Active date night ideas and how to buy yoga pants

by Kim on September 26, 2013

I might have gone a little crazy on the fall finds at Trader Joe’s yesterday…

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(The cookies were definitely a last-second, in-the-line impulse buy.)

But we’re having friends stay over tomorrow Friday night on their way through town to a wedding, so I reasoned that I’d need some fun things to offer them. Plus, it’s hard to resist trying new things at TJ’s when you’re only parting with like 3 bucks to get them.

HOW is that place so awesome?? It blows my mind on a pretty regular basis.

Anyway…today is Brent’s and my 4 year anniversary!

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He actually remembered before I did this morning, which is an instant 50 husband points.

We’re planning on celebrating this Saturday (tonight is reserved for the first episode of this season of PARENTHOOD, GAAH, who else is excited??), and I really wanted to do something different and reasonably cheap, rather than the same ol’ expensive dinner that’s over in an hour and movie where we don’t say a word to each other.

Lately, we’ve been talking about how we (or, mostly, I) would like to find an active hobby that we both enjoy and can do as a couple. I originally suggested rock climbing, but Brent wasn’t that into it. He hates running, and I suck at all sports that involve a ball…so we eventually arrived at biking. Of course, there’s the small hiccup that we don’t own any bikes.

So my first idea for our anniversary date was to rent some bikes, ride along the lake downtown, stop somewhere nature-y for a picnic, and then grab a post-ride beer at the terrace (a little patio/beer garden next to the lake). How nice does that sound?

Problem: it’s easier/less stressful to get a babysitter in the evening, when we know Mason’ll be in bed by 7 and we don’t need to feel rushed to get home by any particular time. And biking + darkness aren’t the best mix.

ALTHOUGH…are you aware that you can paint your bike with phosphorescent paint to make it glow in the dark? Ha!

glow in the dark bike

Unfortunately, glowing in the dark doesn’t really prevent bikers from slamming into things…

So the new plan is to start with the beer on the terrace, and then establishment-hop (like that term?) our way around downtown. Maybe grab an appetizer here, some fro-yo over here, another drink here…you get the idea. Feels a teeny bit more adventurous than the standard dinner-and-a-movie spiel. Can’t wait!

Moving on! Remember when I bought two pairs of Zella leggings on sale a few months ago? Well, I’ve been meaning to hook you up with a review, and the time has finally come! In fact, I’ve even picked up another pair of leggings since then (from Calvin Klein), which I’ll also tell you about.

First of all, let’s talk about what to look for when you’re in the market for yoga pants/leggings.

how to buy yoga pants

What do you look for in the perfect pair??

Here are the factors that are most important to me personally (in this order):

Length. I’ve always paid attention to this, but only recently realized just how critical it is in my decision making. Some women can pull off leggings of any length and look bangin’ in them, but I’ve decided that they’re most flattering on me when they fall mid-to-low-calf.

As for regular yoga pants, it’s IMMENSELY important that they won’t turn into high-waters after the first wash. I don’t think I’m that tall (5’ 8”) but even for me, this is hard to pull off. I was thrilled when Victoria’s Secret first started offering long and extra long (!) lengths on their most-loved yoga pant, and now a bunch of other places (like Target, Old Navy, JCP, and Under Armour) are following suit. (Now if only Express would catch up…love their pants but too short!)

Coverage. I don’t really need anyone at the gym/in yoga class to know whether I’m wearing my blue or pink striped underwear, and I’m not a big fan of thongs for workouts, so I rely on pants with good coverage to manage the pantyline problem. I try to stay far, far away from the cheapo ones that thin out and give a big show when you bend over.

Structure and Movability. It has to be the right mix—too much of either one is a problem. I like to feel “packed in” but not completely restricted. And saggy waistbands are a big no-thank-you. (The thicker they are, the better they seem to hold up.) Do a couple big sumo squats and forward bends to test how well the pants can hang on. :)

Fabric feel. Cotton, polyester, spandex, nylon…what’s the perfect blend? Do you go for more of a soft, curl-up-on-the-couch pant or a high tech, slippery performance pant? My current favorite pair is 90% nylon and 10% spandex, and I’ve happily worn them both to work out and to bed.

Details. Is there a little somethin-somethin that differentiates one pair of pants from another? This isn’t hugely important, obviously, but my favorite leggings have a little ruching detail at the backs of the calves and waistband, and I love it. (Also, my favorite running shorts have little ruffles around the pockets!)

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Ok. Now that we have our criteria, let’s talk about how my choices measure up.

Zella (capris / leggings)

–Excellent coverage. I’ve heard that these pants are very close to lululemon, but I’ve never actually tried on a pair of lulus, so I can’t say for sure.

–Tight performance feel. Still comfortable, but not quite as couch-friendly as my Calvin Kleins, and they don’t breathe that well (although they are very moisture wicking).

–Odd lengths…they’re both ok, but what I really wanted was something in the middle! And for the long ones, I’d prefer that they bunch up at the ankles more (I just like that look)—guess I’m too tall for that? At any rate, they’ll be perfect tucked in tall boots this fall.

–Very supportive waistband and great stability.

General: These feel like they could withstand anything, workout-wise, and the coverage is amazing. My biggest complaint is that I sometimes feel a little too restricted in them. They also feel really heavy in hot yoga.

Calvin Klein (performance crops)

–Perfect length!

–Much more moveable than the Zellas, and still adequately stable.

–Decent coverage, but not quite the concrete wall the Zellas offer.

–Amazing fabric feel! My favorite ever. Soft and breathable (but not too much so), stretchy yet structured, and perfect for both the gym and the couch.

–Cute ruching details. :)

General: If you can’t tell, these are my current favs. They’re not as heavy and structured as the Zellas, which might be a negative to some people, but I love it. They breathe and they’re soft, but they’re also well-built and flattering.

FitWear USA (sport neo-organic leggings)

Bonus review! I bought 2 pair of these awhile ago through a Living Social deal—they’re actually the ones I mentioned ruining in this post. (Oops.) I thought I’d include a few thoughts on them in case anyone else is considering picking them up.

–Thin, with poor coverage. This is by far the biggest problem I have with these leggings. They’re crazy comfortable (perfect for bed, now that I’ve ruined them), but I have to remember not to bend over, ever, and I’m extra careful to keep them out of the dryer.

–So, so soft! Love!

–Perfect length. Possibly even slightly more perfect than the CKs, because they’re more of a low-calf than a mid-calf on me. (Turns out I like that.)

–Narrow, weak waistband.

General: If I hadn’t gotten such a great deal on these, I’d regret getting them. They’re super comfortable, but not great for workouts at all. And that coverage issue is a big deal, as you know, ladies.

What’s most important to you in a pair of yoga pants?

Do you have a favorite brand of yoga pants?

Do you and your sig other have an active hobby you like to do together?

Best cheapish/fun date night idea?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon September 26, 2013 at 8:36 pm

First, Happy Anniversary!! I like your date night idea! Are you able to rent a tandem bike around where you live? That could be a cool date night activity..

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Lisa @ Lisa Living Well September 26, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Happy 4 years! We just celebrated our 4 year anniversary a month ago! We still have yet to go out and actually celebrate though since I’ve been on crutches. I need to think of a fun date night idea too.

I ordered those Zella pants but haven’t worn them yet. I hope I like them.
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sarah @ sarah learns September 26, 2013 at 4:46 pm

i actually have been really loving yoga capris from the c9 by champion line at target! most of my workout bottoms are from there. :)

and your date night sounds amazing! i love the plan to establishment-hop!
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Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate September 26, 2013 at 3:50 pm

I think I am pretty lucky that Scott likes to run. We are actually training for the Madison Marathon together in December and it will be his first one! We also bike and play a lot of tennis together even though I played all throughout high school and he sometimes can somehow beat me…I guess I wasn’t as good as I thought I was!

We love heading downtown and seeing where the day/night takes us! Coopers Tavern is one of our fav stops. Happy anniversary and have a great time this weekend!
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Claire September 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm

happy anniversary…and I think I need to get my hands on those maple cookies, too!

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Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome September 26, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Happy Anniversary! Sounds like the perfect date night and one we would very much enjoy as well. Funny you talk about finding an active hobby to do together since we’ve discussed this same thing. We talked about joining a co-ed kickball team for something fun to do together but a weekly babysitter might be a little too much… We need one of our parents to move closer :-)
I love Zella and always grab them when I can find them on sale at Nordstrom or the Rack. Have you tried Ellie yet? I love their pants as well as their tops actually. They have super cute stuff and are fairly reasonable if you sign up for a monthly membership. Which you can cancel or skip a month at any time :-) I know they got a lot of bad reviews at first but I’ve experienced nothng but good things from their customer service and have pretty much loved every piece I’ve gotten.

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Amanda September 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Happy Anniversary! Adventure date nights are always the best!

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Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy September 26, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Happy anniversary! Enjoy your date this weekend!

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Katie @ running4cupcakes September 26, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Happy anniversary!!!!! I think your plans sound awesome. :) Can’t wait to hear how it goes. And totally agree with you – evening babysitters are way less stressful. ;)

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