Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Athletic Gear: Does Cost Matter?

Does it make a difference if you wear higher-end workout clothes, such as Lululemon or Lucy brands, versus Champion from Target? Is the clothing better made? Does it last longer? I love the styles that outfitters like Title 9 and Lululemon feature, but I struggle with paying $68 for a workout top. Are these items better made than the yoga tops or running tanks from Old Navy?

I can totally see the need to shell out more money for running shoes or other athletic footwear. You need the support and you’re going to wear these shoes on a regular basis. To me, this is the most important part of the workout wardrobe.

What do you think? Have you worn both higher-end workout gear versus more affordable options? Which do you prefer? Can you tell a difference?

On a related sports note, have you been keeping up the Olympics?

The 17-year old swimming phenom Missy Franklin won her first gold in the backstroke last night. That girl can fly! And, her endurance is mind-boggling. Franklin not only won the 100-meter backstroke, breaking the American record, but did it only 15 minutes after swimming a 200-meter freestyle semifinal. Afterward, a teammate high-fived her and said the least amount of time he's had between Olympic swims was 30 minutes.

"I can't believe you just did that!" Michael Phelps told Franklin. That's pretty damn cool.

We also watched the men’s synchronized diving – that’s crazy stuff! I couldn’t get over the duo from Mexico. The degree of difficulty of their dives was unbelievable. 

Enjoy the competitions, friends!

Don’t forget! tomorrow is the last day you can enter my NOVICA giveaway. Be sure to include your name and if you don’t have a blog, an email address. One winner will be chosen at random. I’ll be sure to email that person and then announce before the end of the week. Good luck!

Images from John Lyba of the Denver Post, Lucy and Lulumon Athletica Louisville's Facebook site

Friday, July 27, 2012

Let the Games Begin!

Today marks the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. All the bells and chimes rang through London for three minutes straight this morning to mark the occasion. I am very much looking forward to watching the ceremonies, and the next two weeks of competition. Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) is directing the production tonight. I'm wondering how Queen Elizabeth will make her entrance, in addition to Will, Kate and Harry.

As for Team USA, I'm excited to cheer on those amazing athletes. Kentucky Wildcat Anthony Davis is playing for the men's basketball team. And swimmer Clark Burckle is representing my hometown. Can't wait to watch swimming, diving, gymnatics and many other competitions. Table tennis, anyone?

Anthony Davis

Clark Burckle

Who do you think will light the Olympic cauldron? Will it be a British athlete? Perhaps British tennis player Andy Murray or David Beckham (surely not)? The Queen herself? Who do you think it will be? 

Mariel Zagunis

Another big question: Will the USA's flag bearer, gold medialist fencer Mariel Zagunis, tip the American flag when passing the Queen, like those of other countries? Apparently the sentiment among U.S. team officials is that we shouldn't lower our flag to a monarch of any nation, especially considering that Revolutionary War business a few years ago. What are your thoughts on this topic? Keep the flag hanging high? Or a quick dip in respect to HRH in her home country?

Enjoy watching the Olympic Games!


Don't forget, just a few days left to enter my giveaway. You could win a $75 e-card to NOVICA. A great site with a great mission. The deadline to enter is Aug. 1. Good luck! 

Images from Tampa Bay SB Nation, Zap2it.com, moyemedia and cbsnews.com

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Swim Trophies and Barbecue Championships

Leaving last night's banquet, trophies in hand. Sorry we appear to have "demon eyes." Guess that's what you get shooting with an iPhone in the dark.

Last night was the swim banquet, bringing an end to our first swim team season. Both kids are so proud of their participation trophies and I'm very proud of their dedication to the sport and the team. They definitely went outside their comfort zones by joining the swim team, but to now look at them and not only see the great progress they've made, but the tremendous fun they've had, well, that makes it all worth it.

Thanks for humoring me as this site temporarily morphed into a swim-focused blog. So odd to think that in just a few short weeks, the kids will be back at school and focused on fall activities. (Which reminds me, I need to purchase uniform shorts and pants, stat!)

In other news on the homefront, we have a barbecue master making his way to a large regional championship this weekend. Hubby and his friends won a local contest in June that qualified them for a larger competition. This was his first barbecue contest ever and he actually took first place! So, fingers crossed that  they claim the championship. (Although, that prize money has probably already been spent on the many pounds of meat they used to perfect their recipe. And beer. Apparently when a man barbecues, a bottle of beer must be firmly attached to his hand at all times.)

Meanwhile, I'm hoping to earn a gold medal in reading, napping and relaxing by the pool this weekend.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway. You could win a $75 e-card to NOVICA. A great site with a great mission. The deadline to enter is Aug. 1. Good luck!

Images all property of JMW A Place to Dwell blog

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It's Giveaway Time!

Are you ready? It's giveaway time! You could win a $75 gift card to NOVICA, one of the leading fair trade artisan websites.

Novica works with National Geographic to give talented artisans around the world a place to express their artistic talents and provide access to the world market. NOVICA features thousands of top fair trade accessories, jewelry and home decor items on their website.

The folks at NOVICA contacted me with an opportunity to learn more about their organization and mission, and in the process, allowed me to choose a gift from their collection of arts and crafts. I opted for this lovely ring, made by an artist named Buana in Bali-Java.

I love the silver filligree work and the garnet in the center. (Please excuse my tired hands - clearly I do not have a future as a hand model.) The ring arrived in a lovely jewelry box and included information on the artist and the region of Bali-Java where it's made.

How to Enter
If you would like to enter for a chance to win an electronic gift card from NOVICA, leave a comment on my blog. If you don't have a blog yourself, be sure to include your email address (feel free to email it to me directly if you'd rather not leave it in the comments section).

If you blog about this offer on your site in additon to leaving a comment, your name will be entered twice in the drawing.

The deadline to enter is Aug. 1 at 5 p.m. (Eastern time) I will announce the winner later that week.

Good luck!

Images from National Geographic/NOVICA; other photos property of JMW A Place to Dwell blog.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

More Swimming and Odd Hair Fashion

Well, I may have spoken too soon the other day. We received word that both of our kids qualified for the city meet. How that happened, not sure. I'm proud, yet a bit baffled. And, yeah, a little annoyed that I have to be at the pool with the masses at 7 a.m. Saturday. But, most of all, I'm proud of how much my kids have accomplished this swim season.

The swim team kids getting psyched for the city meet at the annual Pasta and PJs event last night.

So, the blue swim suits won't be retired quite yet. Will keep you posted on the results.

In other news, just had to throw out a random question about headbands. What's the main reason to wear a headband when playing sports? That's right, to keep the hair out of your face. For instance, one of my favorite bloggers, Preppy Player, recently featured some fabulous Lulumon headbands that are big among female lacrosse players.

Very cute.

So, I'm a little confused with soccer player Abby Wambach's look of late, as well as some other female athletes who sport headbands in this manner. Another local blog, Style Blueprint Louisville, posted about this odd fashion statement as well, so I had to share this with my peeps and get your thoughts.

Why put a headband OVER your bangs? What does this accomplish?

I don't want sweaty hair in my eyes, and I would think most people share that sentiment. Am I missing something? I know, I know. I shouldn't pick on the appearance of female athletes. Ms. Wambach is an amazing soccer player and an inspiration to soccer kids everywhere. But, if you have insight into this hair trend, please share. Just curious.

Happy Thursday, friends!

Images from Athleta, Burbees and Baking
and FIFA World Cup

Monday, July 16, 2012

Closing Out the Season

As of last evening, I think we can say we're officially finished with swim season.

We won our final home meet! Now the focus is on City Meet, but given our kids' times, I highly doubt they'll qualify. And, this is totally fine by me because they would need to be at the pool on Saturday at the crack of dawn. This tired mama wants no part of that.

But our kids made great progress this summer,

learning so much from our tremendous coaches...

...who truly care for our kiddos and how well they do. Thanks guys and gals! Good luck during your fall semester!

At the end of the very long day, we celebrated with an after-party. A DJ played some tunes and the kids danced like crazy, while the parents could finally jump in the water after staring at it longingly throughout the hazy, hot day.

Oh, yeah, our son had to get stitches above his eye because he hit the pool rail under water. Luckily, there were three doctors right there to exam him, including a plastic surgeon. Thank you, Dr. Sean, for taking care of us last night. What a way to end the season!

Friends, stay tuned in the coming days - I'll be hosting a giveaway! More news later.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Future Business

Sounds like a plan. Who's in with me? 

Image from someecards.com

Monday, July 9, 2012

Reality Check

Gwyneth Paltrow has launched a line of T-shirts and jeans on her website, Goop. Her white T-shirt, which she deems as the "perfect T-shirt," sells for $90. 

The perfect white T-shirt, according to Gwyneth Paltrow

How out of touch are you, Ms. Paltrow??

Image from Goop

Friday, July 6, 2012

Keep Calm and Dive In


Today's high will be 104 degrees, 105 tomorrow. The AC is in overdrive. The pool is welcome relief, although on days like this, it's like sitting in bath water. I'm thankful, though, that I do have AC and access to a pool. Many do not and are miserable. What's the weather like in your neck of the woods? How are you beating the heat?

Speaking of the pool, Miss E. went off the diving board for the first time yesterday! It's amazing to see the progress our kids have made in such a short time. At the beginning of summer, both barely wanted to go under water. Now, they're swimming this way and that, doing cannonballs and going off the diving board.

After several rounds off the lower board, E. built up the courage to jump off the high dive. On her first attempt, she turned around and walked back down the steps. But then some girls in the pool starting cheering her on and yelling "You can do it!" So, she got back up there and jumped! She did it one more time, but it resulted in a belly flop. She got out, clutching her tummy and said, "I'm never doing that again." So, back to the lower dive she went. The kids kept bugging me to go off the board as well. Given that there weren't many people at the pool, I acquiesed and jumped in. Certainly a great way to cool off.

Happy weekend, friends. Stay cool!

Image from Keep Calm Studios; second photo property of JMW A Place to Dwell blog

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Camp

Town & Country’s June cover story focused on summer camps and their enduring popularity. In fact, according to the article, summer sleep-away camps have seen a rise in enrollment as parents seek ways to “unplug” their kids from the world and immerse them in the great outdoors, athletics and arts and crafts, with not a TV or iPhone in sight.

I never attended sleep-away camp, only day camps. My husband did, albeit a week-long camp not far outside of Louisville. The camps featured in T&C host kids for weeks at a time, and often campers travel several hundred miles to attend these storied institutions, many based in North Carolina, New Hampshire and Maine. One anecdote even told of the very wealthy flying their children in private jets to and from camp. Well, this is Town & Country after all. The campers can’t just arrive in a minivan for God’s sake!

Many of the camps featured in the article focus on general outdoor activities, as well as the building of leadership skills and friendships. So often these days, kids go away to camps that have a very specific focus, such as tennis and lacrosse, or engineering or the arts - which is not a bad thing, especially if your child really enjoys it. But, the article focuses on the benefits of a typical summer camp where kids can be kids, and experience the rite of passage that is sleep-away camp. Of course, I should note that the "typical" summer camp that T&C discusses doesn't come with a typical price tag. Again, that wouldn't be very T&C, would it?

Did you go to summer camp? What did you like/dislike about it? Will your own kids go to summer camp?

Image from Town & Country Magazine

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy 4th!

Bring on the fireworks! Hope you have a wonderful Independence Day. Across our great nation, there will be plenty of barbecues, parades, lounging by the pool and enjoying the day off as we celebrate the birth of our nation.

Hang that flag high, friends!

Images from paperfashion.net, underspanishmoss.com, eighteen25.blogspot.com, occasionallycrafty.blogspot.com, pinstarts.info, atlantic-pacific.blogspot.com 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Go, Dara, Go!

Dara Torres, you are the woman. You are one victory away from your 6th Olympics. That's right, 6th. And, you are a fabulous 45-year old mom. (How I would kill for your abs of steel, girlfriend!)

I'll be cheering you on to victory tonight. Good luck!

Everyone staying cool in this God-awful heat? In Louisville, temps hit 105 degrees on Friday, 102 on Saturday. We spent the weekend just sitting in the pool.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

Images from Zimbio and FB