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10 Ways to Soak in the Holidays

We love to stay cozy throughout the holidays and colder months. To celebrate the holiday season, we've partnered up with our friends at Athleta to create this winter cozy guide that will help you embrace the chill all season long! Here are ways to soak in the season, indoors and out, travel in style, fun adventures to do with your girlfriends and motivating ways to get moving this winter.

10 Ways to Soak in the Holidays

The countdown to the holidays has begun, and indeed, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. 'Tis the season for twinkling lights, delicious treats, QT time with friends and family, and festive activities. Whether you're hitting the couch for your umpteenth viewing of your favorite holiday movie or hitting the slopes for a snow-filled afternoon, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate in merry and bright ways. Ahead are 10 fun holiday activities that will help you get into the spirit all season long.

1. Gather friends for a holiday gift exchange. Meeting up at home or grabbing dinner at a cozy restaurant in your town is always a good way to bring friends together and hit pause during this busy time of year. Avoid the awkward empty hand and call it a gift exchange, or whatever your budget allows. You can do it Secret Santa-style, poke fun with a white elephant exchange or play gift card roulette! No matter what you decide to do, it's all about celebrating the year gone and the year ahead with good friends by your side.

Holiday outing style: Ribbed Pom Beanie, Bayshore Wool Cashmere Turtleneck, Salutation Stash Pocket Tight in Powervita

2. Tour Christmas lights in your area. Whether your idea of seasonal decor is a simple wreath on the door or enough twinkle lights on your house to knock out power on your block, Griswold-style, it's always nice to appreciate the efforts of people who take the holidays very seriously. There is likely at least one street or neighborhood nearby that literally and figuratively gets lit during the winter. Spend a night light-seeing and admiring others' feats of holiday magic, such as light displays choreographed to music or life-size North Pole scenes installed in a front yard. For an extra festive weekend trip, here's a list of U.S. towns that really take Christmas to another level.

3. Plan a holiday movie marathon. Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but your couch inside is delightful! Snuggle up with friends and loved ones, fire up the popcorn popper, prep some handmade snacks, and cue up the holiday movie marathon — between classics like A Christmas Story, rom-coms like Love Actually, and an almost endless slate of original TV movies, you'll have enough entertainment to last you until the new year.

Holiday movie sesh style: Cozy Karma ¼ Zip and Ultra High Rise Elation Tight

4. Enjoy your yearly glass of eggnog. Love it or hate it, there is really only one time of the year that eggnog gets its time in the spotlight, and that's during the holidays. The good news is that eggnog has come a long way from the version you drank in your grandma's kitchen, and there are options to suit every kind of diet. You can buy vegan options straight from the store (yes, it is possible to take the egg out of eggnog) or make your own keto-friendly version at home.

5. Hit the ice. Grab a pair of skates (or rent them) and take a twirl around the ice rink for a cheerful afternoon or evening outing. Ice skating is always more fun, and hilarious, with a group of friends, and even if no one lands a triple axel, you can still reward yourselves after with a toasty snack and beverage.

Ice skating style: Lofty Down Jacket, Coaster Luxe Sweatshirt, Salutation Stash Pocket Tight in Powervita

6. Head to the mountains for ski (or après-ski) time. Breathe in some fresh air and live the high (elevation) life by heading up to the mountains. Find a hygge-worthy ski cabin, bundle up in your warmest layers, and pick the activity of your choice —snowshoeing, downhill skiing,après-skiing, or simply sitting by a cozy fireplace — and enjoy the holidays in snowy, wintery style.

7. DIY hot chocolate bar. A mug of hot chocolate feels just like a warm hug. Packet mix works in a pinch, but for true connoisseurs, upgrade your hot chocolate by adding different flavors, booze, or a little spice. Invite some friends over for a hot chocolate party — you'd be surprised at how many creative variations you can make from a seemingly simple beverage.

8. Bake holiday treats. Gingerbread houses or cookies in every shape and color — there is no shortage of reasons why you shouldn't indulge your sweet tooth during the holidays. Even the most amateur of chefs can likely follow an easy sugar cookie recipe, and as an additional bonus, baking will make your entire house smell delicious. When it comes to throwing a cookie decorating party, the more the merrier — more friends means more warm cookies to enjoy fresh out of the oven.

9. Create a holiday music playlist. Every year, it seems like the minute Halloween is over (and sometimes even before), Christmas music starts playing on the radio, in malls, in your head, etc. Embrace it and make your own playlist — even if it's just "All I Want for Christmas" on a loop — that you can enjoy at home in your pjs or during your next dinner party or family get together. There's nothing like a little music in the air to put you in the holiday spirit.

Holiday dance party at home style: Cozy Karma Asym Sweatshirt Dress and Salutation Stash Pocket Tight in Powervita

10. Volunteer. 'Tis better to give than receive, and 'tis the season of giving. Grab some friends and/or family members and give back to your community by finding volunteering opportunities that help those less fortunate than you. There are plenty of ways to get involved: serve food at the local homeless shelter, organize a food or toy drive, or adopt a family and help check off their holiday gift wishlist.

Author: Lesley Chen

Creative Direction: Theresa Gonzalez

Photographer: Brittany Griffin

Production and Stylist: Kayla Haykin

Graphic designer: Casey Callahan

Model: Jessi Greenlee

Cozy Travel Style

Winter travel destinations and summer escapes are the ultimate rivals. Whether you're planning a holiday ski weekend, girls tropical getaway or heading home for the holidays, the key is to dress the part so you can take in the signs and sounds of your surroundings in comfort and style. The break from the grind in the cooler months can feel refreshing and kickstart your energy for the season and new year.

First things first, packing: it can be tricky in winter because you want to pack light but you also want to stay warm and look cute. And, if you're one to avoid baggage fees (or the inevitable life event: lost luggage) you may want to commit to only packing a carry-on in order to make traveling from point A to point B easier.

Meet the ultimate winter capsule wardrobe: seven mix and match pieces from Athleta in solid neutrals and one pop of color and print. They pack easily, wear comfortably (the fabrics are so soft!) and wash well. Here's one go-to outfit for starters.

The Base Layer: We like the idea of starting with a super comfortable sports bra like the Breathe In Printed Bra (no bra wire to deal with) and comfy leggings like the Salutation Stash Pocket Pebble Beach Tight in Powervita. They have deep side pockets to hold your phone for easy flight check-in access. (Trust us: we took them for a test run and our phones stayed snug in our pocket the whole time!)

The pairing is made from recycled fabric sourced from plastic bottles so you can feel good knowing you're offsetting a bit of your travel too (in terms of impact on the planet).

The Cozy Layer: Top your base layer with a sweater that's easy to toss in the washer without fuss. The Mindset Sweatshirt is so cozy and soft you'll want to sleep in it (which we did and it was amazing).

The Speedlight Camo Top adds a subtle pop of print for when you want to mix it up. These tops are all quick-drying so if you sweat going from frigid outdoors to heated indoors you'll stay odor-free (hello red-eye!).

The Hoodie: A good hoodie is our traveling staple for any mixed-temp layering needs. They also make great gifts for when you head home for the holidays. The organic cotton Triumph Hoodie has thumbholes and a collar so you feel like you have built-in fingerless gloves and some neck coverage. There's also an inner zip pocket to keep your essentials safe and accessible.

We mixed and matched with the Attitude Pant in Sugarplum Mauve for a hint of pretty color. You can toss them over your tights or wear solo for low-impact workouts, like pilates or barre, or just for walking and grabbing coffee around the town.

The Coat: For anyone who has travel anxiety over how to pack a winter coat, we're with you. Do you pack it, do you wear it, or do you ship so you don't have to deal? If you can relate, we've found the perfect jacket for you. The Lofty Down Jacket is not only a cute option, but a practical one for this very reason: it packs into its own pocket! It's also water-repellent for that unexpected winter drizzle or snowstorm. The feather down keeps you warm and toasty, from the slopes to the city streets (or wherever your winter travels take you).

Top off the look with comfortable running shoes and don't forget these travel essentials to make your next trip easy breezy:

  • Your sunnies — sunlight against snow is legit brighter than any summer day!
  • Noise-canceling headphones to zone out loud talkers and tune in to new releases
  • Of course, toiletries 3.4 oz (100 ml) or smaller or just buy them locally
  • A travel adapter if you're heading abroad (lucky!)
  • Eyemask and earplugs to keep you clear-eyed on a red-eye
  • A good read and healthy snacks to avoid the lure of pricey in-flight options
  • Neck or regular pillow to keep you rested and ready for a fun trip

Happy travels!

Author and Creative Direction: Theresa Gonzalez

Photographer: Brittany Griffin

Producer and Stylist: Kayla Haykin

Graphic designer: Casey Callahan

Model: Adrienne Trinidad

Holiday Adventures for You and Your Girlfriends

As much as we love family time during the holidays, nothing beats the laughter and good-for-the-soul time spent with our besties. Whether your idea of holiday fun is baking for the ones you love or speeding down a ski run, the most important thing is having your BFF by your side. You've dined, dished, and supported each other all year, so treat yourselves to one of these unique holiday adventures that will help you celebrate the winter season in style.

​Friends Who Run Together...

An outdoor jog in the brisk winter weather is a great way to get your body moving and your endorphins flowing, and it's even better when done with your besties. Studies have shown that group exercise can reduce stress levels and increase quality of life more than individual workouts. Running with friends is a great way to see your city, spend some catch-up time together, and get a workout in all at the same time.

Friends can also push you to try different trails (for inspiration, we love AllTrails) or speed challenges that you may be hesitant to attempt on your own. But no matter your pace or distance, you'll both finish feeling more accomplished than when you began.

Gifts for the Runner in Your Life

Get Your Om On

With a full calendar of social events, extended family visits, and hectic travel schedules, the holidays can be more than a little stressful. A downward dog or shavasana can help relax both your body and mind. Make a weekly morning appointment with your BFF and mix it up by trying different types of yoga (hot, goat, aerial, cat — there's something for everyone).

Many cities offer free classes, too. San Francisco, for example, offers free yoga classes every Tuesday at the iconic Grace Cathedral. Look for one in your area and make a holiday date of it! Afterward, refuel over brunch and exchange yoga-inspired gifts to encourage more yoga this season.

Gifts for the Yogi in Your Life

Baking Means Bonding

The smell of freshly baked treats can put even the grinchiest person in a good mood! For an extra sweet activity, organize a pie-making or cookie decorating party with friends — stock up on fun shaped cookie cutters, festive sprinkles, and colored frosting, and then test out your baking and decorating skills. Put on some holiday tunes, try out some new recipes, and get deliciously creative together.

Gifts for the Baker in Your Life

Clock Into Mountain Time

For those looking for a little more adventure, head to the mountains for an active yet relaxing girls getaway. Book your ultimate dream ski-in, ski-out resort, hit the slopes for some skiing or snowboarding, and find the backcountry trails if you're really looking to do some exploring. Cap off the day with a festive cocktail by the fireplace. Most ski towns also have vibrant nightlife, allowing you to enjoy a full day of fun, both on and off the mountain.

Gifts for the Adventurer in Your Life

Author: Lesley Chen

Creative Direction: Theresa Gonzalez

Photographer: Brittany Griffin

Stylist: Kayla Haykin

Graphic designer: Casey Callahan

Models: Angela Gomez and Rheanna Martinez

B+C Studios in partnership with Athleta

9 Motivating Ways to Get Moving This Winter

Cozy gear and stay warm tips to keep you going

Whether you prefer to workout in the mornings or after work, the colder (and darker) months ahead can make either a challenge. But working out through the winter has so many benefits, like a major mood boost from increasing your exposure to daylight (and other perks we'll go into later). Building up the motivation to get out there, however, is the hard part. We got you.

Here's all the motivation you need to keep moving and feeling great all season long.

1. Dress the part. Not only will new gear inspire you to work out but it can also make you feel more comfortable while you're moving (making you want to do it even MORE). Look for breathable fabrics that wick away sweat so it evaporates faster, keeping chills at bay. You want to stay warm but also dry. Athleta's new winter products are specially designed for outdoor workouts with reflective, quick-drying and insulating features. Our model Allison wears Athleta's Rainier Tight in Plush SuperSonic, with a soft, brushed interior, so you actually want to slip into them on a cold winter morning.

Layering is key, obvi. The Foresthill Merino Wool Ascent Turtleneck has thumbholes to keep your sleeves in place and your hands warm. The wool is designed to regulate heat and feels soft and stretchy, making it great for all your outdoor adventures. “This would be great for skiing!,” Allison said as soon as she put it on. The Inlet Vest is made with recycled nylon (many of Athleta's products have sustainable features, which we LOVE) and the fabric protects you from wind and water.

Layering is hard to get right. Miami has a totally different dress code than New York — we get that! — so do what feels comfortable to you. Here’s a cheat sheet to avoid being too hot or too cold.

2. Find your happy place. Is there a hiking trail that fuels your zen or a running path that leaves you feeling inspired every time? Wherever you choose to get your move on, find a time that really suits your schedule, when you’ll have few excuses to ditch your workout. Making it part of your daily routine will better your chances of getting over the winter hump.

Our happy place? The 288 Lyon Street Steps in our hometown of San Francisco. They make for a great early morning workout with lampposts so you can see — and be seen — before the sun’s up. (The heart sculpture, Migrant Heart, was designed by Hung Liu in 2004 as part of a city-wide installation.)

3. Set no-fail goals. Setting realistic goals is so important to staying motivated. Think daily micro goals. Want to run a 5K? Run/walk 30 minutes every day for four days, take a rest day and then aim for 3 miles on your sixth day. Trying to run a 5K out the gate and failing can lead to negative thoughts, lowering your chances of achieving any goals. Keep your mind motivated and your body moving with little victories each day. Then, when you’ve achieved one goal, move on to the next. Missed a day or even a week? Hey, life happens. Don’t feel guilty about it or let it discourage you. Just get back in the game and move on, literally.

4. Turn your phone into your trainer. Don’t have the budget for a real-life trainer? Whatever you love to do — yoga, pilates, running, hiking — there’s an app for that! Try these for starters (at-home workouts are legit when there’s 10 feet of snow outside) and look here for more digital motivation.

100 Pushups for iTunes

100 Pushups for Android

200 Situps for iTunes

200 Situps for Android

5. Pick a motivational mantra. So much of fitness motivation has to do with your brain rather than your body. Positive thinking makes a huge impact on hitting your long-term goals. Here‘s one we love:

Whatever you find that speaks to you, write it down and place it on your fridge, your bathroom mirror, your nightstand … wherever you’ll see it every day.

6. Warm up. Here’s the appetizer to your workout feast, and it’s especially important during the cold weather months. Spend 10 minutes stretching and just moving: jumping jacks, skipping in place, butt kicks + high knees. Once you get your limbs ready and your body temp up, you’ll be ready to take it to the next level.

The Flurry Force Insulated PrimaLoft® Jacket feels surprisingly light but warm enough for colder days. The fabric also wards off light rain. Allison’s Rainier Tights (this time in Hibiscus Red) have reflective details in the back, so you can be seen during early morning or evening workouts

7. Consider the perks. Outdoor winter workouts can increase your dose of vit D — something we can lack as the days grow shorter. (Pro tip: Don’t forget the sunscreen!) And it can also boost your mood. Your body works harder to stay warm during outdoor winter training, so it produces more endorphins, leaving you feeling happier! And bonus: working out = great work/life/holiday stress reducer.

8. Don’t go it alone. Committing to working out with a friend or group can be a great motivator (that feeling of accountability gets us every time). It’s also way more fun! Join a bootcamp class or running group. You might be able to find a free one in your area — one of our faves is the November Project. Your dog totally counts as a buddy too (here are a few ways to get your pup involved). You could even call a long-distance friend and catch up during your hike or brisk walk — whatever it takes to make feel supported in your workout.

9. Reward yourself. Over time, your training will start to feel like its own reward as your brain begins to associate sweat and activity with an endorphin boost. Still, a post-sweat reward can be a great motivator. Stash your cash in the Rainier Tight zip pockets for your post-workout smoothie or brunch with pals or treat yourself to some shopping therapy.

Check out Athleta’s new winter products for your favorite workout or just to feel cozy and comfortable throughout the season. Now that you’re on track to setting your winter workout goals, stay tuned for more tips for sharing the holiday season with friends and family. You got this!

Author + Creative Direction: Theresa Gonzalez

Photographer: Kurt Andre

Graphic designer: Casey Callahan

Model: Allison White

B+C Studios in partnership with Athleta