RunningSkirts(dot)Com Sub-Zero Review

After months of waiting to wear my RunningSkirts(dot)com Sub-Zero skirt, the weather finally turned cold enough to pull it from its packaging.

I have raved about Running Skirts compression socks (here) since testing them out a year ago, but unsure about proper sizing in the company’s skirts made me hesitant about ordering one (see sizing below). After receiving an email alert from Schwaggle with a link to the RS website giving an additional percentage off of a special list of merchandise, I took the plunge ordering the heartstooth patterned skirt attached to the full length brushed and wicking pant.

Sizing:

As I usually do before making online purchases, I read the reviews and pondered the size chart. Pant sizing is funny for me (skinny legs and not so skinny hips). According to the measurements listed, I would wear a size 3 (10-12), but since I am so rarely a 12, I wasn’t sure this was the best choice.

It turned out that the size 3 is perfect. I would recommend, actually, that if you are a larger size 12, going up to a size 4 might be better. Size eights would definitely want to buy the size 2.

Confused? I was, though it’s not their fault rather the nature of online shopping.

Fit:

With a flat waistband and continuous drawcord (like Lululemon’s), there was no rubbing at the belly. Also interesting, and possibly a fit characteristic for my body type (apple-ish), the front waist fit a tad higher than the back. I loved this; always prefer a pant this sits a bit higher at the waist (it’s a different story for me when it comes to shorts).

Temp:

The Sub-Zero is sold as a cold weather running skirt and performs as such. My legs didn’t feel a moment of wind or freeze after five miles in 37 degree temperatures. During my second run in much warmer weather (about 50 degrees), they still felt great; no overheating. When I run long, even in the coldest temperatures, I always (always) burn hot at my wrists and ankles. During my second run, I folded up the bottom portion of the leg and continued on, grateful that they weren’t super tight at the hem; they folded up easily.

More shopping?

Unhappy with the current quality on the newest LLL running tights (I swear the luxtreme is thinner) and more and more feeling the need to cover my rear (I am a 41-year-old grown woman after all), I am interested in trying some of the other skirts in the line.

Next on my list is the Capri Skirt. If it performs even close to the Sub-Zero, it could (quite possibly) be the perfect running bottom made.

M.

Do you run in skirts? How about RunningSkirts.com skirts? Do you shop there?

The skirts come in different patterns. I like the black and white ones as they can go with more colored tops.
The continuous drawcord. When pulled tighter the skirt stayed put. If you’ve ever gotten chafe from a tie at the wast then you know; ow.
The wide, flat waistband.
The logo on the side of the skirt. Barely noticeable.
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The Taylor Swift Defense

Songstress Taylor Swift has made an enviable career by writing and singing her truths. While some of her songs (like Hey Stephen from the Fearless album) speak of sweet love, Taylor’s lyrics often touch on the other side of boy/girl relationships; the stuff that some might find embarrassing.

She’s gotten a lot of flack for speaking the truth. Grown men have said they love her, but wouldn’t date her, because of the risk they run in having a song created about them that might document a failed relationship. “Chickens,” I say.

Though my format is different, like Taylor, I write about my feelings and experiences. Nothing is off-limits. Is anything safe?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that I am currently writing about my divorce and all of the traumatic, embarrassing, and disappointing parts of the transition.

The other day I was advised not to tell the world that I have my kids in play therapy (to help them adjust to the upcoming changes). But what is wrong with telling this truth? My kids are benefitting, and as a parent I am doing what is responsible for their well-being. Should I not disclose the things that led my husband and me to separate? Should I not share experiences that might help someone else (going through a similar life-trial)?

The argument that it’s private doesn’t hold weight. What is private? Isn’t sharing, caring? Don’t others benefit from shared experiences? It’s not slander unless it’s said with malicious intent. Is secrecy, then, an attempt to hide a bruised ego?

I’m willing to disclose my own bruised ego.

Here’s this gem:

Yesterday I failed another CloudCrowd test, after three mind-numbing hours of writing, editing and proof reading. I even had back-up this time to ensure that I’d pass; mom was a room away to double-check my work.

It looked good, I thought, but I failed.

When I had settled down enough (after receiving my rejection email; F-word F-word F-word), I went back to look at the critique.

1. I made one subject/verb agreement after the thing had been written and during my last minutes before posting. I knew I shouldn’t have changed act to acts (the subject). I didn’t even think about the verb. Bad, bad writer girl!

2. I was accused of not comparing and contrasting the subject matter, which was the main objective to the second written piece. The fact that the subject was “Religion in the United States,” and that I compared the freedom from religion in our country to countries who do not allow such freedoms, seemed to go unnoticed.

3. My mom and I had major discussions about whether our freedom was “from” or “of” religion. Ultimately, I chose to say “from” since our government doesn’t require us to practice a national religion, nor are we ruled under a government that preaches a particular choice. We are free from being told what we should believe.

4. The last time I tested, I wrote far more than the 200 words that were required. I felt that this set me up to be judged on more errors (resulting in fail number one). Yesterday, I decided to keep it closer to the word limit, but with a topic like U.S. Religion, this was hard. Still, I thought I did a good job, though apparently I was wrong.

My frustration with CloudCrowd has me questioning whether or not I should hang up the editing piece of this budding writing career.

At the same time, I wonder if I should try again with a different company whose reviewers are a little more open-minded to written interpretation, especially on the written exams?

The truth is not always pretty, but there is power in its function. I believe in this wholeheartedly.

M.

Are you a secret keeper who believes that things should be private or do you speak the truth despite the consequence of embarrassment?

Men!

I was recently accused of being a man-hater. The ill-informed accuser had confused my independence and comfort in being alone with a more sinister point of view.

The truth, however, is so far from the allegation that in my defense I thought a written piece regarding the absurdity was warranted.

I love men. I’m not saying I understand them completely. They are as complicated as complicated gets.

But women are complicated, too, and so putting aside (for a moment) the complicated things that often leave us feeling as far apart as Venus and Mars, let’s focus on the reasons that men are wonderful.

As a little girl I fell in love with a beautiful neighborhood boy. What did I know of love? Not much. But the way he tossed his bike to the ground after effortlessly jumping away from its spinning wheels, hop-skipping himself toward me with a testosterone laced smile? What else did I need to know? The fact that he liked me was icing on the proverbial cupcake. It tasted as sweet.

Swoon worthy looks are nice, but without substance, a pretty face can only take a girl so far!

I have met many a man, who though lacking the chiseled chest of, say, “A David Beckham,” or the rugged handsomeness of, say, “A Jake Gyllenhall,” did have that je ne sais quoi that made this girl swoon as if a Beckham-Gyllenhall combination had just entered the room.

What is that?

That thing?

That spark of magic, which creates butterflies in the belly.

How could you not love that?

I used to joke that I would only date a man who was smarter than me. A pre-requisite, so to speak.

Men with brains, or with knowledge on subjects I haven’t a clue, are fascinating. Before you try to hang me for what sounds like a pre-feminist viewpoint, let me just say, “No one loves a brilliant woman more than I.” But introduce me to a cardiac doctor or an international human rights lawyer or an up and coming film maker (any of whom are) of the male persuasion, and listening and learning about things I don’t quite understand creates a different dynamic of intrigue. Intrigue in unfamiliar packaging.

Mens’ brains are great, but brawn is not bad, either. Science has proven that men have lots of qualities that separate them from women; one of the most obvious being their muscular build which provides them considerably more upper body strength. I do appreciate a strong upper body (as my own is the least strong part of me). Having a man appear to assist, as I try to lift that heavy thing from that high place up there … I love that!

At pre-school pick-up today I was reminded of two more reasons to love men; fathers and grandfathers. I watched as a grey-haired man held the hand of his granddaughter, and sweetly challenged her to see if she could recognize his car. I watched a much younger man trailing behind his little boy who was busily pushing a truck along the sidewalk. I listened as patient dad and curious son has a conversation about the truck, and I kept on, feeling grateful for the additional blog-worthy material.

There are men in the world who love women, and as an extension, love their kids and the idea of the family. I know a man personally who actually said to me, “Not have my wife and kids? What would be the meaning of my life?”

Men who really love women do not just sexualize them. Real appreciation for women as mothers and sisters allow some men into the inner circle. These men, with such respect for the richness that women being to a life, are rewarded by the women they love.

Man-hater? Not me. Not even close.

M.

Are you one of those girls that has found the man who makes you swoon, whose brain you love, who has that thing?

Get Inspired

Searching for inspiration is tough when ho-humnity is the name of your game, and your job is to write things that people want to read.

It’s better, then, to turn off the part of the brain that refuses to cooperate and focus on the activities that generate tidings of comfort and joy.

Here is the plan:

1. The kids and I browsed Pinterest this morning and found a graphic designer named Sarah Walsh whose aesthetic interests (pins) spoke to my brain on the side that doesn’t use words. The kids became so inspired by Sarah’s Illustration Station board that they are currently, quietly content at their own art table creating what I know will be framable works of art.

Somewhere in this messy house of mine is a beautiful set of art pens (hidden so the kids wouldn’t use them, but where could they be?) that I must (MUST) find today. Expression through art is necessary in this time of angst (divorce, divorce, divorce).

2. Outside my windows is a dark grey sky; the kind that makes me wonder if the sun is ever going to rise. No matter, I will be bundling my bod (from top of head to tip of toes) as I exit for an early morning run.

It will probably be brutally cold, hurt on a cellular level, but the results will be warmed blood, a regenerated system, and hopefully some adrenaline to push me through my day.

3. Later today, I’m taking my kids to vote. The lessons that I hope they’ll learn will outweigh the irritation that might occur from bored kids pulling on my clothes or the uncomfortable squeeze and tight proximity of three inside a voting booth.

“Women have rights, girls. They have the right to choose who they think should be the boss of America.Once upon a time women weren’t allowed to vote. People with different colored skin weren’t allowed to vote. Ridiculous, right? I don’t know who is going to win today, girls, but I pray he is able to do a good job. We are lucky to live in the United States of America. We are lucky and blessed to have freedom.”

Freedom. The ultimate inspired thought.

What do you do when you are struggling for inspiration? Do you change your focus or just plow though?

M.

Sophie’s Girl on Swing.

The Run Happy Formula

With my yogic river guide out of town (no Saturday yoga for me), I took the opportunity to hit the open road after a month of being sidelined by too much stress and a nagging quadracept injury. Luckily for me, the formula for a happy run was in place.

Here are the components, for which (even hours later) I find myself grateful:

1. Running in the cold (this morning’s thermometer hovered around 37 degrees) allows the lungs to fill with crisp fresh air. To say I felt more alive than I have since March isn’t dramatics. It’s the truth.

2. The right gear is essential for cold-weather running, because freezing is never any fun. I left the house wearing my thick, lined running pants, a long-sleeve shirt and jacket, and a headband to cover and protect my ears from the wind.

3. Going slowly, though not walking, there is no hurry and no pressure. As I amp up the winter running, I’m sure I’ll hop back over to the Galloway method, but my favorite way to run is at an easy pace, for as long as I like. Today’s four miles felt right; authentic, focused, strong.

3. Wearing ear pods is controversial. Galloway doesn’t allow it. People say it is dangerous. But the beauty of having music in your ears is that you not only hear, but feel. Choosing the iPod shuffle-option is like an extra step toward total surrender. The last song as I rounded home was James Blunt’s, Best Laid Plans. The man is a poet, and his words made my heart grow wider.

4. A familiar loop doesn’t hurt when you’re busy following your nose. There’s no chance in getting lost and you’re close enough to home if you need to call it quits (earlier than anticipated).

5. A good run always prompts thoughts of the next race. Maybe it’s the endorphins at work, but I’m thinking that the timing is right to train for March’s Tobacco Road Marathon (or at least the half).

A happy run is the foundation for my happy life.

What’s your formula for a happy run?

M.

P.S. I questioned whether to publish this ‘happy post” as it’s a disappointing time for many running friends unable to race New York; monumentally more difficult for the people trying to recover from Sandy’s destruction. New York and it’s people have lived in my heart since I left almost twelve years ago. I wish I was closer to physically help …

Mediation – A Poem

Mediation.

Aggravation.

Horrendous, frustrating situation.

Back and forth around we go,

We’re not happy.

Does it show?

Mediators’ back upstairs.

Shifting, shifting in my chair.

Waiting.

Waiting …

Wait to hear.

Hold breath, she’s back, looks worse for wear.

My dear lawyer calms me down.

My crying eyes; mascara’d clown.

Angry, hearty, “No. No. No!”

Quieting, listening, onward we go.

Copy the paperwork.

Soon we will know … we hope …

Smiling, laughing, thinking some more.

Love myself,

But the kids I adore.

Now it’s dark, my will has tired;

I’m glad it’s this lawyer that I hired.

Sacrificing is the game.

Nothing will ever be the same.

Eating my feelings, such junk was consumed,

Over heartache and worry brought up in that room.

But we did it, we signed it; relieved that it’s done.

Still, ending a marriage is no kind of fun.

Are you divorced? Ever gone through mediation? Pretty rough, no?

M.

The final frontier of my declining healthy living habits (my resolve not to drink DC) was squashed by the drama that ensued in that room. It was a tiny Diet Coke, really, but went amazingly well with the bag of potato chips from under the lamp over there, and the pockets full of Butterfingers I’d stashed on my way out of the house the morning of mediation.

Hyphenated Halloween

Yesterday, as we scrambled to put together costumes for the pre-school Halloween party, my daughters’ personality differences were on full display.

Sophie, generally easy-going and not as fussy about her appearance, made the quick decision to go as a cat. Simple enough; we gathered the all black ensemble; kitty ears, tulle skirt with attached tail, turtleneck, and leggings.

Grace, my mirror, inherited her mother’s discouraging habit of trying on every outfit in the closet (thus mussing the room with tossed, willy-nilly clothes) only to end up in the first frock that began the unfortunate series of events.

Standing amidst the candy-colored, tulle mess and finally pleased with her costume, I realized two things; Grace and I are very good examples of the power of genetics, and I need to get going on my punctuation re-education; this time placing focus on the hyphen.

According to Lynn Truss (Eat Shoots & Leaves), the hyphen is, “…hard to use wrongly.”

So why, then, do I feel so afraid them – not just at Halloween?

After a morning of Internet investigating, here is what I’ve learned:

1. Hyphens are very good at letting a reader in on a joke, also helping to imply that a raised or lowered voice will add emotion to the punch line.

i.e. My daughter has a face that looks like her aunt Janine – her attitude is all mom.

2. Hyphens can be used to connect or separate sentences, but are also appropriate when combining two words; creating compounds.

i.e. In Grace’s fifteen minute costume tirade, she was a butterfly-fairy, butterfly-princess, cat-princess, princess-bride, before rounding back to the beginning, settling on the original and most, “This one doesn’t tickle,” butterfly-fairy.

3. When two describing words come after a noun, they are not hyphenated.

i.e. I love apples when they’re caramel covered.

4. A hyphen can be used to join two (or more) words that act as a combined adjective before a noun.

i.e. I hope they have caramel-covered apples at the Halloween party this afternoon.

5. Lots of words can be connected (or combined) with or without hyphens.

i.e. The hair-splitting screams came from the bedroom were spooky.

i.e. Grace’s screams were hairsplitting.

i.e. Hair splitting screams are not a good way to start the morning.

6. Hyphenate compound numbers.

i.e Is it weird for a forty-one-year-old to wear a tutu?

7. Hyphens should be used with the prefixes self-, ex-, and all-, and with the suffix -elect. They can be used with other prefixes if it helps to clarify a confusing word or spelling. Here is a great list of examples (much better than my own).

But here is my attempt …

i.e. Pre-adolescence is going to fun!

i.e. It is unacceptable to leave your room a mess.

i.e. Re-education (with the prefix separated by a hyphen) looks less confusing to me than reeducation.

8. Probably the first time I was ever made to be afraid of the hyphen was when learning that they are needed in sentences when the word doesn’t fit on the line.

a. Divide line breaks at the place where the hyphen already exists.

b. Between syllables.

c. With words that end in -ing, they need to be separated at the place where the final consonant and root word are split (i.e. run-ning, or speak-ing, or dres-sing).

9. Saving the best for last, if you happen to use an Apple computer and want a longer hyphen, as opposed to a tiny word-spacing hyphen, press the alt button, while also pressing the hyphen at the upper right side of the keyboard.

i.e.[-] vs. [–]. Nice, right?

In approximately four-and-a-half hours we will revisit the “hyphenation Halloween-costume-fiasco”, as we attempt to ready ourselves for today’s afternoon Halloween house party (house-party?).

Without the help of a hyphen, what-oh-what would we be?

Are you dressing up for Halloween? What are your kids going to be? Any hyphens involved?

M.

Pumpkin-princess. But does she really need a hyphen? The debate continues …

Judging Youth

When you judge a person for the mistakes of their youth,
You are not highlighting their ill-fated decisions.

What you are doing,
Which is far worse,
Is highlighting your own inhumanity.

Ever felt like this – whether you are the one judging or like you are busily fighting off the inhumanity; wielding off judgement with your mightiest sword? How do find your own humanity in either case? How do you find peace amidst the fray?

M.

CC Skye Pearl Peace Ring $230.00. I’ve been looking for a “divorce” ring. My left hand misses adornment.

Well Hello There, Tumblr!

I have recently discovered Tumblr.

Yes, I am late to the party, but finally, I’ve arrived!

If you haven’t yet ventured over to Tumblrland, here is what you’re missing:

1. Imagery, images, imagination.

2. Youngins with clever thoughts and the inclination to express.

3. Pretty templates; much prettier than Pinterest. Less categorization than Pinterest too.

4. Another avenue to expand your reach. We’re not calling it a brand anymore, are we?

Grow with Stacy posted a great piece about how refusing to add photos to your blog can kill your traffic. In it, she covered a lot of information in regard to imagery that I didn’t know (i.e. how to use Flickr to your advantage), and she’s right; humans are visual and images are important.

Since Mommyland (writings, musings, opinions) leads my parade of social media, I will continue to use imagery to create added interest, much in the way that Stacy describes.

Adding Tumblr to my list of social media stopping points (after Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reader) gives me one more destination on the daily Interwebz calendar of events. The benefit, it appears, is in its ability to open up the window to my soul from a purely visual perspective (there are poems, etc., but the words are far more image rich than the typical blog post).

If you like the idea of a younger audience (be warned, you will come across many a pouting teenage girl – “I vant to be a star”), and love the idea of a visual stream of consciousness approach, log on to Tumblr and follow me.

Hope to see you there …

M.