Summer Hats

Hats. It took me a bit to embrace the trend, but embrace it I did. Hats used to make me self conscious – I didn’t want anything to draw any more attention to me than necessary. How silly, right?  I know a lot of us may stray from wearing certain items – accessories, bright colors, trendy clothes – to blend in or not seem too flashy. Fashion is our chance to express ourselves! So, a few years ago, I would have passed over hats.  But, over time, I’ve built my self confidence and my don’t give AF attitude towards what other people think about what I’m wearing.

Summer hats are probably my favorite.  I mean, not only do they add the right extra to an outfit, but added bonus, they provide an extra protection from the sun.  As soon as the hat goes on, almost immediate vacay vibes take over, even on a “school night” at home.

Floppy or straight brimmed, the possibilities are endless. I recently got this straight brimmed hat from FabFitFun and I love it (I never thought I’d get so much joy from a pre-prepared box, but I do. It’s like getting a big Christmas present a few times a year). Even though I live in Raleigh, with the hat on, I’m transported to the West Coast. It works great for day time adventures, and even an evening out.

Check captions below for links to similar hats and add it to your rotation!

Oops, I’ve Sat All Day

Some days just bomb with getting steps in.  Whether you’re in a long meeting, long day of class or just having a lazy day (those are allowed), it is inevitable we will all have times of long sits.  In isolation, generally, a long sit day is no big deal. I know for many of us that long sit days really are not in isolation, but occur M-F. Eventually our low back hurts, hip hurt, shoulders, neck, etc all ache.  Even I fall victim to poor posture and the effects of sitting, even though my job allows me to be up and active a fair amount. We all probably have the best intentions to stand and move, but life and work just get in the way.

With really just a handful of a few exercises, simple exercises can be performed to help combat the seated posture and help our muscles and joints feel as good as possible.

To help most combat the effects of sitting all day, we just need to essentially reverse all the positions we’ve maintained.  As promised, here is my short list of my Top 5 Postural correction moves:

Foam roll thoracic spine with a pectoral stretch

Chances are, the longer you are in front of your computer, the closer your chest comes to the keyboard & thus the more forward your shoulders actually go. Time to work on rolling out that upper back (thoracic spine) to encourage extension, reversing all that flexion.  It also feels SO GOOD. While you’re down there, go ahead and do a few angel stretches on the foam roller to lengthen out the pect muscles. Trust me, your shoulders will thank you.

Band “W”

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Following foam rolling, the banded W is an amazing follow up.  As mentioned, inevitably as we sit in front of a computer, our back rounds and the muscles between our shoulder blades stay in a lengthened position.  This is not good for their overall level of neuromuscular activation, strength and stability.  Stretch bands are so cheap and easy to tote around, or, just keep around your house. No gym required!  Grab a band and use it to perform the W – an exercise fantastic for your rotator cuff and lower trap

Neck Stretch – Upper trap + chin tuck stretch

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Forward head, rounded back.  The diction often used in physical therapy documentation to quickly document poor posture.  The forward head is just as much an issue as the rounded back.  With a forward head posture, the chin is essentially pointing up and forward, leading to stiffness and tightness in the upper neck.  The top of the shoulder is also the notorious location we all carry stress. The chin tuck (or unofficially, the double chin) exercise + neck stretch will help lengthen out those tight muscles, help keep the shoulders level.  It can also aid in alleviating tension headaches! Just don’t perform in front of an admirer ;).  Simply tuck your chin towards your neck (kind of like you are giving yourself a double chin), and then gently tilt your head towards one shoulder for a stretch on the opposite side. 

Kneeling hip flexor stretch

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Sitting keeps us so tight in the front of our hips.  Time to reverse it! Just make sure you get the posterior pelvic tilt down so that the stretch can really get into the hip flexor musculature.  In this photo, I am stretching my right hip flexor.

Bridge

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This exercise has been reviewed many times.  After stretching the front of the hips out, make sure those glutes are still revving.  Refer back here: for a review of glut strengthening

Early Spring Favorites

Spring.  The word conjures up images of beautiful blooming flowers, sunshine, warmer temperatures… If you’re anything like me, you’ve been sorely disappointed in the long winter and too cold temperatures.  It’s made getting dressed really difficult.

Does anyone else HATE being cold but love warm weather clothes?  I may be one of the few that just isn’t crazy about jeans.  Most of the time you’ll find me in leggings or a dress.  Add in a temperature that isn’t really warm, but also, isn’t really cold, and I’m super conflicted.

Lately, in this very cool Spring North Carolina has had so far, I’ve been really into long sleeved blouses and dresses, and leggings.  A long sleeve dress with boots is one of my favorite outfits.  A dress is so easy to throw on.  A dress paired with booties is a great and fantastic outfit, climate appropriate, and so versatile for day or night!   If a dress just isn’t happening, or if maybe your legs get a little too cold, the blouse + legging combo is the way to go.  For either option, they are chic and comfortable outfits for a casual night out or daytime activity.

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Daytime, I’ll dress down with a pair of flats, small delicate necklace and studs.  To transition into a night out, I’ll swap out flats for heels, long necklace, and possibly a snazzy pair of colorful earrings. There are so many options for long blouses, or tunics, and they have the bonus of looking good on everyone.  They can be tailored to your size, but they also do not hug.  And trying to wear a shirt that is so form fitting all day is against everything I believe in.

Pool Dress

As we continue to navigate this chilly Spring, survive North Carolina pollen and allergies, and wait with bated breath for the warm temperatures of Summer, check out my favorite Spring picks for long tops to add to the wardrobe rotation for the rest of Spring.  (Links to the tops in the caption of each photo)