Let’s get outta town

I just got back from our first-ever yoga retreat in Sonoma, CA, and you guys, it was everything.

I’m still riding a high from a whole weekend spent with my people in the beautiful sunny wine country—and yes, from my first weekend away from Mac.

I got to spend so much quality time with people I love, from our team:

To college friends:

And sweat pink sisters!

I did a bunch of yoga, hiking, and HIIT & Flow.

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten this sweaty and this sore, and it felt oh-so-good to really dig in for an active weekend.

How cute is my Momentum Jewelry wrap?

I wore my Momentum Jewelry wrap all weekend like a watch. Every time I’d glance down at my wrist, it was the perfect reminder of what time it was: time to EMPOWER and INSPIRE.

I grew a ton in my practice: I hit peacock (yay!). For the first time EVER I managed to jump back into chaturanga from crow pose. That felt like a major breakthrough moment – and all it took was just hearing it described a different way. I felt like I’d unlocked a new skill that had been lying in wait for me.

I have yet another pair of pants I’m obsessed with (thanks prAna!).

These are the most comfy. Seriously. It feels like you’re wearing nothing, and they’re so pretty. Our whole team, without coordinating it, ended up picking the same pair.

We range from 5’1″ to 6′ … and size 0 to… ??? and these pants fit us all beautifully!

Except Liz, who got to be a stand out from the crowd in a different pair. 😉

Save 25% off prAna using the code POWERPRANA at checkout (valid until 4.15.17).

I’m obsessed with my Handful bra. It’s the softest, silkiest, most flattering sports bra ever… and look, they seriously look good on everyone!

And the FOOD. Oh, the food. We were treated to 3 full, healthy, fresh meals a day at the ranch, and of course, we brought along extra snacks to share with everyone because, um, we were working out a bajillion times every day. We made three flavors of protein balls AND protein muffins with Designer Protein and Amazing Grass (recipes on the Flex & Flow blog!):

How cute is our fabulous chef??

Chocolate peanut butter protein perfection.

Save 40% on Amazing Grass with the code SWEATPINK2017 at checkout.

We also had lots of yummy flavors of Boulder Organic soups to snack on and enjoy.

Soup turned out to be just the thing because I came down with some weird stomach bug while we were there – the chicken quinoa kale soup literally saved my life the first night at the retreat.

I also came home with a whole new arsenal of favorite, natural skin care products.

I gave myself a little spa experience with the frank body scrub – it’s made from coffee, ’nuff said.

Sunscreen is so, so necessary for me. I’m grateful for chemical-free options like Goddess Garden!

Use code SWEATPINK for 20% off Goddess Garden (valid through 3.20.17).

I ended up layering sunscreen: I’d slather on Goddess Garden, then top it off with Sweat Cosmetics, a mineral powder with SPF 40.

You can’t be too protected… and the Sweat Cosmetics helped keep my skin tone evened out and less shiny during all our sweaty activities. I’m not really a person who wears makeup while working out… but when you’re taking this many pictures, it becomes necessary to at least give yourself a little pre-filtering help. Plus, it’s such an easy, lightweight, non-greasy way to add some SPF to your day. I’ve been using it every morning before going outside just as extra protection.

Use SWEATPINK for 10% off Sweat Cosmetics! 

Stomach bug and all, I came home feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, more ME than I’ve felt in a long, long time. I was so happy to see my family after a few days away … not least because I’d had a little breast pump snafu and needed my baby like WOAH …

If you’re on the fence about a retreat / fitcation away, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a vacation you don’t need a vacation from when you come home; you come home feeling stronger, more rested, more relaxed, and happier.

 

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! 

 

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

The cutest, eco-friendliest clothes

sweat pink

 

Even though If Girls Ran the World is over, it’s kept me thinking hard about how I can continue to support equality and empowerment for women and girls around the world.  And one super concrete way that I can better support women is through what clothing I choose to purchase.

The thing is, I’ve always been a sucker for fast fashion. It enables so many spur of the moment purchases, so many costume opportunities, and closes out so much room for regrets. Oops, I spilled red wine on this white top? NBD, it was only $7. Oh, I actually hate the way this skirt looks on me? Who cares, it was only $9.

You know the drill.

I started looking at the labels on all my clothes and there’s no way around it: I’m supporting the low wages and bad working conditions at garment factories in places like Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

I’ve decided to make an effort to shop more consciously—to stay away from the low-cost instant gratification of fast fashion. This literally happened yesterday, so I haven’t really been put to the test yet (aka, I haven’t been to the baby section at Target, where a cart full of adorable tiny nothings runs you about $14 …)

But, I did get a trial run of what wearing sustainable, worker-friendly clothing might feel like. As luck would have it, I got a chance to try Pavepara, an activewear brand made here in the USA, by people paid a living wage. And it’s actually cute, y’all. It doesn’t feel like a compromise; it feels like a win-win.

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I’ve been wearing the hoodie everywhere: to the park with Mac, as a light layer to and from yoga, and tied around my waist for a little modesty when I’m out and about in spandex.

selfie pavepara

The neckline is purrr-fect: just low enough that you can show off your layer underneath, but high enough that you can safely wear it without a base layer.

mac-alyse-pavepara-park

The (long enough!) silk sleeves are such a luxe touch – this really is a crossover piece. I even layer it under a blazer (or will, once the weather dips below 70 – ha!).

The shorts are really nice, too, with a pretty silk trim. The waistband looks a little scrunchy in pictures but does lay flat on your hips (translation: no muffin top). Hooray!

if girls ran the world

The shorts are just a titch shorter than I usually wear, but I am absurdly tall, so they’re likely the perfect length for anyone under 6′, or who has been working out more than I have and wants to show off their legs o’ steel.

pavepara houston wall

Everything from Pavepara is made of super soft, washable merino wool. (Which is better for the planet, and more breathable, than cotton or bamboo).

stroller pavepara

Overall, I’m such a fan, and I love clothing that makes me feel good while I’m wearing it, not only for how I look, but for supporting sustainable goods and living wages.

I have my eye on their legwarmers, next – how cute are these?

And, good news: Pavepara is offering you 30% off anything with the code SWEATPINKLOVE

This post was sponsored by Pavepara. All opinions are my own. I so appreciate you supporting the brands who support the Sweat Pink community. XO.

Finding my freedom

One of the hardest things about transitioning from independent lady to a mom has been the loss of my autonomy. I always knew I valued my independence (case in point: the day I got my driver’s license remains one of the best days of my life, even though I now hate driving), but I never realized how much stuff I did until I needed someone else to enable me to do it.

Curl up with the latest New Yorker and a cup of coffee on Saturday morning? Not happening.

Squeeze in a pedicure between conference calls? Yeah, right.

Spontaneously dash off to a yoga class?  Puh-lease.

I found myself sliding into a deep dark pool of woe is me. This little mommy is trapped at home and will never, ever, engage with society again or have a moment to herself.

It’s a scary place down there. I admit, I spent some time wallowing. I still occasionally dip in for another good cry now and again.

But in between wallow sessions, I put myself to the task of finding ways to enable my freedom again. Even if it was an assisted / modified freedom, it was better than hanging out in my pajamas on the floor of my apartment in last week’s makeup wondering how I’d gotten myself into this situation.

Here’s what’s helped me scratch the surface of those pre-baby freedoms in ways that help me get out and do stuff.

1. Aftershokz headphones.

I use these hands free, bluetooth enabled beauties for everything.

Running with Mackenzie.

aftershokz tricep dips

(Spoiler alert: the stroller is next on this list!) Since they’re open-ear headphones, I can still hear things around me, like cars approaching, or bikers trying to pass our wide load on the trail, or I can chat up fellow stroller-pushing moms.

running tahoe aftershokz
They’re also great for running alone, if you’re the kind of person who gets to run alone.

Gotta make those mom friends, y’all.

Conference calls.

Before we had regular childcare, I used to take a lot of calls with the baby on board. Once she was aware of her hands, she discovered that playing with headphone cords is really, really fun. And by playing with, I mean yanking them out of my ears.

aftershokz-conference-call-nursing
The ultimate in multitasking: I’m on a call, and I’m nursing. BAM.

Going wireless has saved me many a “sorry, can you repeat that?” and scored me many a new brand partner.

Yoga.

Outdoor yoga is awesome. Outdoor yoga with music is even more awesome. But you know what’s the awesomest?

boat post aftershokz

Outdoor yoga with music that you don’t have to lug around a stereo for, rely on your pathetic phone speakers for, or bother your neighbors with.

2. BOB stroller

After asking the Sweat Pink community for jogging stroller recommendations, I bit the bullet, bought the stroller, and hid the credit card receipt from my husband. Hot damn it’s expensive. But in terms of liberation, it’s been amazing. I take Mac out almost every morning for a walk / jog along the lake in Austin.

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Or, at least, I used to, back when sleep was a little more consistent. We’re working on getting back into a good morning routine.

I still don’t particularly like running, but it’s such a convenient way to get some exercise without having to arrange childcare. Also, I’ve realized that exercising with a stroller is AWESOME because it holds all those items you used to try to stuff into the waistband pocket of your shorts or running tights. I got the cupholder attachment because, cupholders. The surprise benefit of that attachment is that the zip pocket holds my phone, chapstick, wallet, and sunnies within easy reach.

Second reason running with a stroller is awesome: if you find yourself short of breath and about to DIE and needing to stop or slow down, you can save face by pretending to check on the baby.

stroller sweat pink trucker
Me? I’m fine. SHE made me stop.

3. Ergobaby 360

I use this carrier all the time.

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It’s the only way laundry gets done, and it’s the reason I have done my hair 1.5 times since Mac was born.

blowdrying with ergo

It’s currently also the only way she’ll nap, so there’s that.

napping in ergo

The one thing I don’t love about this carrier is that Mac overwhelmingly prefers the outward-facing carry, and the straps dig into her arms and leave big red marks. I know it’s really designed for inward carry, so the straps aren’t really built for outward carry. I also know that inward is better for her hips, but you know, whatever makes baby happy is what baby gets.

There you have it. My top 3 post-baby freedom finders. I still miss my autonomy like woah. I yearn for the days when I didn’t have to make elaborate childcare arrangements and a bulletproof pumping schedule so I can get a fucking haircut already. My great life goal is to binge watch something on Netflix. I don’t even care what it is.

But… as my dance teacher in college always said, when you feel like something is too hard or out of reach or just.not.happening, CHANGE YOUR MIND.

I’m working on it. Like, literally, right now, while I’m nursing and taking a call and writing this post. #mompower

This post is sponsored by Aftershokz. All opinions are my own, and these headphones really have been game changing for me. If you want a chance to win your own, join us for the #AwarewithPink Instagram challenge this October!