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    Lifestyle

    SFT 21-Day Booty Challenge

    Hey there -- so I’m excited to announce to you that each month I will list out my favorite workouts for you in a way that you can do them anytime throughout your everyday life.


    This month, I wanted to focus on your glutes and provide you with some of my favorite glute workouts that you can do anytime. Working your glutes is my personal favorite -- actually glutes and legs. You know we all want to have Carrie Underwoods legs, am I right? So for May, I introduce you to our SFT 21 Day Booty Challenge!


    Exercise 1: Basic Squat

    For our first exercise, I wanted to demonstrate a basic squat. I actually will run through many sets of 10 throughout the day in my work out clothes or everyday clothing. As long as I can bend down and up in a comfortable way.

    To do a correct squat, stand tall with your feet spread apart and shoulder distance apart. You will lower your body down, pushing your hips and glutes back by bending your knees. You can hold this position and then slowly push yourself back and squeezing your glutes back to the standing position.

    Exercise 2: Plie’ Squat

    Our second exercise is a plie' squat. I also love a good plie' squat, why you ask?? Well, I’ve always wanted to be a ballerina but that was never in my card as I was more of a basketball player and avid runner.

    And speaking of running, I’ve had to take a break for a little while for an injured foot. I’m hoping I can get back into my running shoes again soon. Until then... I plie'!

    What I love about this squat position is that it strengthens your legs, glutes, and calves along with increasing your hips. You are also toning your inner thighs.

    In this position you will bring your feet much wider than a regular squat position. You will also want to turn your toes out. Start with bending your knees. Lower your body down keeping your back straight, and pull your abs in for a little core bonus work. This also supports your lower back. Squeeze your glutes and come back to a standing position.

    Exercise 3: Donkey Kick

    Our third exercise is a donkey kick. Donkey kicks are fabulous for really targeting your glutes. For this exercise you will actually come down on the the floor (or mat if you’re using one) and get on all fours with your hands under the shoulder and your knees under the hips.

    Let’s start with our right leg by bending the knee to 90 degrees, flexing the foot and lifting the foot flexed up to hip level. You will return the knee back and repeat. After you finish the right, you will repeat on the left.

     

     

     

    What I'm doing for lent

    Sweet Baton Rouge® What I chose for lent.

    Now that Mardi Gras is behind us and as we enter into Lent, I think about what I want to give up during this season.


    A lot of folks give up sweets or social media during, but for me this year, I want to re-start my New Year's resolution by getting back to running and starting my day off with prayer and devotion.


    If you’re looking for a great devotional app, I  love First 5. Praying before my day begins really helps me set myself up for success.


    Also, putting on my running shoes to me is a little “lagniappe” that makes my day a little brighter.  


    My last run was in November when I was training for my 4th half marathon. I knew that I was approaching the holiday season and new I wouldn’t be able to continue my schedule between working at the showroom and time change, so I finished my half and put away my running shoes until now.


    Now, I plan on training for the Crescent City Classic in New Orleans. Plus, I find it’s fitting with the Lent season -- since the race is the day before Easter.

    I’ve ran this race three times before, and I always love traveling down to New Orleans and running through the city. This year will be even more special because my daughter Kelsey will be joining me. She is a mother of two and just had her second baby at the beginning of January. We ran it together years ago when she was in high school, but I’m really looking forward to this mother/daughter run!

     

    I’ve been running since I was in the 5th grade, I can tell you it’s a love/hate relationship. I ran both track and cross country since middle school. I even wanted to run in college until I found my love for basketball, but that’s for another story.

     

    Growing up in a small town, you have to find things to do, and I guess for me, running was my thing. Now that I’m way past my high school and even college days, I still get a thrill from running.

     

    I’m a goal-oriented person no doubt, so I always need a running goal to motivate me and push me throughout the year. Just going for run to me isn’t nearly as motivating. So since my word for 2017 was balance, I need to set a goal for myself to get ready for the next race.

     

    I hope you’ll follow along as my daughter and I take on the Crescent City Classic this spring! If you want to join us and sign up, here’s the link http://www.ccc10k.com

     

    Looking for a good running schedule?

     

    Here are some great local races happening in our very own Sweet Baton Rouge® during March and April -- all leading up to the Crescent City Classic in Nola.

    Sweet Baton Rouge® grey athletic tank

     

    1. Komen of Baton Rouge Race for the Cure, March 4th (10K, 5K, 1M run)
    2. Brother Eldon 5K, March 11th
    3. OLOL Amazing Race, March 12th, (13.1K,10K, 5K, kids run)
    4. St Patrick’s Day 5K, March 19th
    5. Get Your Rear Into Gear 5K, April 1st
    6. Seize the Day 5K, April 1st
    7. Fat Boy April 8th, (5K, 1M run)



    To help you get started, there are several running guides out there like the Couch to 10K program. You can find these easily by a Google or Pinterest search.

     

    My best advice is to get out there and just do it! Start with a run/walk repetition and work on building your endurance one practice at a time, but be sure to create a schedule for yourself.

     

    For even more inspiration, follow along with @shopSFT Instastories for my runs, workouts, tips, and tricks!

    XOXO - Meredith 

    Local Bloggers Take King Cake Challenge

    Local Bloggers Take King Cake Challenge

    Happy Mardi Gras, y’all! One of our favorite and most popular tees this Carnival Season has been the “King Cake Calories Don’t Count” tee. We know every Louisiana girl lives by that rule come January! To go with its release, we asked our local fashion bloggers to share THEIR favorite locally-made King Cakes in our SFT King Cake Challenge. You can see more on the hashtag #KingCakeChallenge and even share your own favorites!

    January Hart of January Hart


    January chose The Heavenly Donut Bananas Foster King Cake! According to January, it’s the biggest and best donut you’ve ever had because it’s filled with banana cream and Rum filling. Then it’s topped with a decadent Praline Caramel sauce! Um, yes please! She had quite the donut spread in her post. 
    You can see it all here.

    Karli Willis of Karli Alexandra

    Karli Alexandra King Cake Challenge for shopSFT

    Karlie chose Whole Foods as her go-to King Cake because of it’s amazing icing. She paired our “King Cake Calories Don’t Count” tee with a comfy cardigan and boots for a cozy Mardi Gras look. You can see her look here.

    Emily Dixon of Emily Villere Dixon

    Emily Villere Dixon King Cake Challenge for shopSFT

    Emily chose Magpie Cafe’s King Cake as her local favorite! She loves the mini ones because they’re just the right size and you don’t have to share! You can check out her look in our purple Lagniappe Mardi Gras tee on her Instagram here.

    Leslie Presnall of Southern Flair

    Southern Flair Blog King Cake Challenge for shopSFT

    Leslie chose Rouses as her top pick. Now that locations have opened in Baton Rouge, she’s trying all the flavors she can this Carnival Season. Bavarian Cream, Pecan Praline and Blueberry are her favorites. You can see her full Mardi Gras look in our LA Stripe tee on her blog in this post!

    Emily Ford of Limerence & Luck

     

    Emily Ford of Limerence & Luck King Cake Challenge for shopSFT

    Emily chose the Bavarian Cream King Cake from Port Allen Bakery! According to her, the slice of cream-filled heaven is well worth the drive over the bridge. You can see her full post AND how she tones up after King Cake season here.

    Thanks to our local bloggers for sharing their top picks! We have so many types and flavors of King Cakes to try over the next week! You can shop ALL their tees in our 2017 Mardi Gras Collection. And don’t forget to share your #KingCakeChallenge with us! Tag us @shopSFT on Instagram.

     

    Meredith’s Favorite Exercises

    Meredith’s Favorite Exercises

    Sweet Baton Rouge Athletic Grey Tank


    Did you choose a “Word of the Year” for 2017? This year, I chose balance. This mostly comes from needing to make more time for myself and less time always working, which I’m sure we can ALL relate to!


    When I first started SFT, I was actually a fitness instructor for Yogalates, located here in Baton Rouge. I would work out daily -- sometimes two or three times a day! I loved the fitness world, but as the demand for SFT continued, I eventually had to stop teaching and focus 100% on SFT. And you bet I miss those days of leisure and teaching -- it was so peaceful and rewarding.


    Being the sole owner of a business is very hard to find “me” time and time for working out. So going into 2017, I told myself it was time to find balance again. That means balance for work, home life, mom life, wife life and newly grandmother life! And the list goes on…


    For today’s post we’re focused specifically on balancing a work and fitness life. I’m here to show you how you can work fitness into your daily crazy life no matter what! Whether you’re home, in the office or at a gym, you’ll be able to use these five exercises to squeeze in some fitness into your day.

    Before we get into the exercises, I want to offer you a tip! Set alarms throughout the day to remind yourself to stand up and workout briefly for 5-10 minutes. You can do all of the exercises I’m talking about today from anywhere! I like to call it a little workout-lagniappe!

     

    1. Upright Row - This is one of my favorite workouts using light - medium weights. You can build the strength through your biceps and through your shoulders with this exercise.
      1. Grab two weights in each hand to create an overhand grip, turning the weights towards your body. Keep the weights down by your side and then lift the weights up to your shoulders with your arms extended with a slight bed in your elbows. Keep your back straight and feet hips width distance.Oh, and don’t forget to relax your shoulders!
      2. You can also use the same motion from a sumo squat, this is my favorite.Two workouts in one!

    Upright Row Sweet Baton Rouge Athletic Grey

     

    1. Squats - I love working squats in all the time. I will do them throughout my day, by setting my alarm to go off the last 10 minutes of the hour. I will do between 30 to 50 reps each time -- so good for your glutes and legs!
      1. Stand with your head facing forward and your chest held up and out.
      2. Place your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance. You can also bend the elbows or clasp the fingers.
      3. Sit back and down like you're sitting into an imaginary chair. Keep your head facing forward as your upper body bends forward a bit. Rather than allowing your back to round, let your lower back arch slightly as you descend.
      4. Lower down so your thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible, with your knees over your ankles. Press your weight back into your heels.
      5. Keep your body tight, and push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position.
      6. If you want to challenge yourself, grab a hand weight and keep it by your side as your squat.

    Squats in Sweet Baton Rouge Atletic Grey

    1. Plank - You can plank anywhere and almost in anything. Just like my squats, I will do the same in a plank. I will hold sometimes from anywhere from 20-40 seconds each time. I love do a full plank because it's a full body workout. You are working every muscle group. Plus it helps with the tension in my shoulders from working on my computer.
      1. Start by getting into a cat position (on both knees and arms are straight)
      2. Step your feet back.
      3. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles.
      4. Engage your core by sucking your belly button into your spine.
      5. Hold this position for the prescribed time.

    Planking in Sweet Baton Rouge Athletic Grey

    1. Crunches - I love crunches -- like all of them. Do you have 5 minutes a day? I know I do and I try to give myself 5 minutes a day before I take a bath to do five 60 second reps of my favorite crunches. You can easily do this for yourself while running your bath water. Here are my five crunches I like to do:
      1. Traditional crunch with your elbows back, belly pulled in and lift and crunch.
      2. Cross crunches where you lay flat on your back and place your right hand behind your head. Bend your left knee to a 90 degree and bring the right elbow to your left knee. You can do this for 60 reps and switch to the other side. (repeat opposite side)
      3. Table top crunches with your feet in the air. This one is really easy -- you will lift your feet up in the air with your feet flexed. You will lay flat with your elbows behind your head and you will lift straight up -- or you can also lift your arms up and try and let your fingers touch your toes.
      4. Bicycles crunches where you raise your legs and bring your right elbow to your left knee and alternate.

    1. Standing Bow - This is by far one of my favorite balancing poses I loved at Yoglates. You can always improve your form and challenge yourself with this move.
      1. The first step is to reach back with your left hand and grasp the inside of your left foot or ankle. To avoid compression in your lower back, lift your pubis toward your belly button, and at the same time, press your tailbone toward the floor.
      2. Slowly lift your left foot up, away from the floor, and back, away from your torso. Extend the left thigh behind you and parallel to the floor. Stretch your right arm forward, in front of your torso, parallel to the floor.
      3. Keep your head up and focus on something to maintain your balance. If you’re in front of a mirror, the best thing is look at yourself and picture your leg lifting up as you breathe and stretch into the pose.

     

    Plus, it wouldn’t be a complete exercise post without mentioning our NEWEST Sweet Baton Rouge® tees, which are now my favorite to work out in! They come in this tank and in long sleeve, which are perfect for those cool morning runs!

    I look forward to hearing more from you and hope you try some of these workouts through your busy day. Remember to find the balance in your life for some "me" time.

    xoxo - Meredith

    SFT 2016 Year in Review

    SFT Year in Review

    With the close of a New Year comes a time for reflecting on the previous 12 months and setting goals for the future. Today, I’m excited to share our 2016 Year in Review, which I’m sure, like yours, was full of successes, failures, changes and a roller coaster of everything in between.

    Let’s start from the beginning...


    Mardi Gras 2016


    Here at SFT, we don’t have a lot of downtown around the holidays to relax because we head straight into Mardi Gras immediately after Christmas! We jumped right into the Mardi Gras season in 2016 with our new “1-800-Throwdat Bling” tee, fun King Cake flavors tee and flamingo Spanish Town tee.


    Last Mardi Gras, we sold to stores all over the state and we were even featured on a local TV station in Bossier City thanks to Britney Spivey, the owner of Simply Chic Boutique. Talk about off to an awesome start!


    Throughout the Mardi Gras season, we continued to target and grow our local audience on social media. We also worked with local bloggers like A Pinch of Lovely, Southern Flair and Lipstick Heels and a Baby -- who all featured our Mardi Gras collection.

    Lipstick Heels and a Baby - Mardi Gras

    Southern Flair Blog in SFT Spanishtown tee

    With Mardi Gras in full swing, we also experienced an earlier crawfish season due to the El Nino in December 2015. We created a new “Peace Love Crawfish” tee that became a fan favorite! We know how much our customers love Louisiana food, so we designed several tees throughout the year inspired by our Southern food and culture (like the Beignet tee, Gumbo Queen tee, Beer and Boudin tee, Jambalaya tee and The World is Your Oyster tee).

    Peace Love Crawfish by SFT

    Spring 2016 - Atlanta Market


    By early 2016, we were going full force with our spring collection, and I can say that I learned A LOT with this collection --  more than all of collections before.


    Our team (Sarah and I) wanted to create a line that was on trend and flowed with our current vibes, which were daydreaming of the sun and laying on the beach. We also wanted to develop a wholesale line that would fit any boutique’s style ALL across the South -- not just Louisiana.


    Although it wasn’t initially part of our long-term plan, we booked our flights for the Atlanta Market and had to prepare our collection leading up to it.


    We had the designs, now we just needed a photoshoot. Thank goodness for Pinterest! We were able to fill our boards with so much beach inspiration, and we even booked a weekend trip to the cute town of Ocean Springs, Mississippi for our shoot.

     

    Afterwards, we got right to work on our awesome catalog that we were able to bring with us to market.


    Typically, we attend 2-3 markets per year to meet and introduce our brand to boutiques all across the South. And let me tell you, as a small business I get SO nervous and insecure when I head off to market.


    SFT isn’t a large company that other boutiques know about across the South. We have to sell our company and why SFT is perfect for them. Although it can be scary, it’s always exciting to meet new stores or buyers because they are trusting me with our brand. It never gets old though.


    However, the Atlanta Market was only somewhat successful. Sure, we picked up a few new stores, but I didn’t feel it was the direction that SFT was heading. I was sensing a strong pull toward Louisiana.


    Because of the shift, SFT decided to focus our brand on developing and growing our retail base right here in Louisiana and within the state’s retail stores. We wanted to create a unique brand that encompassed specifically the Louisiana southern style.

    SFT Summer Catalog

    Spring 2016 - Spreading LOCAL Love


    Once back from market, we branched out with new local shirts in our Sweet Baton Rouge® line, including Geaux Run, I Heart BR and more. (Plus, we have several in the works for 2017!)


    We introduced our Local tee in the early spring, in efforts to show our local pride and support small businesses. We understand the importance of our community and love to see small local businesses (like ourselves) flourish.

    We wanted to start fresh with featuring some of our favorite local spots around our Sweet Baton Rouge®. We partnered again with Leslie from Southern Flair, who took our tee around on her Local Travel Guide where she included what to see, eat, drink, and do in Baton Rouge.


    We also amped up our social media to talk about our local mission throughout the year and featured businesses like Redstick Spice, Magpie Cafe, City Pork, Pelican House and SO many more. We also hosted a fun giveaway throughout the summer asking customers to share their local love by tagging us at their local favorite spots with #SFTLocal.

    SFT at Magpie Baton Rouge
    Pelican House Baton Rouge, eat local

    Eventually later in the year, we would continue to show our Louisiana love through our online Local Pop-Up Shop and Lagniappe Box!


    Summer 2016 - Preparing for Dallas Market


    The spring flew by with all of our campaigns, markets, and projects that we had to quickly get started on our gameday collection! We knew that Dallas Market is where we were heading in August, so we started hitting game day planning as early as April and May.


    After our spring collection and the success of the Mardi Gras and crawfish designs, it was obvious that our customers wanted to see more Louisiana-inspired tees. They wanted shirts that were tailored to Louisiana living and culture.


    At the same time, we also wanted to create a custom gameday line that was easy for our retailers to pick school colors and gameday shirts that were fitting for the schools in their area.

    I really loved this line. Gameday collections are always my favorite -- after all, our original company name is “Football Tees.” We loved football so much that we originally created a brand solely around football shirts for females.

    So throughout the summer, we prepped our game day collection for market and held a big photoshoot right here in Downtown Baton Rouge. We included fun tailgating tees, football mom and cheer mom designs and so much more.

    We also incorporated some re-branding and changed the “Southern Football T-Shirt” to simply SFT. We also added a new slogan: southern style. everyday life.

    SFT Southern Style Everyday Life


    For me personally, I live in t-shirts on a daily basis. I wear my shirts with leggings or jeans, and I can dress up my style or dress it down. T-shirts are so versatile, and I want our brand to be one that you want to live in. And I wanted to bring all these concepts to Dallas Market.

    August 2016 - Dallas Market & Louisiana Flooding


    So when I left for Dallas Market, we were all set up for success. We had our catalogs, custom boards, tees -- everything was well thought out and readyto go.


    However, back at home it had started raining. The rain was coming down so fast that areas that had never flooded started going under water.


    I was in Dallas and extremely disappointed by the low traffic at the market. I looked on Facebook to see that my personal friend and a boutique owner’s home had been engulfed with water. My heart immediately began to break for my community.


    My family was home and safe, but I couldn’t get out of Dallas. All I wanted to do was to be home with my family. As I finally made that drive home, I knew I had to do something to help.


    Our team started with creating a blog post with information on how to help and donate to the flood victims. We wanted to give back more, but we weren't exactly sure how.

    As fate would have it, on Monday, August 16 -- in the midst of the flooding -- Sarah posted a Cajun Navy graphic to our SFT Facebook page to express our appreciation of the brave men and women who launched their boats into the floodwaters in efforts to rescue those who were stranded.

     

    To our surprise, the post unexpectedly went viral with numerous requests for the graphic to be made into a shirt. We quickly designed a fundraising Cajun Navy t-shirt with the goal of raising money for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, who had also flooded.

     

    We packaged over 4,000 thousand shirts in a matter of a few weeks to old customers and new customers supporting our brand, community, and charity! The whole experience has been so humbling. So far, we’ve been able to donate nearly $50,000 to the Food Bank. You can read the full store here.


    Fall 2016 - Louisiana All the Way


    With the Cajun Navy success, we were hearing our customers loud and clear.


    We started to see the most loyal customers come back again and again, and we continued to discover that Louisiana is a beautiful state with so much culture. It’s truly a unique state and we live in the best city with so much pride.


    At the end of August, we participated in Fall Fashion Fest at Tin Roof Brewing Co. and did awesome as people continued to show their Cajun Navy support! We also participated in the Baton Rouge Fashion Council’s Boutique Blowout Sale where we were able to share this year’s designs with a local audience.


    In September, we launched our first Local Lagniappe Box, which is a monthly Louisiana-themed box curated by the team at SFT. Each month, our box includes a brand new (never-seen-before) tee along with artfully selected local products.

    Local Lagniappe Box by SFT


    We’ve had the idea for this box for over a year now. So it was exciting to finally launch it and see that our customers were just as excited as we were.

    It all goes back to our vision of our Local shirt -- so that we can showcase and support other local businesses just like us and spread the Louisiana love.


    We started our box with 40 subscriptions and now in just a few months, we’ve expanded to 200! We’re excited to see where we can take it in 2017.


    In early October, we also received our registry letter from the United State Patent and Trademark Office, which made Sweet Baton Rouge® officially a part of SFT.

    Sweet Baton Rouge® Raglan


    This has been in the works for SFT ever since we came up with the Sweet Baton Rouge® design in 2013. We are happy that so many others love the Sweet Baton Rouge® as much as we do to get this trademark. We have many things planned for the future with our name Sweet Baton Rouge® in years to come!

    A Cajun Christmas 2016

     

    By November and December we were in high gear for the holidays and celebrating our Cajun Christmas! We were all about keeping everything Louisiana-themed and local -- even during the holidays!

     

    We also saw that more and more customers liked the idea of visiting our physical location to shop (located at 11843 Bricksome Ave Suite C.), so this fall I decided to transition the SFT office into a true showroom where customers can come shop by appointment or to pick up online orders.

     

    With that, we needed to update the space, so we loaded up the team for a trip to the mecca of furniture -- Ikea!

     

    A few weeks after our update, we hosted our first holiday pop-up shop at the showroom, where we continued to show support for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank through our canned food drive.

    For the holidays, we launched two designs -- our LA Cajun Christmas and Heaux Heaux Heaux tees. We quickly saw how much our customers loved our Heaux Heaux Heaux design, but for some out-of-towners, they didn’t understand! It’s definitely a Cajun Louisiana thing :)


    Throughout Christmas, we told the story of experiencing Louisiana winter and holiday traditions all around the state through our December Lagniappe Box. You can read more about the traditions here.


    Then, before you knew it in December we were already launching our Mardi Gras-themed January box. Currently, at SFT we are back into the full Mardi Gras swing! Stay tuned the next couple weeks for some our latest Louisiana festive design!

    XOXO - SFT TEAM