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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Twelve of my Best Years.

The last picture of mother and daughter before she died.  

Sharon Lee Parker was a fabulous mom, outstanding teacher and caring wife.  She endured losing her hair, removal of both breasts and horrible chemotherapy all while planing care for her 12 year old daughter as her imminent death loomed.  Her fight with cancer ended her life way to early.  Cancer treatments in 1976 were primitive and archaic, even the best doctors didn’t have many answers.  Over the last 39 years we have raised awareness for self breast exams and pushed for early detection with state of the art mammography.   It has been a rough 39 years without my mother, but it has made me strong and she would be proud.  
Sharon (1946) on the left and Stephanie (1972) on the right.
Fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.

Mother had style and great glasses!

I have always been a biker.  This photo was taken with my fabulous Shawn Cassidy hairdo, my favorite bike and my dog Ginger.   My mother got sick with cancer in 1974 the year this picture was taken. 

Not sure the year, but my mom was a happy girl!

Both mom and daughter have blue jean style just their own.

Not that I love this picture of my mother, but I have the same haircut at 5 years old.
Plus, the dress she is sporting is fabulous.  #everythingisbetterwithabow

Same outfit just change the glasses.  My motto... is same outfit just change the SKIRT!

This is the most beautiful picture of my mom.  January of 1964.  I was born in September 1964
so chances are good that I am also in this picture.

I want to use the Sweet Spot® Skirts platform to help fight this ugly battle against cancer.  Lifestyle changes make a big difference.  If you get out and exercise, control your diet, limit your alcohol intake and choose not to smoke your chances of getting cancer are greatly reduced.   You don’t have to run a marathon, climb a mountain or complete an Ironman...just a simple 30 minute brisk walk would be a great start.   Get an accountability buddy and get moving.  We hear stories all year from our skirt family about how they have started this journey to become healthier.  Let’s celebrate those women!   If just one person reads this and decides to start one of the lifestyle changes listed above, I will have done my job in honoring my mother.  
Life is short, make it count! 
This blog is for you Sharon Lee Parker, you left a legacy in your little daughter and I know you would be proud.  
ps.  If you know of a woman struggling with breast cancer, we can honor them and bring a bit of Sweet Spot comfort to their lives.   Here is an example of the "Sweet Shenna" program.  http://sweetspotskirts.blogspot.com/2015/02/sweet-shenna-quilt-lovingly-presented.html

From Kristina: K5K Recap

The Kristina 5K/Linda’s Loop is over and it was phenomenal! I had so much fun mingling with the crowd, talking to woman about their journeys and sharing the excitement of the evening before the run started. It was awesome seeing so many women supporting and encouraging each other, and looking fabulous in our Fast & Flirty running skirts! We had about 90 woman participate this year…90 woman all dressed the same, running through the streets of Vancouver and having a blast! 

I offered myself up as a running buddy to anyone who needed one, and had the honor of running with a young lady named Katie. This was Katie’s first 5K and she came to the run alone. We chatted a lot while we were running and I learned that Katie had never run before she met her boyfriend. She said everyone in her boyfriend’s family runs and that she just decided to give it a try. We talked about our struggles with weight; about losing a few pounds and then gaining a few more back, and she said she finally decided “No more excuses”.  Katie told me she’s working towards being able to run an entire 5K without taking any walking breaks, but for now she’s just happy to be able to do what she can, and our first mile was her personal best! It was fun having a running buddy; someone to encourage and cheer along the way, and someone to encourage me, too!

I love the feeling of this event. I love the camaraderie and the feeling of acceptance when a group of woman get together to support each other! Runners are good people, but woman runners are the best! 

I want to thank everyone who came out to run with me. It was a wonderful evening and I can’t wait to do it again! I also want to say thank you to everyone who helped get my daughter safely across all those streets when I couldn’t keep up with her. Can that girl run or what?!

Monday, September 21, 2015

9 Words Can Change your RUN

                                                      K5K:   Perspective 

I went for a run this morning, my last run before the K5K, and it was emotional! Summer was very hectic for my family, and because of the chaotic life we were living, two bad habits emerged: first, I got out of my work out routine; I stopped going to the gym on a regular basis and I seriously cut back on my running. The second bad habit was using the fast food drive thru way more frequently than I really want to admit! There were days when we were on the go so much that it was Starbucks for breakfast, McDonalds for lunch and by the time we got home for dinner I was too exhausted to cook, so we’d grab pizza. As a result of this hectic lifestyle and poor choices, the cute shorts I bought at the beginning of the summer don’t button any more. (sad face)

So I was running this morning and really beating myself up about how slow I was going and how hard it was and how sore I was getting and how those sudden extra pounds where really weighing heavy on my, and the tears started flowing. About then I passed a middle aged woman who was heading to her car and I finger-waved at her (that’s all the extra energy I could spare!), and she said “Good job honey! You’re way braver than I am!” I don’t know if she saw my tears and that’s why she cheered me on, or if she just assumed the rivers running down my face were sweat, but those 9 words from that stranger changed my run. 

It was brave of me to get out and run this morning when what I really wanted to do was eat a pack of chocolate Pop-tarts for breakfast, take my daughter to school in my pajamas and go back to bed! It was brave of me to get out there and run when I knew I wouldn’t be able to go as fast or as far as I use to be able to go. 

There was a time when I was running 5K’s in about 27 minutes; today’s 5K took about 34 minutes. But that’s ok because after I met that woman I started thinking about perspective, and realized that whether I ran a 9 minute mile or an 11 minute mile, I ran a mile!! And because I was running slower today, I got to spend 7 extra (guilt-free) minutes outside enjoying a beautiful day and doing something I love! And even though I was running slow, I was running faster than all my friends who were sitting at home in their pajamas eating Pop-tarts! And the 34 minutes I spent running this morning did way more for my body and mind than hours on the couch would have! 
When I got home from my run, after I wiped off the sweat and caught my breath, I went to the 
Sweet Spot Skirt online store and ordered a running shirt that says “Run Happy, Run Grumpy, Run Speedy, Run Slow, Run A Little, Run A Lot, Just Run”

Where ever you are on your fitness journey, whether you’re a seasoned runner, or you’re just starting out; if you’re running at your top speed, or like me, you’re trying to get back to where you use to be, enjoy it! Take a minute to access and change your perspective if you need to. Just run! 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Champagne Bike Ride- Tina's 20 miler

Tina, our seamstress, completed her very first biking event last weekend at the Champagne Bike Ride Energy Events in Vancouver, WA. She completed the 20 mile bridge to bridge ride on a cruiser that she recently started riding. Of course, her Sweet Spot Skirt matched her cruiser bike! Although a little apprehensive before the ride (understandably so!), she totally rocked it and ended up with a huge smile on her face plus energy to spare. Stephanie and I met up with Tina at the I-5 bridge (which can be a bit scary to cross on a bike for the first time), and we all crossed the finish line together. Tina was glowing afterwards, and could hardly wait to call her mom about her huge accomplishment. We are so proud of you, Tina, and hope this is the first of many more rides!

K5K & Linda's Loop: Runner Spotlight on Linda

Meet Linda, one of the incredible women inspiring the K5K & Linda's Loop. Here's her story:

"I'm not a runner; I never have been.  But I like to be outside, I like to walk, golf, swim...things like that.  Many years ago I was at the Vancouver Farmers market and noticed this cool booth selling skirts; cute colors and patterns, reversible;  "wear over your bike shorts".  I liked them.  But, it wasn't made to fit the fuller figured gal.  I was disappointed but took the card anyway and tucked it away not thinking that I would see this woman and her product again.  Until the next summer when the card resurfaced.   And so I began my quest: convince Stephanie to make this cool skirt in a plus size!  And she did.  I never looked back and have thoroughly enjoyed the ride of the Sweet Spot Skirt. 

Now back to my opening line:  I'm not a runner.  And I really am not one, at least not right now.  I'm what I've coined a "wogger,"  the walk/jog kinda gal.   Through Stephanie and this skirt I have become empowered with an entirely new confidence;  "Why can't I be plus size? Why can't I be a healthy gal and plus sized? Why can't I look great doing it?"   How nice it is to pick an activity and snap on the skirt, look good doing what you like and enjoying the moment.  One day, while walking the river with my friend Jill (my personal accountabilibuddy!) I had mentioned that I had seen a woman out jogging who was about my build, and I thought, "why not me?"  That statement did not fall on deaf ears, and the transition to "wogging" began.   Jill has been my support, guide, trainer, cursed enemy when she is pushing my limits, and my best friend in this transition to jogging.   I can't jog that far, not at this point, but each time out there doing it, it's a little farther.  And one day, it will be a non-stop mile; and maybe the next week a two mile.  Some days I can't jog an inch.  But I'm out there.  Trying.  Convincing myself to keep going.  Empowering myself to take over the negative and move it positively forward.  Using that time to clear my head, remember the good, focus on the better and know that I'm coming out at the end at my best.  

I don't think it matters if you can run (or "wog); it matters that you're out there.  You are using your mind and body to self heal and soothe. I owe some of these realizations to Stephanie who came into my life with what I thought was a simple reversible skirt and instead helped turn me into a more beautiful person who loved herself in the body I am dealing with at the moment.   I may not be the marathon runner today, but who knows.......
All because of a skirt.
Thank you Stephanie."

Come join us for the K5K & Linda's Loop. Buy the super cute outfit and join us for the event for free. A supportive event for all abilities!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

What's Your Why?

Stephanie (pictured here at Pacific Crest in the Power Flowers skirt) is the Marketing and Promotions Director at Why Racing Events. Life can get extremely busy and oftentimes it can be hard to balance work, family, play and workouts. When asked "What's your why?" she responded:
"Mine is to stay healthy & fit, to keep up with my four boys, to challenge myself, to explore trails, to support causes, to stay young at heart, and to live out loud."

What's Your Why?

Why Racing, owned by Sherri McMillan, puts on some fabulous events in the Portland/Vancouver area. Check out the Wahine Triathlon and the Girlfriends Run for a Cure Quarter & Half Marathon.

Crash: Sleek Black Fast 'n Flirty Running Skirts

You Asked, We Listened!

Crash Fast 'n Flirty is available with pink, purple or red highlighted stitching

Since launching the Fast 'n Flirty running skirt a couple of years ago, we've had more requests than we could count for a black option. Our colorful Fast 'n Flirty skirts are bright, flattering and get lots of compliments. Occasionally, people wanted another option to match their patterned shirts but still have coverage. "A black skirt would make a great second skirt," others told us. So, it is with great excitement that we present Crash: a line of technical running skirts that are made out of ultra-light fabric in solid black. Each offers a highlight of color in the stitching and snaps. Choose from pink, purple or red and crash those records this summer! Run fast, run flirty. And above all, feel confident and comfortable.