DIY: ReinVENT Makeover

Here at VENT Fitness we like to ReinVENT stuff; ourselves, our members and our decor. When we got our cool new double cooler in Latham, we had to get rid of this old, grubby shelving unit to make room for it. I took one look at it and thought, “This thing has potential!”

I decided I could “ReinVENT” this unit into a fixture for our PRO Shop which, let’s face it, could use a little freshening up as you can see from the pics! Knowing that we had a bunch of rad new styles, items and designs launching, I wanted something eye catching to display our new inventory.

Here’s what I did:

First, I prepared the wood. Cleaning thoroughly with a degreaser (formula 409 works great) was my first step. Then I sanded all surfaces to be painted with medium to fine sandpaper. I used 220 but you could go coarser if that’s what you have on hand. I sanded just enough to remove the shiny surface coating to help the paint adhere.

It’s very important to clean off all of the dust from sanding otherwise the paint won’t stick. I used a damp, clean rag to do this.

If you try a project like this, EXPECT TO PUT 8 TO 100 COATS OF PAINT. In other words, patience is important for a project like this. Particle board takes a bit of finessing to get paint to adhere to it.

Because I was using commercial paint and because my piece started out a light color and I was painting with bold colors, I skipped a primer. After deciding on my pattern, I used blue painter’s tape to tape off my edges and started painting. For the sides, I was able to use a paint roller. For inside the cubbies, I used standard 3-4″ brushes. I painted all of each color, one at a time and let the paint dry completely between each coat. I ended up needing 3-4 coats of each color to get the bold color I was looking for.

Once all my cubbies were painted, I peeled off the painter’s tape and used an inch wide paint brush to finish the trim in dark brown for high contrast.

I let the whole thing dry for a few days, (just to be sure) and then placed it into its corner in our pro shop to artfully display our brand new accessories and free up space on the wall for new shirts, bags and running tights.

If you find yourself in Latham, take a look and tell me what you think!

Written by: Melanie Stevenson, Team Leader, VENT Fitness – Latham

The Perks Of A Pedi

Hello, Everyone! This week we can finally say that the Summer season is officially here! This means lighter clothing, sun hats, sunnies, and full feet exposure! Are your toes ready?

Anyone that has experienced a pedicure either at a salon or at home, knows how incredible the feeling is once you have cut, filed, buffed, cleaned and polished toes. You almost feel like a brand new person! However, what most people don’t realize is: pampering yourself is not only a treat to comfort your soul but most importantly, you’re actually acknowledging that your feet (an easily neglected part) need a little TLC too.

There are seven benefits as to why everyone (yes, the boys too!) need to start investing in a little more focus on those toes

Lower your chances of infection.

By tending to your nails by cutting, filing, and cleaning out, you can decrease your chances of any foot fungus and odor from growing on the skin or nails, not to mention, nails are there to help guard your skin from any chance of injury

Detect and possibly avoid any early signs of problems.

A manicurist is not a podiatrist, but they can sometimes be the first to help identify any growing concern with corns, bunions, or fungal infections like Athlete’s Foot or even warts

Preserves the moisture in your skin.

Soaking your feet in warm water with oils and then moisturizing them by massaging lotion into them thoroughly is like a nice cold drink of water for your skin. By keeping your skin moisturized, you are saving the quality and elasticity, while also preventing drying, cracking, and other foot problems that result from skin neglect. Also, keep those cuticles moisturized to avoid your nails from growing ridged or with split ends.

Exfoliates and revitalizes feet.

Exfoliation and skin removal permits new skin to grow in healthy and smooth, allowing the feet to look and feel healthy, new, and much more attractive

Prevents ingrown nails.

By cutting your nails, and cutting them properly (no rounded edges), you are prohibiting your nails from growing right into the side or the corner of the nail fold. A painful feelings, and a painful process when you have to have them removed (and yes, eventually you will).

Improves circulation.

Everyone’s favorite part for sure, is the massage you receive during the pedicure (and in all honesty, this is primarily the reason why at times I choose to go to a salon, verses giving myself a pedi at home!). So the next time you choose the salon over your D.I.Y. put any guilt aside, because you are doing a service to your body! Massaging improves the circulation in your body, increases blood flow, which brings fresh oxygen to your legs and feet, and most of all relieves any tension or pain in your muscles.

Relaxes the body.

Any way we can relieve our body of stress, or possible harm is a plus. And therapeutic massages can release tension, pain, and stiffness, which then leads to an overall sense of well-being, and who doesn’t want that?

And if you choose to get your nails done at a salon verses a D.I.Y., please take these “additional Health Tips” into consideration:

Just as you would do your homework on doctors, dentists, hair stylists, etc… make sure that your salon is accredited by the health department

Bring your own “Pedi Tools”. Some places create a kit for you and leave it on a shelf until your next visit, that way you don’t have to run the risk of using unsanitary objects on your skin

Ask your “manicurist” to push back your cuticles, instead of cutting them off. They are at the tips of your nail beds for a reason: to prevent any microbes

Make sure the whirlpool bath the manicurist soaks your feet in is cleaned and disinfected before you use it, and while your feet are soaking in the warm, bubbly suds, the water must contain some kind of antimicrobial agent.

Pumice stones and exfoliating scrubs are fine for dead skin removal, but avoid foot razors…this skin remover can do more harm than good if it is used incorrectly, because it can shave off too much skin causing serious damage and infection…not to mention it is illegal in some states

Ask for your nails to be filed into a square shape…round nails can cause ingrown-nails

Avoid waxing or shaving before a pedicure. Even the smallest of cuts can allow bacteria to sneak through

If you love having painted toes, make sure to remove the color after two weeks, to avoid staining your toe nails a yellowish color. In all actuality, toenails need time to breath, so you should take breaks between polishing. Fungus is likely to grow under the paint, and polish remover can ruin the enamel of your nails.

This summer, while you’re catering to those piggies, alone or on a day out with your pampering pals, make sure to take these benefits and health tips into consideration, that way you’re not letting your feet ruin your summer fun!

X, Danielle

Danielle is a member of VENT Fitness, Guilderland and guest fashion blogger for VENT Fitness. Her blog Fashion Is My Favorite Subject offers readers everyday creative ideas to spice up your look. You can tag Danielle on Instagram: @daniellepiel, Facebook: Danielle Piel, or leave a comment below, sharing some of your inspiring looks!

Image Copyright: robertprzybysz / 123RF Stock Photo

The Job Interview: What to Say, What to Wear

It’s one of the most demanding times of the year to be out searching for a job. Here are some pointers to help you score that dream job!

The other day a close friend and I were talking about interviewing for a new job. She asked me some advice on what I have done in the past to land my job and the obvious, “What should I wear?” question. The summer is the time of the year (other than the Holiday season) where people are more than likely to be on the hunt for a new job, or looking to branch off in more competitive positions where they already work.

Below are some tips that I have not only given in the past, but used as well and what I wore to correctly answer the question and land the job!

What to Say

#1: Know the Company/Interviewer

Make sure to do your research about the company and if you can, those that are interviewing you. You want to go in feeling confident and resourceful, and above all else, “knowing your stuff.” Speaking authentically is a great way to show your desire to work for the company. Look up the company, use social media (like a quick LinkedIn search), these resources could help you on your quest to building a foundation because more times than not, at the end of the interview, you will be asked if YOU have any questions for them; this is a great time to share your knowledge and SHINE!
#2: Be Yourself
Let’s face it, we all get nervous knowing that we are going into a room and being judged first-hand off of what you say and how you say it in front of what may be a room full of your future bosses or administrators. Take a deep breath to relax beforehand could help you make the first impression a positive one. Selling yourself is important, but going overboard sharing too many unrelated personal stories or discussing some of your flaws can leave your possible future employer with the wrong impression. Don’t be fake, just be sincere; you’ve clearly been chosen for the interview for a reason and that alone should be enough to show your worth!
#3: Be Prepared
Although this is one of my strong suits, being prepared and organized are just some of the traits that I need with my hectic lifestyle, when applying for a new job this trait becomes a life saver. Make sure to not only do your homework about the company and interviewer but I like to think of preparing for an interview as if you are preparing for a court case. You want to try to come up with the questions that you might be asked, that way, whether they are as difficult as, “How will you increase our sales?”, to, “Give us your strengths and weaknesses,” you are confident in your thoughts and don’t walk out of the interview thinking to yourself, “why did I say that? That’s not what I would do at all! I should have said this…” Also make sure to lay out your outfit the night before, set your GPS, make copies of your resume to pass around to everyone in the room and get a good night’s rest so you are awake, energized and alert for the big day!
#4: “Buzz Words”
It is important to speak confidently, clearly, and above all, in a manner that expresses why you should be the chosen expertise for the position. However, we all know that we may get stressed, nervous, anxious, fumble over words or go blank. If you can remember these important buzz words to help along the way, they may increase your chances of standing out amongst the other candidates:

“I know a great deal about your company.”

This is where doing your homework comes in handy, because it shows your interest and drive to do what you can to make the company more successful by employing you.

“I am a highly motivated individual.”

Potential employers want an employee that is willing to go above and beyond their expectations for their company. If you talk about how often you were tardy for your last job, share that you work according to the clock or only do work that is assigned to you, the decision maker may choose someone else more willing to give them their all.

“I work well in groups.”

Teamwork is extremely important, showing that you can not only work well independently but play well with others in the sandbox, shows your versatility and open-mindedness as a career person.

“I always have a positive attitude.”

We all love seeing that person at work that is always happy. Show that you are that person. Not only does it improve the morale where you work, but it shows that being positive proves you love what you do and you have the drive to make others love it as well.

“I’m Flexible.”

Having open availability or be willing to transfer shows the employer that they can count on you to be there when and where they need you. Dedication is key and although there may be times that you have to say “no,” for the most part, being open to opportunity is always important.

“I’m always willing to learn new things.”

If you are new to the field, or don’t have as much experience as others in the field (or potential candidates), these words sum up your drive and willingness to do whatever it takes to be what the company needs. Even expressing that you’re a quick learner shows that they do not have to spend too much time training you for different roles in the company.

“That’s a great question.”

There may be some questions where the interviewer leaves you stumped or one that you were not fully prepared for. Think of this as your opportunity to show how you work under pressure! Take a deep breath for a second to collect your thoughts, this will give you time to answer with confidence. This also gives your interviewer a little ego boost for truly asking such “a great question.”

#5: The Thank You Note
When I graduated from college and started interviewing for educator positions, my mentor always told me to make sure to write a note to all of the administrators/schools that I interviewed with. It gives a personal touch to the process, and shows that whether or not you are given the position, you appreciate the thought of them interviewing you. Besides, when you think about it, you could have been chosen for the interview over 100’s of other candidates and it shows your character. Who knows, what if the person that was chosen turns down the position and it came down to you and someone else that did not choose to write a thank you note? Who would you then choose for the position, if you were in their shoes? Small thoughts go a long way.

What to Wear


This is where research comes in handy. If you’re going for a position at a retail store, wearing articles of clothing, or accessories from that company shows that you not only want to work for the company, because they have something that no other retail store does, but it also shows that you love it so much, you actually choose to spend your money on their products. Even if you wear similar styles to what the company is selling, your eye demonstrates how well you would fit in with their brand.


Wearing black shows professionalism, sophistication, and above all, class. Whether it’s for a restaurant, cafe, or bar, you still want to show that you care enough for this position to do what it takes to earn it. If you don’t have an all-black outfit, pairing a great black skirt with a crisp white top can add some balance to the look. Just make sure to avoid patterns and bold prints. You want to keep it safe, and not look too busy.


Although you don’t have to wear solid colors here, making sure that a nice suit or dress is important. You can have fun with prints and patterns, because after all, you want to be able to show that your vibrant personality will work well with other colleagues and of course the students. However, still keep your look moderate, because you want to be presentable while showcasing your personality and credibility.

Corporate world/Business/Office:

This would be the one position I would say is all psychological. In the corporate world, how you dress, projects how you think. Smart, simple, and sophisticated are how you want to be for the interviewing process. There is a higher sense of formality with this interviewing process. By sticking with simple, clean colors and lines, you show that you are precise, confident, and strategic with not only your appearance, but also with your personality traits and work ethic.

Bring it together, girl

Keep the makeup natural. This is not the time to test out a new bold lip color, or a smokey eye. Keep it subtle with your hair pulled back in a neat bun, or curls.

I hope that these were some helpful pointers in clarifying what you should consider doing before you go face-to-face with your potential employer and potential dream job!

Best of luck and have a gratifying and successful week!

X, Danielle

Danielle is a member of VENT Fitness, Guilderland and guest fashion blogger for VENT Fitness. Her blog Fashion Is My Favorite Subject offers readers everyday creative ideas to spice up your look. You can tag Danielle on Instagram: @daniellepiel, Facebook: Danielle Piel, or leave a comment below, sharing some of your inspiring looks!

Image Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo

7 Trending Swimsuits for the Beach (On a Budget)

When it’s time to start searching for my new summer swimsuit, I can’t help but sing the words to Brian Hyland’s 1960’s hit, “she wore an itsy, bitsy, teenie weenie, yellow polka dot bikini!” The second thought I have is scoping out the current trends while still keeping in mind whether or not I could reuse or eventually recycle my suit.Here are the top 2016 Summer Suits that can be worn for seasons to come. And because we all know how expensive these suits can be… “What? You have to pay for the top and bottom separately?” said by just about every man I know… I’ve also found some of the best looks, with durable quality, all on a budget!

The Classic (itsy bitsy teenie weenie) Bikini

Victoria’s Secret Secret is currently having a sale, bottoms $7.99 and up. Tops are on sale for $12.99 and up.
Nothing says swimwear like your classic two-piece, but this summer you will see many varieties on how the two piece is worn. Lace, bold prints mixed with stripes, tribal print, floral, nude, you name it! But making sure you find the right fit so you don’t spend more time fidgeting with your top (or bottom) instead of enjoying the water and sun, is key!

Sporty Two-Piece

This Kenneth Cole “Strappy Cut Out” sporty bikini can be purchased at Macy’s on sale for under $30 for each piece!
Perfect for some beach volleyball, beach yoga or a run along the water! Flattering two pieces that are both comfortable and practical when you’re on the move! The best part is that this season, designers are breaking away from your typical “sports bra” top and bottoms, for straps, cut-outs, cropped tops, holsters, draw-string styles and tanks!

The “High-Waisted” Retro two-piece

The suit I recently purchased for under $20 from the online boutique Cupshe (can’t wait for its arrival so I can post my review!)
I do love a great two-piece but when you’re jumping through waves or playing around with your children in the water, the last thing I want is my bottoms to start rising up, or my top to come undone! I have been on the hunt for a great high-waisted two piece that wasn’t going to cost me an arm and a leg. I am a sucker for retro, and just last week I finally stumbled across a clothing line that sold a wide range of these classic fits for an affordable price (not to mention, this cut looks flattering on all body types)! I couldn’t believe what I saw, but when I read the great reviews, I decided to give it a shot! Above is the suit I purchased for under $20 (yes, for top and bottom!) and because it was my first purchase, I received a discount for my next purchase!

The Three “B’s”: Bohemian, Bandeau, Bralette

Search these looks at Target starting at $14.99
Neck halters, flowy, frilly, and bands that can double as “sporty-like” are all the rave this season. I love that some of these tops work perfect for “smaller chested” ladies, but if you want more of ath-leisure style you can still do so with a feminine touch!

“Not Your Grandmother’s” One-Piece

This beautiful floral patterned, lined, V-neck one-piece currently retails for $29.99 at H&M
Finally, we’ve got it right! Women should have the right to wear a comfortable one-piece without feeling like a “plain jane,” and instead stylish and feminine! I love all the embellishments, styles, cuts, prints and patterns on the ones showcased this season! The best part is that you can find these almost anywhere you shop for bathing suits, and they’re usually a bargain compared to purchasing a two-piece.

The “Retro” One-Piece

Chaps brand sold by Kohl’s on sale for less than $20!
I love retro for sure! And last year while looking for a cute one-piece because I knew I was going to be spending the majority of my time out in the sun at a Water Park (where we had season tickets with our kids). I wanted to not only be covered up for all of those slides, but I wanted to look age appropriate as well. This one-piece has the string-tied top, roche sides, with a tiny skirt to cover up, all while flattering your body with the sleek dark blue color and pop of crisp white to accentuate that sun-kissed skin!

The Cut-Out

I am in love with Forever 21’s Swimwear line this season, and this “Crisscross-Back” Monokini can be purchased for only $24.90!

Want the look of a two-piece, but don’t want to deal with fussing over keeping it in the right places while swimming around? The cut-out is now taking on a life of its own! You can find it in so many stunning designs, shapes, textures, patterns, and detail that keep them so unique, stylish, and tasteful!

Hopefully these styles have helped to inspire your summer swimsuit purchases!

X, Danielle

Danielle is a member of VENT Fitness, Guilderland and guest fashion blogger for VENT Fitness. Her blog Fashion Is My Favorite Subject offers readers everyday creative ideas to spice up your look. You can tag Danielle on Instagram: @daniellepiel, Facebook: Danielle Piel, or leave a comment below, sharing some of your inspiring looks!

Image Copyright: maridav / 123RF Stock Photo