28 Days of Classy and Fabulous Things: Day 20 – Une Bicyclette

20/02/2011 § Leave a comment

**QC’s 28 Days**
In February I will be bringing you daily tips
to cultivate more classiness and fabulousness in daily life!
Image via Rides A Bike

Day 20: Une Bicyclette
There is something truly classy about riding your bicyclette around town.  How lovely does Susan Peters look in the image above?  (My little heart flutters at this picture of Santa Monica!  I have had many a walk on this very same path!)  Even though snow is falling here in New York, my mind immediately turns to thoughts of my lovely red bicycle, lamenting in the storage room.  I will admit that I actually didn’t have a bicycle as an adult until I moved to New York.  In Los Angeles, at least in my experience, the car was king and bicycles were either something that you had as a child or something you used for your Ironman triathalon.  I was blind to how wonderful it could be!  It simply is the fabulous and classy way to get about.

In preparation for spring, I urge you to get yourself your own bicyclette for jaunts to the patisserie.  I am definitely not an authority on the virtues of fixed gear versus hybrids and etc., but I do know that I like the look of Brooks saddles and you simply must get a basket (to carry your macarons, cherie!).  Obviously this can be a very expensive love affair.  There exists a very specialized bicycle industry as well as endless blog geekery on the subject, so no need for me to try to get into that here.  If money is no object, you will easily be able to find the perfect bespoke bicyclette without much effort.  Unfortunately, this was not the case when I was looking, but I do have a very lovely retro-looking Schwinn Legacy Cruiser that I always get complimented on!  Behold!

Image via Target

The only difference is that mine now has a white wire basket in the front and a lovely bell.  Please hold for the best part: only $119 and currently available at Target!  And they delivered it!  I should caution you that it did arrive in parts and I did not put it together myself (many thanks to The Standard Edition and his toolbox).  But I did watch the process and it seemed very quick and easy.  If you are looking for a modestly priced bicycle with a ton of style, I definitely recommend picking one up.  And then we can be bicyclette twinzies!

Image via Rides A Bike

If you are in need of a bit of inspiration for that first trip on two wheels, look no farther than Rides A Bike, a lovely Tumblr full of vintage pictures of movie stars on their bikes.  J’adore!

Earlier: Quite Continental’s 28 Days of Classy and Fabulous Things

28 Days of Classy and Fabulous Things: Day 9 – Move It

09/02/2011 § Leave a comment

**QC’s 28 Days**
In February I will be bringing you daily tips
to cultivate more classiness and fabulousness in daily life!
Image via LIFE, by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Day 9: Move It
Life is neither classy nor fabulous if it is spent feeling anything less than energized.  You will soundly fail to carpe diem if you cannot summon the physical strength and mental fortitude to pull yourself from your gorgeously upholstered Louis XIV chair and set out to conquer the world.  This is the main reason to take today’s tip to heart, but of course, there are countless others — illness prevention, weight control, reduction of stress, and the like.

As someone who has gone through phases with her own fitness routine — ranging from completely nonexistent to running the New York Marathon last November — I have a few ideas both on how to get started with a new regimen and ways to refine one you’re currently committed to.

  1. Join a gym, hire a trainer, sign up for a series of classes: The beauty of exercise is that you are born with all the equipment you need to get a good workout — your body.  (Okay, maybe you also need some shoes.  And maybe some pants.  Semantics.)  However, most people fail to compel their bodies to get that good workout on their own.  This tip will motivate you to exercise with the threat of wasted money hanging over your head.  Gym memberships and classes exist in practically every price range, so I’m definitely not accepting the “too expensive” argument here.  You may not be spinning in the Sports Club/LA, but your local Y probably has some stationary bikes free at this very second.
  2. Set reasonable goals: To mark your progress, you must set goals.  Most importantly, your goals must be reasonable for yourself or else you run the danger of finding yourself in a tailspin of perceived failure and you will lose any momentum you have built up.  A good way to find reasonable, bite-sized goals, is to find a big goal and then examine the steps that it will take to get there.  For example, if I wanted to run the New York Marathon again this November, I know it would take me about five months of concerted training to be ready, meaning I would start in May.  From now until May, I have about three months to maintain a general base of fitness to build upon later.  Since it’s February now, I can set a reasonable goal for myself to go to the gym or run or do something physical at least four times a week.  If I miss one weekly workout now, the marathon isn’t lost.  I will pick myself up, dust myself off, and simply focus on getting to the gym four times next week.
  3. Change it up: Nothing is more boring in life than monotony.  Keeping yourself engaged, interested and challenged by your routine will make you so much more happier than if you just did 45 minutes on the same elliptical machine every other day.  Try new machines, try new classes, try windsprints and hill repeats — your brain will thank you and your body will show the results of your hard work much quicker.
  4. Fabulous outfits!: First, can we please give credit to the ladies in the above picture doing push-ups in their heels?  J’adore! I have always found that I am more motivated to get sweaty if I really love my workout clothes.  I am a big fan of lululemon, but I definitely recognize that their clothing can be a bit spendy — always a good idea to keep an eye on their sales.  Lululemon has great apparel and equipment for the running/yoga/Pilates/gym set.  If I had to recommend you pick up only one essential piece, I would choose the Wonder Under Crop.  I’ve worn them running, to yoga, to gym classes, to Pilates, and around the house — it is a great pair of tights with just a touch of compression (keeps them from loosening up and getting all bunchy at the knees — also makes your bum look great!)
  5. Find something you love: Through my training for the NYC Marathon, I came to realize that running was not something that I loved to do.  Running is something that I enjoy.  I don’t find it torturous but I don’t feel compelled to run very frequently (and especially in the winter!).  Through a fabulous and classy friend of mine, I was introduced to IntenSati.  A “practice for body, heart and mind,” IntenSati fuses a number of fitness regimes — kickboxing, yoga and dance — with spoken affirmations.  Positive thoughts are focused on and spoken out loud as a group, premised on the belief that your mind can only hold one thought at a time and that if you choose to make that thought a powerful thought, you will be uplifted.  Now, I bet you’re probably picturing this as some kind of softly-lit new-agey yoga-y class.  It definitely isn’t.  Patricia Moreno has created a high-energy cardio class that engages the mind and challenges the body.  We’re talking fogged mirrors and breaks to mop the sweat from the floors, people.  While I don’t feel compelled to run, I do feel compelled to “Sati.”  I encourage you to find your own love, and definitely recommend you try out IntenSati.  Find the IntenSati schedule here and New York Equinox members can learn more here.

I’m sure that you have plenty of your own ideas on how to get moving – would love to hear them!

Earlier: Quite Continental’s 28 Days of Classy and Fabulous Things

14 Weeks to NYC Marathon: Power of Rest

04/08/2010 § Leave a comment

Goal last week: 18 miles total (3 miles, 12 miles, 3 miles)

Actual mileage: 15.75 miles total (3.75 miles, 12 miles)

Goal this week: 20 miles total (3 miles, 14 miles, 3 miles)

Last week I was generally successful, managed to get in two runs out of the three I planned.  I had a good midweek short run, and my long run on Saturday felt great — 12 miles, but I definitely felt like I could have gone farther.  Luckily, the weather was a vast improvement from the previous week — probably 10 degrees cooler.

I’m hoping to attempt to increase my mileage to 14 this Saturday, but my right knee has been a little sore the past few days.  It begins to throb if I keep it immobile for an extended amount of time – so whenever I am sitting or sleeping – but it clears up once I get up and start moving around.  It doesn’t hurt when I run, so I definitely could attempt the long run, but I am a little concerned about turning an ache caused from slight overuse into a real injury.  I’ve been icing it and taking a low dose of an NSAID and I skipped my usual Tuesday night IntenSati class.

I am also debating whether I will enter the Bronx Half Marathon, which is in two weeks.  I know I can run the distance easily, but I am still on the fence due to the location and the course.  It would be a long train ride for a course that has double- and triple-backs.  I could always just run 13.1 miles on my own that morning, along the Hudson…

Tip #2:  Know when to rest
I didn’t go on my Sunday evening run because I just didn’t feel up to it.  That doesn’t happen to me too frequently, so whenever it does I take the cue from my body and rest.  Resting is important.  It allows your body to adapt and recover.  If you are in training you must schedule days for rest.  And don’t worry about losing all that you have worked for — you won’t lose momentum in your training until you have rested for two weeks.

Normally, I take off every Friday in order to be rested for my long runs on Saturday.  I used to be able to take Pilates on Fridays, but once my long runs got up above six miles it became very difficult to run the longer distances because my legs were already tired when I started.  I’ve since changed things around to allow total rest on Friday and it is one of the reasons why I have been successful increasing my mileage.

You can find a good article on the importance of rest here, courtesy of Runner’s World.

Happy running!

15 Weeks to NYC Marathon: Ramping up

28/07/2010 § Leave a comment

Last week: ran 13 miles total (3 miles, 10 miles)

Goal this week: run 18 miles total (3 miles, 12 miles, 3 miles)

This week marks the start of my real training.  I already work out about 5 days a week, but since running the Miami half in January I have made a concerted effort to mix it up and do less overall running.  It keeps me interested and better yet, it keeps my body guessing (if you are in search of results, you really have to cross train).  I don’t really want to give up my variety for running drudgery and I don’t want to live at the gym — as much as I love my gym — so this is going to be a bit difficult.

Tip #1: My secret to running is having someone to run with
Running can be boring.  Especially in the beginning when all you can think about is “Why did I decide to do this?  How far have I gone?  How much longer do I have left?  Am I dying?  I must look like a fool out here with all these people passing me…” and on and on and on!  I find that if I have someone out there with me, especially for the long runs, that internal monologue quiets and I run farther and enjoy myself more.  The trick is finding someone that is close enough to your pace/style — if you’re both talkers you can chat, or if you’re both competititve, you will end up pushing each other along a bit faster.

I have a few friends who are almost always down for a few miles on weekend mornings.  They are my most important secret weapon this training season and I am very hopeful that they will turn out on raceday to run a few miles with me.  I really hope I don’t have to beg them…

For my NY runners in search of a group to run with, Well+Good NYC has compiled the deets on FREE group runs throughout the city.  Find it here.

In LA, many lululemon athletica stores have FREE running groups on various days of the week.  Check out Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Calabasas, Pasadena, or the store nearest you. Lululemon is great — all levels are welcome and most have a “no runner left behind” policy.  Similarly, the NIKETOWN stores also have FREE running groups.  Get more information here.

Happy running!

I am a runner because I run

27/07/2010 § Leave a comment

On November 7, 2010 I will run the New York Marathon. All 26.2 miles of it. All five boroughs of it. As long as it takes. I’ve never run a marathon before, so the task seems a bit daunting. Especially since I only have 15 weeks left until the race…15 WEEKS!!

I suppose I should start this story a few months back. About a year ago I joined Team in Training for the winter season, to train for the Miami Half Marathon on January 31, 2010 . Through TNT, the largest sports training program in the world, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society trains thousands for endurance events. In exchange, team members raise money to fight blood cancers. I had a number of reasons for joining: I wanted to do something charitable, I wanted to meet new people, and I wanted to see if I could run that far. I raised money for a great cause, I met some wonderful people, and I found out I could run 13.1 miles, no sweat. (Ok, maybe a little sweat)

Training for the Miami half was difficult. I went from doing no exercise at all (except maybe running to the subway) to running multiple times per week. Training in the snow, rain and wind was tortuous. I discovered my hands were very sensitive to the cold — I had to wear a pair of gloves, with hand warmers, INSIDE a pair of mittens. I effectively lost my Friday nights, since we met for our long runs early on Saturday mornings. I learned about things like GU and Body Glide and wicking and ice baths.

It was hard, but I did it. I finished the Miami half and was presented with the opportunity to run the 2010 New York Marathon soon thereafter. I’ve decided to do a few races along the way, to keep things interesting – just training can be a little boring for me. I’ve already done the Brooklyn half and I will run the Disney Wine and Dine half in Orlando in October. I am seriously considering the Bronx half, even though it is just a few weeks away and it is ridiculously hot in New York lately.

I never really thought of myself as a runner until recently.  Even though I have spent many hours over the past year running, even though I have spent way too much money on spandex and even though I have a small collection of race bibs, the thought of me as a runner didn’t really enter my mind until a few weeks ago.  I was at lululemon — buying spandex shorts to run in — and the salesgirl asked me brightly, “Are you a runner?”  And I thought about it.  And I realized I was.  Talk about a delayed epiphany, right?

Anyway, I have 15 WEEKS (!!) to go until raceday. So this is me in training. Again. I promise to update periodically on my progress and post on other topics related to my training. I would love to discuss training or running or whatnot, so do let me know what is on your mind.  I might think myself a runner now, but keep in mind less than a year ago, I couldn’t keep running for more than 20 minutes…

Let’s git-r-dun!

Gratitude to Spare

15/07/2010 § Leave a comment

Recently, I started writing gratitude lists.  It’s a wonderful exercise to think about the things or people we are grateful for.  To focus on the things we have, instead of the things we want or things we feel we are owed.  Like many people, I frequently find I am far too wrapped up in my day-to-day dramas to notice, let alone express, my appreciation — just “too busy” to give thanks.  Total nonsense!  Side benefit:  by focusing on the positive aspects of my life, I always lift my own spirit with hardly any effort.  Give it a try and see how you feel afterward.

While it may seem hokey at first, try quickly writing down 10 things that you are grateful for.  Don’t belabor the process.  They can be whatever you want, there are no wrong answers.  If you are grateful for portabella mushrooms and your orange sunglasses, they go on the list!  After you have your list, take a moment to concentrate on that feeling of gratitude, and then put the list away — you’re done.  Try to write a new list the next day.  Try to write one everyday…

On thxthxthx Leah Dieterich gives thanks daily in the form of clever, hand-written thank you notes.  If you’re looking for inspiration for your own list, head over to her site here.

Here’s a quick list of mine.

I’m grateful…

  1. that my nieces still think I’m cool.
  2. for mangoes…
  3. and the fruit truck man on my way to work who sells mangoes.
  4. for abundant creative inspiration.
  5. for my parents.
  6. for sangria.
  7. for red toenails.
  8. for yoga — even if I am not very good at it.
  9. for trips to the beach.
  10. for summer.

I would love to hear yours.

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