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Erika Christensen’s Tips On Creating Your Story Through Style

Written on October 13, 2014 at 2:11 pm , by

When thinking of your favorite TV characters—whether they’re fashionistas like Carrie Bradshaw, financially struggling young women like Hannah Horvath, or successful professionals like Olivia Pope—you may assume that fashion trends are what dictate their outfits. That a rack of clothes is casually brought to set and actresses flip through with a stylist before each scene and choose accordingly. However, dressing a fictional character is just as complex and important as dressing you. It requires a look into each person’s likes, attitudes and interests, as well as how they want to be perceived by others. With the help of T.J. Maxx, we sat down with actress Erika Christensen to learn more about how she cultivates her story, both as Parenthood’s Julia Braverman and in her own life.

Find your style, and tell your story.  Just like actors in TV shows and movies, you are your own character and the clothes you wear help to define your personality to those around you. “Julia has been a corporate lawyer in a top firm for the majority of her adult life, so her wardrobe primarily consists of tailored, smart pieces that communicate her role as an attorney in a corporate environment. It plays to her confidence in that arena, which is great, but for me, I could not differ more!” says Erika. She opts for athletic chic (our kind of gal!) and even handpicked these T.J. Maxx items.

Let your life play the lead role.  Interests, passions and aspirations should shine through when creating an outfit. You could be a total girly-girl in everyday life, but use hardcore activewear to get pumped up like Erika. “No one can argue with the fact that feeling cute in your workout clothes helps you get out there and make it happen. When I’m going into something intense like spin class, I tend to pick out an outfit that’s all black or something that makes me feel like I’m there to get the job done, while if I’m going for a run, I find myself opting for something really just appropriate for the weather since I don’t have to get as amped before.”

Work trends in your own way. You don’t need to follow every new trend to be fashionable. Find those perfect pieces that make you feel good about who you are. Erika, a self-proclaimed tomboy, has never worried about following the trends too closely, but when she finds one that fits her personality, she goes for it: “I love that sweatshirts and layered, menswear looks have been taken by high fashion. Being comfortable and warm this fall (whenever that comes for LA) will include a lot of these for me!”

Keep evolving your look.  It takes a lot of trial and error to find a personal style that shows off your true self, but at the end of the day, no trend or stylist can tell you what to wear—you have to rock what makes you happy! “That’s what I love about fashion—it helps us be who we are and do what we do,” says Erika. “And really, no matter what facet of personality is being put to use at the moment, we can find those perfect pieces that help express ourselves.”

You can follow Erika’s ever-evolving style during the final season of Parenthood every Thursday night on NBC.

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New Balance Celebrates 25 Years of Getting Sweaty with Susan G. Komen

Written on October 13, 2014 at 8:43 am , by

Written by Kristine Thomason, editorial intern

Sure, it’s fun to get dressed up for a night out with friends. But let’s be honest: We’d swap heels for sneakers any day. New Balance totally read our minds when they started their Girls’ Night Out events in May, which offer women a place to hit up calorie-blasting workouts and connect with other fit-focused gals.

We recently checked out an extra special GNO event at New Balance’s New York store in honor of the 25-year partnership with Susan G. Komen. The night kicked off with a run led by Bianca Jade, the fitness blogger behind MizzFit.com. TV personality and founder of Skinny Girl, Bethenny Frankel, also made an appearance, along with Dr. Priscilla Brastianos, who gave an informative speech about current breast cancer research. Basically, the event was the perfect balance (sorry, couldn’t resist) of socializing, fitness and education—an awesome way to continue the yearlong anniversary celebration.

New Balance is accepting donations during the month of October for breast cancer research and community health programs, but supports Komen year-round as an official sponsor of Race for the Cure and 3-Day walks. And, in honor of the anniversary, New Balance is running a #laceup365 campaign, which gives women the opportunity to dedicate their daily workouts to a breast cancer survivor by including #laceup365 in social media posts.

“We know that living an active healthy lifestyle reduces the risk of getting breast cancer,” says Amy Shapiro, cause-marketing manager for New Balance. “We want to get that message out. That’s really why we’re in this.”

Promoting a healthy lifestyle and a great cause? Now that’s our kind of partnership.

Photo by Jamie McCarthy 

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Starbucks Testing New Beer-Flavored Latte

Written on October 10, 2014 at 8:41 am , by

As a die-hard coffee addict, I’m all about trying exotic new brews, especially when they come from Starbucks. (Label me how you want. No shame.)

But the java giant recently made a decision that I can’t help but to question—and cringe over. According to The Washington Post, Starbucks will do a test run with beer-flavored coffee in Ohio (my native state) and Florida.

Just let that sink in for a minute. Beer-flavored coffee. Why?

It’s called the Dark Barrel Latte, but contains no alcohol—just espresso, dark caramel and stout-flavored sauce. I don’t know about you, but I drink coffee for a different reason than I drink beer. Coffee = stimulant = mornings (and late afternoons—who am I kidding?); beer = depressant = not a morning drink.

Tell us: Would you trade your regular morning Joe for a cup of Dark Barrel?

iStock photo 

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Triathlon Training: The Best Gear for Race Day

Written on October 9, 2014 at 9:00 am , by

One of my favorite parts of checking into transition the day before a race is scoping out everyone’s gear, especially what the professionals and elite amateurs are sporting. I’m always fascinated by the equipment they use and how they set up their transitions. In honor of the 2014 Ironman World Championship bike count happening today and tomorrow (this is when a team of people count every single component and piece of equipment on the bikes of the Ironman athletes checking into transition to tally up the most popular brands and models), we checked in with Jennifer Vogel, our expert Zoot Sports athlete and Ironman World Championship qualifier, to get her top picks for tri gear. Hey, if it’s good enough for this ultra endurance athlete, then I’m definitely checking it out!

Swimsuit: Zoot Sports Performance Swim Suit

Goggles: TYR Special OPS 2.0 Polarized Goggles

Swim cap (when not provided): TYR Lycra Swim Cap

Tri kit: Zoot Sports Ultra Tri Tank and Bottom

Bike: Specialized frame with Hawk wheels

Helmet: Giro Areo Helmet

Cycling shoes: Lake Cycling shoes

Sunglasses: Rudy Project

Gadget: Garmin multisport

Electrolyte Mix: Skratch and EFS

Running Shoes: Zoot Sports Women’s Solana

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These Dumbbells Cost $125,000

Written on October 8, 2014 at 9:48 am , by

Written by Jacklyn Kouefati, editorial intern

Yes, we’re serious.

German designer Kristof Hock’s collection of handmade, luxury fitness equipment has been a hot topic in our sweaty world for the past several weeks. His company, Hock, sells some seriously snazzy gear (see: dumbbells for over $1,000 and a jump rope for $200, among other items), but the brand’s newest dumbbell addition has us feeling every emotion humanly possible.

They’re called Goldlofts, and you can purchase them for $125,000.

Still breathing?

They’re made of solid gold, and even though they’re brand new, the company is only making 50 sets.

“Kristof Hock has been developing the Goldlofts for the past three years,” says U.S. distributor Tracy Smith. “The idea was to have the highest pleasure in the world—to lift weights made from solid gold, as gold is one of the heaviest, but also the most expensive of metals.”

If you’re like us, just testing Hock’s products will have to suffice (hello, mortgage), which you can do at the Guerlain Spa (located at the Towers of the Waldorf Astoria New York). You’ll find weights and jump ropes made of grade 303 Stainless steel, sustainable wood and fine-quality leather—just like the rest of Hock’s products.

As for the Goldlofts, let us know if you’re planning on making the splurge. We will most definitely live vicariously through you and your workouts.

Photo courtesy of Hock

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Would You Go Bald for Cancer Awareness?

Written on October 7, 2014 at 9:41 am , by

Written by Jacklyn Kouefati, editorial intern

For the sixth year in a row, Be Bold, Be Bald is giving you the opportunity to show—quite literally—your support for cancer research.

You can register online now to join the effort, but the big day is October 17th, where those supporting the cause will rock a bald cap the entire day (which can be purchased here after registering)—and selfies are totally encouraged. The proceeds from the bald cap purchases will be donated to research and cancer awareness groups, and you can decorate yours with names of loved ones who might be battling breast cancer.

Celebrities like Celine Dion, Kathy Bates, Alyssa Milano, Maria Menounos and Joan Lunden (how gorgeous was her People cover?!) are participating by signing caps and auctioning them off online to raise money. We dare you to go bald, too.

Photo courtesy of Be Bold, Be Bald

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Chef Daniel Boulud Brings Salmon to Whole Foods

Written on October 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm , by

Written by Kristine Thomason, editorial intern

By now, most of us know salmon is an awesome superfood. It’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids, shown to reduce depression, heart disease and cancer, and can even help your skin stay soft and smooth. Basically, salmon needs to be your BFF.

While we love the classic bagel and lox combo, we’re always looking for new ways to spice up our fishy favorite. So when we heard that a new line of smoked salmon—created by renowned French Chef Daniel Boulud—hit Whole Foods’ shelves two weeks ago, we knew we had to give it a try.

Boulud originally created 10 different flavors, each inspired by a different city from his world travels (rough life, huh?), and eventually settled on three flavors: Highland, Rivera, and Baja. Highland combines ground cardamom seeds and whiskey, inspired by his recent trip to the British Isles; Riviera brings back the flavors of French summers with Pink peppercorn, dry basil, ground fennel seeds and Ricard; and Baja captures the essence of Mexico with cilantro and tequila. (Talk about livening up a Sunday brunch.)

“What’s unique about [salmon] is you can do so much with it,” he says. “When you throw a cocktail party, since the salmon is already flavored, you just put it on toast with a little bit of crème fresh and it’s done!”

If salads are more your style, toss some smoked salmon into one of our healthy salad recipes and voilà! Dinner = done.

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Get Inspired By This Jack LaLanne 100-Year Anniversary Documentary

Written on October 3, 2014 at 12:30 pm , by

Written by Jacklyn Kouefati, editorial intern

If you don’t know who Jack LaLanne was, girl, listen up. Known as the “godfather of fitness,” he opened the first health club, created the first leg extension machine, started juicing every meal long before it became a trend, and is basically the reason you know what weight-training is.

Because this year would have been his 100th birthday, Tristar Products Inc. released a documentary, “Anything is Possible,” to commemorate LaLanne for his amazing accomplishments in the fitness realm and for showing others what we at FITNESS stress every day: that your health is important.

You can watch the documentary here, where stars like Clint Eastwood and Lou Ferrigno, along with celebrity trainers Mandy Ingber and Patrick Nilsson, make an appearance to share how LaLanne affected their lives.

The best apart about it (aside from scenes of muscular men aplenty)? The title of the documentary was derived from one of LaLanne’s favorite quotes: “Anything in life is possible if you make it happen.” Touché, LaLanne.

Photo courtesy of Tristar Products Inc.

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Triathlon Training: How to Build Up Your Mental Strength

Written on October 2, 2014 at 9:00 am , by

I once saw an interview with an Ironman competitor who said that triathlon is 30 percent physical and 70 percent mental. For me personally (and probably because I compete at shorter distances), it’s more like an even 50/50, but the point is: the physical aspect is only part of the equation. In triathlon, you need to dig deep and find the mental strength that’s going to get you through the race when your body hurts. I teamed up with Zoot Sports athlete and Ironman World Championship qualifier, Jennifer Vogel, to bring you the best training plan for becoming mentally—not just physically—stronger.

Vogel wearing her “work” hat.

Have a purpose. 
Before you even register for a race, decide why you want to do it. Have a really strong ‘why’ that sits right with you because when things get really tough and you want to quit—whether it’s in training or on race day—you want to have a very clear and defined reason for exactly why you’re out there.

Adopt a mantra. 
Research shows that motivational self-talk can enhance endurance performance. Vogel suggests having positive key words or phrases that you repeat to yourself when you need to snap back to reality and do what you came there to do. Not sure where to start? Try the Ironman mantra: “Anything is possible.”

Get a lucky charm.
Sometimes a simple object can remind you of your purpose or motivation. Vogel has a hat that she wears during key training sessions and on race days. “It’s my work hat, so when I’m racing with it on, I know I’m there to do a job,” she says. For me, I keep a New York Yankees bandana that my dad gave me when I first started road riding with me during races. Having it just gives me a little extra push.

Feed your body and your brain.
To stay mentally in the game, don’t skimp on your nutrition. Think about if you don’t eat on a normal day—your brain can go into a funk. That feeling can happen even more so on race day, so make sure to stay on top of your food and liquid intake to help with mental sharpness. A little caffeine can also help keep you in the moment, but be sure to use something that you’ve already tried during training.

Visualize your success.
Picture every move—from what you’ll eat in the morning, to setting up your transition, to walking to the swim start, to jumping in the water and so on—so that you are never doing something for the first time on race day. Visualizing everything beforehand can help you go into auto-pilot when you need to and nothing feels as nerve-wracking if you feel like you’ve already done it a million times in your mind.

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Spread Breast Cancer Awareness With Your Selfie

Written on October 1, 2014 at 10:14 am , by

Written by Kristine Thomason, editorial intern

“But first, let me take a selfie.”

Whether you admit to loving the song or not, admit it: You’ve taken a selfie a time or two. And now you can add some purpose behind those pics. The Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB), a youth-focused breast cancer awareness organization (you may know them from the “I Love Boobies” bracelets), is encouraging women to join its #checkyourselfie campaign, which launches October 1st. Just take a selfie doing the three-finger photo pledge and post it with #checkyourselfie in the caption to show your commitment to monthly self-checks.

“It’s important to be aware if something is weird or out of place, because early detection can save your life,” says KAB founder Shaney Jo Darden. “If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not right. Trust your intuition.”

Shockingly, more than 70,000 men and women between ages 15 and 39 are diagnosed with cancer each year, and breast cancer is the most common diagnosis for women in this age range, according to the Young Survival Coalition.

Darden recommends scheduling a time once a month to check yourself (you can even use KAB’s Check Yourself! app, which gives step-by-step instructions for how to do a breast exam and alerts you when it’s self-check time). “I like to schedule one girly personal day a month,” she says. “I sleep in, eat raw food, go to yoga, call my mom and get my nails done. I think it’s important for all women to set aside extra time for yourself, which includes checking in with your girls to see what’s up.” An excuse for a whole day of healthy pampering? We’ll take it!

Photo courtesy of Keep A Breast

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