Deciphering Fall 2010 Trends

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So it was just Fashion Week and the trends of Fall were sashayed down the catwalk for mere mortals like us to try and understand. Fashion is probably the most indulgent industry in the world. In no other industry can you completely, and I mean COMPLETELY, go off your rocker and create something and have it be considered worthy. Wait, I forgot art. But still. I don't pay attention to Fashion Week until it's well over. Because otherwise, I peruse through the photos and scratch my head because I have no idea where any designers are going with their collections. Wearing helmets? I don't know if I can pull it off.

But a few weeks after the hubbub dies down aI can look through and pull the general ideas from each collection to make sense of it all. Let's be clear: couture has no place in a home with toddlers. Any time I spend serious coin on a piece of clothing it will no doubt be ruined by my slobbery son. But just because I'm gun shy about spending money on high fashion doesn't mean I can't be in style, right?

So, because I'm a caring individual, I pulled five general trends straight out of Fashion Week and I'm going to break them down for you. Yes, I know I'm an angel. Here we go!

Vintage Inspired

Call it the Mad Men Effect, but this trend makes me positively gleeful. NO ONE loves 50s fashion like Jae loves 50s fashion. I love the femininity of it all. It's just gorgeous. While the runways showcased seriously poofy dresses, you can get the same look with a pencil skirt. I love this one found at And these gloves are on my Christmas list fo shizzle (Did I just say "fo shizzle"?) Can you imagine how pretty these would be with a rolled up pea coat. I. DIE. And then I SHALL. OWN. (Modcloth)

Biker Glam

K, so Biker gone wrong can be seriously scary and too androgynous in a "Hi, my name is Alex" sort of way. But I think when you make biker a little more casual, it's less literal and more fashion forward. A good biker-inspired jacket is a must. As in, you must own one to be my friend. Then we'll embroider TEAM JAE on them. Wait, that got away from me. Anyway, this one from Old Navy is actually made of twill so you don't look like you actually want to be in a biker gang. And flats make the look pretty and innocent, but they can still add a rocker element to an otherwise blah outfit (Gap).

Embellished LBD

Now that we know how to accessorize an LBD, these LBDs come out that practically accessorize themselves. Boo, they usurp my power! Anyway, look for little black dresses that have an element of surprise, like a jeweld shoulder or lace overlay. It makes the dress look less office cocktail party and more 2010. Am I the only one who still has trouble typing out 2010? Also, I find it annoying I can't say '10 like I could say "Oh, it was back on 0-9," you know? (Oasis and Pinko)

Southern Belle

K, I am enamored by this trend as well. Said to have stemmed from Miss Sookie Stackhouse herself, an emphasis on sweet prints with flwing silhouettes works on just about every body type. The cardigan is ah-mazing. I would wear it with a plain ribbed tank, my boots and a mother load of necklaces. The tank top? Wear it with a little cardigan, jeans and heels for a date night. Your husband will thank me... and then you will become annoyed with me when you have to fake a headache AGAIN. (Buckle and Delia's)

Animal Prints

Oh, how relieved was I to see animal print come stomping down the runway; I *just* bought a pair of leopard print heels. These ones to be exact:HELLO DARLINGS!

Anyway, as always I think animal print is best in accessory form when just starting out. Otherwise it can be terrifying and cougar-y. I like leopard, zebra and snake and am even OK with mixing them AS LONG as they are neutrals. Like, no hot pink zebra and leopard print, please? The clutch is Rue21, and the watch (which I love and think is super awesome) is I think acquiring a piece or two of animal print can really update your wardrobe.

So, don't head out and buy the newest Tiny Hat . Keep your head around fashion week and buy pieces that translate into your real life. I already wore my new shoes and they were super foxy. Now I must have some vintage red gloves and I think I'll be good.

This week.

Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone--You Can Do It!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I just got back from spending a weekend with grade 7 and 8's. My daughter is now in grade 7 and they had a music theater camp over the weekend. I of course volunteered so I didn't miss this first big grade 7 experience.

Now, I constantly had to remind myself that these were 12 and 13 year olds, and my perspective was coming from a 36 year old, but despite the lack of sleep and the cold, I thought it was an amazing camp.

For the first 4 hours they learned a musical number and put it to dance then the rest of the time we did the programs of the camp. This is where it gets really cool. They had some really great activities for everyone to try. They had 3 different types of high ropes, which don't look that high when you are encouraging from the ground. They had archery, team ropes, zip line, rock climbing and so much more.

Most of the kids have never tried anything like this at all. Never been in a harness, or held an arrow. Some jumped right in to give it a go, and others needed encouragement. By the end, everyone tried something that was completely out of their comfort zone.

It's so easy to stay where we are comfortable. That's why we don't progress. By being uncomfortable, you will see greater success, no matter what your goal.

When I saw the high ropes, I knew I had to try it. After seeing how great the kids did, I wanted to challenge myself. As myself and another teacher started climbing the tree, you quickly realize how high you are actually climbing. I knew at that point, there was no turning back (especially with all the kids eyes on you). Getting to the top of the really big tree was ok, I did some deep breaths but it was not bad. Now I had to stand on the really skinny wire, and hold onto another really skinny wire that was at my shoulder height, and move across the other side. Now this was actually pretty easy for me, I was thinking wow, I can really do this---then the other teacher got on the wire, and it began moving all over the place. It was a whole other experience when you had someone else giving you resistance and challenge. We tried to work together to make it easier for both of us to get across.

In the end we accomplished our goal. As we sat back and were lowered to the ground, I had this great thrill. I had done it. It looked impossible, (so so high), but even with the nerves, we pushed through and it was great!

The point to this story is that we are like this in our everyday lives and even our exercise habits. We tend to do what we are comfortable with. Sometimes that's not all a bad thing, but if we go outside our comfort zones, we can often get the results we want so much faster and do something you didn't think you could do along the way.

If all you ever do is walk or run, try doing weights or mix it up with something like rock climbing. When you try something new, you often use muscles in a way you are not used to and it feels great. Look up in your city if they have an indoor rock climbing facility. You may need to take one lesson to learn how to belay and get the general rules, but after that you can take a friend and go have fun. It's an amazing challenge and the muscles you work!!

If you are bored with your same old cardio routine, try a dance class that will get you sweating. I was thinking of this very thing. I was actually thinking of taking a hip hop class. This is so out of my comfort zone, which is why I know I need to just do it.

By doing these different things, you will find out what you like and maybe what you don't like so much, but what's great is that you will find things you can do to stay active and healthy without always doing the same boring things over and over again. You will feel great, feel challenged and you will stay motivated.

This weeks challenge is to get out of your comfort zone. I want you to try something you were always afraid to do. Take a leap of faith ( I will talk about that one later) and just do it, I promise you will be so glad you did.

Committed to your fitness success,

Kelly Parker

Freaky Friday: Maternity Addition

Friday, September 24, 2010

(See what I did there? Addition? Because you're expecting a new addition? Oh I am PUNNY!)

So I volunteer at the hospital where I spent the majority of my last pregnancy. I have absolutely NO desire (like really... negative desire) to ever get pregnant again, and being around all of the pregnant moms and new moms there gives me enough exposure to babies and pregnancy to get it out of my system. But one thing I didn't mind about pregnancy (and really, the list is quite short) is the cute clothes they have now.

Maternity clothes didn't used to be so adorable and body hugging. Once upon a time the goal of maternity clothes was to hide the fact that you were (the HORROR) with child. Then people might assume that *gasp* you did the deed at least once.

But today, with a few exceptions, maternity clothes are pretty adorable. My favorite part of being pregnant was wearing the tightest clothes possible and not worrying about my belly at all. I love clothes that show off the belly. I hate maternity clothes that are droopy and drab. It took me a while to find bad maternity clothes, and that made me happy about the state of the world in general.

K, so here's an example of the late 80s, early 90s choices when it came to maternity clothes. Ugh, aren't you glad you're not your mother? Like, I like my mom and all... but she had to wear a lot of crappy clothes.

What a classy lady! I love being able to see that pregnant glow from this lady's exposed crotch.

This makes me sad. It looks like Peter Pan knocked up Tinkerbell and then made her hide her no-no belly. I just picture this with scary green leggings. Go ahead. You can too.

Yes! The expandable dress for all months of pregnancy. Besides the fact that she looks like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, aren't ALL maternity clothes expandable? You do not need shutter blinds for your belly.

This is called an over share. A really embarrassing over share for your husband. Gosh I hate novelty pregnancy clothes.

Oh, I so wish there was a way to un-see this. It's almost Halloween so it means it's time for sexy prostitute clothes! I've already been watching the Halloween shop in the mall put up displays of sexy jailbirds and the like. That's bad enough. Let's not make it worse by dressing up like a sexy devil whilst gestating.

These overalls are by Heidi Klum. Should I go for the easy joke and tell Heidi that overalls are "out"? And they've been "out" since, oh, 1992? Nah. Too easy.

Compliments of I just love that she's dressed as a mermaid and they're in some nasty creek. Also, his surf shorts detract a little from the fantasy. Or you could both put some clothes on? K thanks.

When maternity clothes are good, they're very good. When they're bad, they make me want to get a hysterectomy.

Cleaning Out Your Closet

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

One of the biggest challenges with trying to dress well with kids is that sometimes, you just don't feel like you have the time to put yourself together and get out the door. You're running off to carpool, hurrying out to work or trying to squeeze in a trip to the gym and the way you look just happens to take a backseat for the day. So you end up heading out in your trusty tee and jeans combo, with barely enough time to slip on your flip flops as you run out to the car.

Yeah, well, I don't buy that. For the same amount of time that it takes to throw on crappy clothes, you could have put something easy and effortless together. I know the idea of putting a real, live OUTFIT together can be daunting at first, but if you stock your closet with the right items, you shouldn't have a problem. Consider the following examples:


Oh hey, typical and boring mom uniform. How's it going? You seemed like a good idea at 9am, but now you feel frumpy and lame when you have to make a dash into a store, or heaven forbid, stop to idly gossip with the other moms in the pickup line. I KNOW, I'VE BEEN THERE. So how long does it take you to put on something like this? All of three minutes? You throw on yesterday's jeans, fish a t-shirt out of your husband's closet and slide on your trust foam footwear. Now consider this:


Cream Lace Top, 29 GBP
Old Navy Womens The Diva Boot-Cut Jeans, $30
Women's AE Leopard Ballet Flat (Leopard), $30
Drawstring Hobo Bag with Coin Purse, $32
ASOS Mixed Chain Pendant Necklace, $20

My! How effortless and put together you look, mom. This outfit would have taken no more extra time to put together. You still have jeans, but this time they're darker wash and with a more flattering cut. Dark jeans literally match anything which make them SO EASY in the morning.The shirt? It should be a staple in your closet. Flattering, interesting tops that don't need any more adornment than a few chains or a pair of earrings. Although, I think earrings can be too jarring first thing in the morning, so keep them low key. A pair of flats updates a look where flip flops would have looked childish, and a non-mommish yet super roomy bag finishes it off. DONE!

Anyway, what I'm saying is if you have the right items in your closet, there's not an excuse for heading out the door looking sad, even if you're short on time. It may take some practice and a little shopping, but purging your closet may be the key to looking better.

Take a look at your closet. Now is as good a time as any to get rid of stuff that isn't doing you any favors. Consider donating or tossing the following:

-Anything that doesn't fit. Yes, I know you want to lose ten pounds, but that doesn't mean the jeans you wore in high school are in style. Let it go.
-Anything that you don't feel confident or attractive in. Don't know if you like it? Put it on and snap a digi photo. You'll find out real fast which clothes are keepers and which are kickers. Ask your husband too. You'll be surprised at how vocal he is about your favorite sweater. Every so often my husband dispenses helpful fashion advice, like "You should wear more pink." I own exactly one pink shirt. Time to go shopping.
-Any comfort items that you're keeping just because they're easy to throw on or it looked good once upon a time/10 lbs ago/when you were in 8th grade. Get rid of your 9am safety net and MAKE yourself try something new.
-Anything barfed on, peed on, pooped on, stained with food or otherwise destroyed. It's gross.

Paring your wardrobe back to better fitting staples may seem like a big step, especially if you had a previously well-stocked, albeit lame, closet. But you'll find that when you remove the safety of your old standbys you're forced into making better clothing choices on the fly.

Seriously, if you doubt me, set a timer tomorrow while you pick out something casual, yet presentable tomorrow. I guarantee that you can choose something the fits better and is more interesting in the same amount of time it would have taken you to fish your husband's college sweatshirt out of the laundry pile.

Trust me.

Getting Kids Active

Monday, September 20, 2010

Getting kids active is on everyone's mind these days. From us as parents, to school boards, to our governments. As a fitness professional I know that if kids are exposed to lots of different activities when they are young, and encouraged to be active, they will of course more likely to be active adults.

What does this mean to us as parents? Well it means that our children will learn to work with others in teams, it will build confidence, give them challenges that they may not have thought of themselves doing (the whole try something new thing), keeps their bodies healthy and strong and works their minds.

So many advantages to being active. Of course the biggest fear for even the governments right now is how quickly obesity rates are climbing in children. This brings on many more health problems, the fastest rising being childhood diabetes.

The trick with keeping your kids active is to make it fun. Even as adults we love to do things we enjoy. So to make activity part of your lifestyle, be sure your kids love to do it.

Being active can be a simple as going to the park, but instead of sitting on the bench watching them play, get in there and play with them. You can bring a soccer or foot ball with you and toss that around, or you can look for events going on in and around your community and get involved. This is one of my favourite things to do.

Just on Sat. the kids were in their very first triathalon. We have always done running events so this was a new experience for everyone. It turned out to be great. It was specifically organized for kids ages 3-15.

For those of you who aren't familiar with triathalon's its where you start out with a swim, then a bike ride, then finishing with a run. My 7 year old went first. As a mom, I was so nervous for her. Swimming wasn't her strength, but she did awesome. She was the second one out of the pool and I was there encouraging her as she transitioned from her swim to her bike. My 10 year old did just as great (she had a much longer swim, bike and run) and the best part is, they loved it and asked us when the next one was.

Awesome. We had never done anything like this but events like these are often well organized, the energy so high, and they are great with the kids. Everyone gets a medal, t-shirt (which they both wore to school today) and snacks when they finish the race. What's not to love?

Are we hooked? For sure. We will definitely do a few next year. We won't give up on our running races but it's great to have variety and let kids find out what they really like.

Google your city name and different events like kids triathalon's, running races, mountain bike races etc. and get involved. Not only will your kids keep active, they will be building a strong foundation for their children and tons of great memories.

Committed to your fitness success,

Kelly Parker

Accessorizing Your LBD

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


So, I received an email from a reader (Hi Courtney!) who was wondering about how to accessorize a regular black shirt dress. First of all, love shirt dresses. I have a navy one that is constant rotation, and it's easy to dress up or down. So first of call, good purchase.

When someone asks me about accessories, I hesitate to give a solid answer. Accessories are what make the outfit you, so to me, they are a personal part of your wardrobe. The accessories that make an outfit very "Jae" might not be what you would choose. But they can completely make or break an outfit.

Here I'm going to show you the same black shirt dress done four ways to prove that the foundation is what supports the outfit, while the accessories personalize it. Depending on your personality, you'll accessorize your LBD differently for various occasions.

I really feel like this should have a Cosmopolitan-type quiz to go with it... like, "What's Your LBD Style?" and the questions would read like this:

What is your idea of a dream date?
a) Lustily making use of a mountain cabin and bear skin rug?
b) Getting down and dirty on a working farm?
c) Getting sand between your toes, if you know what I mean.
d) Trying to squeeze in a few moments of "mommy and daddy time" while your four-year-old daughter knocks on the door and demands to know what you're doing.

Ooh, ooh! I pick 'D'. Thanks for that, Cosmo.

Anyway... back to the clothes.

If you're a rocker:


Accessorize with leather and studs. It takes a totally average shirt dress and vamps it up a few notches. The studs in the shoes are reflected in the belt without being matchy matchy, and a few long strands of necklaces are enough around the face. PS how much do you love that clutch? OOH RHYMES! Anyway, wear this to a concert or high school reunion and PRAY you meet your ex-boyfriend. Then talk about your yacht.

If you're quirky or a bit of a hipster:


I actually secretly wish I was more hipster than I was. I love the idea of knits and thrifted clothes and caring for the environment, etc, etc. I just never get around to it. But this organic-looking outfit could fool people. Same shirt dress, different accessories. I *just* bought a cardigan with three flower pins like this and I totally worship it. You'll notice that there's a belt included in each outfit. This dress needs a belt. Courtney, so does yours. The flimsy fabric belts that come with most shirt dresses are laughable. Get something real. This one is adorable. So cute for a night time wedding or event.

If you're trendy:


Quba Wrap Zipper Front Jersey Dress, $199
Pirate Cardigan, 15 GBP
Gold and Brazen Heel, $38
La Regale Satin Pleated Clutch, $29
Vibrant Peacock Feather Earrings, $4.80
Teal Flower Petal Cuff
AK Anne Klein - 1015873 (Turquoise) - Accessories, $34

This outfit I put together with the idea of what I would wear if I were wearing this shirt dress out. I consider my tastes to be fairly trendy, so I went with brighter accessories. Using the blue as an accent makes this look sophisticated without looking like an F21 barfed on it. Any excuse to wear peacock is ok by me! Also, I've taken to wearing my statement watch over my long sleeved, tight shirts. As long as they fit slim, it works and it brings more attention to your accessories. Wear this when you're hanging out with your fashionable friend. (That was a hint to all of my friends. Ha!)

If you're a girly girl:


If you like to feel feminine when you get dressed up, pale pinks make this look girly without veering into Alice in Wonderland territory. Black makes the perfect backdrop for pearls and I love the surprise of mixing a leopard print watch with a snakeskin bag for interest. How cute would this be for an afternoon wedding?

So no matter where you're headed in your LBD, using your own personality to accessorize will give the same dress a new life over and over again. It's why I get annoyed at people who whine that something isn't their style... well, you wear the clothes and not the other way around. Create your style by mixing things up. It's the cheapest way to expand your closet and make old pieces look new again.

So hope that helps, Courtney! And anyone else has questions, you can find me at my email address there on the sidebar, or on Facebook!

What's your favorite way to accessorize an LBD?

Train Smarter, Not Longer

Monday, September 13, 2010

For those of us who have a billion things to do, like me this is sweet music to your ears. My plan today was to start my training for my half marathon I'm doing the first week of Nov. I usually do one about now but I was away most of the summer and was unable to get my miles in. I thought early Nov. would be a great time to get one in.

To start my training, I always like to get a good sleep--what was I thinking:) We were driving home from a friends cottage last night and when we got home (reasonable-8pm) the kids were complaining about itchy heads. We had some dandruff a while ago so I told them to come over while I checked it out. AUGH!!!!!!!! within seconds, I saw it wasn't dandruff, it was lice!

So my early to bed was out the window, I spent the next several hours combing through my 3 girls very long hair. The point of this story is that things always happen unexpectedly, things you don't plan on, so work with it.

I was going to go for a long run but I quickly changed my schedule. I'm going to do boot camp tonight (so looking forward to having my butt kicked), and I will fit my run in tomorrow.

It's important to have a plan for your workouts, but also be flexible when little (or big) things come up. The next thing is to train smarter, not longer. You don't need to spend hours and hours working out. If you know me, or at least been reading Mondays posts and the ones on you know that I am all about getting in the best workout in the least amount of time.

The best way to do this is to maximize on each exercise. Instead of doing exercises like a machine chest press, do push ups. Instead of doing a leg extension or hamstring curl, try squats and lunges. Some of my favourite exercises are combo's. An example of this is a squat with a row using tubing, or lunges with a tricep kickback. By doing these type of exercises, you cut down your time because you are working tons of muscles at once and you burn lots of calories.

After your great 30 min workout, you need to stretch everything and then rest. So many people don't rest long enough. You muscles do the best growth when you are actually resting, not working out. So workout, then rest.

Get Good Sleep: I know if you have babies who are not sleeping through the night, this sounds like an impossible mission. If this is you right now, do the best you can. If for the rest of you, you have better control over your sleeping habits, go to bed earlier. By 1030pm. I hear so often of late nights of midnight or later and it's just not healthy. Early to bed, early to rise. Our ancestors did it out of necessity, we need to do for better health.

So if you have been spending hours working out, give this a try. Try a quick 20-30 minute workout using exercises like push ups, squats and lunges, combine some of your movements and then give yourself a rest. Do that 3-4 times a week, add some cardio in on your off days and see how you feel. (you don't want to lose intensity though, be sure if you are doing a shorter workout, that you don't skip your intensity and make it easier).

Committed to your fitness success,
Kelly Parker

Freaky Friday

Friday, September 10, 2010

It actually feels good to get back into the swing of things. Of course, I'm off on vacation AGAIN next weekend, but I promise I'll whip up a post and send it your way before I leave. I am actually tired of vacation. No joke. JUST LET ME LIVE.

Anyhow! Let's do it! (Not it, it. This is NOT that kind of website.)

Oh REALLY, Katie Price? Slash wasn't your name Jordan before omg make up your mind. You're really going to wear a crown out of iPods and dress like the Tin Man turning tricks? WHY ARE YOU EVEN FAMOUS?

My reaction to these shoes (a reader sent in) was to wonder how painful it would be to saw this model's feet off. It would be worth it, wouldn't it?

Oh Lady Gaga!!!! I know you think you're a trendsetter in your beef bikini. TOO BAD that astute America's Next Top Model viewers like myself will note that this was done like, THREE seasons ago. See?

OH SNAP! That's Claire in meat undies! SOMEONE is a little slow on the uptake there, Gags. *yawn* Better luck shocking us next time.

Mwa ha ha.

PS, I feel like steak in your crotch is never the right way to go.

I'm not sure how well you can see this item, the site was crappy for screenshots. But it's a coat... with a pocket for your baby. Like a kangaroo. And look! She can EVEN close her trunk. Amazing.

So, when I was a teen I got Seventeen magazine and was always fascinated at prom time when they would feature the duct tape dresses. There would be creations like this, while low on taste in general, are amazing feats of sewing and crafting.

....and then there's people like me, who fail Home Ec.

Look ladies. I KNOW I preach against mom jeans on my blog. But there is a FINE LINE that you're walking. If can see undies and BOTH cheeks, your pants are officially too low, and you are embarrassing your baby. And he poops in his pants and barfs on himself like, daily.

Alrighty. I have super cool temps here, so my plans today include gallyvanting around town (with my children, believe it or not) wearing the leather jacket I bought in July. It's a big day, folks.

How to Pack a Suitcase

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Aww, a week away from the blog makes me feel tired and frumpy. Does it have that same effect for you? But I went shopping and bought a blazer that completes my life, so I'm back in the game!

So I just got back from my latest trip to Canada. For those of you who don't know, I'm a Canuck living in the States (legally, I promise!) and I travel home to see my family as often as possible. Which means I pack and unpack my suitcase A LOT. This year I've gone to the Great White North three times and I have a fourth trip still planned. Now that my lovely Delta makes me pay for my own bags, I've learned to travel a lot lighter than I used to. No joke, one time I went home (when I was just a young lass, without children) and carried an entire bag separately for my shoes. In my defense, I used to go for much longer stays when I didn't have kids AND I just really felt the need to have 15 pairs on hand.

ANYHOW, I'm much better now. In fact, the time before last I packed me and both my kids in the same suitcase for an entire week. In all my travels, I've learned to pack lightly while still bringing stuff that looks awesome. So, if you're sneaking in one last trip before you're going to school, or you'll be traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas travels, learn from my many mistakes and pack a fully fashionable and functional suitcase. Here's how:

1) Assemble your outfits beforehand. I am a firm believer in having choices while traveling, so you don't need to plan it down to the day. When I was a teen I would plan to the day, and I was a big nerd. Now I just make sure I know what goes with what. How do I do this? Rolling! I take the top and bottom for any given day and roll them up with the undies inside. Then, when I have to do a mad dash to get into my parent's ONE bathroom before one of my four brothers does, I don't have to hem and haw over what I wanted to wear with what. Easy peasy. Also, rolling makes everything fit so much nicer.

(An artfully packed suitcase. So neat and organized. Of course, after a trip mine just looks like my closet vomited into a small space, but on the way THERE, it's super neat.)

2) Pack dresses! Remember how I like to pack light? Dresses are the lightest thing you can bring because they are just one piece. Roll and DONE. Also, I think dresses work well for traveling because they look like you put in some effort when it was really easier than matching up jeans and a shirt. Also, I'm from Toronto and the humidity there is DEATHLY. Dresses saved my sanity since I could wear them comfortably in the heat.

(Add flats or wedges, a necklace and you have an outfit my friend! Dress by Beloved.)

3) Bring shoes with a purpose. As much as I'd love to pack 15 pairs and complete a full shoe showcase to all of my old friends, I no longer have the luxury of packing for just myself. That means I think long and hard about what shoes to bring. In general I bring one pair of heels, one pair of flats and a pair of boots (I fly in my Fryes so I don't have to pack them. OMG Fly in my Fryes, that rhymes. I'm a genius.) Anyhow, I used to bring both brown and black heels and brown and black flats, but now I usually plan to bring only one color and make sure that all of my outfits work. This last time I lugged up black flats, red heels and brown boots, and I had something to match everything I brought. I just pop them into the netting on the underside of the top portion of the suitcase.

(Black flats are skinny to pack and literally go with everything. Must pack!!)

4) Remember that when you're on a trip, your picture is going to be taken. A lot. As comfy as your Juicy sweats sound when lounging around with family, you do not want to be forever documented with words on your butt. At the very least, a cute tee, some jeans and earrings will make you look put together without having to drag your entire closet up. How cute are me and (3 of) my brothers this last time around?

(This is the night we all went out and did box karaoke. We also did a very awkward rendition of "My Humps." I don't want to talk about it.)

5) Speaking of jewelry, I got the best idea this last time around. Usually I shove it into the same gallon Ziplock bag that I keep my toothpaste in, and they undoubtedly end up tangled and smelling like mint. Now I have a four year old daughter, who also has all manner of accessories. This time I brought a Space Maker-type pencil box and dropped all of my earrings in. I wound necklaces around those fake credit cards that you get int he mail and clipped them with my daughter's flower hair clips. So awesome! When I got to Canada I didn't spend all of my time fishing out tangled necklaces and minty earrings.

(Seriously. Stroke of genius.)

If anyone has any other super awesome packing tips, I'd love to hear 'em. I have another trip in the beginning of December and I'll be bringing up Christmas presents and OMG I'm going to have an issue with high blood pressure just thinking about it.

Mama Fit Monday: What Do You Pack In Your Lunch??

Monday, September 6, 2010

The kids go back to school tomorrow...I'm definitely excited. Back to the routine of getting up, making lunches, running for the bus and doing homework.

Some of you know me and know I love to look in people's carts at the grocery store. And I'm the same way with people lunches. When my daughter was in JK, I was new to the lunches and snack thing so I asked her, "what do your friends bring for lunch and snack". I currently was giving a ham sandwich (the only thing she would eat, fruit and little treat for lunch and a homemade muffin and fruit for snack. Were there better things? She said she wanted Froot Loops for snack. What!!!!!

She had no idea what they even were! No- someone in her class shared their snack with her and that was it. I quickly explained to her that Froot Loops were not healthy and not a good snack for school. After that I didn't ask what the other kids brought, I stuck to what I know, and my kids don't complain---too much:)

Steps to a Healthy Lunch

1. Keep them Hydrated:

Send water with their lunch. Its' easy to send juice and pop, but once they expect that, it will be very difficult to get them to switch to drinking water on its own. Juices and pop are loaded with sugar. Sugar is addictive, causes more problems than this post will allow for discussion, and robs the body of important nutrients.

2. Have protein:

Protein will not only fill them up, but necessary for the body to function properly. Protein is an essential part of lunch, both for you and your kids. Kids need protein to support their growing body, and you need plenty of protein in order to grow and maintain lean muscle tissue.

Some great examples of protein are: fish, beans, tofu, nuts, eggs, chicken, turkey, lean pork and lamb.

Limit the amount of high-saturated-fat protein that your kids eat to no more than 3 servings per week. These include cheese, hot dogs, salami, bacon and sausage.

  • 2 – 3 servings daily
  • 1 serving equals: 2 – 3oz meat, 1/2 cup cooked beans, 1/3 cup nuts or one egg

3. Whole Grains:

The key to this part of the lunch is "whole grains", which means unrefined. Whole grains are essential to a healthy lunch. It will provide you and your children with energy and of course help to fill them up.

White bread, bagels, pasta and rice have been stripped of the nutrients and minerals. As a result these items convert quickly into sugar, leaving your child drained after an initial quick burst of energy. Always avoid refined white grain products.

Here's a list of healthy whole grains: oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, millet, bulgur, whole-wheat or sprouted grain bread, barley, whole grain cereal and whole wheat pasta.

Here's what your child should be eating:

  • Kids 6-9 yrs: 4 – 7 servings daily
  • Kids 10-14 yrs: 5 – 8 servings daily
  • Teens: 6 – 9 servings daily
  • 1 serving equals: 1 slice of bread, 1/2 bagel, 1/2 cup cooked rice, 1/2 cup pasta, 1 cup of whole grains
4. Veggies:
Don't save your veggies for dinner. Pack lots of colours to give them a variety. You may get some resistance here, especially if they are not used to eating them. Start with something you know they will like and introduce a new one every week. I have added hummus and light dressing to dip which makes them disappear.
  • 4 – 9 servings daily
  • 1 serving equals: 1 cup raw of 1/2 cup cooked vegetables
5. Fruit:
Fresh fruit is healthy and essential to get vitamins and minerals. As with your veggies, choose a variety of colors to ensure that your kids are getting a range of nutrients.Stay away from fruits that are canned and coated in syrup, and also from fruit snacks and chews that contain added sugars. If fresh fruit is not readily available then go for plain dried fruit, with no added sugar.

Unlike veggies, it is possible to eat too much fruit. Though the natural sugars within fruit are much healthier than refined sugar, too much of it will have a negative impact on your blood sugar levels and the extra calories will be stored as fat. Stick with 3 – 5 servings per day.

  • 3 – 5 servings daily
  • 1 serving equals: 1/2 cup cut fruit, whole fruit size of tennis ball, half a banana, 1/2 cup 100% fruit juice
6. Calcium:
Most of us rely on milk as our source of calcium. There are many sources of calcium that we can choose from without using milk. Try these sources of calcium: nuts, dark leafy greens, salmon, broccoli, tofu, soy milk, sardines, beans, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt.
  • 2 – 6 servings daily
  • Serving size based on the amount of calcium in the food. Examples of 1 serving: 1 cup cooked beans, 1/2 cup almonds, 1/2 cup dried figs, 1/2 cup dark leafy green vegetables, 1/2 cup tofu, 1 cup low-fat milk, 1 cup low-fat yogurt.
There you go, 6 tips to packing the perfect lunch. Start the kids off right, with healthy lunches, they will feel better, have better energy and thank you in the long run when they need to know how to make a healthy lunch for their children.
Committed to your fitness success,
Kelly Parker


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