Close Out the Year with Self Love

As the holidays approach, media and marketing will sell you on thinking it’s the most wonderful time of the year (and hoping you spend that pretty penny too). While I hope nothing but good cheer for all, sometimes this time of year brings forth heartbreaking reminders of those we’ve lost, failed resolutions, being stuck in careers, relationships, or unsatisfied life choices, or just simply feeling lonely. I’m here to remind you that even though these times may play havoc on your emotions, you’re still amazing and now, not just January 1, is the perfect time to practice some self-love.

I’ve come up with some practical ways for you to bring back that lovin’ feelin’, woah that lovin’ feelin’:

De-stress Monday’s

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There’s an account on Instagram I follow called @destressmonday and they also have a webpage here. Stereotypically, Monday’s are the “worst” but the account gives you little reminders to breathe, smile and think positively, not just on Mondays but for everyday of the week.

 

Start Saving Weekly to Give Yourself a Present/Trip

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Chanel Boutique in Paris

It may seem ironic to put away money when you know you probably should spend it towards the gifts for others this holiday, but how can you be your best for them if you don’t take care of yourself once in a while? Practicing some budgeting and rewarding yourself for making the means to grab something you really love or a getaway you’ve been craving for is not selfish, it’s making a goal, being diligent, and taking pride in your work. That’s an achievement!

 

Pay it Forward

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Be Kind from Momentum Jewelry

If you are feeling slightly guilty for thinking about yourself, which you SHOULDN’T, you can always give back to those in need or just do random acts of kindness. Smile and hold a door open for someone, buy the person’s coffee behind you, volunteer at the local food pantry, give to charity. There are literally millions of ways to help and be kind and in the long run, you’ll feel better because you brightened someone’s day!

 

Listen to Inspiring and Interesting Podcasts

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This American Life Podcast

I might get a little heavy here. Personally, losing 3 family members over the past 5 years actually makes the holidays suck, to be brutally honest. My mom was the champion of Christmas with the decorations, several little ceramic villages, lights, dinners, pies, and presents. She made the holidays feel lively, animated, and she made everyone around feel loved. This will be my 4th Christmas without her. It doesn’t get easier, but I know that by holding everything in could be disastrous. When I’m out on long runs, I like to listen to podcasts to pass the time, like This American Life with one episode in particular talking about a way to speak to loved ones who have passed and reconciling with others who are still here. The first act is discusses a documentary in Japan about the Wind Phone. It’s a non-working, old, rotary phone in a white phone booth box on a man’s garden that over 10,000 people have visited or used. It’s popularity began following the 2011 Tsunami and became a way for friends and family members, of those lost or taken from the disaster, to find a way to speak to their loved ones and grieve peacefully. I did end up watching the documentary here at this link, but be forewarned if you’re human, you’ll probably cry. The second act is about two elderly brothers, in their 80’s, who held a somewhat unknowingly grudge and hadn’t really spoken in about 20 years. The son of one helped to reconcile them, knowing time was not on their side and helped guide them to have an adult conversation about their grievances which helped to take some ‘weight’ off their shoulders. Both stories are healthy reminders to allow for time to think about your loved ones who are no longer here and to not wait to reach out to those who still matter to you while they are still here.

 

#12days12ways

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Brady the Cat, named after the GOAT Tom Brady

On a lighter note, because there are only 12 days left until Christmas there’s a hashtag going around called #12days12ways. It’s a reminder to reflect back and document, however you wish, 12 ways your life has changed positively over the past year.

Here are mine:

January: Got to celebrate the new year with my friend Liz, who visited us in France from NYC

February: Watching the Patriots win the SuperBowl

March: Spending a week in the Swiss Alps snowboarding

April: Completing my 9th Marathon in Rome, Italy and during that same week watch Julien crush his PR in the Paris Marathon

May: Completing the Luxembourg night half marathon, the hottest race I’ve ever done in my life

June: Growing my influence in the running, fitness and wellness community on Instagram and having my hard work, “little hobby”, get recognized with sponsorships and ambassadorships from companies like Under Armour and Nordstrom

July: Getting a new kitten and fur baby, Brady

August: Visiting my one of my oldest friends Dorothy, in Rotterdam, Netherlands while at the same time being lucky enough to have her on this side of the pond with me

September: Twofer, sneaking home on a super discount flight for Labor Day weekend to go on, one of my best friend’s, Katie’s sailboat and completing my 10th marathon and 3rd World Major in Berlin

October: Having my Dad visit for a couple weeks and then all of us flying back to the US for 3 weeks, 2 weddings and an east coast adventure

November: My birthday in Budapest, Hungary with my American bestie here in Metz, Carmen

December: Having Julien’s family embrace and welcome me into their home for Christmas this year

Here’s to ending the year on a positive note and feeling optimistic for what is to come!

 

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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!

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 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.