Sweating Some Serious Support

Gotta reach the goal!
or fuhgeddaboudit…
repost from @RejuventatedUK

I’ve been attending The Max Challenge since it opened in my hometown, and I’ve generally flopped between the two mindsets above :-). Lately, though, I’ve been recommitted to getting there daily and putting my in my best effort, so here’s to feeling more like the first graphic and less like the second! The Max workouts are varied enough that I’m never bored, it’s not a fashion show, and the camaraderie goes a long way towards staying committed.

A whole other reason to be thankful for a great indoor option is the allergy season. I love to walk around the neighborhood but I can’t lately unless I want to swallow buckets of goo all day (too much? Sorry). Side note: If you are also suffering with this, Mucinex D 12-hour sold behind the pharmacy counter could save your life (def saving mine).

Here are few workout truths I’ve made peace with:

  • Getting there a few minutes late is so much better than not getting there at all and attending on a Monday sets a great tone for the week.
  • The more often I go, the more motivated I am to go again.
  • Don’t wear the grey leggings unless is is laundry day and I’m out of dark ones and totally desperate (I see you, mirror).
  • Modify exercises. Modify them whenever necessary because coming back the next day trumps straining something.
  • Keep my knees behind the tips of my toes if I want to keep them intact and not show up in a knee brace. (Did you know that for each pound of body weight lost, there is a 4-pound reduction in knee joint stress for people who suffer from extra pounds or osteoarthritis? study by researcher Stephen P. Messier, PhD, of Wake Forest University)
  • Skip the makeup because no one cares and it clogs open, sweaty pores (except for the undereye concealer, because if I skip it people ask if I’m feeling sick or if everything’s ok, LOL).
  • Generate regular site posts because I’ll show up if I am writing regularly about my experience (so THANK YOU to any readers)!

The friends you make in a workout class also often end up being a terrific resource (shout out, Robyn!) – face it, when mamas talk, the take-away tips come at you left and right. Who runs the world? Moms.

Expert fittings at The Dain Shoppe in Morristown, NJ

One of the more recent floor conversations circulated around sports bra shopping and finding a bra with decent support. The Dain Shoppe in Morristown, NJ, a longstanding local lingerie shop, was recommended, so off I went with a buddy to check it out. The Dain Shoppe has been serving the tri-state area since 1982 and store associates know their stuff. Paired with the fact that they contribute to many local community initiatives, I was excited to get fitted and give their suggestions a shot.

So many options…

If you work out often enough to invest in your comfort, the best gift you can give yourself is to visit a shop that will professionally fit you and make sports bra recommendations suited to your specific size and body proportions. Amongst the myriad of choices, the associate I worked with expertly pulled several options off the rack and brought them to the fancy fitting room for me (the nicer the fitting room, the more nervous I get about the price). I gasped a little when I checked the tag of the Anita Air Control Deltapad, but after the sweat-inducing, boob crushing, mass market torture device I have been suffering with for the past year, I promised myself I would just wash it with every load and paid for it. I want to live in this thing- everyday. It’s super comfortable in class and THEY. DON’T. MOVE. Bring on the jumping jacks. I can take it. Worth every penny.

Learning so much from @thefoodbabe

A label-reading education seems to come part and parcel with an exercise regimen, if any results are to be had. If you didn’t catch the Favorite Finds post from yesterday, I wanted to again share the link to “The Food Babe” Vani Hari’s Instagram page – @thefoodbabe. I learn something from this NYT best-selling author every time she posts and I can’t wait for her book, Feeding You Lies ($15.79 on Amazon), to show up on my doorstep.

*First time reading? Check out my first workout-related post with recommendations for sneakers that will steal all your workout excuses and how to take the stink out of workout gear. Click on the link!

(All products were chosen by me independently and all opinions are totally my own… I started this blog three seconds ago… so obvs nothing is sponsored- this is a creative outlet and I just love sharing great finds) – Till next time! xoxo TheMomReno

Got any workout tips that you want to share? Comment below or email me at themomreno@gmail.com!

Favorite Finds!

Wall art outside the Johnny Was store on Wooster Street in NYC

Just sifting through the superfluous and sleuthing out some smart stuff, so you don’t have to...

First off, a huge Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!

Second guessing your sparkles – how socially conscious are your cosmetics?

Fave Media Link: If you are looking for a site with some quick, compelling reads and you are not familiar with Refinery 29, they have been getting things right lately. There’s fashion, entertainment and beauty roundups to spare, but they’ve also been publishing some deeper digs. like the eye-opening exposé article, The Makeup Industry’s Darkest Secret is Hiding in Your Makeup Bag (revealing child labor mica mining in India). Lots more social responsibility in their coverage lately, and I’m thinking that’s a great thing.

Fave Fashion Find: – I came across Lisi Lerch’s chic and affordable accessory line after following Alexa Anglin on Instagram – not only are her earrings on trend and reasonably priced, but I love her backstory – she left the Wall Street world to pursue her creative passion and fill a void in the millinery market (affordable, fashionable hats), and then became a mom specializing in unique jewelry. (A second, less affordable find this week is Longchamp’s Mademoiselle Studded Leather Camera Bag ($495 at Nordstrom) – it’s not happening for me but someone buy it so I feel better – or so I can borrow it – LOL).

Fave Insta-Influencer: Vani Hari, aka @thefoodbabe, is a NYT best-selling author who is dedicated to descrambling food labels and teaching the masses how not to be duped. She pulls back the mask on the many products masquerading as natural, healthy options- I would go so far as to call her a modern muckraker and a brave consumer advocate. I’m greatly admiring her courage in standing up to big corporations and challenging their attempts to muddle the public’s knowledge, and I learn from her Instagram posts every time. Her book, Feeding You Lies, can be found on Amazon in hardcover or for the Kindle. It’s in my cart.

Fave Useful Item: Warmer weather is upon us, so the shout out goes to France Luxe’s L. Erickson Grab & Go Pony hair elastics ($18 for a tube of 15). These are not new and many of you may know of them already, but if you don’t, they are life-changing. I’ve given up using all my other elastics for both my daughter (who has fine, flyaway hair) and myself (fuller, naturally curly hair) – these are by far the most comfortable, effective and stylish of the bunch. They come in a variety of colors and are a bit pricier than what I would ordinarily pick up at the drugstore , but also half as likely to get lost. You can find them at specialty boutique stores, a full array of colors on their site, or a smaller selection of 8-elastic tubes on Amazon ($10).

Do you need a measles booster shot?

Fave Hot Topic Answers: The conversation outside my daugher’s gymnastics class this past week amongst parents revolved around the resurgence of the measles, and what’s required to be protected against it. Here’s a link to the CDC website with the FAQ. In short, the answers are: Kids should be following their vaccination schedule and receive two doses, properly spaced. No, you don’t need a booster as an adult if you are confident you received both doses as a kid. Yes, you can take it again if you are unsure that you got both doses way back when – it’s not worrisome to get an accidental third dose.

Fave Laugh: The Accidental SuperMom on Instagram is hysterical and has three young kiddos to gather material from. Her blog is filled with equally funny writing, and also identifiable perspective (like Past, Present and Future Mom). If you have young kids and are feeling the motherhood mayhem, she is the best comic relief. Here, she lists “What We Really Want for Mother’s Day.” Sing it, sister.

(All opinions are totally my own… I started this blog three seconds ago… so obvs nothing is sponsored) – If you love what you read, share it! Moms are all each other’s best resource. Till next time! xoxo TheMomReno

10 Lessons I’ve Learned From Our Home Reno (and it hasn’t even started)

Renovation time inches closer every week, though the timeline is still fluid based on permitting and materials. Being reno virgins (we have lived in this townhouse for close to 12 years and this is our first major project), there is much to consider – not only about the design process and the cost involved (yikes), but also about the impact it will have on our lives both during and long afterwards.

A structural change in living space feels like an opportunity. It’s a chance to design something that, once completed, hopefully results in a more efficient layout so daily living seems a little more effortless and enjoyable. Since this is a townhouse, nothing on the exterior will change, but we do have a weight-bearing wall inside that is being cut back and requires reinforcement beams, etc. We plan to live here during construction and bounce between our other two floors – right now, that’s the part contributing most to my anxiety. I’m busy thinking about how to store things and how we can arrange existing furniture to limit discomfort.

It feels like there is take-away value to be gleaned from every conversation with every professional involved, and also any friend or acquaintance who is undergoing (or has so in the past) an overhaul of similar scale. So, strike up a conversation with everyone you meet! You never know when you can gain wisdom from a veteran that could save you from a major future misstep.

With that, here are the 10 lessons that I’ve learned so far (and we haven’t even taken a hammer to one wall yet):

So this happened… and I jokingly texted my kitchen designer to draft FASTER!

1.Choose to work with experts that you have confidence in and enjoy conversing with. Make them locally recommended, detail-oriented, responsive specialists with a proven track record. I’m talking to these people a LOT. There are no walls open yet and they already feel like friends. The fact that I am sure of their expertise makes things a whole lot less stressful and I’m comfortable asking questions and challenging certain recommendations. I hope they enjoy me as a client in return.

2. Consider the livability of construction during the earliest phase of planning. My priority is the main floor of our unit – the kitchen, the living room, the bathroom, and the floors. We had thought about installing a basement bathroom someday but it wasn’t at the top of the list. Turns out, we’re opting to do it first. Knowing that the main floor will be out of commission for months, having a full bathroom in our primary shared space will prevent the inconvenience of having to travel two floors up every time we need to use a toilet or sink.

3. Know your design “personality”. Do you like things to be modern, cozy, transitional, timeless? Do your homework on Pinterest, Houzz, and similar sites that will allow you to collect photos to present to the people you work with, so they can envision things similarly and create a sense of cohesiveness. This holds true for architects, builders and even interior designers later on, if you choose to use one.

4. Design with the intention of giving everything a “home.” The very start is the optimum time to dream up a space that is uniquely right for your family (as you are not limited to just storage pieces and added accessories). You can maximize available space. You can also fashion options to ease access and store the items you use most. On the most recent Mother Like a Boss podcast episode, host Kendra addresses this very issue – she jokes that “if she were to write a book, it would be called I’ll Bring it Up the Next Time I Go Upstairs, and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves.” My personal project this week is to dump out all the kitchen drawers (nine!) to see if I can get away with only three (what’s currently drafted). Deeper drawers for pots and pans will be utilizing that under-counter area, so how many existing items can be simply tossed? Can things be stored elsewhere in the new layout?

Hood of my dreams, we will be together soon…

5. Ugh – Expect it’s going to be more expensive than originally thought. Once appliance shopping is over and exploratory visits are made (“oh, you’re gonna need an ejector pump for a bathroom down here”), some less important improvements might need to be reconsidered or delayed to remain in the budget ballpark. I picked a hood for our oven whose cost might necessitate us skipping the fridge. LOL

6. Delay decor choices that can be made at a later phase. Often, items like tiles for a backsplash or lighting fixtures for a bathroom can be left for the final round. Details in a completed room might look more bulkier or smoother than you envisioned and demand a different complement, even if its a minor variation on your original selection.

7.Purge all the stuff (and then purge again). I am making a concerted effort to donate as much as possible – to other local families, to Goodwill, to the Veterans, to local hospitals and preschools that might need toys we’ve grown out of – it still doesn’t feel like I have made near enough headway!

8. Match white cabinetry to trimmings. If you are opting for white cabinets, select the same shade as your baseboards and crown molding. You don’t want either one looking dingy or yellow-tinged next to the other.

9.Keep a sense of humor, if possible. Things will go awry. (I’m aware of this but it will still rock me when it does!) Listening to Young House Love’s podcast in the car is reminding me to keep things light. In each episode, home transformer extraordinaires John and Sherry hand out useful renovating and decor tips are super honest about the DIY snags they’ve encountered in the five homes they’ve worked on. I love her design sense and their website is an amazing and unintimidating resource. Highly recommend – they feel like friends you haven’t met yet.

I know what you’re thinking… who would ever want to replace this thing of beauty?

10. Embrace the role of primary project decision-maker. After so many years together, I’ve learned that it’s ok if your partner doesn’t watch HGTV too. My husband could care less if we live with ill-fitting original cabinetry and green speckled formica for the rest of our days, or if we even renovate at all. I could view this as a lack of participation, but I don’t – truth is, it’s his gift to me. He just wants me to be happy, so “don’t force him to choose something arbitrarily.” He’s allowing a design-obsessed control freak to make selections without having to compromise her taste. He knows I’ll take him into account. The fact that a man who hates nothing more than being uncomfortable is willing to dwell in the basement for many months is akin to him penning me a love sonnet. Thanks dear. 🙂

Are you about to renovate too? Did you just complete a project? Share your comments and tips below! We can all learn so much from each other…

Friday Favorites!

It’s Friday! The blogosphere seems to decree this as roundup day, so I’m planning for a weekly collection of links that I can’t wait to share and weren’t mentioned in other posts this week.

Today, I’m sifting through the superfluous and sleuthing out some smart stuff, so you don’t have to.

Image by obpia30 from Pixabay

Fave Media Link: Timing isn’t Everything, Everything is Timing – At least it is according to Daniel H. Pink, the bestselling author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. I discovered this book after listening to his interview with Paula Pant on her Afford Anything podcast (episode #188) and I immediately downloaded it to my Audible account. The premise is how our circadian rhythms can have a tremendous effect on the outcome of our experiences and our decision-making capabilities – fellow nerds out there, it’s FASCINATING. Did you know that medical issues at hospitals increase measurably in the afternoon? He states in Pant’s recording that “anesthesia errors are four times more likely at 3 p.m. than at 9 a.m.”! I am seriously not scheduling another doctor’s appointment or pivotal business meeting until I finish listening to it. It’s available on Amazon in whatever format you enjoy most.

Fave Fashion Find: Short Mama Sneaker Boot – I’ve been getting a literal lift from these Linea Paolo Felicia Wedge Booties, ($119.95 at Nordstrom) and being only 5’2″ on a good day, I’ll take all the help I can get! They are casual enough to throw on with a pair of jeans and a tee, but give you the leg-lengthening confidence boost of a dressier shoe. I can run around doing errands in them and they don’t hurt my feet. For the record, the appearance is trendy sneaker but the fit feels more boot-like (pic is the Black Perf Nappa option). They are not too narrow and somewhat reasonably priced (to boot). See what I did there? LOL

Fave Insta-Influencer: I started following @nourishingalex on Instagram and the uber-healthy vegan bowls that she creates are inspiring this cooking-challenged gal to actually put together well-rounded lunches. That’s an accomplishment. I am creative in other spheres, but… I’m pretty awful at making a decent lunch. You gotta check out her food porn.

Foreign chocolate of my dreams?

Fave “Spotted Item”: So I was at Subaru picking up something for our car when I spotted THIS BAR on the check-in desk. Choc-O-Low? I immediately started quizzing the gal that works there about it and she said her friend brought it back from the UK for her. It says on the back that it has 80% less sugar than standard dark chocolate bars and it supports responsible cocoa farming. But it does have malitol, so maybe stomach upset? Someone send me an overseas link to this sucker. I don’t know how it tastes (have any readers tried it?), but I’m wondering if I can build this treat into my argument for why I need to get back to London as soon as possible.

Fave Article of Interest: On April 26th, the New York Times published this article in the Upshot – “Women Did Everything Right. Then Work Got Greedy: How America’s obsession with long hours has widened the gender gap” – it explores how even though women are more educated than ever, jobs are requiring professionals to be constantly on call and women are often being the ones to step back to run the family show (having married their intellectual equals). The article quotes Harvard economist Claudia Goldin, who stated, “Women don’t step back from work because they have rich husbands… They have rich husbands because they step back from work.” Talk amongst yourselves.

And just for laughs: Ok, to lighten the mood, you MUST follow @momtransparenting on Instagram. She’s been making me laugh out loud every day this week.

(All opinions are totally my own… I started this blog three seconds ago… so obvs nothing is sponsored) – Till next time! xoxo TheMomReno

A Friday Full of Progress

Turning on the Faucet

Credit: quotefancy.com

As I write this blog in my spare time while trying to intentionally parent and run a house that is about to enter total construction upheaval, I’m hoping that any readers will excuse the schizophrenic nature of my topic choices. The urge to write could no longer be ignored, and I promise you that I will find structure and streamline as I go. Writing feels a bit like a friend that I’m reconnecting with and haven’t felt whole without.

Working it Out

I made it to workout class every day this week, which is a big accomplishment for me! Yesterday would have been a great day for excuses – I needed to research the reliability of the kitchen appliances we are considering purchasing, grocery shop, and clean out the utility room for the pump that’s required for the new basement bathroom (zzzz… snore). But this accountability blog is keeping me motivated to push myself harder than usual. So thank you, mostly nonexistent readers! I actually made it to “leg day.” Instructor probably has no idea who I am – LOL.

Clean Beauty

Credit: Follain Clean Essentials Kit,Follain.com

I’ve become a little obsessed with the offerings at Follain, the clean beauty website and retail shopping haven. The next time I leave the ‘burbs for my big NYC haircut (old habits die hard), I am definitely going to swing by the West Village location. I love how they have taken the guesswork out of picking toxin-free beauty and I’d love to get matched for some optimal skincare choices. I’ve already ordered some RMS Beauty “Un” Powder off their website to finish off my makeup routine – I’ll report in – and I am lusting after so much more, which I will try after I either: a) rob a bank, or b) receive press samples someday – I’m dreaming big here!

Trying to maintain my pledge to swap used up, empty products for safer options, and I don’t have setting power right now, so that’s first up.

Carb addict seeking protein-rich breakfast suggestions…

I’m a carb girl. I was raised on carbs. I innately don’t love protein. Does anyone have any recommendations for protein-rich breakfast ideas that will still make me feel like I am cheating with carbs? LOL. That would be perfect. I’m going to start experimenting with some overnight oats breakfast bowls next week – the Peanut Butter Overnight Oatmeal from minimalistbaker.com looks like an easy recipe with a decent amount of protein. Also, wakeupandsmelltherosay on Instagram also has some super fabulous looking ones. Other suggestions? I am all ears!