Author Archives: stellarfashionandfitness

About stellarfashionandfitness

I am Jennifer, a 35-year-old woman living in Birmingham, Ala., miles from my Northeast-based family and some of my closest friends, but loving the Magic City, my husband and the friends I’ve made here in the South. I’ve lived in nine different states, plus London, and worked for some top-notch publications (Southern Living, Women’s Wear Daily/W magazine) as a writer and copy editor. Now I am loving my role as assistant editor at a bass fishing magazine.

Building Community With The Makeshift 5k

I want to say a big thank you to everyone who participated in the #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k on Saturday!

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I had a great time walking with Javacia, the fearless leader of See Jane Write and my blogging guru. I kept one eye on Facebook and Instagram and was so excited to see all of your posts coming in, and those that came later in the day when the temperature was cooler.

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I have to say, what I have loved most about organizing the Makeshift 5k is building a community of people who want to cheer each other on as we work on our fitness.

This event started out as a way to keep my walking/running fitness level up in between larger “official” races that I like to do. But budget-wise, registering for a 5k every couple of months at $30 a pop just wasn’t going to happen. So I wanted to set a regular date for myself to get walking/running, and then I thought, why not invite readers, family and friends to join in?!

Thankfully you have all responded so positively, and it’s definitely something I want to keep going!

I know we all need a little push sometimes to work on our fitness. It’s not easy to squeeze in workouts with our busy schedules. But having a goal like a 5k can keep us focus and motivated. It’s been working for me, and I hope it works for you, too!

So get ready for the next #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k coming on Sept. 26! Hopefully it will be cooler then in all parts of the country, and we can enjoy getting our run/walk on together!  

Mark your calendars for Sept. 26, and check back here for more updates!

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Summer Whites

I definitely have one thing lacking in my wardrobe: whites!

I think I’m scared of them. It’s probably leftover from my childhood, during which I promptly spilled anything I was eating on my shirt or pants or dress. I think I’m a neater eater now, but the idea of trying to bleach out guacamole from a new white blouse makes me nervous!

Still, this time of year especially, I envy those girls in pretty white sundresses or white jeans. They look so fresh and crisp! And I love the way metallics and pops of turquoise or bright orange liven up an all-white ensemble. So I’ve had my eye on a few white pieces that I thought I’d share with y’all!

Get ready to do some shopping (and buy some bleach!)!

How do you like to wear your summer whites? Did any of these pieces catch your eye, too?

#stellarmiles Makeshift 5k This Saturday!

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This Saturday, July 18, is the next #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k!

Here’s all the deets:

When: Saturday, July 18, 7 a.m.
Where: If you are participating with me IRL, we will meet at the start of Lakeshore Trail on the Green Springs side. Meet me in the parking lot near the soccer fields. If you’re joining in virtually, can’t wait to see your pics on Instagram!

And don’t forget to RSVP on Facebook with my event page!

How The Giveaway Will Work: Make sure to post a photo of yourself or scenery from your run or walk by 12 p.m. CT on July 18, and use the hashtag #stellarmiles, and you will be entered into a drawing to win a prize pack from me!

It is going to be HOT here in Alabama on Saturday, and probably wherever you are, too. So this week, make sure you drink plenty of water in the days leading up to the run/walk. Also, bring a water bottle to keep on hand with you while you do your 3.1 miles. If you’re joining me in person, I will have some waters and snacks for after the Makeshift 5k!

Two important points I want to make:

1. Please, please join us if you walk or run — don’t feel pressure to do either one! This race is done at your own pace, in your own zone. This time around, I think I will mostly walk as I haven’t been running as much lately. The next 5k will be a run for me for sure, but I always want to welcome people who walk and run. Keeping that in mind, if you’re working on your distance and can’t quite do 3.1 miles yet, please join us anyway and stick to your own distance. The more the merrier!

2. Please note that I am not a trained professional at all when it comes to running or holding races. This is simply a get-together among readers to work on our fitness and cheer each other on. If you’re not sure you can do this 5k safely, please consult with your doctor and think about holding off until the next #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k, which will be announced soon! It’s always best to train and prepare if you haven’t done a distance like this before.

Any questions, please email me at stellarfashionandfitness[at]gmail.com.

Can’t wait to run or walk with y’all on Saturday!

Be Like Serena: Don’t Fear Your Strength!

My legs are strong.

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Sure, they’re not perfect. Some may see them as too thick, or see the cellulite or scars and think, “How can she be so proud of her legs?”

But I am proud. Six years ago when I first started working out on a regular basis, my legs weren’t as shapely as they are now. My calves weren’t as muscular. I couldn’t do as many squats or run as many miles.

These legs have carried me through two half marathons, a few 10ks and more than a dozen 5ks. They stick with me through long walks and propel me while swimming laps. They keep me cycling at spinning class and do some fancy footwork at Zumba.

They hold me up while I carry my niece, and walked me down the aisle to say “I do” to my husband. They travel with me to sight-see in foreign countries, or Southern cities with my best friends.

While I may fight with my own self-esteem sometimes, one thing I will always be proud of is the strength of my legs.

So you can imagine my anger when I read this weekend about The New York Times article discussing Serena Williams’ physique and how other tennis players avoid getting as muscular as she does.

I about near screamed.

It’s insulting to diminish a woman’s accomplishments in any field by commenting in any way about her physical appearance, but especially to disparage her figure.

An athlete, whose job it is to be a strong player, should never feel she can’t gain too much muscle for fear that she won’t look feminine enough.

She should never fear being strong.

I was so happy a couple of weeks ago when there was such a positive response to Amanda Bingson’s appearance in “The Body Issue” of ESPN magazine because here’s a woman who isn’t afraid to be strong, and who doesn’t care how society perceives her body.

She accepts herself for who she is and loves her body.

“I don’t look in the mirror and think ‘slim,'” she says. “I look in the mirror and I’m like, ‘Whoa, beast!'”

Serena is also an amazing example for young girls because she has dealt with people commenting about her body for far too long. And she keeps a great perspective about it:

“I learned to be proud of my curves and to embrace my large boobs and my butt,” she told Fitness magazine. “It’s all about loving who you are and realizing that you’re beautiful.”

It’s infuriating that when a woman achieves the pinnacle of her career, she is still criticized for her looks. Instead of focusing on her achievements, articles are written about her body shape.

We should celebrate the hard work these women put in to make their bodies strong enough to achieve these amazing athletic feats. No one should ever think that too many muscles makes you less feminine. Just like one’s body size or shape should not factor into one’s measurement of success.

I am going to celebrate the strength of my legs, and I hope we can learn to hail the strength of these women.

And never fear being strong.

{Belated} July Goals

 If you follow me on Instagram then you know why I’m late sharing my July goals with you — vacation! I spent a fun week in Florida with extended family and got back feeling excited for the goals I want to work toward this month. 

So without further adieu:

1. Work on blogging goals in preparation for speaking on a panel at the upcoming Bloganista Mini-Con. I am so thankful to Javacia, founder of See Jane Write, for including me as a speaker at the conference, and I want to do her proud. So I will be working on my blog diligently this month, making some upgrades and posting regularly. I will also attend her mixer at Collage in Birmingham on July 23. I hope you will attend, and come to the Mini-Con, too!

2. Workout three to four times each week. I didn’t work out on vacation as often as I wanted to, but with several days of walking well over 10,000 steps (thanks, Disney World!), I feel good about what I did do. Now that I’m home, I plan to continue swimming a couple of times a week and walking/running, too. I have to be ready for the #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k on July 18! I also plan to try a couple new workouts this month — SOL dancing and Orangetheory Fitness. I’ll post reviews about each one soon!

3. Work on my sweet tooth and bringing lunches to work. I have a lot going on this month and I can already feel the stress leading me to make poor diet choices. I am hoping a few tweaks here and there will keep me on track and focused on eating healthfully. The week before my vacation was a great example of how I can make the right choices, so I’m going back to that feeling of motivation for the rest of this month! 

Seeing as we’re already one week into July, I’m going to keep it at those three things for this month. In my opinion, your monthly goals should feel challenging but also attainable. You don’t want to push yourself too much and then you end up giving up. 

What goals have you set for yourself for July? What’s your “stretch” goal and what’s your “easy” goal?

Get Ready For The #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k!

First, I want to say a big thanks to Javacia Harris Bowser, founder of See Jane Write, for featuring me as the July Member of the Month! Please head over to the See Jane Write blog to see my interview!

And welcome to any new readers who found me through See Jane Write. As you may have read in my Q&A, I am organizing another #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k, and I hope you will join me!

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Look soon for a Facebook event through my Facebook page so I can get a headcount of who will be able to attend the next #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k in-person here in Birmingham, Ala., on Saturday, July 18. I’d like to make sure I have waters and post-race snacks on-hand for everyone.

As with the last race, if you live elsewhere but still want to walk or run that morning, please post a photo of yourself or your run on Instagram using the #stellarmiles hashtag. Everyone who posts a photo with the hashtag will be entered into a drawing to win a prize.

And this time I promise not to get the prize out as slowly as I did for the last Makeshift 5k. The two ladies who ran with me that day — Tanya and Javacia — are finally getting their prize pack!

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Goody bags with sport socks, no-slip headbands and #stellarmiles magnets!

I can’t wait to walk or run with you all on July 18! Right now we’ll start at 7 a.m. CT, but you will have until 12 p.m. CT to post your photos, so if you live on the West Coast, you don’t have to get up hella early!

Let’s get those walking and running training miles in, and I’ll see you in your sneakers in a few weeks!

The Exercise & Healthy Eating Zone

This week I experienced a few moments when everything just clicked for me when it comes to exercise and eating healthfully.   

As you know, a couple of weeks ago I started swimming laps at my local Gold’s Gym. It’s definitely become one of my favorite ways to workout, and I hope to keep it as part of my rotation from now on. Monday I swam 24 laps on my own, then Wednesday I swam another 24 laps with a friend. 

I also attended spinning class on Tuesday, after missing the class for far too many weeks. Spinning can be a pretty intense workout, but I needed and enjoyed the challenge. 

Whenever I get on a streak like this, when exercise is something I enjoy doing rather than dreading, I try to take full advantage of it. It feels good to have that motivation, so I try to schedule classes or meet with friends so the workout is a mandatory part of my day. 

I’m planning to carry over this momentum when I head to Florida for a weeklong vacation with extended family. Walks on the beach, and morning walks/runs with my cousins are my goals. Maybe we’ll do some lap swimming if the pool is large enough, too!

As for eating, I had a few ups and downs this week. I didn’t set a weekly goal for myself, which was mistake No. 1. But I did pay close attention to the choices I was making at each meal. Sweets were a struggle, but I tried to maintain some balance!

This morning I got in that “healthy eating zone” and stopped at Sprouts on my way to work. I picked up oatmeal for breakfast and a salad with grilled chicken for lunch, along with roasted chickpeas and fresh raspberries for a snack. When you feel that urge to stock up on healthy goodies for the day, go for it!

I find that if I’ve been in a rut and I need to get back to doing healthy things for myself, usually one or two steps in the right direction helps a lot. Preparation is key too — grab those easy-to-eat groceries and pack your gym bag the night before. Make it easy so you won’t be tempted to throw in the towel. 

How do you try to maintain an exercise and healthy eating zone? What are your tricks for getting that motivation going?