Archive of ‘Featured’ category

Wellness Wednesday: How to Start a Running Routine

Holly Courville running through a sunflower field.

Holly Courville running through a sunflower field. Photo courtesy of Runner’s World.

Guest Editor: Xina

Running is an area of my life where I make no compromises. Every morning, I wake up thinking about where I want to run that day. I am blessed to live in a run-friendly area where there are many trails and places to run outdoors. Whenever I travel for business or pleasure, you can expect me to pull out my gym shoes (I’m from the Midwest and “sneakers” is not part of my vocabulary) and hit the pavement to explore my new surroundings. I could end up anywhere because I love to run.

Friends, family, and colleagues are fascinated that I run. After a race, I get texts, emails, and Facebook posts asking how do I do it? How can I start running? I can’t run like you because it is too late for me to start. My response, it’s NEVER TOO LATE.

{GW Parkway Race}

photo 2

{Start of Detroit Marathon}


If you are interested in running, I recommend the following tips on getting started:

  1. Get fitted for running shoes. This is always my number one suggestion because you can hurt yourself if you don’t. Find a shoe store that specializes in running and ask a specialist to watch you run so they can recommend the best shoes for your feet. And, don’t be cheap. Expect to spend $120 or more. I burn through 2-3 pairs of gym shoes a year. True story: I wanted to save a few bucks and bought a pair of shoes that were on sale that wasn’t the normal shoe brand I run in. Guess what happened? I fell! That fall took me out of running for a month and caused me to miss a 10-mile race I trained for. It’s not worth skimping on the cost of gym shoes!
  2. Start at your own pace. Fitness Magazine suggests starting off running 20 minutes at a time, three times a week. If you need to rest, take a walking break in-between the 20-minute intervals. Then you can build your mileage and time from there.
  3. Eat foods that are rich in nutrients, low in carbs and lots of vegetables.  When I first started running in my 20s, I ran for weight loss. I had the mentality “I run, therefore I can eat whatever I want.” As I aged, that philosophy went out the door. I gained 20 lbs even though I ran more miles. I now limit sugar, carbs, dairy (I only eat eggs) and basically any food that is white in color unless it’s cauliflower.
  4. Cross-train. Not only do I run, but I bike, spin, lift weights and practice yoga. The more strength and core training, the faster the runs. Cross training increases your endurance. Cross training also helps prevent injuries.
  5. Drink water. I have a friend who drinks one gallon of water a day. I am still working on this goal and I highly recommend you start doing it. Water helps you to stay hydrated throughout the day.
  6. Buy proper clothes. Another question I get a lot is “do I have to buy clothes from Lululemon?” No, running is not about being cute. Although I have some pieces by Lululemon, I look for running clothes that are durable and can wick the sweat away from my body. Running isn’t expensive!
  7. Find a running community. The goal to run a marathon was NOT on my bucket list until I started running with a group. After several runs, I wondered if I could run a marathon. Before I could change my mind I found myself training for my first marathon. Training for that first marathon was tough, and I needed some marathon warriors to help me persevere. If you don’t already have a running partner, join a meet-up running group or look for a running store that hosts weekly runs. Which leaves me to my last point:
  8. Sign up for a race.  In August 2015, I signed up for a 5K race. Although I am currently training for my fourth half marathon, I set a goal to a run 9-minute mile for the 5K. Notice I said goal. I ran the 5K in less than 30-minutes, which will help me to build the confidence I will need for the Virginia Beach Half-Marathon. Goal setting will help you stay consistent to your runs.

All in all, the single most important advice I can give you is to HAVE FUN. Don’t let other runners get into your head. The minute you start comparing your runs to others, you’ve lost the race.

I love to run. Staying active can mean walking, running, biking, etc. I was crushed to learn the French loathe exercise because I was all about living the way the French do. I still do – with a lot more running.

{Chardonnay 5K. Yes, you get a glass of wine at the finish. So much fun.}

photo 2 (1)

Saving Face with Origins Retexturizing Mask

Origins Rose Mask

I hope you weekend was lovely. Mine was great. The weather was perfect. Not too hot and not too humid. Although I’m a woman that loves the heat, I was happy during my 5K on yesterday there was a breeze and while I plowed through September magazines on the porch. I started on Saturday and tried to get through a few of the smaller ones first, then the big ones. Whoo! Lots of work.

During the time of my magazine absorption I decided my face needed some TLC. After the normal facial routine of cleansing, steaming, etc., etc., I decided to try Origins Original Skin™ Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay. Ladies let me tell you I’m in love. A few years ago I decided to apply my mask with a large foundation brush. It makes it go on evenly, I don’t have the product under my nails, and it makes me feel I’m actually getting a real facial in a spa.

I let it sit for a good twenty minutes even though the directions said 10. What can I say? I was sipping my favorite Vihno Vehde Rosé. I’m hooked; so hooked. My skin felt great, I looked refreshed, and I loved the subtle rose smell. My face was starting to look dull and this brightened it up. I plan to use this twice a week over the next month. This is some beauty goodness right here.

ESCADA Turquoise Summer Fragrance


I’m not letting summer go. Yes, I know everyone is saying summer is almost over. Well, in my mind summer isn’t over until September 23 which is the first day of fall and the equinox. I’m going to be kicking and screaming when fall arrives, but until then I’m going to embrace the sun, pools, rose wine spritzers, flowly maxi dresses, and limited-edition summer scents such as Escada Turquoise Summer.

Turquoise Summer represents everything I love in a summer fragrance – it’s light with notes of berry, violet, orange and sandalwood. I have been spritzing and loved it so much I bought the travel size because I need to always be reminded of summer even during my fall travels.

The beautiful turquoise and blue bottle reminds me of the beach and is perfectly captured in the scent.


Nuxe Prodigieux® Shower Oil 2

One of my favorite French beauty lines Nuxe has just come out with their shower oil. I’ve been obsessed with shower oils for awhile and now to have a new one to add to the collection makes me a very happy girl. I also pair it post-shower with their multi-purpose oil and it’s making me smile this week. I have the regular and the shimmer oil and both are just simply divine. I’m always about being bronzed beyond belief and this trifecta is perfect for the summer heat. If you really want to up the beauty ante, I suggest purchasing the perfume as well. You will not be disappointed.

Get involved beauty girls. Get involved.

Simple Skincare Micellar Cleansing Water Should Be in Your Gym Bag


I have been working out four mornings a week and it’s been great. I realized I needed a little more cardio in my life and it has been great. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still all about yoga and sometimes that means two workouts a day. What hasn’t been so great is trying to figure out my gym bag situation. I wash my face every morning and night, but after sweating it out with my workout buddy, I really don’t want to “re-wash” my face, but I know I have to get the sweat off. I decided to try Simple Skincare’s Micellar Cleansing Water.

Cleansing waters have become very popular in the U.S., but they have been used in other countries for years. Most makeup artists believe in them and I’ve been a fan since I first discovered them in Paris years ago. I normally use them to take my makeup off before I actually wash my face at night.

I really love the feel, the smell, and everything about this cleansing water.It gets all the sweaty, salty mess off your skin and keeps it soft and supple.  I’m on my second bottle for my gym bag and I think it will be a great compliment to your beauty routine in your gym bag and your beauty shelf.

Wellness Wednesday: Wanderlust 108, a Mindful Triathlon

In my never ending quest to stay healthy and fit, I have decided to start trying different fitness events to challenge me and get me out of my comfort zone. As a yogi, we are reminded often the only thing constant is change. It’s not always the easiest concept to grasp and as I get older it really hard to accept so much change I can’t control. Instead of going with the flow and being mad, I have decided to go with the flow and have fun. Smile, laugh, and wear a hot pink lipstick in the process.

One way I’m getting through the changes in life is to embrace fun. I mean the things that inspire and motivate me. I have been loving the concept of Wanderlust from a music and yoga festival to mini events all over the country. It takes yoga outside of the studio and into the world, literally. Wanderlust 108 is touted as the world’s kindest triathlon. What exactly does that mean? “This ‘mindful triathlon’ brings three events together in your favorite local park: a 5k run, an outdoor yoga experience, and a guided meditation — but with a twist.”

I know this is going to be a fun event and I hope this ankle injury I’m dealing with is healed by that time. I hope to see you there. I know this is going to give me the Wanderlust bug because I already have my eyes on the Wanderlust festival in Oahu in February.

Wanderlust 3 Wanderlust 4 Wanderlust 2 Wanderlust 1


Follain Natural Beauty Shop at Union Market

Shop Follain

Union Market in Washington, DC is a great place to eat, shop, and mingle with friends. I have been going to the market since its opening and it is one of my go-to places in the city. In December I wanted to stop by on my birthday and lo and behold was pleasantly surprised. Why?

Follain, a natural beauty destination had a pop-up shop. I immediately started my beauty happy dance and began playing with all the goodies. My husband gifted me my favorite LURK Fragrance, but I was bummed when I found out the shop would be leaving.

Well, my beauty friends Follain is back. Permanently. I am so excited to have this natural beauty spot so close to me with my favorite natural brands and a few new discoveries. I spoke with the owner, Tara, while I was at the opening launch and thanked her for putting Follain in D.C. During my travels to California and New York, I can find all the small batch natural products in tons of locations, but here in D.C. not so much. But that is changing and it started with Follain.

{Obsessed with Pursoma bath products}


{My new face mist}


{Refillable Castille Soap. Lavender is my fave.}


{All the RMS Beauty}



1309 5th Street NE
Washington, DC 2002

Feasting Pretty: Tessemae’s All Natural Salad Dressings


We eat a lot of salad in my house. Seriously, between the two of us I know we go through tons of greens and vegetables each week. My mom eats a salad every day and sometimes twice a day. I think I get it honestly. A few years ago le husband and I decided that we were not going to eat mass produced salad dressings. I decided and as the cook in the family he had no choice but to go along with the plan. I normally make my own salad dressings with good extra virgin oil (in the words of Ina Garten), a delcious balsamic vinegar, and dijon mustard.

But then Tessamae entered my salad dressing world and we were hooked. Tessamae is a small family owned and operated company out of Annapolis, Maryland which is a hop, skip, and a jump to me. The dressings are all natural and expire within 60 days of opening. They don’t have high fructose corn syrup, exorbitant amounts of sugar, and a lot of the icky stuff most big name salad dressings have. All of Tessamae’s dressings can be used for salads, as a marinade or as a dip. Tessame, please come up with a miso dressing so I don’t have to make mine.

Now we are going back and forth testing and tasting all the dressings. After discovering how much sugar is in ketchup, I switched. Tessame’s has a kick and is so good. Once I tasted their ketchup I threw away every other brand in my refrigerator in the trash. Yes, I have a condiment problem.

They have a BBQ sauce, but since I’m from Texas (the home of the best BBQ in my opinion), I have to remain loyal to my dad’s recipe. Sorry, Tessamae. Some things just can’t change. Tessamae is worth investing in – for yourself and your tastebuds.

1 2 3 109