills are less than stellar, so this one goes counter-clockwise… which kind of drives me insane, but I don’t have the patience or time to re-make the collage.

Forever21 Gym Bag

The most important piece here is my gym bag, obviously. I never had the need for one before, but since I started taking classes that require me to hop on the train, I knew it was time to upgrade from my old Long Champ Le Pliage tote. I really loved the look of quite a few bags, but didn’t want to plunk down the cash for something that was just going to hold my sweaty clothes and sneakers. Eventually I found one from Forever21 that was only $23 and had great reviews. I figured that for $23, I couldn’t go wrong! I’ve been using it multiple times a week for a few weeks now and couldn’t be happier with it. It has plenty of compartments both inside and out, and is large enough to hold everything I could possibly need without being a huge bag. Unfortunately they don’t have the same bag online anymore, but they do have a few others that look awesome!

Pacifica Coconut Water Facial Wipes

I got these facial wipes as a sample pack in the Fitness Magazine Meet & Tweet goodie bag, immediately fell in love with them, and went to Target to buy some. They smell amazing (think coconut butter on a tropical island) and do a good job of wiping off all the dirt and sweat without being harsh. My skin is really sensitive (and dry and acne prone, yay!) so I have to be careful about what products I use. I love them so much that I also bought some of their body butter which is equally amazing.

Nathan Power Shower Body Wipes

These bad-boys are a life saver. I’ve had plans after almost every Refine Method class (usually errands or brunch and not something that required a full shower) and I sweat a lot, so these have come in handy. One wipe is all you need to refresh yourself and feel like you can go about your business without being the smelly kid in class. They aren’t a shower replacement by any means, but they definitely keep me from feeling gross. I bought a bunch on Amazon and they’ve been perfect after races where I want to hang out and cheer or go grab food after!

Nuun/Picky Bars Water Bottle

This might seem silly, but I’m kind of picky about my water bottles when it comes to working out. I want something that I can easily grab and don’t have to struggle with to get a drink from. The bottles that I’ve gotten from Nuun and Picky Bars do the trick! The body of the bottle has enough give so I can squeeze it if I’m in dire need of water, and the  top doesn’t require anything fancy from me in order to actually get water out. Plus, it fits perfectly on a FlyWheel bike, next to my yoga mat, or in between stations at Refine Method!

Infinity Scarves! 

With winter (officially) only a few days away, I’ve found an infinity scarf is the perfect thing to have with me for pre and post class. It keeps me warm on the walk there, but it also helps to keep my sweaty hair off my neck for the walk home! My favorites are the Oiselle Runfinity scarf (I have the regular stripe in fresh green, the lux runfinity in fast red, and the fleece infinity scarf) as well as the Lululemon Vinyasa scarf. I pack one even if it’s a “warmer” day because by the time I’m heading home and back out in the cooler air after sweating, I need a little something extra. Once the cooler weather months hit, you can almost always find me wearing some type of scarf, so it seemed only natural to wear it to and from my workouts, too!

Tell me…
Do you have any gym bag essentials? 
What’s your favorite group fitness class?

Inspired: What I Drank Wednesday

Last week, Ashley did a hilarious “What I Drank Wednesday” post. It was absolutely hilarious, and I thought to myself; ‘hey, this isn’t such a bad idea! Everyone always talks about what they eat, but what about drinks?!’ So, I figured it would be appropriate, given we just had Memorial Day Weekend, to share what I’ve been drinking lately. I’m by no means a big drinker (anymore), but I love craft beer.

Things started off on the right foot Friday when I got to leave work at 2pm. It was rainy and cold, so a stop at Wawa for coffee (and jalapeño bites, don’t judge) was necessary. Thinking of Hollie, I made sure to snap my #coffeeaday and add some of their Irish cream creamer, which is delicious and should be available everywhere.

Wawa coffee. It's good stuff.
Wawa coffee. It’s good stuff.

To further my weekend of drinking, a package of Nuun was waiting for me when I got home – citrus fruit, tropical, Kona cola, and lemon tea flavors! These were all new-to-met flavors and I couldn’t wait to try them… so I started with the cola during dinner, had the tropical after a run on Saturday, the lemon tea while lounging on Saturday evening, and the citrus after Sunday’s run. No surprise to me, I loved them all. I think my favorite was the tropical (it reminds me of something, but I can’t put my finger on what exactly), and the cola and tea flavors are impressively close to regular cola and tea (obviously watered down, since it’s mixed with water). Things got crazy on Monday when I made myself a cherry limeade and Kona cola slush!

Just a few new (to me) Nuun flavors to add to the collection!
Just a few new (to me) Nuun flavors to add to the collection!

I also picked up some of Starbucks’ new 3 Region blend, which admittedly first caught my eye because of the bright floral package. I was happy to see that it was a medium roast that boasted “floral, citrus, and herbal notes” that was a perfect companion to a sunny day. After my 8.5 miler on Sunday, I was more than happy to plop down on the couch with a cup while I watched the new season of Arrested Development on Netflix.

Coffee. Always coffee.
Coffee. Always coffee.

I suppose it wouldn’t be a Holiday weekend (or a weekend, or a regular day for that matter) without some beer. We’re a little low on inventory, so I made due with what we had in the fridge. Thankfully we only buy good beer, so I wasn’t disappointed in my choices. I had an Ithaca Beer Co. Flower Power IPA on Sunday evening, and a Flying Dog seasonal Woody Creek on Monday. I love me some good craft beers!

Ithaca Beer Co. Flower Power
Ithaca Beer Co. Flower Power

I’m currently headed to Punta Cana for a friend’s wedding this weekend, so I’m sure I will have even more drinks to share next week!

What have you been drinking lately? 

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! And for those of you in the good ‘ole U.S. of A, happy Memorial Day weekend! I’m pumped to unofficially kick off summer, since it’s been oppressively humid the last few days.

Thumbs up! This is how I feel about Holiday weekends.
Thumbs up! This is how I feel about Holiday weekends.

There have been a few things I’ve been absolutely loving lately that I’ve bought with my own money, and wanted to share it with you. I always enjoy posts from people (that aren’t sponsored or full of affiliate links) sharing things that they really like – recipes, clothes, fitness products, etc. I think the blogging world gets a bad rap sometimes, and people assume that if you’re writing about it, it’s because you either got it for free or are being paid to say so. While that may be true for of some bloggers, it definitely isn’t the case for a lot of other bloggers. So I’m here to be the “you should think about buying this because I bought it and I think it’s awesome” voice of information!

This particular post doesn’t follow a theme – everything from running shorts to face moisturizer, but I think they are equally important!

Daily Writing Tips

If you are a blogger, consider yourself to be a writer, or heck, just want to write cohesive and grammatically correct e-mails, you need to read Daily Writing Tips. Sure I was an English major in college and am even certified to teach English Language & Literature to the children of America (well, at least in New Jersey), but I learn something every single time I read this blog. Seriously.

I often find myself cringing at grammatical errors in blog posts, professional e-mails, and even (generally) professional websites. I realize that mistakes happen (they all do, no matter how great of a writer you are), but some of these things should easily be caught with a simple once-over. I’m obviously not here to preach grammar and writing tips, because I know my blog posts are far from eloquent and profound, but in a world where so much of our communication is now through writing, it can’t hurt for us to all brush up on the rules now and again!

Yes To Tomatoes Moisturizer

It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that I have (and still do) struggle with my skin. I have a combination of super oily (thanks, dad) and super dry (thanks, mom) skin that is also extremely sensitive. So if I attempt to treat one side of the problem too much, the other one flares beyond belief. And, both oily skin and dry skin can cause breakouts… resulting in me usually at a loss when it comes to products.

Yes To Tomatoes

I first discovered the Yes To products when they were first starting out as Yes To Carrots, and hadn’t yet introduced other vegetables. After getting a pack of their Yes To Cucumbers face wipes to use after runs, I decided to try some of their other products, starting with the tomato moisturizer. It’s awesome. First of all it smells great; something I was skeptical of considering it’s made with tomatoes (I don’t necessarily think tomatoes smell good). Also, since my skin is oily yet dry, it manages to provide the right amount of moisture without being oily, something I’ve struggled to find with moisturizers in the past. I’m still shiny hours into the day, but I’m yet to find a product that prevents it (so I just own stock in blotters).

Oiselle Stride Shorts

I don’t know why it took me so long to try these Oiselle stride shorts, because they’re great. When I started running I wore cotton Soffe shorts from my high school days, and let me tell you, that got uncomfortable quickly. So I wore “typical” running shorts, and we know how most of those wind up – puffy front, riding up, chaffing, you know the drill. I discovered spandex shorts a few years ago, but it seemed like all of them were more like booty shorts on me… and the last thing I want to be worrying about while running a race is pulling down my shorts because I may be showing some cheek. I eventually abandoned the idea of spandex shorts because I couldn’t find any at the perfect length (others were too long and reminded me more of biking shorts) and settled on Oiselle’s Distance and Roga shorts (which are also awesome).

So magical they deserve a lime green background!
So magical they deserve a lime green background!

Eventually I decided to give spandex shorts another try, and went with the Stride Short. They are the perfect length! I don’t have long legs by any means, but I do have a long torso which means I naturally like to have my shorts sit a little higher since I’m not interested in a muffin top. These shorts fall in the perfect spot for me – long enough to prevent any free shows, but short enough so they don’t gobble my entire leg and make me look like a stump. And they don’t ride up at all. I need to buy these in every color possible.


Maybe I was late to jump on the Nuun train because it seemed like everyone was singing its praises, and I am a natural skeptic. I mean could hydration tabs really be that great? Growing up swimming you could usually find me guzzling Powerade or Gatorade – I wasn’t picky and just drank whatever my mom bought at the store… though it always seemed just a little too sweet, and a little too syrup-y for me. When I was in college, we had powdered Gatorade at practices and meets which I liked a lot more because it was usually watered down. After I graduated, though, I stuck to just water for my hydration needs, even after I started running. 

My favorite Nuun flavor, Cherry Limeade, and a surprise visit from a Picky Bar ;)
My favorite Nuun flavor, Cherry Limeade, and a surprise visit from a Picky Bar 😉

Finally after seeing enough tweets and hearing enough people talk about it, I decided to give Nuun a try. I picked up a bunch of single tubes at REI in case I didn’t like some (or any) of the flavors about a month and a half ago, and have gone through three 12-tab tubes, and ordered 7 more tubes since then. So I guess it’s pretty safe to say that I love it! My favorite flavors are Cherry Limeade, Lemon Lime, and Watermelon. I just recently purchased some new flavors that I’m sure I will love as well (they even have cola flavored tabs, which I’m sure would go great with the cherry). I absolutely love how convenient they are, and that I can just throw a tube in my purse or spike bag and have it any time I’d typically have water. The fizz that the tab creates is an added bonus to a seltzer lover like myself.

The Run of the Year!


Well, at least that’s what Jocelyn says it will be! But seriously, if you’re a runner in the general NYC area, you should clear your morning schedule for next Saturday, June 1st.  At 8:30am there will be a fun group run (4 and 8 mile options) from Greatist’s headquarters, with Oiselle, Nuun, and Picky Bars as sponsors (meaning samples)! You can sign up and get free tickets for the event here. I’m super bummed that I won’t be able to make it because a friend is getting married that weekend, but I know it’s going to be awesome, so you have to go for me!

Any big plans for the weekend?
What are you loving lately?

Racecation: The Essentials

When I first started running I insisted on only running races that were within a 30 minute radius from where I lived. The thought of having to pack extra stuff, sleep in an unfamiliar bed, and travel to and from a race location just didn’t appeal to me. But as I got more into running and became a part of the running community, I realized that traveling for races is just part of the territory. Considering I did it for years while I swam, I don’t know why this concept seemed so unappealing to me. Plus, if I can add in a few days for “vacation,” I’ll gladly do it! Hence the name “racecation” (which I stole from Krissy). While I’m no expert, I’ve certainly traveled to my fair share of races since I’ve started running, and thought it would be helpful to share my racecation essentials!

Obviously the most important thing to include when packing is your race day outfit and sneakers. I quadruple check when I’m packing just to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. All I need is to show up to a race without all of my outfit or my sneakers and break the cardinal rule of “nothing new on race day.” And of course if you’re partial to music while running or a watch, those are just as important as what you plan on wearing. I suppose the rest is negligible as long as you have what you plan on racing in, but it’s nice to take into consideration what you’d be comfortable in before and after the race… especially if your vacation involves a lot of walking (hello Disney!).

Oiselle Kit & Mizuno Wave Riders!
Oiselle Kit & Mizuno Wave Riders!

For any race I attend, whether it’s 15 minutes away or 15 hours away, I always bring my spike bag with the same stuff in it. I don’t always head right home after races that are nearby, so it’s important that I have things with me to make myself somewhat presentable in public (I use the term loosely). For me, that means some type of body wipe, body spray, face wipes, and deodorant. I also bring a full change of clothes. Depending on the weather and where I’m going, I may do a full or partial change, usually in the backseat of my car. What can I say, I’m a serious (salty) sweater, that has no problem changing in public.

Free Speed Stick from a race? Don't mind if I do! I'm cool with smelling like a man.
Free Speed Stick from a race? Don’t mind if I do! I’m cool with smelling like a man.

Once I’m actually home or back at the hotel and showered, I dress based on my plans for the day. But, if I ran a half marathon or longer, I usually throw on a pair of compression socks or sleeves for good measure as well. Sneakers are usually the way to go for me right after a race, but sometimes my feet are okay with a pair of Toms or flip flops. I also bought a pair of Aspaeris compression shorts back when I was training for Chicago, and let me tell you, those things are magical. I tend to have tight hips after races, so these keep me nice and snug, and because they are SO tight, you can wear them under pretty much anything. Secret compression at it’s finest!

Why yes, I am wearing compression shorts under this dress!
Why yes, I am wearing compression shorts under this dress!

Now aside from looking presentable and not being smelly, I’m also particular when it comes to my pre and post race nutrition (surprise?). For every single race I’ve traveled to (which are all half marathons or marathons), I bring my own peanut butter and bread. This may sound ridiculous because they’re pretty basic staples, but I don’t like the idea of risking not having it come race morning. I’ve found that the single serve packs of peanut butter work best, either with regular sandwich bread or a bagel. I also bring a ton of Picky Bars with me for before and after the race because I know they don’t upset my stomach at all, and they’re delicious. And now that I’m a new Nuun hydration convert, a tube of that comes along with me, too.

My favorite flavors!
My favorite flavors!

I’m one of those people that packs days in advance, so I’ve been packed for the Nike Women’s Half since Wednesday. I know, it’s weird… but it goes along with my heavy planning nature. I get so excited I just can’t help myself!

So tell me… 
What are your racecation essentials? 

PS – Don’t forget to enter my Food Should Taste Good Chips Giveaway… you have until Monday !