Allbirds wool runners review

I have a Nike Free problem…?

So. I’m pretty addicted to Nike Free Runners. I wear them everyday at home and for walking and errand running. I also wear them to work sometimes. I’ve been wearing them since 2006 and I have no idea what number I’m on…my 14th pair? I don’t know. It’s possible.

I started with the black uppers with white soles.

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The OG Nike Free colorway

But I kind of need to mix it up.

I’ve had neon orange, teal with black soles and laces, crazy stripes and dots, and a few pairs of black on black. My current pair is on its way out, and I’m a little sad at the idea of buying the exact same pair of Frees for the third time in a row…that’s a rut, right? I’m really interested in the VaporMax, but I have a hard time with the 2hundo price tag. And I’m not sure how they’ll work with work clothes…so I’ve been stuck for a month.

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Grass shoes, training shoes, life shoes

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Nike Vapormax Flyknit 2

 

But what about those Allbirds, tho?

Then I remembered Allbirds. They’re basically Nike frees with wool uppers. So sneakers, but ones you could definitely pull off at work. Same price point. Expensive for a non-serious sneaker, but justifiable if you wear them every damned day like I do.

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Allbirds look like this

I’m feeling like I need to mix it up in pretty much every way lately, so instead of a black or grey (which to me look kind of nerdy in Allbirds) I went for a bright color. All teal. Woot!

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Teal Allbirds Wool Runners

Allbirds, are you my new friends?

They showed up in custom boxes that are pretty cute. But that’s neither here nor there…I wear a size 9 or 9.5 in sneakers, and their site recommended I order a 9. They were snug, which the Allbirds site also said was normal; wool stretches. But I didn’t like the feeling of my toes being right at the front of the shoe, so I ordered some 10s. The 10s felt a little too big, I couldn’t see myself wearing teal shoes with…well…anything. And I really hated how I could see my toes moving around in the shoe. The wool is kind of flat and low and tight across the tops of your toes, no toe box, more like a sock or something. And it just creeped me out. It felt like wearing a shirt with no bra and nipping out. I don’t know. I’m a weirdo, but I wasn’t feeling it. No toe nipple situation for me. 

Nope.

I sent them back. And I am currently still waffling between trying the pricey (but probably way more durable) VaporMax or ordering my third pair in a row of black on black Nike Free Runners…

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My ride or dies. Which are dying.

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Current version

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Nike Free Run Commuters

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Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit 2

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Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit MOC 2

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Same thing but with HOT PINK!!! SQUEE!

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Lululemon Align Pants Review

Dude.

Lululemon has a new (to me) pair of all-purpose/ yoga leggings. And they are uh-maze-balls.

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Don’t ask me why they styled them with these hideous slides. There are many mysteries in this life.

They’re called the Align Pant. And they’re made out of clouds and dreams.

They’re so stretchy you can put them on on a fat day and not hate yourself.

And so buttery soft and pliable, you put them on and feel like you are instantly as flexible as a pretzel. *high kick*

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Why is this awesome? Well, I’m a little heavier after a summer of work (read: not working out) and wine (because summer), so my workout pants all shame me every time I rally hard enough to put them on…

So I’ve been looking for a pair of “throw on, feel ok, even on not-skinny days, but don’t have to size up” magic pants, totally did not expect for them to come from Lululemon, but here they are.

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I mean seriously, I’ve tried on probably every style of legging that Athleta has, which is saying something, but couldn’t find what I was looking for. No, not even the Powervita line (which is supposed to be their soft and supportive but not too-compressive fabric).  Powervita was soft, but not like these puppies. MAN. They are soft. The fabric is called Nulu.

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Lululemon Align Pants

+super soft-feeling Nulu fabric

+mega stretchy, not compressive at all

+high waist

+flattering heart-shaped seam above your butt that makes you look like you have glute muscles

+double seam on the inner thigh, so there’s no seam right in the middle, I’m assuming so there’s less chafing

+leggings you can still wear on fat days

+they come in dark, creamy fall colors

+f yeah

I’m really excited to have something that doesn’t make me feel like shit when I put it on, which is how all clothes make me feel right now. So I’m really excited for these kind, soft pants. Maybe I’ll take a picture one day, but not today, because like I said, I feel like shit in my own skin. I’m sure you understand. Sad trombone high five, sister. Whatever. #Fitfall?

Anyway, look, they have a pocket too.

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Pure Barre On Demand Workout Review

I’m a freelance writer. Which means sometimes I’m commuting to the city and sometimes I’m working at home. When I commute to the city, I spend 3.5 hours a day commuting. And when I work from home, I basically wake up, maybe walk the dog, and start working right away because I can. I never know what type of work situation I’ll be in, so a gym membership is dumb and so is committing to any kind of studio unless I only want to go on Saturdays. Also, my super-affordable, on-the-way-to-daycare bootcamp has moved and become a less-affordable F45 on the other side of town, so… I’ve been classless for a bit.

I needed a new home workout. Yes, I still like the Aaptive training app and my treadmill. But I was hungry for something new, and something that didn’t make me feel like a prisoner sweating alone in my basement. And I need to build strength and get results fast, so I researched on-demand barre classes.

Now, a good little blogger would re-do the research for you and post the costs of different on-demand barre classes here, but I threw away my notes over a month ago and I don’t feel like looking all that shit up again.

All you need to know is the best deal is Pure Barre on demand.

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What you need to know about Pure Barre On Demand:

  • $30/ month
  • Access classes on any device
  • A really good amount of classes in any length you could possibly want: 5 minute, 10-15 minute, 30-40 minute, 40-50 minute and full length 50-60 minute lengths
  • They add new classes all the time

And the classes are taught by a mix of instructors, so if you think one is annoying, you can avoid her. What you can’t avoid is stupid pretzel position, which is incredibly awkward and I really, really, really hate it. But they’re videos, so if you’re a lazy piece of shit like me, you can just say “nope” and skip to a less ridiculous part of the workout.

A lot of the classes are “live” which means recorded live in one of the Pure Barre studios. They look like they’re shot with a nest security cam, which is totally fine by me. I like how it feels like I’m in a real class. There are also more “workout video”-type professionally staged and shot workouts. There’s really a lot of content. It’s pretty great.

Here’s what the two kinds of classes look like:

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A “live” Pure Barre on demand class

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A “legacy DVD” Pure Barre class, available on demand.

 

 

About Barre

Not gonna lie. Barre sucks. It’s painful, awkward, and uncomfortable. And super hard. BUT, I’ve found that it is a really fast way to change your shape and get strong. And that’s what I need right now. I think of it more as physical therapy than a fun workout. Wow, that’s depressing, isn’t it? OK. It’s not that bad. It’s a CHALLENGE. Is that more positive? And I get to do different video every time (so far) so that makes it feel a little more special.

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All barre workouts are based on the same principles from The Lotte Burke Method: proper alignment, a large number of small movements done to failure, then you stretch that muscle group. “Failure” means your legs will not only burn, but they will literally quiver and shake, and that’s the goal. Yup. (“Shake to change” is the mantra in Barre Amped.) And all barre workouts use similar exercises and follow the same patterns (core, arms, legs, butt, abs).

 

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Look at my arm! A result! 

The vibe is a little different from brand to brand, and Pure Barre has the vibe that I like the best, but it’s up to you to see what you like. Pure Barre, for example is a little more casual/city and they work out to a beat. Dailey Method feels slightly more formal, closer to a ballet or yoga studio vibe.

They all have a little bit of equipment involved: light weights, a small inflatable ball, something to use as a “support” (barre substitute), sometimes tubing. Overall, I like doing barre at home better than in the studio because I don’t feel looked at, and most importantly, I don’t have to wear those stupid barre socks that lose their grip and become useless the first time you wash them. I hate working out in socks.

For home workouts you really only need the light weights. A ball is a bonus. I have a barre, which I ordered from Amazon, and it’s fine. But there are some moves where they hold on to the barre and lean back, and for that type of stuff you actually need a counter, so don’t feel like you have to buy a barre. But if you want one, this one’s the one I have. It’s pretty cool except you get a big box on your doorstep that says VITA VIBE. Oh hey neighbors! I promise it’s not a four-foot dildo! Link here, too: https://amzn.to/2qazoQ7

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Vita Vibe 4 foot portable barre

 

Oh, and Pure Barre sells apparel with a lot of good cuts (meaning: long, not skin-tight tanks). I would totally order some if they didn’t have Pure Barre logos on them.

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New fitness fashion brand: JoyLab by Target review

Target has been sniping successful brands and making their own versions for a few years now, but this spring they’ve really stepped on the gas in the fashion brand style-biting department…

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I get that they have to follow trends, but it’s a little blatant. And as a card maker who’s had one of her designs low-key copied by Paper Source and who has a few other maker friends who this has happened to…I can only imagine how these big, established brands feel about Target copying their whole entire vibe. Eeeeeesh. Not very cool. Anyway. Tabling the issues of brand-swiping and business ethics and moving back into FITNESS FASHION REVIEW LAND…

Target now has a fitness fashion brand called JoyLab that’s kind of like Outdoor Voices + all the other cute fit fashion brands rolled into one trendy package.

JOYLAB REVIEW

The quality is pretty good. Better than Target’s terrible Champion/ C9 stuff (so thin, so clingy, makes me so angry), but not as thick as “real” fitness brands. Then again, what do you want for under $35 per piece? Basically, if you have cellulite, you might be able to get away with their pants, depending on the color and how few fucks you give. But I only found one pair of pants that I felt OK in, and they have a distracting pattern.

But the bra tops are all really cute. They cover a lot of different trends in color, pattern, and cut. Mostly I noticed a lot of “long line” bras/ bra tops which means they go further down towards your waist and *some* people can wear them as tops with high-waisted leggings. ICYMI, this is my formula to find out if you are one of those people. (From my post about jog bra trends from a while back.)

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And JoyLab has a lot of cute jackets and sweatshirts. A few different takes on bombers (mesh, scuba, sweatshirt, etc.) and a lot of cute sweatshirts. But the sweatshirts are mostly pretty cropped, so I only tried on the (totally predictable for me) big baggy long one. I’d put pictures of the jackets and sweatshirts here, but the pictures online don’t even come close to doing them justice. You have to see them in person.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT JOYLAB BY TARGET

  • Affordable. Pants $35. Bras $20.
  • You get more than what you pay for in the style dept.
  • You get about what you pay for in the quality department.
  • 900 times better than C9.
  • Check out their jackets.

Here are some JoyLab things I bought:

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Here are some other JoyLab things I tried on:

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Here are some other cute JoyLab things:

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And Imma just put this here…

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Lululemon Jacket Round Up

I had a “treat yo self” moment this week and an hour to kill, so I went in to Lululemon to buy me a jacket. (Because Athleta has shit for jackets right now. Waiting for some new options for spring, but…right now there’s nada.) So for your virtual shopping pleasure, here are some Lululemon Jacket Reviews.

First I tried the Define Jacket, which is super popular. (Don’t judge my footwear, I was heading to a meeting after this. And yes I have giant water-ski clown shoes for feet.)

Here’s what you need to know about the Lululemon Define Jacket:

  • it’s tight AF
  • it doesn’t cover your ass
  • but it comes in the best patterns they have in the store

 

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Lululemon Define Jacket

 

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Lululemon Define Jacket

 

Then I tried the Round Trip Jacket. I was curious about this one because of the almost empire waist detail, hour-glass friendly cut, and interesting gathered material panel in the back. But…

Here’s what you need to know about the Lululemon Round Trip Jacket:

  • The material is really thin
  • The front seems kind of blah
  • But the back is as cute as it looks in pictures
  • It covers your ass
  • Yes I’m cross-eyed and have a double chin, apparently

 

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Lululemon Round Trip Jacket

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Lululemon Round Trip Jacket

 

Then I tried the Stride Jacket II. Which is what I was really there for, because I own three jackets in the same shape/ length, and that’s what I’m most comfortable in.

Here’s what you need to know about the Lululemon Stride Jacket II:

  • The fabric is thinner than past versions
  • (most lulu reviews, for all products, bitch about the declining quality of all of their fabrics)
  • The colors are super boring and limited and I’m mad about it
  • I mean, can we be done with this heathered burn-out thing already? Can we do something else please? Does spandex only come in heathered basicness? C’mon.
  • But it covers your ass the most
  • It’s the longest jacket you can get at Lulu
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Lululemon Stride II Jacket

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Lululemon Stride II Jacket

 

I also tried the Sleek Essentials Jacket. It seemed…simpler and thinner than most Lulu jackets. It’s a more affordable Lulu jacket. But I didn’t like it more because it was tight and short.

Lululemon Sleek Essentials Jacket

  • cheaper
  • feels and looks cheaper
  • short and tight-ish
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Lululemon Sleek Essentials Jacket

 

 

I also tried the Gait Keeper Jacket. Which you would think I would like because it’s basically got a peplum (read: pear and hour-glass friendly). It really sticks out in the back, almost like a bustle, which makes it pretty unique and interesting and style-y. But the cut is higher in the front. And the front’s a little plain. So…meh. Not good enough.

Lululemon Gait Keeper Jacket

  • Cool peplum detail in the back
  • Covers your ass
  • Short and plain in the front

 

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Lululemon Gait Keeper Jacket

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Lululemon Gait Keeper Jacket

 

So I ended up with…what I already have, what I know I’m comfortable in: a really long, looser-cut jacket. But now I have a lighter-weight one for running and spring time running around. Now…if they had the Stride II in the cool black and white blizzardy pattern that the Define jacket comes in…then I’d be really stoked! HEAR ME LULU? Y’ALL SHOULD MAKE LONGER JACKETS IN COOLER PATTERNS. WE WILL BUY THEM SHITS.

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Public service announcement: The Contour Jacket looks like another pretty long option. I didn’t get to try that one. It’s online only and sold out in my size in black, because of course. Maybe if I can’t bring myself to settle for the boring ass color of the Stride Jacket, I’ll return it and order a blue Contour Jacket. Maybe. But you know how I feel about color…so probably not.

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Lululemon Contour Jacket

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Lululemon Contour Jacket

 

And if you’re into long jackets like I am, I’m still liking my Stronger Hoodie from Athleta. Although I think mine might be a CYA (cover your assets) length, which they don’t seem to have right now. Mine’s pretty damn long. But at any rate, it’s a warmer, cozier, fleece-lined option.

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Stronger Hoodie from Athleta