The swiss army knife of dresses

You know what’s really hard? Getting dressed in the morning. First world problems, I know.

But for reals. If I could save myself half of the time I spend staring at my closet loathing everything in it and whining about why I can’t wear that shirt or this pair of pants, I would have enough time to feed the hungry. Or, at the very least, unpack my suitcase.

What is happening here? WHY?

I’ve also spent an inordinate amount of time plotting a uniform strategy like this one, without actually executing.

What I have done is pay attention to the things I reach for all the time, to try to focus future shopping efforts in more productive directions. I have curated a collection of notes for myself like “stop buying spaghetti straps!” and “find more t-shirts that drape like my striped one.”

You know, super useful suggestions when you’re faced with a mall—or worse, an internet—full of options.

Sometimes the universe steps in to help a sister out, though, and that’s just what happened with this dress. This dress is my everything. If I had to pare down my closet to one item, it would be this dress.

I wore it to the children’s museum in Palm Springs, and, since these photos were taken, everywhere else.

Let me share some of the many benefits of the dress:

  • It’s a basic that you can dress up or down. Add jewelry and heels, and go out to dinner. Add flips flops and sunscreen and go to the beach. Boots and a jean jacket for about town. Etc, etc.
  • It’s super soft and comfy.
  • It packs well – I crammed it unceremoniously into the suitcase pictured above and was able to pull it out and wear it with no muss and no fuss. Oh, and no wrinkles, either.

  • The skirt is cut generously enough that you can squat, bend, twist, and run, without flashing your companions. See?

  • The neckline is slightly more conservative than I usually wear, BUT, it enables the bending / squatting / twisting features.

  • Speaking of necklines, it’s surprisingly breastfeeding friendly. It doesn’t look like it—but I tried in a pinch, and succeeded.
  • No fussy care directions. Wash cold, line dry, which is what I do for all my clothes anyway. Easy peasy.
Driver’s ed starts so young these days. Weep.

Get the dress here. I’m wearing size M in black, and it fits true to size. Also, save 15% off everything at prAna, including this dress, and these perfect lounge pants, with the code: S4P17AMB

This post is sponsored by prAna, but they more than earned this rave review. Opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who support the sweat pink community! 

 

Don’t go high and dry

sweat pink essence ph10

#momlife is all about adjusting to the new normal. Every time you think you have something figured out—like how to get some sleep, how to get some exercise, or what makes the baby happy—everything changes.

A lot of the advice I got about having a child involved concrete skills: breastfeeding advice. Sleep-through-the-night tactics (hah). Babywearing and naptime scheduling. I’m working on all those skills, but above all, being prepared for and adaptable to whatever’s presenting itself RIGHT NOW is the most significant skill I’ve been honing over the last 13 months.

On our ski getaway weekend, I was super proud of myself for preparing for… and then actually hydrating like a boss. Going up to high altitude always leaves me really dehydrated, to the point where my dry mouth wakes me up at night. I took along my Essence pH10 water (and yes, my checked bag definitely got extra security screened as a result) and kept up a rigorous hydration regime. It was the only thing I could control, y’all.

Essence pH10: the freshest, cleanest water you’ve ever tasted. Pure as the driven snow.

To be honest, I had no idea what alkaline water was when I first met the team at Essence pH10. So, in a nutshell, here ya go:

“Influences such as environmental stresses, medications, processed foods, disease states, conditions of exhaustion, acidic drinks, for example, can weaken the bodies’ homeostatic mechanisms that work to maintain our body’s pH level. An Alkaline environment helps promote optimum health and may help to support a cancer-free life. “

I can get down with that.

sweat pink essence ph10

Another win from that weekend: Mac got to play in the snow, reducing the cost per wear of her snowsuit by 50%. With special-use baby clothes, that is a BIG DEAL.

Yeah, she was way more interested in this weird patch of snow by the wall than in actual pretty fields of snow. Doesn’t she know I need to take pictures??

Even though we don’t have boots or any kind of snow-appropriate footwear, her feet stayed miraculously dry. Bobux shoes FTW.

Now we’re back at home, back in the warm Austin ‘winter,’ and Mac and I are spending lots of time tooling around town on my bike. And guess what? I’m still hydrating like a boss.

Fun fact: my diaper bag bottle pockets fit (a) baby bottles, (b) wine bottles (c) water bottles and (d) all of the above. #preparedforanything

All this hydration has me feeling seriously like I can do anything. And it’s good for Mac, too: since I’m still breastfeeding, I like to think I’m passing on that good health and hydration to her as well.

This post was sponsored by Essence pH10. Opinions are, as always, mine and mine alone. Thank you for supporting the brands who support the sweat pink community!

Gift Guide for New Moms

Mackenzie is officially 11 months old, meaning I’ve made it as a mom for almost a year. That milestone is hitting me harder than I expected. The year has gone by so fast in so many ways… and so slowly in others. The old saying “the nights are long but the months are fast” is so true.

I feel like it’s taken me this long to get a handle on my new lifestyle: adjusting my routines, my expectations, my priorities. After years of it really just being all about me, making the shift to being decidedly NOT first priority is tough.

This gift guide is all about getting things for new moms—because yes, I absolutely still consider myself a new mom—that are actually for them, but that make their lives easier and brighter within the context of their babies. So you won’t find any dream gifts in here. Because a weekend ALONE is out of reach right now. Just real-life gifts that will make her feel a little more sane. 🙂

And, most importantly, ALL of these gifts are for her, not for the baby. Because she’s still her own person, dammit.

Stitch Fix shipment



One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced this year is major decision fatigue. Oh, and regular fatigue, too. Getting dressed in the morning is HARD, not least because you’re still working with a closet in which most of your pre-baby stuff doesn’t fit, and you wore your one pair of maternity jeans so often you want to BURN THEM. Literally. I have violent thoughts about my pregnancy clothes – my wardrobe was so limited that I passionately hate everything I wore while pregnant.

But of course, shopping with a baby in tow is … not fun.  I tried on jeans with Mac when she was new. I found myself surrounded by so many choices, and none of my pre-baby go-to brands or sizes quite fit my new body. It was like starting from scratch. So I hauled an armload of jeans into the dressing room, and wriggled my way in and out of that pile, all while Mac alternately snoozed and fussed in her Baby K’Tan.

dressing-room-selfie-with-baby

And of course after all that (sweaty) work, I left empty handed.

There is a better way, y’all. Stitch Fix takes the hassle of shopping, and more importantly, of DECIDING, out of the picture. You get a few pieces each month picked by a stylist and keep what you like, send back what you don’t.

I’m all about outsourcing to the pros AND updating my wardrobe without having to brave a trip to the mall.

This would be great for expecting moms, too: they have a maternity line. Oh how I wish I’d taken advantage of that. There would be fewer bonfires happening over here… and that would be better for the environment. 😉

Sudden Coffee

sudden coffee packaging

I’ve always been a big coffee drinker, but never have I relied on the caffeine drip quite as much as I have this year. Not even in grad school, when I mainlined the dark stuff to the point where I had a capital P Problem.

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A barista recently tipped me off to actually good instant coffee, and these little test tubes of actually good instant coffee have been lifesavers.

I keep them in my purse for emergencies and rely on them when even a three-minute french press process feels too daunting.

sweat pink fit approach

I no longer have to travel with a french press—and when you’re packing for two, every little thing you can leave out of your suitcase feels like a victory.

How would I fit a french press AND a baby in my suitcase?!
How would I fit a french press AND a baby in my suitcase?!

It’s not cheap, but I don’t drink cheap coffee, and I don’t see why I’d make an exception for instant.

Aftershokz headphones

alyse mac selfie in the grass

One word: wireless.

Okay, two words: pink and wireless.

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From conference calls to workouts, I literally can’t live without these. The end.

Baby Strong Workout

baby strong workout deck open closeup

Postpartum fitness is a day-by-day adventure. Some days you escape for a real workout feel on top of the world (albeit with sore, shaky muscles) and other days you are lucky to count pacing with a sleepless baby as your exercise for the day, all while scarfing down suspect-looking leftovers in a hangry moment of desperation.

This deck of workouts from Baby Strong helps me fit in a little strength training while I’m hanging out with Mac. It also saves me from decision fatigue, because there is nothing better than having someone else tell you what to do when you are running on an hour of sleep.

For a real-life look at a home workout with baby, check out my first Facebook Live video below. Mac couldn’t have better demonstrated why sometimes the sweat just ain’t happening.

MostFit Core Hammer

This one may look like a strange addition to this list. If you’re thinking, WTF happened to fruitcakes and bath products; who gives people hammers for Christmas? I don’t blame you. But hear me out.

When my core hammer showed up, I was having a MORNING. Like, why can’t I get a baby that sleeps in, or sleeps, at all? Why does my coffee go cold before I get a chance to drink it? CAN I GET SOME BREAKFAST UP IN HERE, BESIDES THE CRUSTED OATMEAL SMEARED ALL OVER MAC’S FACE AND CLOTHES AND MY WALLS AND FLOORS?

Yeah, one of those mornings.

Then this giant, heavy package shows up, and, I swear to you, just taking the core hammer out of the box made me feel like a conquering warrior. A mother of dragons.

It was just the boss-babe boost I needed.

Plus, how badass does this look under a tree? This will be the most talked-about gift of the year.

You can read my full review here, or just pull the trigger and be a boss babe. Save 10% on the MostFit Core Hammer with the code MFSW10.

Now if only I could get my dragon to eat her oatmeal instead of paint with it. 

So there you have it. My top gifts for mom, unless, and only unless, you can give the gift of a weekend completely alone. Until then, these options will make her feel like herself again. 🙂

Stitch Fix, Baby Strong Workout, MostFit, and Aftershokz are all Fit Approach partners. Opinions and fire-starting tendencies are my own. I so appreciate your support of brands who partner with the Sweat Pink community! #sweatpinkpartner

Gifts for the fitness freaks in your life

bosu activmotionbar designer protein

Just like the season for Christmas decorations and music seems to extend year after year, so too does the season for discounted shopping. I could take or leave Christmas music (okay, actually, I could just leave it), but the extended shopping discounts season is something I can 100% rally behind.

And today, TODAY ONLY, is a perfect chance to get a gift for the fitness-lover in your life that they’ll love AND that you can customize for them.

1. Build Your Own BOSU Flash Sale

Today only, BOSU is offering a flash sale (15% off!) their Build Your Own BOSU. That means you can customize colors to your heart’s content. It’s not often you can get a big ticket item that’s also customizable, so this BOSU is a perfect way to show your fitness loving special someone that you know their favorite sports team’s colors, or how important it is that their fitness gear matches their shoes or their car.

byobosu
The possible color combinations are to die for.

I love my BOSU—it’s the perfect at-home workout accessory that you can take outside or keep in your car for impromptu outdoor workouts.

BOSU side plank AMB

2. An ActivMotion Bar in a special color

pink

This is brand new, too: ActivMotion Bar just came out with a limited edition line of colored bars, including… you guessed it, HOT PINK. Hellz yeah.

You can get them discounted via their IndieGoGo campaign, or, hey, why not win one from Fit Approach? We’re giving away three hot pink bars this week. BOOM.

ActivMotion Bars are the ultimate in forcing your core to work harder—the hollow weighted bars are partially filled with shifting ball bearings, meaning you’re constantly having to stabilize the bar while you work out. It’s super efficient strength training.

3. Designer Protein

dp-day-7

Designer Protein is offering daily deals until 12/6 as part of their 12 Days of Giving. Today’s deal:

Lite Mini Meal is the same low-calorie protein product you love, now in a meal replacement. Try it out today for 40% off! Use code: LITE40

Follow them on Facebook or check DesignerProtein.com each day for the daily deal! Best thing is, 12% of proceeds to go feed the homeless, so you’re doing good for your body and the world.

dp-smoothie

Or, you can also use the code SWEATPINK30 for 30% off everything. (Hint: the Gourmet Chocolate Whey is delicious.) So there, lots of options. 🙂

So GO, jump on it, cross off the fitness-lover on your list, and get back to jamming to your Christmas music, hanging up your lights, or practicing your grinch scowl.

A decadent holiday

Whew. You guys. I’m still coming down from a really lovely, relaxing Thanksgiving. This one was so different from years’ past, when Nathan and I hosted (and he cooked) the whole shebang. This year, we teamed up with my parents for a simpler version. We made things easy by transforming the day from a one-chef show into a potluck, switching to a smoked turkey (just heat’n’serve, peeps!), and organizing an unofficial Turkey Trot.

turkey trot thanksgiving 2016

No parking hassles, no crowds, just our little gang of runners out on a crisp, clear morning by the lake.

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After our Turkey Trot, we had everyone come back to my parents’ house for a simple breakfast. We made challah toast drizzled with sweetened condensed milk (sounds odd; tastes heavenly).

sliced challah loaf

Coffee. Mimosas. And, my special Toffee Smoothie.

toffee smoothie designer protein

You see, every year, for as long as I can remember, my mom has made English Toffee for the holidays. I LOVE that stuff. I could eat it all day long.

english toffee

Of course, now that I’m no longer 10 years old with a hardy stomach, I hurt myself if I eat it all day long. So I decided to bring those flavors into something that wouldn’t kill me with sugar overload, but would also help me feel like I was indulging in more toffee. TOFFEE ALL THE TIME TOFFEE.

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I whipped up a decadent smoothie with my Designer Protein Gourmet Chocolate Whey, and was kind enough to share it with my fellow turkey trotters. Sharing was not easy, friends. I had to muster all my holiday generosity to not down the entire blender’s worth myself.

designer protein

CHOCOLATE ALMOND TOFFEE SMOOTHIE RECIPE: 

  • 1 scoop Designer Protein Gourmet Chocolate Whey
  • 1/2 cup yogurt, or 1/2 banana (I’m not a banana person, but that will also give this a creamy texture)
  • 1 spoonful of almond butter
  • Optional: dash of cold brew coffee
  • 1 cup liquid (milk of any kind, water, whatever floats your boat)
  • Handful of ice
  • Top with: whipped cream, toffee crumbles

 

designer protein gourmet chocolate whey

One of the great things about this recipe is that it uses all those almonds and chocolate chunks that fall off the toffee and can sometimes go to waste. We usually save those crumbles as ice cream toppers; they also (surprise!) make amazing smoothie toppers.

This Thanksgiving was exactly what the doctor ordered. What with our current chronic sleep deprivation and general fatigue, keeping it simple was just the thing. Even when we have this whole baby parenting / sleeping through the night thing figured out, I think we’ll stick to this lower stress version of the holiday.

Make it yourself:

Amazing discounts below. I couldn’t recommend the Gourmet Chocolate Whey highly enough; it’s got a nice creamy milk chocolate-y taste, has none of those downsides you usually associate with protein powders: it has a smooth texture, no weird aftertaste, and, BONUS, it’s really light on calories for the amount of protein you get.

  • Designer Protein is offering 30% off everything at DesignerProtein.com with the code SWEATPINK30
  • AND, check out their Facebook page for 12 days of giving, going on through 12/6/16. Each day, they have a special promotion, and 12% of proceeds will go to the San Diego Food Bank to help feed the homeless during the holidays.