Holiday Gift Guide for Runners, Fitness Buffs or the Wannabe in your Life

If you’re anything like me, I’m a terrible procrastinator for gift giving. Relying on gift guides have saved me a few times in the past and I’m hoping I can share some of my favorites and save you some angst going into this holiday season.

Here are a few of my recommendations for the runner, fitness buffs and wannabes in your life! And grab some for yourself while you’re at it 😉.

For the world traveler (like me):

 

  • Topo Designs

Topo Designs durable bags and outerwear that have a lifetime guarantee. Quality gear that will get your loved one (or you) to and from all your adventures.

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  • Solepack

Solepack is based out of NYC. They have created a novel concept for a bag accessory to carry your kicks. It attaches to the outside of your backpack with a couple simple snaps, keeping your dirty shoes separate and without taking up space inside your bag.

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  • Hello Regalo

Hello Regalo is a wearable pocket that uses one of the strongest magnets to keep all your goods on you and keep you hands free. The pocket is water resistant and keeps your money, credit cards, keys, phone and more, safe and dry so you can focus on your activity with peace of mind.

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  • Janji

Janji based in Boston, MA, designs running activewear with collections that ties back to traveling and running around the planet. And not only do they create unique and inspired patterns, 10% of the proceeds is put towards a clean water initiative for developing countries. Shop and give back, it’s a win-win.

For the Fashionista:

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  • Zella by Nordstrom

Zella by Nordstrom is one of my favorite activewear lines. First, they produce long lasting garments. Second, the products are stylish while at the same time comfortable, you’ll even forget you are wearing them until you are reminded when you get that compliment, “I love those leggings. Where are they from?”

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  • JORD wood Watches

JORD Wood Watches are sustainable watches, designed by artists for the people who have places to be. The modern designs are stunning pieces of work that are eye-catching but also perfect for the minimalist, apres workout.

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  • Outdoor Voices

Outdoor Voices creates activewear that are simple but cozy and functional. They are perfect for that inner child within the adult who enjoys running, yoga, or just having a mocha latte.

For the one who cares about inner and outer health:

  • FRE Skincare

FRE Skincare has specifically thought of a skincare line for the woman who works out. They have developed a 100% vegan and cruelty-free line for the athletic woman to help maintain a healthy aesthetic. The line consists of a cleanser, serum, and moisturizer that takes into account the process of sweat and helps keep a fresh and blemish free face. I have just recently started using their products and have felt a noticeable, positive difference during and post workouts in hydration and reduced skin irritation. FRE is a MUST skincare routine for women that sweat. GET 25% off on your first FRE set by using my code WANDERLUST, valid only for the next 48 hours!

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  • ApexM

ApexM has created a unique mild muscle stimulator to help naturally build efficiency of female pelvic floor muscles. Hitting my mid-30’s and staying healthy is important to me, inside and out. As a healthcare professional, I know the waitlist to see a women’s health physical therapist can be extraordinarily long for those who suffer from urinary incontinence. This tool can be discreetly used at home while providing effective results for those with urinary or sexual health issues. As a woman and an athlete, I think that is pretty awesome.

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  • Legend Compression Wear

Legend Compression Wear  I’ve talked several times about my love for the Legend Compression Brand. They provide Graduated Compression Technology that helps to improve efficiency during activity and recovery following. Use this link to get $15 OFF!

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  • Invisii

Invisii has developed revolutionary workout underwear. Light-weight, breathable, comfortable and hygienic, essentials for sport underwear. They allow workouts to happen without riding up or embarrassing smells, which are real problems any woman who is active is aware of and now no longer has to suffer from.

 

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  • Roll Recovery

Roll Recovery designed out of Boulder, CO by a runner and cyclist, has developed award winning massage and recovery products for endurance athletes. I’m obsessed with my R3.

For the one who needs a little extra motivation:

  • Mind Over Matter Athlete

Mind Over Matter Athlete out of Houston, TX, brings the inspiration and motivation to life with their leisure wear and tri-kit catch phrase concepts like Mind Over Matter, I’m All Heart, and Leave No Doubt. Use the code MMKRISTY to get 10% off!

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  • Momentum Jewelry

Momentum Jewelry creates some of my favorite jewelry that can be worn during athletics. Each with a motivating tag-line or one that can be custom made, they are little reminders of strength. During the Berlin Marathon my “Run and Be Happy” wrap bracelet was right next to my Garmin watch to remind me to smile despite the pain and to keep a positive outlook on my race, it was a literal reminder for me to keep going. I’m adore with my wraps! I also have two 30% discount codes and two 40% discount codes that I will giveaway on Instagram @thefitwanderluster later this week. Be sure to follow to be kept in the loop for your chance to win!

OK…on your mark, get set, go SHOPPING!

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Part 2: USA – Making my way along the East Coast

Last week I went over some day and weekend trips that I went on, around a little bit of Europe, after my completion of the Berlin Marathon. The purpose was to show my number 1 spectator, my dad from Massachusetts, a little bit of the surrounding areas that are near to where I live in France. You can read it here.

After he stayed with us for a couple weeks, we (me, Julien, and my dad) all flew to the USA in early October. This would be mine and Julien’s first vacation of the year together since snowboarding in the winter. We had a few reasons to make a 3 week trip…first: I was a bridesmaid in 2 weddings, second: we wanted to hit up a few spots Julien had never been to before, and third: if you’re going to fly somewhere that takes at least a half day to get to and throw in some jet lag, you should make it worth your while.

So here is a continuation from last weeks blog, part 2: USA.

Danbury, CT

Wedding number 1 of my trip back home included an old roommate and one of my best friends from Northeastern University, Jocelyn and her groom Ryan. The wedding was held at The Candlewood Inn in Connecticut. It was a blast and I wish them much love and happiness in the future!

Dress Rehearsal

Dress Rehearsal

Bride’s Wedding Party

Bride’s Wedding Party

Julien and Me

Julien and Me

Northeastern Girls

Northeastern Girls

Jocelyn and Me

Jocelyn and Me


New York, New York

Being so close to NYC, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to catch a few days in the city that never sleeps and visit my college friend, Liz. We kept the days packed by venturing out to Queens for a street art run tour with my instagram friend Marnie, who has the blog RunStreet, visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, brunching with an old high school friend, and then the best part of the trip, taking a helicopter tour over the Hudson, Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. Awesome trip with awesome people and Liz just finished her second NYC Marathon yesterday while battling an injury, this girl is a champ!

Fearless Liz and I

Fearless Liz and I

Survivors Stairs at 9/11 Museum

Survivors Stairs at 9/11 Museum

NYC

NYC

Street Art Run

Street Art Run

Queens

Queens

Welling Court Mural Project

Welling Court Mural Project

Liz, Me and Julien in a Helicopter

Liz, Me and Julien in a Helicopter

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

Helicopter Tour of NYC

Helicopter Tour of NYC

Co-Pilots

Co-Pilots

Philadelphia, PA

Wedding number 2 was held just outside Philadelphia. We were able to take a short day trip to grab food at the Reading Terminal Market and see Liberty Bell and the Rocky Steps. The wedding was for my niece Kailee and her husband Chris. It was held at Normandy Farms and gave me a chance to see a lot of my family in one place. Those lovebirds are having the time of their lives in Disney World now.

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

Co-Pilots

Philly Cheesesteak

Dress Rehearsal

Dress Rehearsal

My great-niece Zoey

My great-niece Zoey

Bridal Party

Bridal Party

Kailee and Chris

Kailee and Chris

Family

Family



Washington, D.C.

From Philly, we continued driving south through Delaware and Maryland on our way to D.C. Another Instagram friend @clairerunsthere, graciously offered her apartment and took us on a fun run tour around the capital for us to catch a glimpse of the national monuments. 

Gravelly Point Park

Gravelly Point Park

Washington Monument

Washington Monument

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

That little place is the White House

That little place is the White House

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln



Miami, FL

From D.C. we took an early morning flight to Miami. Here we finally were able to catch up on a few days of R&R.

South Beach

South Beach

Southern Point

Southern Point

Beach Run

Beach Run

Enjoying the Florida Sun

Enjoying the Florida Sun

Happy Hour and Cuban Cigars

Happy Hour and Cuban Cigars

Don’t want to go home

Don’t want to go home



Boston, MA

After a few days of fun in the sun, we finally flew back to spend our last weekend in Boston for a dinner with friends, Halloween and to attend a New England Patriots game. With a win, it was a great way to close out our trip. 

Miming it up

Miming it up

French Mimes and Cruella Deville

French Mimes and Cruella Deville

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

Dinner with Greg and Liza

Dinner with Greg and Liza

Patriots Tailgating

Patriots Tailgating

Katie and I fit to do splits

Katie and I fit to do splits

Ray, Katie, me and Julien

Ray, Katie, me and Julien

Stacie made it too!

Stacie made it too!

Pats win!

Pats Win!

Til the next time!

Til the next time!

Running versus Life

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind and that’s not the best plan of action while training for a marathon.

For Christmas, I traveled back to the US to Boston. I was able to get 3 runs in and a strength training workout. In the meantime, I focused more time and energy seeing friends and family that I hadn’t seen in 6 months or longer. There was a wedding, winter park outings, friendsmas dinners, Christmas shopping, and chocolate martinis.

Then this past week, I returned home and I had a friend from NYC fly to France to visit and do some sight seeing. I made 3 out of 4 runs but my strength workouts fell to the wayside. The fun part about my long run this week was my friend Liz, who ran the NYC marathon in November, was able to run with me. Training and having a life and making memories are difficult to accomplish at the same time. However, I’m going to not be too hard on myself. My legs keep moving, my lungs are strong and I’m completing 75% of my workouts while allowing myself to take a few days off to spend time with friends. I think it’s a fair trade off for my mental health as well. I was able to have fun and I’ll be back on track this coming week, that’s what counts. 

Being back home, I was able to show Liz European Christmas markets, Strasbourg,  Luxembourg castles, NYE the French way and a couple days in Paris.

Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon. Enjoy life and then get back on the horse!

The Fit Wanderluster Expansion

Big News Alert!!

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The Fit Wanderluster has launched it’s first t-shirt and tank top business. Say What!?

My goals with this blog are to share my passions of working out and traveling while giving healthy recipes, wellness and injury prevention advice when I can with friends, family and the world. The blog is a glimpse of what it’s like inside my little bubble on this big, blue planet. I know I’m not the only one out there who loves fitness, running, and traveling. Now my passions can be shared and passed on with a visual statement that can be worn proudly to let others know your fit wandering desires as well.

My t-shirts are American Apparel branded and are classic, comfortable, with a vintage feel. Great for day to day wear, working out, or traveling.

 

The tanks are Next Level Brand with sporty racerback cut to keep you looking and feeling cool.

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Prices start at $23. Checkout is secure, fast and simple and all products can be shipped internationally.

Go ahead and get your Fit Wanderluster apparel today!

The Fit Wanderluster

Grief will Travel

It’s been a few weeks since my last post. The past 2 weeks I returned to the states, originally planned for a joyful and exciting homecoming, that turned quickly south with the passing of my 6 week old great-niece Lillian Taylor to angiosarcoma, an incredibly rare cancer of the blood vessel lining. The grief of especially her parents, along with grand-parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends along with a host of social media support is still something I have a hard time accepting.  

I have a difficult time suffering emotional turmoil whether it be myself or someone close. I typically try to play the role of listener and provide as much honest insight to the situation that I can by believing in the faith of a higher power and that life is sometimes out of our control. Being strong minded and seeing a silver lining, however small it can be, is just the only way I can put this crazy life into perspective. This doesn’t mean I don’t let myself feel the negativity and graveness of the situation. I get angry, with the unknown whys. I get incredibly sad to think of my niece going through the role of planned motherhood and having it suddenly taken away from her and her husband. I hurt to think of the future lost and the complete unfairness to lose an infant to a one in a million disease. I ache at the missed chance to hold that little baby and tell her I love her. 

My small silver linings, in the unbearable sadness, allows me to see the strength only a mother and father in this situation can demonstrate. I see the amount of love families can provide in the darkest times that may not be felt or heard when times are good. I see unspeakable support through the power of prayer from strangers near and far with an online community. I have hope that the doctor’s can take something away from the rarity of Lily’s sickness and put forth research into combating the disease in the future.

My time home was spent mostly with family and friends, as the homecoming should be. Of course, with the circumstances, I lost time with others that I had hoped to see and for this I ask forgiveness. However, my trip home allowed me to be a tourist in Philadelphia, go to a beach within 40 minutes of Boston and get a lobster roll, run on my old stomping grounds in Southie, drink and reminisce with friends I haven’t seen in 7 months and feel the summer sun that is so desperately needed back in Europe. 

This was a bittersweet time. There are still no words and grief will travel. 



What a Month

I feel like I’m a hypochondriac lately. It went from having a sinus infection for the first time in my life to a broken rib and now a 3 day fever. When’s it gonna give? Could they all be related? Am I pushing too hard by having a giant mid-life career change, major move and training for 26.2 miles?

I like to think I’ve handled my career and move quite well. I’ve become known to the Luxembourg community as a sports massage therapist with having repeat customers and asked to add on an additional day in March. I have become quite familiar with my surroundings and environment, which I contribute to running, and feel confident enough to do basic errands as needed without fear of my communication barrier. I’ve been food prepping for a majority of the week nights and following my marathon and cross training program without pushing too extremes and which is something my body has been used too since 2006. I take rest days and meditate with yoga.

  
All I can guess and relate my symptoms too are possibly the weather, seasonal affective disorder and increase in alcohol (my friend, Dorothy, did come to visit this weekend and we made the most of it). And I only have control over one of these potential causes.

  
I’m just gonna put this out there…NORTH EAST FRANCE WEATHER SUCKS. I mean North East US weather isn’t particularly phenomenal either. I’ve trained for 3 Boston Marathons in Boston from Thanksgiving to April. If you want to learn how not to get hit by a car or snowplow while peering around a snowbank in 10F weather with a negative windchill while testing your balance on untreated icy sidewalks, this is it. But Boston can have blue sky’s and sunny days in winter, amidst all the aforementioned descriptions. Days may be shorter but those winter sunny days were something I appreciated. Plus, while yes winter may seem to be the longest season, Boston gets all 4 glorious changes in season which makes living there great for several reasons that I’ll let you decide.

 

Almost exactly 1 year ago in Boston

 
Now, living in North East France (to be fair I’ve only lived here since December) while at times has been mild (40-50F) is to put it simply gray and raw. I would estimate it has been sunny 4-5 total days since living here. And when the sun does pop out, expect that rain is probably only an hour or two behind. It’s unpredictable. And although the weather is not frigid, the wind blows at least 10-22mph daily bringing the windchill down sometimes 20 degrees. Rain, it always freaking rains. I mean it’s not always a torrential downpour but it’s usually a mist. So raw, damp, gray and wind makes for just about as miserable Boston weather training. With having experience on this matter, I really think this year’s training, weather and sickness wise, has been worst.

 

This is just depressing

 
In regards to cutting back on my training, I’ve taken advice from Runner’s World, who did an interview with Dr. Nieman in 2005 about running with a fever. At the time he headed the Appalachian State University Human Performance Laboratory and had also run 58 marathons and ultras. He used the “neck rule”. Symptoms below the neck (chest cold, bronchial infection, body ache) require time off, while symptoms above the neck (runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing) don’t pose a risk to runners continuing exercise. So, this week my focus is trying to stay optimistic and being smart about my recovery.

  

Holy Freaking Crap

So, I quit my job, left Boston and moved to Metz, France (north-east near Germany and Luxembourg). Well, it wasn’t quite as simple as that but in a way, it was.

First things first, I moved because of love. Second, I don’t speak French (yet) so I can’t work in France nor can I because I obtained a long stay Visa. Third, I do have a job, self-employed, as a masseur where I rent space in a Chiropractor Clinic in Luxembourg called LuxChiro that is English speaking only. So fate seems to be on my side. 

I had a going away brunch with work, a birthday party in NYC, a going away party in Southie with 40+ friends and families, a day trip to Portland, ME and a Chinese food party to watch the Pats with my closest friends all before I left. I truly felt special and loved.

I sold and gave away most possessions, packed 3 bags and a backpack with only 10 pairs of shoes and some winter clothes.

  
My 2 cats were also supposed to come. To export a pet isn’t totally hard but it is costly and timely. They are required to be micro-chipped prior (which they were when I got them from the shelter), get a rabies shot 21 days before entering the country and get a health clearance form from USDA vet that has to be overnight shipped and endorsed by APHIS, no more than 10 days before entering the country. Unfortunately, I never received the endorsement because the vet accidentally put the date of the micro-chip to the date I got the health certificate and I didn’t find this out until the day I was going to fly. I was fortunate enough to have my dad accept them in his home but it breaks my heart that they aren’t with me.

  
Now I’m here in Metz. Without a car, Julien is at work, I can’t speak the language, I went for a run and got lost because I don’t have cellphone service yet. But it’s all good. It’s a new, exciting, adventure and I would never progress in life if I let fear rule me. 

I had a dream last night, or maybe a hallucination due to jet lag, but I was looking up to bare trees and the seasons and weather kept changing but each were related to the emotions I’ve been feeling since I knew I would move. It went something like this:

  
Winter

Dreary, Sad, Fearful, Anxious

Who in their right mind would leave “home”? What if I don’t learn to speak French?   Where will I get a pizza after 8pm? When will I go “home” again? Why leave a good thing in Boston? How will I make money?

  
Spring

Optimism, Growth, Potential 

Who is responsible for self-empowerment? What is so wrong with being happy? Where else can I visit? Why wouldn’t I believe in love? How come I didn’t think of doing this sooner?

  
Summer

Promise, Enthusiasm, Acceptance

Who else can I inspire? What is my self-fulfilling purpose? Where will my next adventure take me? Why was I afraid? How will I push myself next?

  
Fall

Closure, Peaceful, Calm

Who can I help next? What an experience?! Where will our next home be? Why isn’t everyone chasing their dreams? How is it possible I once treasured objects more than people or memories?