On April 22nd, 2017, Headbands of Hope hosted their first-ever prom at Duke Children's Hospital for some very special guests – kids with cancer. Jess Ekstrom, Founder and CEO of Headbands of Hope said that she noticed how many of these kids miss out on the big exciting and "normal" events of school events, dances, etc. That is what inspired her to host a prom in their honor! On April 3rd, Sweaty Bands and Headbands of Hope launched the release of Hope Blooms, a floral Sweaty Band with a cause. For each Hope Blooms band purchased, Sweaty Bands donated glitter hair ties to contribute to a fun booth at the prom where kids could make their own corsages and headbands using silk flowers. We set out with a goal of selling 100 Hope Blooms. We are excited to report that with your help, we exceeded our goal and sold 175! We were able to provide Headbands of Hope with a variety of colored glitter hair ties. The kids attached silk flowers to them and created their own corsages!
The theme of the prom was "The World is Yours" and guests received passports that they could have stamped at different stations as they took photos with cardboard cutouts of monuments such as the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower. Food at the even offered guests tastes of Italy, China, and more.
The prom was full of laughter and dancing, DIY headbands and corsages and lots of yummy food. People posed in a photo booth and even smeared whipped-cream pies on Duke staff as part of the fun! After the prom, Headbands of Hope received a letter from a patient that said, "Thank you for helping make an amazing night possible! The whole hospital was filled with joy and colors, instead of pain and hoodies. I will never forget my first and best prom!"
Watch the YouTube video about the prom:
Guest Blogger: Rsport
It’s pretty darn cool to be featured on the Sweaty Bands Blog (we are big fans!) and we have to start this out by telling our story of how this came to be! Sweaty Bands was among the handful of vendors at the March 31 – April 2, 2017 Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago, IL which is where we, Rsport, decided to have our first event and company launch! We mixed and mingled with various Expo vendors and met Doug, Sweaty Bands' CEO. We shared our story and how this was our first official weekend launching Rsport and he loved it. As we started to walk away and move on to other vendors, he scurried over and said, “We’d love to help share your story, how about we set up a guest blog?” We were thrilled and here we are. So thanks, Doug for not only hearing our story but sharing it!
[caption id="attachment_1467" align="alignleft" width="300"] Rsport Booth at Shamrock Shuffle[/caption]
Rsport: The Start of a New Conversation It all started with a girl and her goal: to someday work in the apparel industry and make waves like nobody has before. CJ Riggins, Rsport’s CEO and Founder, knew from a very young age what she wanted to do and set out early to achieve that goal. After graduating from The Ohio State University in Design and Merchandising, Riggins worked for many well-known companies like Abercrombie & Fitch, adidas-Salomon, and Pearl Izumi in Design, Technical Design, Sourcing, Product Development and Materials and was also an adjunct professor at Colorado State University. Throughout her 25 years of experience in the apparel industry, 16 of those spent specifically in outdoor performance apparel, Riggins noticed a recurring theme: the apparel industry was designing and producing beautiful product for a very narrow segment of the population. If we know that the national average female is a size 16/18, why have we not shifted to include her in our apparel offerings? Well, as some of us might suspect, the answer was: It’s not our market. Not only were those size offerings “not their market” but there was an overall idea that expanding the size offering would somehow taint the company’s brand image. Crazy, right?! Riggins wasn’t on board with that reality and made a bold move. She realized she had to create the change she sought, the inclusion of all athletes. She set off to build the best, most technically performing clothing possible for the underserved Athena athlete by specializing in sizes 10 through 6X for a market that has simply been ignored.
Thus, Rsport was born and we had no idea how truly empowering this work would be until we really got started. From the early feedback from wear testers of Rsport products, to just last week interacting with real Athena athletes at the Indy 500 Festival Mini Marathon in Indianapolis, we know we are creating more than just technical athletic apparel for Athenas. Just like Sweaty Bands, Rsport wanted to create quality products that empower and inspire women to achieve their mission, whatever that may be, and we are on our way to doing just that. We’ve been greeted by hugs and women on the verge of tears saying, “finally I can get something in my size, and it isn’t menswear!” Something we love hearing because lets be real, nobody likes to feel like they are being held back by their clothes. So why Rsport? Well, it’s all centered on our slogan: The Start of a New Conversation. The backwards “R” is derived from the paragraph symbol, which by definition is “the start of a new conversation”. In our case, the conversation is any athlete at any size should be able to sport technical and functional athletic wear so they can focus on achieving their running, cycling, triathlon and other athletic goals. You shouldn’t have to be preoccupied with your clothes, when it’s your mission that counts. Rsport wants to support that endeavor.
Bottom line, we created Rsport for you, and we vow to always listen to your needs on what you would like to get out there and achieve your goals. Our drive and passion to create the best athletic apparel for Athenas is driven by you, your stories of achievement and perseverance. We love hearing each and every one of our customer’s stories and can’t wait to hear about what you’ll do next and what your challenges are. Rsport currently offers six pieces designed to work together: the Multi-Sport Capri (this is no ordinary capri… you've got to check it out!), Long Sleeve Fleece, Long Sleeve Shirt, Short Sleeve Shirt, Multi-Sport Tank and a technical Multi-sport Headband. New product offerings including Tri Kits and a Softshell Jacket that converts into a vest are in the works and out later this year. Visit our website to learn more about Rsport and see which events we will be at next and order online! Start a new conversation with us and let us help you enjoy your activities more!
About the Author
Nikki Morrison is Rsport’s Chief Marketing Officer and real life Athena whose journey of body acceptance can be read on Rsport’s blog. Nikki was thrilled to become part of the three woman team that launched Rsport given her history of frustrations in the athletic wear industry. Favorite activities include weight lifting, swimming, spinning and rocking a sweet pair of Rsport capris.
Did you know that March 26 is National Spinach Day?! Spinach is one of our FAVORITE vegetables and it is so easy to cook or eat raw in yummy salads. Not a spinach fan? I bet you might be after reading a few facts about this leafy superfood: 1. Spinach is loaded with vitamins and contains omega 3 fatty acids!
2. There are over a dozen flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents.
3. Minerals in spinach help counteract our highly acidic diets.
4. It's very good for the eyes and bones! 1 cup of fresh spinach contains twice our daily vitamin K needs.
5. Choose only organic and very green looking spinach. And cooking spinach actually increases its health benefits!
[Adapted from Real Food For Life]
Check out our favorite spinach salad recipe (pictured above), and try it out today!
- Spinach as the base
- Red onion
- Feta cheese
- Topped with shelled pistachios and croutons (optional)
- Use an olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing or drizzle some Balsamic Vinaigrette
Guest Blogger Rachel Voris, proud mom and Beachbody coach!
Summer bodies are made in the winter, so let’s dive in! We’ve all heard, “drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water” each day... But where does that come from? Honestly, there’s no exact science behind this recommendation. It’s just a fair guideline because it’s an easy formula for people to remember. A better rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water. So, for example, if you’re 150 pounds, divide 150 in half, and you should be drinking a minimum of 75 ounces of water each day, and MORE if you’re exercising! If you’re less than 128, make sure to get that 64-ounces in at the bare minimum. Not a water drinker? Here are some tips to get you guzzlin’... (1) Use a straw! It goes down SO much easier with a straw. You don’t even have to pick up your cup. Just... keep... sipping! Before you know it, you’re at the bottom, and it’s time to fill’r up! (2) Track it! That’s right, there’s an app for keeping you on track with your water intake! Check out “WaterMinder” on the iPhone, or “Water Your Body” on Android. Or if you’re not a big app person, make a tally mark in your planner for every cup you drink, or set an alert on your phone, or watch, reminding you to drink every half-hour. (3) Shop for a cool cup! A new pair of sneakers gets you excited to workout, right? So a new water bottle will get you motivated to drink! Shop around... just like shoes, there’s a right “fit” for everyone. Personally, I like a 25-ounce bottle or cup with a straw.... Just fill it up 4-5 times, sip sip sip, and you’re body will be thanking you! (4) Add some flavor. It’s all the rage right now at restaurants, salons... everywhere you go, you find cucumber water, strawberry water, all kinds of combinations. Step aside, lemons... how about some watermelon-mint infused water? Talk about refreshing! Pick your favorite fruits, veggies, even spices... Toss them in, and enjoy! (For more delicious and healthy beverage ideas, check out our other post, Summer Hydration!) (5) Consider it an appetizer. Not only will this help you stay hydrated, but it could help you lose weight too! People who drink water before meals, and between cocktails, generally end up consuming less calories since they’re filling up on H2O. So, before you put anything in your mouth, make it a point to drink a tall glass of water first. Also, between courses, drink up again! Out on the town for a night out with your girlfriends?... Get a glass down in between cocktails. (I promise this will make you feel better in the morning too!) Now, go fill up that cup! And remember, every body is different, so test out these tips and tricks, and challenge yourself to drink more. As you do, take note of how much YOUR body needs to feel and look its best. CHEERS to a happy, healthy and well-hydrated body, hair, skin and even nails!
About the Author
Rachel Voris is a phenomenal mama and a rockin' Beachbody coach who loves to wear Sweaty Bands! Her strength and daily commitment to fitness inspire us every single day. Check our her instagram to connect with her!
Guest Blog Post by Ellen Whitney, Chef + Athlete
If you were about to build a house that you wanted to stand for 100 years, would you go to the junkyard and pick up disheveled, broken down materials? No, because there’s no way your structure could withstand the test time using that as a foundation. So why is it as humans we vie to grow old, yet we fuel our bodies with poor building materials? If we want to defy the maladies of old age, we need to feed ourselves top of the line sustenance. Over the years, health seems to have become more and more complicated. Everyday we’re bombarded by messages of what we should and should not eat, the latest “miracle” foods, and the newest “key” to youthful longevity. The “solutions” seem to be growing; yet we seem to only be getting more sick. Why is it that despite our increasing innovation, we have to work three times as hard as our grandparents to maintain a fraction of the health? In our modern society we are:
• Spending more on food and nutrition supplements
• Eating more calories
• Consuming less nutrition
• Taking more medication
• Dealing with more illness and ailments
You’d think with our progressive society we’d be in better shape than our ancestors, so how did we get to where we are today? Keep reading to find out. More Food, Less Nutrition When our ancestors began farming thousands of years ago, they worked to alter their crops to make them more productive, easier to grow and harvest, and more enjoyable to eat – after all, their lives literally depended on the bounty of their land. While the changes were minimal at best to begin, fast forward hundreds of generations later, and the food we eat in modern day barely resembles the original versions. As farmers toiled to create more manageable and delicious crops, they unknowingly started to strip away vital nutrients. So, we now start with food that is significantly less nutrient dense, then that food travels 1500-2000 miles, aging for 5-10 days before it even hits your grocery store shelves. Then you take it home, let it sit another 2-5 days, until the food you are finally consuming is basically dead. How much nutrition is left at this point? Scientists say if you’re lucky, 40% of an already decreased nutrient profile. Not only are the phytonutrients dramatically decreased in our food, but the flavor is diminished as well. Ever had a juicy tomato straight from the vine mid summer? It’s incredible, especially when compared to the one you buy at your local grocery store. Since the food stocked on store shelves is what we typically fill our diets with, over time we’ve learned to compensate for this lack of flavor by adding various forms of sugar, fat, and oil to boost the taste. Thus, we’re not only receiving fewer nutrients, but we’re eating more empty calories too (empty calories are calories you consume without receiving any vitamins or minerals in addition). With these bland foods being the only option the majority of Americans are exposed to, it’s no wonder health advocates have such a hard time convincing people to eat their vegetables.
Food As Medicine With modern medicine, our doctors prescribe one drug for one disease. But this is simply not true when using food as medicine, or simply as prevention! Your body does not heal selectively. A deficiency in one nutrient can cause many illnesses, thus a mega dose of even one nutrient can cure many illnesses. All the body’s systems are interconnected. This is not to say that all medical drugs are bad- the beauty of living in a modern world is that we have the resources and innovation to rapidly cure illnesses. However, we live in a society where if a little is good, more must be better- which is precisely the mentality making the pharmaceuticals companies richer, and our population sicker. Not a single cell in our bodies is made up of drugs, so trying to replace nutrition with manufactured synthetic materials is not going to withstand the test of time. Think about it- the drug companies don’t really want their products to heal you entirely, because then how will they continue to boost their sales? The “best” drugs are the ones that make you FEEL better, yet keep you dependent on them. But what if instead, you could feel better simply by eating the right foods, and thus become dependent on fruits and vegetables rather than the pills that cost you exponentially more? I’m here to tell you, it’s absolutely possible. “Good health makes a lot of sense, but not a lot of dollars,” – says Dr. Andrew Saul.
The Solution At this point you may be thinking, “Well, I’m screwed.” But hold on, there are ways to fight back:
1. Buy local produce as often as possible. Stop by your local farmer’s market and talk to the people who grew your food. Most small farmers use organic methods, however, they simply can’t afford the certifications required to label their produce as such.
2. Eat in season. If you live in Cincinnati and want fresh strawberries mid-January, guess what? We can’t produce those here in the heart of winter. So, those strawberries you’re picking up at Kroger have traveled halfway across the world to be stocked on your shelves, meanwhile losing their flavor and nutrition as we discussed above. If you strive to eat what’s in season, the chances of the food being sourced closer to home are much higher, in addition to the flavor being much greater.
3. Stop restricting, start adding. Instead of trying to diet by focusing on all that you can’t have, focus on all that you can add to your diet. Adding more color, more variety, and more vitamins and minerals to each an every meal will leave you feeling lighter, stronger, more energized, and glowing from the inside out.
4. Just Eat Real Food. Get back to the way your great-great grandparents ate. It’s not hard; really it’s pretty simple. Stop obsessing over all the diet “rules” you see on social media. Eat whole foods as much as possible. If you pick up something at the grocery store and you can’t pronounce or don’t recognize an ingredient, put it down and step away. As Jamie Oliver says, “Real food doesn’t have ingredients. Real food is ingredients.”
What are your thoughts about the evolution of food in our culture? Do you agree that food can be used as medicine? I’d love to chat further- connect with me on Instagram (@ellen_whitney), my blog, or on Facebook (Ellen Whitney- Chef & Athlete).
About the Author
Ellen Whitney has been a food and fitness fanatic her entire life and now is happy to make it her life's work. She is a Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, is a Modo Yoga 300-hour registered teacher (in progress of achieving her 500-hour!) and is currently enrolled with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to become a Holistic Health Coach. When she's not teaching, she works as a private chef and runs the blog HealthTastesGood.co. Fun Fact: Ellen has also modeled for Sweaty Bands, and is a teacher at our favorite yogo studio, Modo Yoga!