Each morning before I head out for work I make sure I’m put together. But not in your traditional sense.  I’m not concerned about my hair, my make up or my outfit.   My hair is usually wet from the shower after a run or hike and I let the curls do their thing. Make up is basic and takes seconds to apply. I throw on my comfortable  jeans, a top that is both casual and work appropriate and away I go.  But if I forget one piece of the basic accessory package I feel naked the rest of the day.  These are add-ons.  Not your favorite jeans or your kickass boots.   Not the necklace to match the earrings that match the color in your shirt.  These are old standbys no matter what you wear [okay, formal attire aside].

Watch – The Timex Ironman black and silver watch my husband gave me for Christmas.  Before that it was a green Timex Ironman, before that a blue and white Timex Ironman…you get the picture.  I hardly check the time during the day but there is something about strapping on a watch that makes me feel ready to go.  I love [and use] the chrono feature allowing me to clock any movement…yeah.  Somehow I feel faster or at least able to push myself no matter what I’m doing.

RoadID Bracelet – this is a new accessory and now I hate to even take it off in the shower. It’s comfortable, cool looking, and hell! It’s all about ME.  It reminds me that I hike, run and ride outside and need something like this.  I’m not a poser!  I really am the outdoor enthusiast I always wished I could be! Roar!  Oh yeah, and it’s purple.

Necklace – I received the coolest necklace for Christmas from my sister-in-law and I have yet to take it off.  A black Goretex cord and a simple, small, silver peace sign really says it all.  It’s what I strive for: strong, unobtrusive and peaceful.

Mascara – I get a little vain here! I can manage without any other make up but I need my mascara! If not I feel like I have tiny little eyes! I’m instantly tired and run down each time I look in the mirror.

And while footwear is more than the basic accessory, what I wear generally tells a lot about how I feel that day: Hiking boots to feel strong and remind myself to get back to earth.  Runners to give myself a lift and make me feel like I can get it all done. Flipflops to be relaxed and calm.  Black high-heel boots to give confidence and power… rarely do I give preference only to what matches.

Have you ever thought about what your accessories say about you? What they say to you?  What are your standbys and why?

Imaging…just imagine!

I love when my new “Title Nine” catalog comes in the mail.  Sure, it’s not a “magazine” but it stays around a lot longer than it probably should.  I look through it over and over again, imagining myself not only in the clothes, but the activities the models are doing as well.  It’s always sunny.  It looks warm and fun.  They are swimming, diving, hiking, rock climbing, doing yoga and playing volleyball.  They are DOING.  It makes me want to DO too.  And this wonderful advertising has now made me a consumer of Title Nine.  I recently purchased a dress and skirt at prices I’ve never imagined spending.  Why?  Because I want to be like them.

This, of course, is the aim of all clothing catalogs; to sell you on the image.  Nike, Columbia, Athleta, they all do it.  They display their clothes in such a way as to sell the activity you’ll be doing as well as the clothes you’ll be wearing.  The don’t sell sex like Victoria Secret; they sell sweat.  They sell health and fitness.  But don’t be fooled.  You won’t look like Mia Hamm just because you’re wearing the same sports bra.

Image isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  As a matter of fact, guided imagery has helped people for years.  Keeping an image in your mind of being healthier, happier, even thinner is believed to be a vital key in treating cancer and depression as well as helping with weight loss.  Last year when I decided to truly take control of my health, I cut a picture or two out of magazines.  These were my “goals”.  One was Sheryl Crow and I love her hair (much like mine, big and out of control!) and I love her strong arms.  But most of all, I love the sense of calm and peace that radiates from her.  She seems to love who she is.  Another was a random picture from the Title Nine clothing catalog showing a woman hiking.  She, too, was strong.  I didn’t fool myself into thinking I could be 5′ 9″, 25 years old, skinny and beautiful.  I aimed (and still do) to be strong. That’s something I can obtain.  Image becomes a problem when you allow it to dictate impossible results.  Be aware of the people who draw your attention.  Be aware of what it truly is about that person that makes you want to “be like them”.   Perhaps it’s their calm demeanor or their energetic spirit.  If you need an image, be sure it’s obtainable and realistic.  Make sure it’s true to who you are and what you truly want to accomplish.  Beautiful, skinny models aren’t happier than us normal sized gals.  They only get paid to smile.

The important thing to remember is this: the clothing won’t make you look like the model wearing it. That’s up to you.  I’ll never be 25 again nor will I ever look like some of the women modeling these great clothes, but I can be the healthiest I can be.  I can be active and strong.  No, the clothing won’t do that for me, but at least I’ll look damn good doing it!


Title Nine

Let me say upfront, I love Title Nine.  Well, I’ve always loved the magazine anyway.  It makes me want to be stronger, healthier and more active.  After all, the models aren’t standing around with perfect bodies modeling clothes you KNOW they’d never wear.  The models DO have perfect bodies, but they have athletic bodies.  Yes.  There is a difference.  There are no skinny-minnies here.  They are actually moving too and not just in some seductive, cleavage-showing volleyball move.  They are surfing, rock-climbing, running, or hiking. In the one volleyball picture you see the model’s BACK.  I think (for me anyway) the biggest draw to this magazine and its clothes is the illusion of a strong, healthy body.  And that appeals to me.  It’s who I am striving to be.

Perhaps that’s what finally got me to purchase a dress for $75.00, something I’ve NEVER done before.  Even the thought leaves me feeling guilty!  But I’m on a mission to reduce my wardrobe and fill it with long-lasting, multi-tasking clothes that I’ll actually wear.  It’s all about quality over quantity and while it might hurt (a lot) to dish out the cash at first, as I think about how much I’ve spent over the years on cheap stuff I never wear, it eases the pain.  After a week of deliberating, I bit the bullet and spent my (upcoming) birthday money on a dress from Title Nine called the “More Dress”.  It’s reversible too, which helped me fork over the cash.  After all, as my best friend pointed out, that’s only $37.50 per side 🙂

It finally arrived in the mail yesterday and when I took it out of the bag my heart sunk.  It’s a thin material (Poly/Spandex) and I just KNEW every lump and bump in my body would show.  I didn’t even have the heart to try it on.  But, this morning I gave it a shot and BOY was I surprised!  It looks great!  The material flows perfectly without being big and baggy.  I love, LOVE the empire waist! It gives a snug fit to the top then the perfect fall for the rest of the body.  I don’t even mind that it doesn’t have a shelf bra.  Hell, it’s not like that’s an issue for me anyway!

Title Nine More Dress
The More Dress from Title Nine

I can see wearing this with a cute brown, green, blue or white sweater all spring!  What I can really see is me sitting on the deck, sipping a cold beer after puttering in the garden and feeling absolutely comfortable!  It’s a dress you can actually MOVE in, sweat in, and still look great in.  It will certainly be my companion for our girls weekend climbing Mount Washington in June!  It will feel great to take a shower and pull this baby on after a full day of climbing!  I can’t wait!!

Thank you Title Nine for not only being an inspiration, but for selling great, quality stuff!