• The Weekly Wrap-Up | 05

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    Welcome to THE WEEKLY WRAP-UP, a new series on the T2T blog designed to inform, inspire, entertain and engage. Each week we’ll be sharing a list of our favorite finds from around the Internet that we think you’ll enjoy too, which means yeah, it’s the perfect way to get your weekend started.

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  • Guest Blog | Carin McCoy | Me Against Myself

    I put off exercise for a long time. A looooooong time. I’m talking like when dinosaurs roamed. Then, Bam! 5 years ago, I had two beautiful kids and I decided I wanted to show them more of me. More of what I as their mum could achieve & hopefully show them the endless possibilities they had within themselves as well.

    The main reason I’d never had a go was pretty superficial & even shallow. But, like most of us, ultimately ran much deeper.  I would rock up to the gym and scan the room. Was I the biggest? Was I the slowest? Was I lifting heavy enough? Was I running fast enough?  Man, in the end the only thing getting a workout was my overactive brain! When I stopped and thought about it, Me VS Me was and had always been my biggest fight.

    photo-2Most of us compare. I guess, to an extent, it is human nature. If used positively, it can give us that little edge to push ourselves harder and really give it all we have got. The problem occurs when it stops you in your tracks and stops you from having go, from picking up that weight, running in that event & basically just living a life.  We are so hard on ourselves – our own worst critics. I’m not sure about you guys but when I’m sweating my guts out, grunting and, lets face it, at times swearing at my poor trainer…the last thing I am capable of doing is checking out what the guy next to me is lifting, what pace he is running (OK, OK! I lie a little…I may be checking out certain things at times…haha!) You get my drift though! The moment we all realise that ultimately it comes down to “ME AGAINST MYSELF,” the harder we will push, the fiercer we will train and the healthier we will all become.

    Competing against the person next to you is not doing you any service. Really, when you think about the limited time you have to exercise, ain’t nobody got time for that! I’m focusing on using all that energy (which let’s face, it some days there isn’t much of it! 😉 ) to kick some ass when I’m working out – and hell, we need to be comfortable in ourselves when we do just that!

    So how am I working on this? A training journal is helping me keep track of my own individual progress. It not only keeps me accountable, but it reminds me right there in print the progress I have made, my own individual goals and dreams. Note I said, ‘my own,’ not that of the other people at the gym.

    Today I will shift the focus from what MY body looks like to what MY body can do.


     

    photoCarin is a proud half marathoner & triathlete, who is a strong believer and advocate for the body positive movement. She believes everyBODY should have the right to unleash their inner athlete & feel the thrill of smashing a goal.

    You can follow Carin’s blog at www.edsrunfree.wordpress.com
    Or Instagram @edsrunfree

  • Foodie Friday | Paleo Protein Pumpkin Pancakes

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    Welcome to another edition of Foodie Friday!

    Since it has been approximately 91,000 degrees where I live, it’s hard to believe that Fall is around the corner. But sure enough, I was in my local craft store earlier this week and found myself surrounded by pumpkins, witches, and faux fall foliage. I will always agree that August is a little too early to begin putting out Halloween and Thanksgiving; however, there is one thing that I’m never sad to see – pumpkin flavored everything.

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  • The Washington Post thinks we are neat!

    When I was asked to write an article for The Washington Post, I knew exactly what we would write about… The fact that retailers don’t care enough about EVERYONE and exclude plus-size women from their stores, and it’s frankly, not fair. Everyone should be able to shop at stores, everyone of all sizes. So this morning on the front page of the Post Everything section (tagline, the conversation is bigger than you think (which I LOVE)) you’ll find what I wrote… but here it is too:

    Selling plus-size clothing isn’t just good for business. It’s also the right thing to do.

    Why do retailers continue to make excuses for not making clothes in larger sizes?

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    It’s a Tuesday, and I’m shopping with my friend who happens to be athletic, awesome and a size 4. I’m a size 18, and all I’m thinking is: I want to be skinny.

    I had decided the night before that I was going to get off my butt and finally get thin. It hadn’t worked the 325 times prior, but this time felt different. So as we make our way into Dick’s Sporting Goods, I’m excited to pick out some new workout clothes with my friend. We jet to the women’s section, and I start perusing through pants and shirts, looking for stuff that will fit and won’t cling to my body.

    A few minutes go by, and soon my friend has a pile of clothes over her arm. Me? Nothing. I can’t find anything that isn’t too tight or too short. I needed at least a 2XL in the stuff that was on the shelves, but that was nearly impossible to find. I’m discouraged, frustrated and upset — not just upset with what the store had to offer, but with myself. I’d been an athlete in high school, and working out was easy. But in college, I went beyond the freshman 15. More like the freshman 50. After college, losing weight was never a priority. My focus was on going out with friends, drinking and enjoying food. I slowly got bigger and bigger. I tried crash diet after crash diet, but nothing ever worked for me.

    As I stood in the store, I could feel the tears coming. I felt weak and not good enough. Because I needed something, I walked myself over to the men’s section and bought a men’s t-shirt. I knew that would fit, but I also knew it wouldn’t look good. I wouldn’t feel comfortable. I felt frumpy and like I had settled. How was this supposed to help me get excited about working out?

    After the tears, I thought: There has to be another option. I quickly found that there wasn’t. The plus-size workout clothes I came across looked as if they had been designed for grandparents. Anything attractive was wildly expensive. I couldn’t find anything from the major brands that was cute, motivational and affordable.

    So I made another option. I was a graphic designer, so I designed a tank top. I just needed a manufacturer who sold size 2XL in a tank at a wholesale price and a printer who would print smaller quantities. I found it, and my first tank top was born. The top not only fit, but was motivating and got attention. Soon, I began to get the “I love your shirt! Where did you get it?” comments. Then the “Oh, I want one. Do you sell them?” That’s when From Thick to Thin was born.

    Exclusion and frustration are nothing new to the plus-size consumer: separate stores, limited inventory, ill-fitting garments and higher prices. Much of the retail industry more or less refuses to serve this customer, citing a slew of excuses. Some companies are very forthright about why they do not produce an inclusive line – because they simply don’t want plus-size bodies in their clothes. Lululemon co-founder Chip Wilson ignited a firestorm when, in 2013, he said his company’s signature yoga pants just “don’t work for some women’s bodies.” Former Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries also took a turn in the body-shaming limelight when he was quoted in Salon saying, “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”

    One of the standard excuses retailers give for not offering more sizes is that it’s just too hard to make those clothes. Indeed, plus-size fashion is not just a matter of sizing up a pattern. There is more expertise needed to design and produce properly fitting garments. Also, there are more variations in body type, which can yield additional challenges. In 2014, Old Navy came under fire for charging higher prices for plus-size women’s clothing, but not passing on the same price increases to larger-size men’s clothing.

    “For women, styles are not just larger sizes of other women’s items, they are created by a team of designers who are experts in creating the most flattering and on-trend plus styles, which includes curve-enhancing and curve-flattering elements such as four-way stretch materials and contoured waistbands, which most men’s garments do not include,” said Gap spokeswoman Debbie Felix in a statement. “This higher price point reflects the selection of unique fabrics and design elements.”

    Yes, there technically is more fabric involved when sizing up a garment. There are additional design labor and manufacturing costs when producing these pieces, as well. On average, there’s a 33.44 percent increase in our costs to produce an extended-size tank vs. a straight size. However, there is more fabric used for a size 10 than a size 0, yet it is highly unlikely that this pricing structure would be regularly implemented on straight-size garments. So what does my company do about the increased costs? We suck it up and accept them. Is it a bad business decision? Maybe for some companies. But for me, it is the right moral decision. We are not here to judge what size shirt you are ordering. We just want to know that you feel awesome in something that we produced. The best business decision for us was to charge the same for all.

    A 2014 survey commissioned by clothing retailer ModCloth with market research firm Paradigm Sample found, unsurprisingly, that 90 percent of women feel more confident when wearing an awesome outfit. Wearing an oversize men’s shirt does not constitute awesome. The study also revealed that 81 percent of plus-size shoppers say they would spend more on clothing if there were more options in their size, and 88 percent would buy more if those options were considered trendy. Plus-size women deserve more than 9 percent representation in the $190 billion-dollar clothing industry. Instead, retailers largely choose to alienate this market over minor increases in front-end costs instead of considering that equal inclusion not only is the right thing to do, but it’s also a smart business move.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American woman is 5 foot 4, weighs 166 pounds and has a 37-inch waist, which translates roughly to a size 14. Yet many retailers’ sizing maxes out at XL. Why would a store seek to serve fewer customers, not more? Retailers are running businesses, not charities, but why run on a model that says one paying customer deserves clothes but another doesn’t?

    As a plus-size individual, I wanted shirts that covered my stomach, shorts that were not uncomfortably short, and pants that did not roll down when I did a squat — all of that and not be forced to live on Top Ramen to afford. As our business has grown, the shortcomings that exist within the current landscape of the industry have become more apparent. I’m not a fashion designer by any means, but I wanted to offer products that I felt comfortable in. We asked our customers what they didn’t like about other apparel currently available and took that feedback to our manufacturers. Many companies start with a size small and, as they size up, simply add inches to the waist and don’t increase length or account for larger thigh circumference. We took that feedback and scaled up our product accordingly and correctly. It’s paying off: 65 percent of our sales are for sizes large and up.

    My mindset has changed dramatically since that day I spent crying at Dick’s. I am no longer laser-focused on being skinny; being strong and healthy, at any size, is good enough. I’m now an athlete, regularly doing CrossFit and competing in CrossFit competitions at least a few times a year. But I could not forget that terrible feeling of not being good enough simply because I couldn’t fit into something in a store.

    I started my business not to make money but to combat the way I was made to feel that day in a sporting goods store and to make clothes that actually fit American women. My anger over how the retail industry does business has become my fuel. Not having plus sizes in the store, charging extra, not showing real models in their marketing — these are all things that I want to see changed in the industry. My goal and mission is to remind all women that there is a place for them in both the retail world and the fitness world. To have a place where they aren’t excluded or charged more so they can fit in and to remind everyone that we can all be athletes.

  • The Weekly Wrap-Up | 04

    Welcome to THE (poorly kept up) WEEKLY WRAP-UP, a new series on the T2T blog designed to inform, inspire, entertain and engage. Each week we’ll be sharing a list of our favorite finds from around the Internet that we think you’ll enjoy too, which means yeah, it’s the perfect way to get your weekend started. We promise we are going to get back on the ball with posting these more often, because duh, you DESERVE to see the best things on the internet!

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    LISTEN

    Spotify Playlist :: Mind Right | There’s something about a playlist that starts out with the song “Started from The Bottom” by Drake. It just gets me going for the day. Mix that up with a little old school Nelly and call it a day! I get this little head nod going and I just get so pumped out to be doing what I’m doing. This playlist is great for working out, working, reading a book? lol, really anything that you’re doing that needs a good pumped up playlist to go along with it!

    WATCH

    “Wet Hot American Summer – First Day of Camp” | Netflix has some great series, this being one of the top 5! | I’ve never watched the movie, but this star studded cast made this series absolutely hilarious. I ended up watching the whole first season while sitting on my couch re-designing the T2T website! It’s amazing!

    READ

    THE SKIMM is the best thing EVER | Click this link to sign up NOW it’s the best thing you’ll do all day! So I don’t know if you’ve heard about this yet, but the Skimm is seriously the best thing since sliced bread. I want to be  way more in the know about what’s going on in the world, but I really just never have time, and different news channels report different things. BUT THE SKIMM just gives you a quick rundown of what’s going on in the world, and delivers just the facts. They read, you skim. It’s perfect. Everyone needs the skimm in their life. It’s really made me so much more informed and I can actually have conversations everyday!

    SIP

    Strawberry Lemonade Vodka | Sign me up! Duh, my favorite things… Strawberries, lemonade and duhhhh Vodka! I’ll be floating down the river this weekend with my favorite CrossFit friends and I literally googled “best drinks to make while floating down a river”. Little did I know, that google search came up with nothing hahaha, basically telling me, if you think you can make a girlie mixed drink while floating down the river, you shouldn’t be floating down the river. Grab a 30 rack of natty light and your best american flag headband and call it a day. BUT then obvi, I went to pinterest and found this. Done and done, and I bet my friends drinking the ever so refreshing natty light, will be begging for my delish concoction!

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    I have nothing special, I’m snacking on crustless peanut butter and jelly and cheez-it’s this weekend | My favorite summer activity is really floating down the river with friends – and that’s EXACTLY what I’m doing this weekend. So, I’m packing up my vodka lemonade, grabbing my bacon habanero chips, pb&j and cheez-it’s and turning off my cell phone. I hope you all do the same. And as always, keep being awesome!

    Image VIA HERE

  • Foodie Friday | Black Bean Hummus

    Happy Foodie Friday! It’s been a busy couple of weeks here, but there’s always time for food!!

    As a 29-ish year old adult, I’ve hit that threshold where it is (generally) no longer socially acceptable to bring a 30 pack and a bag of Doritos to a party and have that count as “food.” I recently attended a get together where the hostess had asked everyone to bring an appetizer to share. Of course, my mind immediately flashed to images of ornate, hand crafted hors d’oeuvres from Pinterest that would be on par with a proper Martha Stewart inspired party (read: place cards and monogrammed favors).

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    Not having the time (or energy…let’s be honest. But time is a huge chunk, too. Like Sweet Brown said, “ain’t nobody got time for that!”) to risk something that could be used as the perfect #PinterestFail submission, I pulled this delicious nugget out from my recipe vault and voila! A healthy snack that was easy to make and easy to enjoy!

    So here it is…Black Bean Hummus!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1 (15 ounce) can reduced sodium black beans; drained
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
    • 10 Greek olives (optional)

    Directions:

    1. Mince garlic in the bowl of a food processor (using pre-minced garlic also works well).
    2. Add black beans, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, salt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Process until smooth, scraping sides as needed.
    3. Add additional seasonings to taste. Garnish with paprika and Greek olives.

    The flavor of this hummus is a great change up from the regular chickpea blend. It is nicely balanced, while the texture is creamy and perfect to use as a dip. I prefer to pair mine with baby carrots and pita bread. I also opted to omit the Greek olives – no offense to the olives, but I’ve never cared for the taste.

    Black Bean Hummus

    Another wonderful thing about making your own hummus is YOU get to control the flavor. Like some extra spice? Add more cayenne pepper. More lemon juice? No problem! Serving kids as well? Split the batch up and leave them with a tamer flavoring while treating yourself to a specialty snack.

    We’d love to know what you added to the mix to customize this delicious dish! Post your comments or send us a photo of your creation. You never know, you may be featured on the blog!

    Have a great weekend!

     

    Image via
    Recipe Credit: allrecipes.com

  • Guest Blog | Carin McCoy | Redefining #Likeagirl

    A while ago, someone said something to me that left me feeling confused and I will admit, slightly irritated. They confidently boasted to me that, ‘Oh you don’t need to worry about spreading the ‘Like a girl’ & ‘This girl can’ campaigns message in your household with all those boys!

    Like A Girl

    WTF?! Hold up. Seriously?! The powerful message of redefining the phrase ‘Like a girl’ to mean someone who is strong, powerful, athletic and positive instead of the old ‘You run like a girl!’ insult that used to be thrown around is AS important to be entrenched in my sons as it is for us to teach and model to our daughters.

    My young, impressionable, beautiful boys will see me workout. They will see the real effort involved in my training, and the dedication and strength involved. They will see what real effort looks like – curves, sweat, grunts and all! Boxing, running, lifting, trails, swimming, cycling..adventures! They will see me attempt things and fail. They will see me train for events and succeed. Most importantly, I hope they are surrounded by images that help redefine the connotation of ‘Like a girl.’

    So this mum will proudly wear her #Likeagirl tee while working out around my young, impressionable sons and hopefully the phrase “Like a girl” will never roll out of their mouths as an insult, but one spoken of pride and admiration. I will teach them to believe in yourself, that being strong & fit is also a female identity and the knowledge that we are all strong, equal and we ALL have an inner athlete in us.

    I choose to be part of the change.

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    photoCarin is a proud half marathoner & triathlete, who is a strong believer and advocate for the body positive movement. She believes everyBODY should have the right to unleash their inner athlete & feel the thrill of smashing a goal.

    You can follow Carin’s blog at www.edsrunfree.wordpress.com
    Or Instagram @edsrunfree

    Originally Posted on July 24, 2015 / Reposted with Permission