Over half way done with January 2021! Here is what I am currently loving right now!
Happy 2021! What a year 2020 was….so much and yet so little happened, all at the same time. And here we are in a New Year…I didn’t MEAN to take two weeks off from writing blog posts, it just actually happened. And it was the most time I have ever been silent on this blog since I started way back when. Maybe it was the wear and tear of 2020, but I just felt like I had little value to add. My days felt repetitive and mundane, and there was little creative juice or positivity flowing in my blood. But now, I am back! And what a way to push myself with writing out my goals / intentions / dreams / resolutions / hopes / wants for the New Year. Here they are…..
It is that time of the year where it is cold, dreary, and rainy or snowy or cloudy. Yet, despite the weather, as a runner, I am outside no matter what. Many people ask what I wear when I run in the cold weather, so here are my top gear choices for Winter Running!
Like all of you, I have been on pins and needles waiting for the election results….I have not been productive and not sure what I have done, but the days have FLOWN by….and so here we are at the end of the week. So it seems like a great time to have a fluffy post of songs I am currently loving, rather than a heavy and heartfelt post on how I feel the country is divided and my fears for the future….so here it is: Fall 2020 Running Playlist. Get outside and enjoy these tracks.
I am excited to share with you a conversation with friends that recently started a new direct-to-consumer-retail company, Woodley + Lowe. It is a loungewear fashion company directed for the younger generation that is smart, interesting, as well as comfy, cozy, and fashionable. It is just the beginning! Check out the questions and answers with the founders and check out Woodley + Lowe!
Who is your target customer? Who are they? Where do they live? What do they like to do?
This question turned out to be harder to answer than you might expect. I know, from a business and marketing perspective, having a very specific image of your “target customer” is important, but so much of what our brand is about is accepting that our fans don’t fit just one “type”. She might be athletic, she might be artsy, she might be social, she might be shy—she might even be all of the above. (We even recognize that, while we use the she/her pronouns, we would love to see non-binary or cis-male fans in our clothes as well!). That said, generally speaking, she’s high school or college aged, passionate, authentic, and connected to her community. She’s tired of having to choose between inexpensive fast-fashion that doesn’t last and popular women’s brands that are too expensive or don’t quite fit her style. She’s looking for a brand that speaks specifically to her, and not her mom or her younger sister.
What makes you different / sets you apart from competitors?
Our biggest differentiator is our approach to size. We were frustrated with the “one size fits all” approach and message of other brands, and we wanted to create something that addressed more sizes and shapes. Especially for teen girls, who are growing in all different ways and rates, we wanted to create a brand that everyone in a friend group could wear. Having more sizes presented a challenge from a cost and logistics perspective, but it was really important to us. We currently cover sizes from about 12/14 kids’ to size 10 women’s. Our A-B-C-D-E system (and pants come in 2 lengths for each size) gives us the ability to add where we see demand—which brings me to our other differentiator….
We are all about listening to our fans and delivering what they want and need. We want them to collaborate and co-create with us. That’s why we’ve incorporated a lot of space on our website for photos of real girls in our clothes. We love to see how they style them—everyone has a different take. We also love to poll our followers on Instagram about new colors and designs they want to see. It’s a win-win: they get to be involved in what we deliver, and we build an enthusiastic fan base.
We wanted to launch with a really tight assortment—we’ll have 12 different styles to start—so picking one favorite is hard! The key driver of our brand are the comfortable fabrics we selected across all pieces. We feel really good about our Sweats category. We began developing it even before that’s what everyone was living in. Our Cozy Cloud Fleece, which is the base for all of it, is the softest blend of cotton, rayon, and recycled poly. It literally feels like wearing a cloud (but warmer and dryer.) Once you put on our Comfy Crush Hoodie and Dream Joggers, you won’t want to take them off.
But we wanted to be more than just another Sweats brand. We’re also really excited about our Elevated Essentials. We used the same comfort-driven approach to create a few pieces for when you need something a little nicer than the just-off-the-couch look. For example, we have a ruffled mini skirt and cropped rugby made from a soft and smooth modal fleece. One of our Ambassadors joked “I could sleep in this and save time in the morning before school!” Lastly, we’re rounding out our collection of essentials with a few Base Body Wear pieces: a bralette, a cami with built-in shelf bra, and, of course, some leggings. Once again, we went for the comfort approach, so our fabric is not too tech-y, but equally wearable all day in class or out for a run.
Our color palette came about by polling our fans. We found that what they really wanted were clothes in colors that they loved and make them feel good, and not necessarily tied to seasons. So our launch collection is heavy on pastels, even though we knew we were launching for fall, because that’s what everyone was gravitating to. Then we added some more neutral colors to help ground it—olive, vanilla, and our marine blue (which is like denim), and threw in orchid as a pop color. We’re excited to get more active with our community in getting their feedback on colors, through our Instagram account and on Pinterest as well.
Just like much of our other decision making, our name came about through polls. Before we even launched Woodley + Lowe, we set up an Instagram group of about 150 high school girls (mostly in NY, but some across the country), to help us with branding and other initial design decisions. We brainstormed a number of different words and names that reminded us of high school/college (for example, Woodley is the road that my high school is on in Washington, DC), and then we polled our Instagram group. Turns out they loved the idea of pairing two names together, and we did too. It’s come to represent to us, as a brand, the yin and yang of everyone’s personality—sometimes you’re playful, sometimes you’re serious; some days you might want to dress up and go out with your friends, and other days you just want to sit in bed and watch Netflix.
We’re already well into development of our Spring drops. Even though our pieces are meant to be worn year round, we know it’s important to infuse some newness. We’ll definitely carry over what we expect to be the most popular styles, and add some fun colors. We’re also excited about some more summery pieces that have a kind of retro-summer-camp vibe. Mainly, we’re just excited to continue growing our collection of comfortable essentials to endlessly mix & match with each other or your other favorite pieces.
Ambassadors — tell me about them!
We took a different marketing approach than most other direct-to-consumer start ups, who seemed to turn on a website with cool branding and then pour a bunch of money into Facebook and Instagram ads and watch people come to their site. But we think the Gen Z consumer is savvier, and most of their purchase decisions come from “what are my friends wearing.” So we decided to create an Ambassador program—real girls, not paid influencers—to sing our praises to their friends. Ambassadors can apply through our website, and they’ll be emailed a few questions to answer about themselves. We accept anyone who’s interested, as long as they’re 14 and older. (If we get to a point where, logistically, we can’t handle the numbers, we may institute a waiting list, but everyone will eventually be accepted!) In exchange, they get a discount code and other perks, and we ask them to refer friends to shop and send us pictures for our website and social media. So far we’ve loved getting to know this enthusiastic group!
Thank you, Woodley + Lowe! I am inspired by female entrepreneurs that have a mission and accomplish what they set out to do! I can’t wait to get my hands on one of your hoodies!
As Summer comes to a close and we get ready to go back to NYC (in just a little less than a week), I can’t help but look at all the thousands of photos from picturesque Oregon. Although we do the same thing everyday — run, hike, bike, explore, repeat, I am ever so thankful that we get to do it in such a beautiful state. If you have never visited Oregon before, put it on your states of places to visit. It is truly beautiful — lush forests, vibrant greens, rivers, creeks, Ocean, dunes, sand, hills, mountains. ExplOREGON and adOREGON. Truly. Here are some pictures:
I spend a lot of time in Oregon on designated runner’s trails, which have lots of signs (other than keep 6 feet away and maintain social distancing) that are little inspirational quotes. Throughout my summers in Oregon, I always smile and laugh when I see them. To some they are just words, but to me, they are motivation and inspiration. No matter how silly or short they are, just knowing someone out there is cheering us on, makes all the difference.
This past Saturday, I did something I never thought I would do — I ran a 50K (31 miles). It wasn’t just any ultra — it was an unofficial one. Originally, I had signed up with a childhood friend, CJ, to run the Mt Hood 50K at the beginning of July. But due to COVID, it was canceled. We both decided that even though it was no longer happening, that the two of us would run together creating our own date and route. So for the past several months, I have been training for this ultra. Most ultras happen on trails, hills, mountains, and are flipping hard. And this proved to be true. It was incredibly hard and challenging — all the trails, hills, and long distance — but thankfully I had CJ who is a veteran ultramarathoner (who runs 100K, 50 miles, 50Ks all the time), to help me through it all.
A little over a month until my first ultramarathon (virtual 50K since the one I had originally signed up for was canceled), so lots of running and listening to music! Here is a summer playlist to help you jog / skip / hop / run to some fun beats!
Although I am not currently training for a marathon, I am running as if I were. Not at the same high intensity, but as my only form of exercise, I am running everyday, a lot……I can’t wait to start back at my training to give me some variation in speed / miles / direction….but for now, it is just a lot of miles for a lot of days….so here is my COVID running playlist. Enjoy!
Hi friends, I apologize for my silence last week. It was a little hectic trying to figure out my family’s next move and reaction to the COVID-19 sweeping the world and I froze (and was unable to write). Ultimately, we decided that it was best for me and the kids to go down to Florida to my in-law’s empty condo while Ken stayed behind to deal with the chaos of the virus hitting the business. It is not lost on me how lucky we are to have the option to get out of the city and have another place to go, that we have the means to buy back up supplies and groceries, and have the flexibility to get up and move. This crisis is affecting every person, world wide, and it’s devastating and hard. I waver between moments of worries, concerns, tears, frets, fears; and then being ok and breathing and dealing with moment to moment instead of thinking long term. My heart goes out to people that have it much harder….I wish it weren’t so. Stay inside, support small businesses, connect with friends, show your love, be kind, and take it day by day. In the meantime, here is what I am currently loving this month. And I will be back to normal posting — thank you for your patience.
On Sunday, I ran my first LA marathon and my 15th marathon overall. I decided on the LA marathon as one of my close friends from Ken’s Business School class lives there and we decided to run it together. It was a glorious day — made even better to be with a good friend in a spectacular setting. WHY DON’T I LIVE IN LA????
I am usually bad at fulfilling any of my “to-do” lists or goals for the certain season, but for whatever reason, I accomplaished a lot of the goals I set out for myself in February and March. So I give myself a pat on the back and now want to set some new ones as I head into the third month of the year. Obviously top goal: not get corona virus or get quarantined somewhere…..but here are a couple of my less important goals / to do list for the next several weeks.
1. See Matthew Broderick and SJP in Plaza Suite
A New Year and a new commitment to listen to more podcasts instead of music. I love music and therefore listen to it on every run, workout, errand, subway ride, basically anytime I am in the house or walking somewhere out of the house. And although I love this, I also want to become smarter and interested in other things. Several years ago, I was a dedicated podcast listener, but then, I fell off. So now, it is time to get back on the podcast train! Here is a list of my go-to-podcasts as well as ones I want to start listening to more frequently.
It is now cold on the East Coast and yet that is not stopping me from running outside (LA Marathon 2020, here I come!). I find it even more important to have a good playlist to help motivate on those cold and chilly runs. Here is the current playlist! Enjoy!
This past weekend, we found ourselves with zero plans. We originally were scheduled to go up to Pound Ridge for a cozy and relaxed weekend, but after a change of orthodontist appointments on Saturday and Ken needing to go on a business trip on Sunday afternoon, we decided to stay put in the city. This gave us an opportunity to be a tourist in our own city — and I am so glad we explored! We discovered Ice Skating at Bryant Park which was a great family activity. Unlike other rinks in the city, admission is FREE (rentals cost money, but if you have your own skates, then it is FREE!) and it opens up at 8 am! We drove downtown for breakfast and on our way back uptown, parked right in front of the ice skating rink to do some laps!
Marathon #14 in the books! Over the weekend, I completed (and set a personal best time) in the Chicago Marathon. It is one of my favorite weekends of the year, as I stay with a dear friend that I met in the Paris Marathon while running. For those of you who have read the blog for many years, this is a repetitive story, but it always reminds me that you can find a great friend in a stranger and to be kind, loving, and open to everyone. I feel incredibly fortunate to have Michelle in my life and to share this special weekend on a yearly basis with her. It was so great to just be with her and her family. And the race is just an excuse to visit them, and something to train for. One thing for sure, is I love the journey of training! Sign me up for the next one (actually, I am already signed up for LA Marathon March 8th).
Here we are, another season has flown by, and now onto the new same old (a la Alanis, isn’t it ironic?). Tomorrow, we go in to our same old routine but now, a summer under our wings with new experiences and thoughts….so, that said, here is what I am currently loving.
All summer, I was obsessed with Lizzo. I listened to all her songs, read her interviews, and fell madly in love with her. So now, I can’t wait to see her in September at Radio City Hall. She is one flipping incredible musician and loving and personable person — I want to meet her and become friends with her. You need to listen to her interview on Fresh Air and watch the Tiny Desk Concert linked above. Wildly talented.
Goodbye plastic bottles (be gone!), hello collapsible water bottle! Who knew that a single tiny little bottle could bring so much joy? This lightweight bottle is perfect for traveling or everyday. You just smoooosh it and it is half the original size. No more lugging around heavy glass bottles or bulky bottles. This is the perfect solution for everyday on the move. Que bottles.
Yes, I run a lot, but it is during the Summer months that I do my hardest training and running. My light schedule, the perfect Oregon weather, and upcoming Fall marathon makes these months the perfect time to run hard. Here is my summer 2019 running playlist:
This past Monday, I conquered my fear, and ran the Boston Marathon. Ever since last year’s difficult weather and race conditions, I have been very afraid of the Boston Marathon. So on Monday, my goal was not a personal record, but just to have a redemption run. A run where I erased my negative experiences of the previous year, and tried my hardest. And that I did. No marathon is ever easy (or maybe for some it is?), but running 26.2 miles is difficult for me. No matter how many times I do it, it is always a challenge. And on the Boston Marathon course, it is even harder — the Northeast weather conditions are spotty, the start line is far away and requires a marathon of sitting and waiting BEFORE the marathon, and the course itself is extremely difficult with so many hills — TOUGH TOUGH hills. But I did it — I went out there, tried my best, had a fun (yes, I did), challenged myself (ohhhhh yes, that, too), and ran a good race.
Super sunscreen is Supergoop Sunscreen! It’s not a shock that I am very particular about sunscreen that I use. I don’t like overly sticky, too white, bad chemicals, etc. So I have searched low and high for the best sunscreen over the past several years. Finally, last year, I came across Supergoop and there is no going back.