Part 1: Philly Fashion Blogger Focuses on Perfect Posture

Throughout childhood, I have vivid memories of my mother constantly reminding my siblings and I to standup straight. She tried everything; from pulling our shoulders back when we would slouch, to balancing a book on our heads (more for muscle memory), to even wearing this strange device that had a little needle that would poke you when you started to slouch. I give my mother a ton of credit for trying but it seemed as if nothing would change our bad behavior.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love more than anything to always have perfect posture. I mean who wouldn’t? Have you seen Claire Underwood on House of Cards? She has impeccable posture and I’ve always wanted to channel that. Great posture makes you instantly look more confident! I’m not sure why I can’t mentally remind myself to standup straight as soon as I feel myself slouch. Nevertheless, in most cases, I am unsuccessful. I am sure if I could figure out a way to improve my posture, my neck and upper back would thank me for that. I cannot even tell you the amount of “knots” I have. Grrr!!!

Of course, as I was sitting at my desk hunched over, I officially had enough of my bad behavior and needed to make a change. I started to search the internet for tips and tricks to remind myself to standup straight. Since I use different apps to monitor my steps and eating habits I figured there had to be something out there to assist me with my forever dream of standing up straight, right? And guess what…there is! I found a company online called Upright. They are leading the charge to help the world improve their posture.

I just received my Upright Trainer in the mail and I am super excited to give it a go. Here is how it works:

  1. Order your Upright Trainer device either here and or here
  2. Download and install their free app – available with iOS and Android – then connect your device to your phone
  3. Attach the device to your upper-back via their hypoallergenic adhesive stickers (comes with 5)
  4. Receive immediate posture feedback – from the app or the device will vibrate gently on your back to alert you whenever you start to slouch. YES!!
  5. Track your progress to ensure you are on your way to improving your posture

It’s that easy and I cannot wait to keep you updated with my progress throughout the next few weeks. This has been a long time coming and I am excited to see if the Upright Trainer will help improve my lifelong dream of remarkable posture.

Check out Upright Trainer here for more details.

Philadelphia Lifestyle Blogger Stays at The Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort

I just finished my stay at the luxurious Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort and I am super sad to leave. Why do vacations end within a blink of an eye? Well even though the time flew by, my stay was nothing sort of fabulous and The Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort is a spot you need add to your vacation list!

The Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort is located in the North Mountains nestled cliff side in Phoenix, Arizona. No matter which building you stay, or which area you are exploring on the property, you are guaranteed to soak in impactable views. Not only are the views wonderful but the resort has numerous amenities available during your stay from full-service spa, awarding-winning golf, eight fabulous pools, Starbucks coffee shop, fitness center, three restaurants conveniently on-site that also offer in room dinning, a boutique gift shop with a variety of souvenirs, seasonal activities and more.

As I arrived, I was greeted by everyone in the lobby. I felt so welcomed. I was provided with water, as you must stay hydrated during these amazing hot temperatures – 111 degrees to be exact. I was fully briefed on all the amenities the property had to offer as well as off property activities. A map was provided highlighting the areas I wanted to explore as well as the location of my room. I was shuttled to my room and was ready to take on the festivities.

Their room suites (all 584 of them) are very spacious and also have separated living areas. There is a balcony located off the bedroom to take in their breathtaking views. They have extremely comfortable bedding where you can also utilize the blackout blinds for an even more tranquil sleep. There is a mini-refrigerator fully stocked and or large enough for you to bring in your own treats. And a separate bathroom area that made it easy for people to shower and get ready in different areas. With the rooms being so spacious, it is perfect for families to share and still feel as if they are in their own room. My husband and I had plentily of room for the two of us and used the living room area as the hang out room for other family members.

Since I was born in Arizona, nothing makes me happier than lounging pool side getting kissed by the sun. I love having a healthy bronzed skin! The resort has eight pools scattered throughout the property. I spent 95% of my time at The Falls Water Village location because it had everything I needed: lounge chairs, private cabanas, spaciously large pool, full-service bar and café, hot tub, volleyball, enclosed waterslide (not really my thing but I gave it a go), tranquil cascading waterfalls and 100% relaxation! The only minor downfall was the temperature of the pool was pretty chilly. It wasn’t your normal refreshing cold that when you’ve been sunbathing and needing to cool off. But again, didn’t keep me away and it’s not the end of the world.


This photo was provided by the hotel

The restaurant in the pool area is Cascades Café and I had wonderful service every day I was there. The cocktails are FABULOUS! They are super refreshing and kept me hydrated and cool while sunbathing.

Favorite Cocktails from Cascades Café:

  • Banana Bo Tai:
    • A frozen drink made with Captain Morgan Rum, Mango, Banana, Sweet & Sour, Float of Myers’s Dark Rum
  • Citrus Watermelon Cooler:
    • Vodka, Watermelon Ginger Ale, Lemon
  • Rum Runner:
    • My server’s creation

Food was great for sharing and pretty delicious. Even though the other pools on site were nice, this one by far was my favorite. It has something for everyone in your party.

Not only do they have the Cascades Café restaurant, the resort also has two other fine dining restaurants onsite: Different Pointe of View and Pointe In Tyme. Different Pointe of View is by far their most popular. It is located mountaintop within the resort property (be sure to jump on the shuttle as it is a hike). Breathtaking, panoramic views that will stay in your memory forever. Absolutely stunning and a perfect place for photos. I loved the ambiance and the menu is very sophisticated. Pointe In Tyme is located near the Pro Shop not too far from the lobby. I dinned there a few times for breakfast and enjoyed the cuisine. If you don’t want to leave the resort, this restaurant is perfect for breakfast and lunch. The pricing was a little high for breakfast but everything on the menu looked very appetizing.

As many of you know, I live in Philadelphia and I am always up before sunrise, which was ideal for me to walk the entire property and take in the panorama views of downtown Phoenix, the beautiful desert valley landscape along with the views of the resort. And let’s not take hike lightly. With this beautiful resort being cliff side of the North Mountains, there are hills, many of them and they are steep. Yes, the property does offer round the clock shuttle service (which is amazing) but I recommend walking the property at least twice during your stay (morning and night). I really enjoyed the peacefulness during my hike. I was in awe of the views and I promise you, the pictures do not give it justice. As a reminder, be sure to bring a good pair of walking shoes. You will be glad you did.

I give this property major kudos around their creative for activities. There are so many activities available during your stay and you can find the listing here. One that I experienced was the Saturday Wildlife World Zoo Visit. Every Saturday at 11:00 a.m. they bring in a couple of wildlife animals from the Zoo to show their guests the variety of animals that come to visit. This is a great activity for families and the best part is that it takes place at The Falls Water Village. You can still enjoy adult time by the pool while your kiddos sit nearby learning.

For my Industry Family

The resort was perfect for my cousin’s wedding. Not only did I get some much-needed R&R but with me being in the events industry, it was great to experience the full experience of what this resort can offer with their meeting and event space. All of their event space is very sophisticated and perfect for all types of meetings and events. They have over 65,000 square feet and 36 meetings rooms that can accommodate events from 50, to 1,500 participants. If you are looking for a new location to wow your participants, you must check them out! They have 584 all-suite accommodations with fabulous amenities. They are only 12 miles (roughly 20 minutes) from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Find out more details here.

To say my stay was unforgettable is an understatement. Not only did I love many things about the resort but hanging out with my family made it even more amazing. There was something for everyone and it was great to have everything we need onsite (there is a Safeway grocery store nearby to stock up on any of your favorites during your stay). Their staff is exceptional, and they truly made sure my stay was everything and more of what I excepted. Everyone was friendly and very attentive. I loved my experience and happy my cousin chose this location for her beautiful wedding. Thank you again The Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort for a fabulous time!

Want to experience The Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, click here.

If you are looking for a delicious restaurant off property, be sure to check out one of my favorites Mora Italian by chef Scott Conant.

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Philly Blogger Attends Grand Opening of Scott Conant Restaurant Cellaio Steak at Resorts World Catskills


Photo: Me with Scott Conant

Two of my favorite things would be traveling and eating at fabulous restaurants (my husband doesn’t count as he is always my number one). NYC is a quick train ride away from Philadelphia and every time I head there you will find me dining at the delicious Fusco. It’s magical! Because I’m such a fan of Fusco, I became acquainted with the wonderful staff members of SC Restaurant team, and on numerous occasions, I had the opportunity to meet the owner, restauranteur/executive chef – the one and only Scott Conant. Yes, the same one from many hit television shows on the Food Network channel.

Meeting people (especially celebrities) is always a 50/50 toss up on whether or not your encounter will be an enjoyable experience. And ever since I had the opportunity to meet Scott Conant at Fusco, every encounter has been delightful. He is extremely down to earth and exceedingly passionate about what he does. This passion also trickles down to his staff, both in the back of the house and front of the house. Because I’m a regular at Fusco, Scott’s team invited me to his grand opening of his newest restaurant in Monticello, NY.

The restaurant is located in the beautiful Resort World Catskills, and the grand opening event of Cellaio Steak was nothing short of extraordinary. When we arrived at the restaurant the experience from beginning to end was wonderful. Scott was there as we walked up to the restaurant and greeted us as if we were old friends. He is really good about making you feel like he remembers you even if he doesn’t (I mean the guy meets millions of people, so well done!). I had the opportunity to also met his wife, Mel, and she was lovely. Like him, Mel was very down to earth. I can see how much love they have for each other and support each other in everything they do.


Photo:(second from right) Irene Chiang, Director of Marketing & Events | SC Restaurant and (far right) Mel Bozkurt-Conant

After some time, we were then escorted to the bar where we found a very robust collection of wines (over 500 to be exact) and signature cocktails. We drank Manhattans, sipped on amazing Champaign and a variety of classic wines. If you love wine, you must see Cellaio Steaks wine collection. You can learn more about Cellaio Steak menu here. The wine listing is incredible and super easy to pair with any dish you order.

After a few hours of cocktails and mingling, we were taken to our table in dining room for the well anticipated food. Yes, it was epic! Scott had small plate tastings of all his famous pastas, along with a seafood, bread and carving stations. And let’s not forget about the famous cheese wheel of truffle risotto. The food was so amazing, that I devoured it before I could even take a photo (whoops)! The entire staff made sure that each table was fully attended to and that everyone had enough of Scott’s famous Pasta Al Pomodoro. Our server Tyler (pictured below) knew of my profound love of the Pasta Al Pomodoro and made sure I had my fair share. Thank you, Tyler!

After dinner, we went back to the bar and chatted with other guests and meet with additional members of Scott’s team. Everyone was just as fabulous as the next one. My personal favorite had to be Scott’s right-hand man and pasta sauce creator (pictured below), he has been with Scott since the very beginning. I was totally tempted to kidnap him, so he could teach me his ways. But that wouldn’t be fair to all of you! The night was topped off with another manhattan and a glass or two of champaign accompanied by a variety of decadent desserts.


Did I mention how out of this world their manhattans are? We couldn’t get enough! We were drinking them so fast, the glassware couldn’t keep up. Yummy!

One of my favorite things about Cellaio Steak was how warm and inviting it was. The people, the abeyance and the cuisine are very sophisticated. Scott and his team were excellent hosts and the company was amazing. Don’t let the name fool you, this is not your traditional steakhouse. Scott has married his Italian inspired cuisine perfectly with a steakhouse vibe.


Photo: The fabulous Jay Kolakowski, Director of Restaurants | SC Restaurants

We were having such a fabulous time that we didn’t want the night to end. But all good things have to come to an end and as we all walked away we were gifted one of Scott’s cookbooks. It really was a fabulous evening.


Photo: My husband, Jeff Davis and I

Thank you again very much to Scott and his team for inviting me to the grand opening of Cellaio Steak. This truly was a fabulous experience and we cannot wait to see the continued success for years to come.

Cellaio Steak is the fifth restaurant in of SC Restaurants and you can find the listing of each restaurant below:
Fusco | 43 East 20thStreet. New York, NY
Mora Italian | 5651 North 7th Street. Phoenix, AZ
The Ponte | 8265 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA
Masso Osteria | 11011 W. Charleston Blvd. Las Vegas, NV
Cellaio Steak | 888 Resorts World Drive. Monticello, NY

Can’t make it to one of Scott’s restaurants? Order his amazing cookbook and enjoy his recipes from the comfort of your own home.

Here is a photo of Brandy (from Nutmeg Nanny) and I. Brandy and her husband (not photographed) were delightful, and we instantly connected. Brandy is a food blogger and you can find more details on her blog here.

Philly Fashion Bloggers visit Soft Surroundings

As fashion bloggers, we love finding great brands and deals for our readers. And when we were contacted by Soft Surroundings to attend their grand opening at the Promenade in Marlton, NJ we were intrigued to learn more about what their brand was about. Neither one of us had ever heard of Soft Surroundings (a shame really) and our first instinct was to check out their website. We were pleasantly surprised with the number of products they offered and couldn’t wait to visit them in person.

As we walked in the store, we were instantly welcomed by their friendly staff and a soothing aroma that filled the store. The store greeter introduced themselves and started asking questions about us, our hobbies and lifestyle. Why you ask? Soft Surroundings’ moto is all about looking your best and feeling fabulous from head to toe every day. They want to understand each potential customer a little bit more, so they can recommend styles that work with their lifestyles. We were blown away by their attention to detail and how every employee presented themselves the same way to each and every guest that walked through their doors.

As we walked around the strategically designed store, employees explained to us what Soft Surroundings is striving to accomplish. They understand that women in general don’t always put themselves first on their priority list. Soft Surroundings’ philosophy is to help women take the time to put themselves first from their clothing, make-up, skincare, accessories and even their home decor! When you work on putting yourself first, you can take better care of those around you, which can lead to a healthier, happier life. As you can see from the store photos, you feel the sense of ease and comfort everywhere you look.

Soft Surroundings isn’t just a clothing store; they have so many options for women of all ages. Home décor, i.e. the bedroom, is one of their major focuses. After a long hard day of being on the go, they want your bedroom to feel like a retreat night after night: comfortable, stylish and a place of relaxation. We found ourselves drawn to their effortless elegance of their bedding. Everything is high quality and proof tested before being showcased online and or in stores. If you’re like us and don’t have a ton of skills in interior design, they have a designer program to help create your perfect retreat.

As we continued walking the store floor the excitement never lowered. We uncovered more offerings such as adorable knickknacks, rugs, fragrances, beauty products, accessories, and even more. We loved watching the excitement on other shoppers’ faces as they found item after item that they loved. With everything they offer, Soft Surroundings is proving to be a one stop shop for women. The only thing missing was a glass of wine and hors d’ oeuvres!

The opening launch party was nothing short of remarkable. The staff was incredibly knowledgeable and welcoming. They prove their mission with every customer that walks in the door – to look and feel your best every day and no matter what you are looking for, they have something for you.

Not only did we leave with some amazing takeaways, we have already ordered multiple items online. We can’t wait to go back to see the original staff members who made us feel so welcomed and educated us on a company that is truly leading the way of making a difference for hard-working women.

Check out Soft Surroundings today and let us know what you think. Find a store near you for a wonderful experience. If you don’t have one near you, be sure to check out their online store for great finds. Share your top item or one that is currently in your shopping cart.

Thank you again to the Promenade in Marlton, NJ team and those from corporate on making our experience grand.


Philly Fashion Blogger: Why I Chose to Add Botox to My Beauty Routine

When you think about Botox, what is the first thing that runs through your mind? I’m thinking it’s probably a variety of negative or positive thoughts depending on information you research or whom you speak with. Am I right? Well, just like everything in this world, everyone has different views on everything and I wanted to share with you my experience with Botox injections and why I chose to add it to my beauty routine.

I never thought I would get Botox. I had my doubts, as I never really understood the full health benefits. And I wasn’t even sure if I needed it. But as I got older, I started noticing the wrinkles on my face were becoming more prevalent and the natural aging process was in full effect. Of course, I didn’t want these wrinkles to progress at a rapid pace, so I started using even more creams and nothing was truly doing the trick. I needed another way to prevent these unforgiving wrinkles and that is when I started investigating Botox injections.

What is Botox and How Does it Work

Here is a definition of Botox. When your muscles are contracting they start to leave defined lines/wrinkles on your skin (which will start to form wrinkles). Botox is administered into those contracting muscles that causes those lines/wrinkles and helps with “freezing” those contracting muscles from creating deeper lines/wrinkles. I find this in my forehead and around my eyes.

Research and Consultation

After hours of research, I decided to make an appointment to meet with a professional – no matter how much research you find online, it is very important to have a licensed professional answer your questions and having a great Doctor is key. I met with Dr. Sam and she answered all my questions and provided me with a lot of facts. She walked me through the entire process of Botox and really eased any concerns I had.

One of my main concerns I wanted to share was having too many injections and not looking natural. She explained to me that her approach is ‘less is more’ for her patients. Especially for first timers, she wants you to feel extremely comfortable and leave feeling like a new person…naturally. Less is more and it’s easier to add more than take it away. I also informed her about how I suffer with migraines and I learned that Botox injections have been proven to help with migraines as it freezes the muscles and nerves in your face. This enticed me more to move forward as this was something I had been suffering with for so long, that I started dreaming about what life would be like with fewer migraines.

Administering of the Botox Injections

After all my questions and concerns were answered, the actual injection process was super simple. She washed my face clean, took before photos, marked the desired injection spots, and provided me with a mirror to review the areas she feels needed the most attention. Once we agree, it’s time to start the injections. I would describe the feeling of the Botox injections as a little pinch and nothing more. Since it was my first time, I was a little nervous about how painful they might be. But after the first initial one, I was all set and my mind was at ease. The entire process was under fifteen minutes. Afterwards she rubs you’re the injection spots to smooth everything out. She provided me with simple instructions on next steps.

Aftercare

  1. You cannot lay down flat for at least a minimum of four hours
  2. No working out for the first 24 hours

Additional Details

The cost can vary depending on where you go. I paid $12 per injection spot and Dr. Sam administered 17 total injections. Depending on the person of course, Botox injections can last anywhere from 3-5 months.

Overall Thoughts

I had my first round of Botox injections this past December after a long and careful deliberation with myself. Such a weird feeling; however, it has been totally worth it. I feel like a new woman! I love that my wrinkles have disappeared, and my migraines have really subsided. Yes, I still can move my face but now there are no lines/wrinkles visible. I am extremely satisfied with my decision to start adding Botox injections to my beauty routine.

Have you ever tried Botox? Did you like it? Please Share your comments.

Homemade Candles with a Mission: Moderncity + Main

There is something about candles that has a calming affect over me. From the initial lighting of a match that initiates the burning of the candle – that once lit has the ability to let my mind wander in deep thoughts while gazing at the gentle flame – to the overall aroma that fills my home with the lovely fragrance of the candle. The whole process brings me peace and happiness.

Before electricity, candles were primarily used for illuminating a dark room, warmth and for some medical practices (no thank you). Today, we use candles for ambiance and aesthetic scents for our home or office. Burning candles can also create or trigger a memory. Our sense of smell is one of the biggest factors that are connected to our memory. I think back to many of my fond memories and can always associate a sense of smell with almost all of them.

When I was attending a networking brunch last month, the group I was with broached the subject of candles and one of the ladies sitting next to me told me about a candle company called Moderncity + Main. She said I absolutely had to check them out. I was very intrigued by her passion about this company and wanted to learn more.

Meg Kuck has always been crafty. She started a blog while living in DC and quickly moved to building personalized gifts for her family and friends in her 1,000 square foot Delaware apartment. She had an amazing talent of customizing and making personalized gifts for the people in her life. Her core philosophy is, when you personalize a gift it’s more meaningful than just going to the store.

Meg’s passion for her craft turned into a company: Moderncity + Main. And her focus became candles. Long nights turned into long days as she poured her blood, sweat and tears into making every single one of her candles in her dining room. Driven and determined by her passion, no one was going to stop her from turning her dream into a reality.

Meg told me that her candles are based on an experience, a particular person or place that inspires all of her fragrance and scents. The names: each name is relatable to her past, present and future story that can be described as chapter titles of her life. On her website, each candle has it’s own story. So whether you have your own personal memory to a particular candle scent or not, you can read and learn more about how and why Meg created that scent you purchased.

You can purchase her candles from her website and in a variety of sizes; 9oz glass jar, 4oz travel tin and wax melts. Each one of her candles is perfect for gifts and fabulous additions to your own home/office collection. The price point is great, which makes it easy for you to stock up on some of your favorite scents or mix and match. Your space is guaranteed to smell great, and most importantly, you’re contributing to a cause to help victims affected by domestic violence.

Extremely hard to narrow down, but my personal favorites so far are GRIT + GRACE, TOBACCO BARN and SUNDAYS in the SOUTH.  And I already have placed another order for some of her other scents. The candles made of soy wax and the burn time is pretty great. Be sure to check her website regularly because she is constantly creating new scents and she does create seasonal candles.

Yes, Meg makes fabulous candles but one of my favorite things about her is her charitable work. As her business started to grow, she wanted to add another element to her company. Something that was near and dear to her heart. Meg started a campaign called Shine the Light where she contributes 10% of her sales to bring awareness to domestic abuse. A survivor herself, she is determined to not only bring awareness to this cause but to also help those who have or are currently affected by domestic abuse. She has been able to donate a considerable amount of money to this cause and as of February 2018, she has officially turned Shine the Light into a foundation. This foundation is a nonprofit organization that focuses on education and outreach for domestic and sexual violence. She is a huge advocate and is also an active member within other domestic violence organizations where she continues to use her voice to bring awareness to the community and to help those who are currently facing abuse.

Take a moment to check out Moderncity + Main and see the wonderful work Meg Kuck is going. I recently met her and already she has made a huge impact on my life.  Comment below on which scent or candle size is your favorite and why! Quick reminder, I am sure no one has ever said you can have too many candles!

Interesting facts from the National Candle Association:

  • U.S. retail sales of candles are estimated at approximately $3.2 billion annually
  • Candles are used in 7 out of 10 U.S. households
  • More than 1 billion pounds of wax are used in producing the candles sold each year in the U.S
  • Both men and women consider candles to be an always-acceptable and highly appreciated gift for a wide variety of occasions

Author: Julie Davis

FORTO Coffee Shots: The Best Energy Boost You’ve Ever Had

Coffee, it can be a huge part of anyone’s day. Some of us have it first thing in the morning to start our day and for some of us, maybe it’s an all day thing. However you like your coffee, we all have one thing in common; we utilize it to get us going. While most of us are on the go, we are consistently seeking new spots to grab our cup of Joe. We wait in long lines; we look at long menus and half of the time we don’t know what we want to order. Once we finally decide on our order, we are running late to work and it’s usually cold by the time we get there.

So my friends, I would like to introduce you to FORTO – a Philadelphia based coffee company that has taken off and is now nationwide. Guys, my mind is blown! Not only does this coffee pack a punch, its USDA organic and it tastes good! Like us, here at Empowering In Heels, FORTO is on a mission of empowerment, as taken straight from their website: Providing energy from Organic coffee to empower people to push their limits and do more of what they love, every day.

As part of this growing blog and working a full time job, I totally appreciate this mission statement, because like most of us, I need as much energy as I can to get through my day. With FORTO you can get that extra jumpstart on your day with one of their quick 60 ml bottles of coffee. There are two different types you can order and you can choose from six different flavors – some with 100mg (equal to one large cup of coffee) and some with 200mg. The best thing is that FORTO offers two sample packs so you can see what you like; 100 mg sample pack contains Pure Black Espresso, Hershey’s Chocolate (my personal favorite) and Caffe Latte. For those days you need that extra kick, 200mg sample packs offer Mocha, Vanilla & Sweetened Black Espresso. I love the Hershey’s Chocolate because it’s sweet and gives me the extra boost I need on the go. For all of you black coffee lovers, the pure black espresso is amazing as well. If you are constantly on the go and love coffee, this drink is for you! FORTO packs a punch and it fits right into your purse or bag, it’s that simple!

We all need that extra kick at times, so why not try a yummy and organic 35-calorie way to enjoy that extra kick! Have you tried FORTO yet? If so, what is your favorite flavor?

Use our promo code ALLDAYER to receive 20% off your first order.

Author: Kathryn Marks

Philly Fashion Blogger Must Haves for Running


Julie and Kathryn at the 2018 Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k/5k Run in Philadelphia finishing under 27 minutes! Great way to start off their race season.

Guess what? It’s that time of year again where I start my training for 5k’s, 10k’s, Half-Marathons and Tough Mudder.

When I tell people I’m training for a race, they always look at me like I am crazy. And their usual response is “Why” or “I am not a runner” or “I hate running” or “I suck at running.” But here’s the honest truth, I also hated running. I mean I dreaded running and would do anything in my power to get out of it. Ask my volleyball coaches if you don’t believe me.

I always blamed being “bad” at running on my knees (from knee surgery), my back, having asthma, etc. You name it, and I had an excuse. Come to find out, it was all in my head and I actually was a decent runner. With a few races under my belt, I also realized it’s not that people cannot run it’s more that they need proper equipment and motivation.

I tell people all the time that running is just like riding a bike: practice, practice, practice! My husband who “retired” from running after his full marathon a decade ago, decided to run with me again. And even after “retirement” he schools me every time. Why? Because when you practice and develop a skill, you never really lose it. It’s about taking it one step at a time until you start to get into a rhythm.  You’re not going to be a fabulous runner on day one or maybe even by day thirty but starting at day one will lead you into a better runner.

With that being said, I wanted to share my tips and trick on how I prepare myself for a race:
Why:

  • Ask yourself why you are doing this and make sure you set a plan behind it

Set Goals:

  • Set you running schedule in advance
  • Start with the week leading up to the race and work backwards
    • How many days a week do you want to run
    • What amount of time/distance
    • Record your progress (you cannot achieve goals by just going out to run without seeing your progression overtime). You must keep a journal so you know you are progression and numbers don’t lie!
  • Set goals on where you would like to finish
    • Distance/pace
  • I use an actual planner and my phone calendar to schedule/write out my plan. This way it keeps me accountable, and it’s a helpful reminder.
    • I am lucky enough to have a fabulous accountability partner. It is helpful to have someone who can help encourage you to achieve your goal and be there every step of the way.

Music:

  • Create amazing playlists
    • I have a couple of playlist depending on my mood
    • You will also need a go-to song that will push you at your potential “give up” point. That way it triggers in your head to keep going

Headphone:

  • Beats by Dre Wireless Headphones
    • These headphones are fabulous. If it is cold outside, they keep my ears warm and it makes it super easy to change the song/turn up the music. And there is no cord bouncing on you.

Watch and or Runners Keep App:

  • I go back and forth with both of these apps. Sometimes I like to wear my watch but it’s not always accurate. With the Runners Keep app, I set when I want verbal queues (distance, time, etc.) to keep me on pace. This way I know if I need to slow down or speed up (in most cases it’s to speed up but again working on that).

Runners Belt:

  • A belt is a great way to be hands free and not have anything bouncing around in my pockets. It holds my phone and some cash (for emergencies).

Headbands:

  • I have hundreds of little hair strands that seem to only get in my way when I run. Having my Nike headband in place, keeps the hair off my face so I am not distracted or annoyed every time I have to move them away from my sweaty face.

Shoes:

  • Shoes are huge factor when it comes to running. I didn’t believe this at first but from my other running blog I mentioned my love for expensive heels to keep my feet comfortable; so why would it be any different for running shoes? Invest in two (if you can) running shoes that fit perfect for your foot. I highly recommend you go to a local running store and be fitted for at least one great shoe. Who wants to run with blisters and achy feet? Not me!

I wear either Nike running shoes or Brooks running shoes. Both have been best for my feet!

Clothing:

  • I am a big believer that if you look good, you feel good and the same goes for your workout attire. Just like in this blog, I discussed the importance of wearing quality pieces to not only absorb sweat, but to keep you warm and comfortable throughout your entire run. If you look like a disaster, you most likely will run like a disaster.

The list above was and is absolutely key for my overall success with running. Writing out your goals is key to accomplishing great things. It also helps change your mindset from “not a runner” to “I am a runner”.  You don’t become a runner over night; it takes time and proper planning. Just like other things in your life.

Having the proper equipment and mindset will also help you achieve your goals. Before you even start running, plan out your goals and go buy yourself proper equipment. If you are in the Greater Philadelphia Area, go to my favorite place Philadelphia Running Company and they can assist you with getting yourself equipped with proper gear and also answer any questions you might have before you get started. That is where I started and where I continuously go for my running needs.

Get started and go find a race you have always wanted to do. Start off small with a 5k or go bigger. The best part… it’s totally up to you. Just get started and make that commitment. Who knows, you might actually really love it! Always remember to have fun and remind yourself that you are doing this for yourself and no one else. Go be a rock star!

Do you have a race you are currently signed up for? Or is signing up for a race a goal of yours? Share your race/goals below.

Author: Julie Davis

Philly Fashion Blogger Talks Bikini Competition Preparation

Whenever I prepare for something important I have to get my mind right. If Im not mentally in the right place, anything that follows can be a catastrophe. Mental preparedness brings forth more balance, consistency and the ability to do things with a clear head and a focused mind.

One of my most memorable times of pushing my mental (and physical) self was when I was preparing for a bikini (fitness) competition. I had to focus on mind over matter, keeping my diet straight, my workouts straight and above all remain consistent with everything daily. It was all about mental prep.

I knew I liked working out and I loved having a clean diet but what I didn’t know was how much the decision I was about to make was going to challenge me and change me. My decision to compete in a bikini competition was when I was working out at J&J fitness with my trainer Steve. The truth is I was going through a tough time and I needed an outlet. In addition, I was tired of everyone telling me I couldn’t do it! I really had no idea at the time how much dedication went into something like this, but I knew I could do it and no one was going to change my mind. Have you ever felt like that about anything?

Preparation is hard and requires major dedication, it’s a complete balancing act and you must stay consistent! The beginning isn’t too hard, especially if you are “bulking.” You are able to eat pretty regularly, and you are never really hungry as you are able to eat carbs. I mean, who doesn’t love carbs?! As the process moves further along it becomes a little tougher, less food and more water…and of course alcohol gets eliminated from your diet. Honestly though, its not that hard when you break it down and take it step by step. It’s all about setting goals and taking steps to reach them. These steps can be set by you or you can research sites such as bodybuiding.com where I identified the steps below:

  • Be Prepared
  • Be Realistic
  • Develop a plan

After you do this, you can then begin work with a trainer, or a training partner. You will continue to adjust your plan according to your own personal goals and development. According to bodybuilding.com below are some steps to assist in the process of your first show.

  • 12 months out – what show do you want to do? What does your off-season program look like?
  • 6 months out-change your diet and exercise routines according to your goals
  • 20 weeks out-Set up your competition diet (I had help from my trainer/coach and nutritionist)
  • 8 weeks out- register for your competition and practice posing
  • 6 weeks out- start to plan your look for the show
  • 3 weeks out-Focus! Stick to your diet and PRACTICE!!!
  • Last week- continue to go over your routine & make a checklist so you are prepared.

I know many of you are thinking “this is nuts!” Why would anyone want to do this, and believe me those were my original thoughts as well. Honestly, this process was the most liberating thing I have ever done and helped me to realize how strong I really am. If your thinking about participating in a bikini competition, I would suggest the help of a trainer/coach who will push you and support you. I would also strongly recommend a nutritionist. If you want to compete, then get out there and do it! The only thing stopping you is yourself!

Have you ever prepped for a fitness competition or anything that required your entire focus? If so, what did you do and how did you make it through? Please share.

Author: Kathryn Marks

Born To Be A Star: Camille Peruto


Photos: Provided by Camille Peruto

Have you ever attended an event and when you walked into the venue you were instantly mesmerized by a performer that hit you at your core? I’ve been to plenty of events/concerts and even restaurants that had live bands/performers and nothing struck me more than when I heard Camille Peruto performing at The Union League in Philadelphia.

To say I was drawn to her vocals and instrumental skills is an understatement. I was truly moved by not only by the sound of her voice but the way she presented herself to the audience. You can easily tell she is extremely passionate about her work. As I stood there in awe, I couldn’t help but really appreciate the music and listen to the lyrics of her songs. They moved me. Whether performing her own songs or performing covers requested from the audience, there was nothing she couldn’t play and play well. Her depth of various genres is extremely impressive. I loved how she was very versatile but stayed true to her craft.

After she concluded her performance, I had the opportunity to speak with her. I praised her for having a unique blend of music and being successful not only in delivering a one of a kind spin on current songs/artists but of her own written words. I was so impressed that once my event concluded, I went home and wanted to learn more about her.

Camille has an outstanding resume and the accolades to prove it. She currently performs in Philadelphia, Nashville and Los Angeles. She also appeared on the hit television show American Idol where you can find her story here. She is exceptionally creative and really puts a unique twist within her music writing. She is known as an indie/pop-songwriter with a blend of pop/rock/alternative sound. She’s released two albums which continue to have tremendous success.

From my experience of watching her perform live, I could tell she is a star and will make an impact in the music industry. She captivated the audience not only with her voice but from the lyrics in her music. She is genuine and has the musical talent in her blood. If you haven’t heard her perform live…get on that. You can find her on tour here. But for now, check out her music either on her website, YouTube, Facebook, or download from iTunes. I see only great things for her and I cannot wait to watch her journey! Keep up the outstanding work Camille.

Have an event and looking to provide your audience with a memorable experience? Booking details for Camille can be found here.

Check out her music today and let us know what you think!

Follow Camille: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Website

Author: Julie Davis