March Birchbox Review

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Like most months, March’s Birchbox totally didn’t disappoint.  In fact, I can easily say this has been one of my favorite boxes so far.  Everything included was useable, wearable, and I even found a new absolute FAVORITE make up removing towelette that will be going in my gym bag.

Check out the details on what I received this months, and my reviews below.

Cargo Swimmables Water Resistant Blush

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I’m in the sun A LOT, so I have to admit, blush isn’t usually on my list of things I make a point to put on every day.  That said, this sample in Los Cabos was peachy, shimmery and pretty, and was totally calling my name.  One try, and I’m hooked.  It’s instantly become a step in my daily make up routine.  And what’s more, this stuff is seriously water proof.  After a nasty sweat session at the gym I could still see the shimmer on my cheeks (not that they needed any added flush!)  Loved this product, and will be totally buying the full sized once the generous sample runs out.

Yes to Cucumbers Hypoallergenic Facial Wipes

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I always ALWAYS have my gym bag stocked with some sort of make up removing facial wipe.  My sensitive, fair skin makes it a little tricky to find one that doesn’t have ingredients that irritate me, but these soothing hypoallergenic wipes are AMAZING!  I even used them on the really cranky skin around my eyes without any burning or irritation.  These are my new go-to fav.  Love.

Model Co. Party Proof Lipstick

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Next, I got to sample one of those Model Co Party Proof lipsticks in a really neutral pinky/brown shade.  While the shade was really close to my natural lip color, and didn’t do much to enhance my overall look, I did really love the texture.  This lipstick is designed to have a really nice matte finish, and was super wearable.  While it did come off on my drink straw, the color stayed put for hours, well beyond when I would need to reapply with other brands.  In a fun, bright color, I would give this two thumbs up.

Beauty Protector Protect and Oil

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Confession, I typically HATE hair oils.  My hair is wavy and I have TONS of it, making most people call it thick, but actually my hair is very fine.  Because of this oils tend to make it look really weighted down and heavy, and even sometimes greasy.

But in the spirit of sampling, I gave this product a try and was really impressed.  It’s thick, like really really thick.  I’ve found some hair oils in the past to have a consistency more like baby oil, and this is more like rubber cement (in a good way).  It allowed me to get just a tiny amount on my palm, spread it evenly, and work it through my hair.

Since my original use (on damp hair before a blow dry), I’ve also used it as a finisher on dry hair to run over the top to smooth away flyaways and add shine.  For both uses it was really great stuff.  I’m excited to give it a try on a high humidity day and see if I can notice the difference.

Mereadesso Tinted All in One Moisturizer

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I love a good tinted moisturizer, and this one from Mereadesso gives you a whole list of reasons to be impressed.  This baby does everything.  It’s designed to be your moisturizer, serum, primer, and eye cream, as well as foundation all in one formula.  It goes on smooth, was really blendable, and left a really pretty finish.  It was more full coverage than a traditional tinted moisturizer, and I actually skipped my powder all together after using it. My only complaint is that the sample was tiny, so I only really got one good use and it wasn’t on a day I was particularly active or sweaty, so I can’t really comment on it’s ability to last.


 

That was it for my box this month, how about yours?  Do you subscribe to Birchbox or another beauty box?  What do you think?  Be sure to let me know in the comments, or link me to your review!

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Easter Baskets for Fitness Gals

Easter is right around the corner, and since I’m trying to avoid shoving Starburst Jelly Beans in my piehole (they are my nemesis!), my focus is putting together Easter Baskets with fun trinkets that actually aren’t food related.

Check out my top  picks for fitness Easter basket essentials, and if you’re not up for scouting down each item yourself, you can also order a pre-made basket made just for runners!

Body Glide

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It doesn’t matter if your a runner, a triathlete, a cyclist, or even a Crossfitter, Body Glide is on your must own list.  It’s basically the blister and chaff-age blocker for every square inch of your body, and it’s less than $10 for a huge honking tube of it.  Win!

Hair Ties

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Seriously, it’s impossible to have too many hair ties.  Myself, I probably have over 100 of them everywhere from my bathroom to my gym bag, and yet when I need one, if it isn’t on my wrist I can’t find one.  Emi Jay makes some seriously enviable ones, not only are they cute as heck (hello python?!) but they stay put.  They go for about $13 a set, and could totally be stuffed into one of those plastic eggs for an extra surprise!

Fun Socks

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There’s something about a new pair of socks that just makes your whole workout better.  And for cyclists, we all know the power of #sockdoping, so it’s super important for the socks to always be on point.  There’s tons of options out there, and for around $10 a pair you can get an uber nice pair of socks that will be sure to have your fitness bunny hopping around for joy.

Chapstick

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I am an absolute Chapstick fiend, and any fit gal who spends time outdoors will go crazy for this dual ended one.  I got to sample it in a Birchbox before it hit the market, and since I have purchased two more because I keep using them up.  One side has sunscreen, perfect for outdoor runs or rides, while the other is a super hydrating night formula.  There’s no color, scent, or flavor, so it’s perfect if you’re not a big lipstick person.  And for less than $5 (I think they’re $3.50 at the Walgreens by me), it’s a steal.

Runners Easter Fun Basket

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Obviously, all of the items above are a great start for a fitness basket.  But, if you don’t have the time to put together a custom creation yourself, Chalk Talk Sports has got you covered.  They have tons of fitness or running baskets to choose from, and with options from $35-$75, there’s sure to be something fab to fit in your budget.  I really like this one complete with hair ties, stickers, and an easy to grip water bottle.   One of my besties might be getting it just because.


Hey readers, what would not candy surprise you like to see in your Easter basket this year?

Rachel Zoe is Trying To Break My Bank Account

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There’s something amazingly cool about getting stuff in the mail.  You know, other than bills.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m such a fan of Birchbox.  Every month, for $10 I get a few little sample sized surprises that make me feel girly and happy and like it’s Christmas year round.

Well drool worthy fashionista Rachel Zoe announced yesterday that she’s launching her own version of a beauty box subscription called Box of Style, and I want in.

It’s going to be a quarterly box, curated with beauty, fashion and lifestyle items by Rachel herself.  It will include one big whammy item (or what she’s calling a “hero” item) in every box that they’re announcing ahead of time, and in the first box is a Miansai modern screw cuff that’s super chic and valued at $200.

At $100 each box, or $350 for the year, the price tag is kinda making me cry.  That said, if for $100 I can get at least one item I LOVE valued at twice that (or more), it might just be worth it.

What do you think beauty bloggers and fashionistas?  Are you going to make the investment of $100 for $300 worth of goodies?  What sorts of products would you love to see in the box?

And oh my gosh do you LOVE that bracelet or what?!

March Goals

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Holy crap it’s March already.

Well, I mean, it’s almost March already.  It’s close enough that it’s time to take a minute and plan out my goals and decide exactly what I want to achieve for the month.

I’ve learned a lot of things along the way on this journey of mine, not just about weight loss but about overall success, and the most important thing is that I function better with goals and a plan.

Not having a traditional 9-5 job anymore means that I need to be especially motivated every day, and for me, the best way to do that is to have a clear idea of what I want to accomplish for the month.  From there I break it down into manageable chunks, and get it done!

March is going to be a big month for me from both a fitness and a professional standpoint.  I have my first official race of the season coming up on April 11th, so training will be particularly important, and I have a few professional ducks I want to get in a row to continue to advance my career as a health and wellness writer.

Here’s a break down of the big picture of what I’m going to accomplish next month.

March Wellness Goals:

  • Follow my half marathon training plan in preparation for the Iron Girl Clearwater 13.1 race on April 11th.  Generally speaking, this means 3 runs per week with my long run increasing in distance to 11 miles by the end of the month.
  • Maintain my strength training schedule.  Generally speaking this means 5x per week lifting weights.
  • Continue incorporating yoga a minimum of 1x per week with a stretch goal of 2x per week during the month.
  • On non-running days, ride my bike (2x per week).  The focus this month is continuing to build my base for the season, longest rides will be in the 40-50 mile range.  Continue to increase my strength, speed, and comfort riding with a group.
  • Continue to hone my nutritional efforts with a goal of a bit more fat/weight loss overall.  This means 5-6 meals per day to fuel my workouts, heavy on the veggies and protein, and no more than 1 “cheat meal” per week.  Booze no more than 1x per week.

March Professional Goals

  • Develop editorial calendar for my personal blog and post a minimum of 3x per week.  (Ya’ll may have noticed I’ve been slacking lately, and it’s because I have so much paid work coming in I get distracted).
  • Continue to work to develop my niche as a fitness/health/wellness/beauty blogger with a totally questionable sense of humor, and focus my personal writing in those areas.
  • Begin studying for and register for my personal trainer certification.  (As a fitness blogger, it would be awesome to have some creds to back it up, right?)
  • Explore other certification options that may be relevant to my professional development, and opportunities that might exist with these certifications (i.e., group exercise- are there opportunities to teach classes locally?  Yoga?  New OrangeTheory opening soon…)
  • Continue to grow my social followings with the goal of becoming a FitFluential Ambassador.  Goals- 50 more followers on Instagram for the month and 100 more on Twitter.  Do you follow me?  You totally should, I’m hilarious.  Check out the side bar to follow my pages!

While there’s a thousand more things I would love to accomplish, these are the goals I’ve set my sights on for March.

So now it’s your turn!  What are you going to accomplish this month?  Share your #1 goal with me, and upcoming race you have, or heck, anything else you want to chat about.

I want to know people!

Gym Bag Beauty Essentials

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I was really fortunate to “retire” over a year ago now, and spent a solid 6 months doing as little as possible.  But boy I had a clean house.

Mid-year last year I got bored, and during yoga class one day I had a total epiphany.  I realized, “I could get paid to write.”

I started picking up side jobs here and there, and before I knew it, I now have a full time job as a paid writer.  Which is awesome, but has totally put me back in a position of having to actually plan my days and be ready for anything to get in my workouts.

I feel like keeping up with my fitness can be as much about great planning as it is about motivation.  Having everything I need to fit in a workout handy and with me in my gym bag is how I get it done.

These are my five must have gym bag beauty essentials, and a few of my favorite products for every price range.

Make Up Removing Towelettes

I don’t usually wear a ton of make up, but if I do I don’t want it running down my face while I burpee.  These handy pre-moistened wipes get it off quick, and without irritating my sensitive skin.  That way I don’t end up looking like I have two black eyes, or with pimples all over my face.

Aveeno Ultra Calm Make Up Removing Towelettes– $8- Great for all skin types, and guaranteed not to irritate sensitive skin.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Gentle Facial Cleansing Wipes -$15-  Infused with Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, you will remove make up and protect skin at the same time.

Hair ties/Headband

I can’t stand having my hair in my face.  It’s long, I use a lot of product in it, and I’m a sweater.  Like, a big time sweater.  I need it back, and I need all the little pieces to stay away too.  I usually use a hair tie and a headband to keep it out of the way.

Dye Ties -$5- I love these becasue they’re fun and colorful, and don’t cause my hair any damage.

Riviera No Slip Wide Active Headwrap– $12-  If I’m not sporting a nice thick Lululemon headband, this is my go to choice.

Deodorant

Like I said, I’m a sweater.  So if I’m hitting a yoga class on my way to a meeting with a client, I absolutely have to have deodorant in my bag to make sure I’m so fresh and so clean clean (and I don’t smell like a foot when I’m done.)

Secret Clinical Strength Clear Gel Antiperspirant and Deodorant– $8- This is my favorite drugstore brand with super smell  and sweat stopping power.

Dr. Hauschka Natural Deodorant– $23-  As an alternative, this one is little pricy, but totally natural without any controversial chemicals and smells great!

Dry Shampoo

Again sweater here.  My expert tip?  Blow-dry the sweat out of your hair (yeah, it sounds gross but this is reality folks) and then use dry shampoo to perk up your locks.  It smells great, will give you shine and volume, and cuts down on the number of times you need to wash your hair every week.

Batiste– $8 full size- Variety of scents for every hair type.

Macadamia Natural Oil Volumizing  Dry Shampoo– $25- Oil absorbing, adds volume and texture to every hair type.

Body Spray

I’m not a huge fragrance person, but I love something that smells fresh, clean, and a maybe a little fruity or citrusy.  These are two of my favorites that I use on the regular.

The Body Shop Coconut Body Mist– $12

Philosophy Pure Grace All Over Body Spritz-$26


Do you have any gym bag beauty must haves?  What one product do you swear by?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

February Birchbox Review

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One of my favorite days out of every month is the day my Birchbox comes in the mail.  For those not in the know, Birchbox is a monthly beauty box subscription service that delivers at least 5 product samples to your door monthly for only $10 per month.

I’ll be honest in that I don’t usually love everything that comes in my box, but for only $10 if I find at least one item that tickles my fancy, I’m a happy camper.

This month had some keepers, one that I pretty much immediately threw away, and one that I immediately ordered.  Always a good thing when you love a product so much you need to have it in your arsenal RIGHT NOW!

Check out my unboxing below.

Juice Beauty® Blemish Clearing Cleanser

Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser

Back in October, Birchbox sent me a sample of Vasanti’s Brighten Up cleanser and I completely fell in love.  I’ve been using it since, so it would take a pretty darn impressive product to get me to switch.

This cleanser by Juice Beauty was a nice alternative to the exfoliation of the Vasanti product I use daily.  It’s a gel-based formula, so for lack of a better way to describe it, it’s slimy and thick.  It coated my skin well, but didn’t produce any lather, which was as expected.

It was gentle enough for every day use, and left my skin feeling clean, but not dry.

All in all, I liked the product, but not well enough to change from what I’m currently using.

theBalm® cosmetics Read My Lips™ Lip Gloss in BAM! Rose Pink

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It’s no secret that I LOVE lipgloss, so I’m always excited to see one in my box.  This formula by the Balm is awesome!  It’s thick and creamy, and in their BAM! Pink color it had the perfect amount of pink without being overpowering.  It also has a kind of delicate floral note to it, making it smell yummy and feel fresh on my lips without being totally overpowering.

Seeeeeee?

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Juicy Couture Hollywood Royal

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I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, I’m a total fragrance snob.  Truth be told, for every 20 fragrances I sample, I probably only like 1 of them.  And if a product doesn’t smell good, I don’t care how awesome it is, I won’t use it.

That’s one of the things I love about Birchbox.  When I set my preferences I indicated that I want to receive a lot of fragrance samples.  Because I don’t mind getting things I won’t use, and throwing them away, it’s a great way for me to try samples without having to invest a bunch of money into finding one that works for me.

This sample, from Juicy, was actually a pleasant surprise.  It has a few of my favorites, gardenia and jasmine, combined with pear, apple and vanilla and is kind of lovely and fresh.  I would actually wear this regularly, probably in the summer during the evenings as it has that kind of vibe.

Dr. Scheller Calendula Hand Balm

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On the opposite end of the spectrum, this product, for me, was an epic fail.  It smells like scented tampons.  Yeah, I know that’s gross, but it does.  It has that totally engineered “lady” fragrance that I feel like is in every feminine product, and it literally makes me gag.

I was really sad too, as the sample was huge and it would have made for a great gym bag product, but because of the scent I couldn’t even bring myself to try it.  Sorry gang, no actual product review here.

The Big Winner: amika Nourishing Mask

amika Nourishing Mask

The big winner from my box this month was… drumroll please… amika!

In truth it isn’t all that surprising as I’ve sampled a few of their products so far, and to date, have purchased every single one of them in a full size.  This Nourishing Mask is no exception.

It is thick and creamy, smells like heaven, coated my hair and stayed in place for the 2-3 minute recommended treatment time.

To give it a true test, once I was done with my shower I went ahead and blew out my curly hair without using any additional product and was shocked to realize I didn’t even need my flat iron.

My hair was super shiny, laid nicely, and even the Florida humidity didn’t get frizzy.

This treatment is a total keeper, and I ordered the full sized right away.  I’ll be adding this in as a one-per-week spa day for my long hair.


Readers, do you subscribe to any monthly boxes?  Which ones?  If you love them be sure to leave a referral link below so I can check it out!

Black Friday Deals for Fitness Folks!

Is anyone else’s email inbox absolutely exploding with Black Friday deals right now?

I’ll be honest, I’m not much of a shopper.  I do 90% of mine online, and I really really really hate crowds.  You probably won’t see me out there in the thick of it on Friday, unless the bike shop decides to give away a Specialized Venge or something.

But thank goodness retailers are totally up with the times, and most are offering awesome Black Friday deals online, and through the weekend.  Some sites even have free shipping and returns, making this gift giving diva very happy!

Since I know I’m not the only one looking for awesome fitness finds at a great price at the moment, I wanted to share some of the best deals I’ve seen come through my email with you, my friends.  If you splurge for yourself this is good stuff, and lots of these would make great gifts for the fitness folks in your life!

Enjoy, and happy holidays!

City Fit Girls- 25% off Gear, Accessories, Wellness Products
** Check out info on the SHIFT program- a new weight loss and fitness program starting next week that has everyone talking!

city fit girls

 

Moxie Cycling- 40% off Site-Wide
*These are seriously some of the cutest cycling tops I’ve ever seen.  They’re amazing quality, fit true to size, and come in fun prints and patterns.  At 40% off they’re a steal!  “The Dottie” below is on my list!

Moxie

Shoedazzle- 30% off Sale
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f you haven’t shopped Shoedazzle yet, you’re kinda missing out.  They have a better selection than most department stores, several high end brands, free shipping, and awesome discounts for VIP members.  When they put stuff on sale they mean it, and offering an extra 30% off is just ridiculous.  I’ve snagged designer styles from this site for as little as $10 before, so be sure to check it out!

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SwimOutlet.com- 65% Off Doorbusters Online!
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ontrary to the name, swim outlet doesn’t just have swimming stuff.  I’ve bought cycling gear, gadgets, and apparel from them at a deep deep discount, and that was WITHOUT an extra 65% off.  Check them out on Friday, I bet you can snag some really awesome deals on Tri gear.

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I’ll keep you posted if I come across any more amazing scores, and please comment below if you have some great tips as well!

October Birchbox Review

October Birchbox Getting stuff in the mail is about the coolest thing ever, and honestly, it’s one of the reasons I started subscribing to Birchbox a year ago.  Sorry I’ve been lazy so far and haven’t done any reviews, but starting with October I’ll be sharing my box with you, my readers.

If you’re not familiar with Birchbox, here’s the skinny.  It’s a monthly beauty subscription box that’s $10 for ladies and $25 for dudes that comes stocked with five samples based on your beauty profile.  The profile is pretty in depth, asking you about your skin type, skin care routine, make up preferences, hair type and style, as well as your style preferences.

In my case, every month I get at least one thing that I completely love.  Several times I’ve received full sized products valued at $20 or more in my box making it more than worth the money for me.

And this month, I totally discovered a new favorite thing.  So without further ado, here’s this month’s unboxing!

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Jouer Matte Moisture Tint
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The oil-free tint with an SPF 15 went on smooth and pretty, and was a great match to my skin tone.  I applied mine over my normal SPF 30 moisturizer, because I live in Florida and am outside all the darn time.  What I really liked about this product was the matte finish.  I actually opted against using any powder over top as it left my skin with just enough coverage and without any greasy shine.  Good stuff.  But, at $38 for the full size (or $49 for the set pictured above), it’s a bit pricey for my liking.

Miracle Skin Transformer Miracle Mud

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I’m really really picky about the way a product smells, especially if it’s going on my face.  This one, for me, was over before it started because it was stinky stuff.  There was no way I was going to be able to stand to have it on my face for 10 minutes.  $38 for a jar of poo? No thanks, I don’t care what it does to my skin.

ModelCo Power Lash Long Wear Mascara

modelco mascara

 

My eyelashes are pretty tiny, so I’m always looking for a great mascara.  While I loved the wand on this sample, I didn’t much like the formula.  It was super thick, and in the time it took me to apply one coat it began getting really clumpy.  After a second coat my lashes were thick, but to the point of looking more like tarantula legs and less like fat sexy bitches.  While the formula did last all night without any smudging and only a tiny bit of flaking, it was difficult enough to apply that I tossed this after one use.  At $20 for a full size, I’ll stick with my normal brand.

Essential Elements Wake Up Rosemary Shower Gel

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Holy mother of God this stuff smelled strong enough to tranq a horse.  If you could get past the overwhelming herbal fragrance that smelled like a combo day spa/anapestic wash, the texture was super smooth and it worked into a decent lather.  Like I said, I’m really picky about scent so this was too overpowering for me, but if you’re into spa quality body care it’s a nice choice at $19 for the full size.

Sage + fasten Onward Eau de Parfum 

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If you like light, fruity, fun fragrances this baby is for you.  The sample I received was in a nice sized roller ball applicator, and I pretty much instantly fell in love.  It made me feel like I was breathing in sunshine, and I would wear it all summer long.  As a Birchbox exclusive you can only get it from them, but at only $50 for the full size, I’ll be buying this to wear next summer.

Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator 

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I saved the best for last with this product.  I am seriously in LOVE!  I love a good face cleanser that exfoliates as it cleans, and my favorites leave my skin soft and bright.  This one fits every bill.  It has a mild scent and a really creamy texture.  The exfoliant in the product is microderm crystals, which give it a really amazingly fine gritty feeling that gives a deep clean while still being gentle on your skin.  After the first use I was hooked, and am swapping out my old cleanser for this one.  Even more impressive is the affordable $34 for a predicted four to six months of uses.  Love love love.  Winner winner chicken dinner.

Your turn readers!  Do you subscribe to Birchbox or another beauty box?  Do you love it?  Tell me about it or link me to your reviews below!

Where DO you get those workout clothes?!

It would seem I’m fashionable and shit.  At the gym anyway.  Outside of the gym there’s a good bet that I’m not wearing pants.  And if I did manage to put on pants, there’s definitely no bra, and my hair is totally not brushed.  It’s like one of those “you pick two” combos.  You don’t get it all at once.

But inside the gym, apparently I’m cute.  I’ve been asked pretty much every day this week where I got my top/capris/socks/shoes/headband/yoga mat/fill in any other random thing by fellow lady sweaters.

Since I frequently wonder the same thing about great gear I see at the gym, I thought it was time to throw my shortlist of places to shop out to the interwebz for your paycheck-spending pleasure.

Fabletics

I’ve done a few product reviews on their stuff here and here and am still really happy with my stuff.  I first ordered from them back in December and STILL wear my first pair of Lima Capris at least once a week.  The quality is decent, the price point is great, and lately they’ve been coming out with so many fun patterns I get nothing but compliments when I sport them at the gym.  I was wearing these earlier this week and got asked more than once where I got them from:

Fabletics Capris

Athleta

I basically love everything Athleta has ever made.  I’ve done a product review for them here, but can say without hesitation that their stuff is amazing.  They also are on the fun printed capri bandwagon, and while their stuff can be a bit pricy, they have a GREAT sale section on their site.  As an insider tip, sign up for their emails and you will frequently will receive offers for an extra 20% off of clearance.  I can’t say enough about the quality of their stuff.  In addition to a great product, their site boasts some really helpful product reviews, and they have free shipping on orders over $50.

Lululemon

Probably not surprisingly, I’m also a big fan of Lululemon.  While I will say, at the moment I am purchasing much more Athleta than Lulu, I have several pieces from them that make up the core of my fitness wear.  I get constant compliments on my Wonder Under Crops every time I wear them, and my favorite sports bras are from Lululemon.  They are pricy, and rarely have a great “sale” section on their site, but there ARE Lululemon outlet’s in the world, and I highly suggest checking them out for great deals on the most popular items.

Target C9 by Champion

There’s something to be said for stopping at the store for eggs and bananas and walking out with a cute new workout outfit while you’re at it.  Then again, it’s also physically impossible to go to Target without spending at least $100, and my affinity for their cute, cheap workout stuff is probably a big reason why.  If you haven’t checked them out lately, pop into their activewear department and be prepared to be greeted by bright colors, and a host of fashionable options that mimic the popular Lululemon and Athleta styles.  While the quality isn’t nearly as good, if you’re looking for something fun at a low price point, I always recommend Target for your fix.

Hope my short list gave you a fun new idea or a place to try to shop.  What about you?  What’s your favorite place for great athletic apparel?