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Hera Sport: A Community for Sports-Loving Fashionistas

Written on September 15, 2014 at 11:14 am , by

Written by Jacklyn Kouefati, editorial intern

We’re all about crushing those double standards. But when it comes to athletics, specifically the NFL, women are losing the fight for dominance, which is why we’re so excited Hera Sport is now a thing.

Launched just a couple of weeks ago, founder Elizabeth Vagianos created the online community specifically for female sports fanatics looking for a place to get their fashion fixes. Because let’s be honest: The whole sports-crazed fashionista thing is pretty badass.

“I grew up watching sports with my mother and my three sisters,” she says. “My father would cook Sunday afternoon lunch for us while we watched football.”

Role reversal for the padres, much? We’re into it. “I saw that I wanted to have this community my mother had built for us in our home,” she says, “I wanted to have that with my peers, but I really couldn’t find anything out there that was a community of women who enjoyed sports but were still feminine and enjoyed fashion and stylish things.”

The website features an array of topics, including fashion and beauty—outfits to wear and fun nail art, aka “fanicures”; food and health; travel; playbook—lots of fantasy football and baseball coverage; and Words of Lizdom, where Vagianos gives her own bits of advice.

“I’m Greek American and I’ve always loved Greek mythology. Hera to me symbolized the ‘it’ girl,” the Patriots fan says. “She was Zeus’s wife and she was powerful. It wasn’t about her beauty, like maybe Aphrodite or other goddesses. It was her strength and her power as a female. I really wanted my brand to be driven by a strong female name.”

Mission accomplished? “A lot of women are telling me that they finally found their home—a place that they can be feminine but be fans in an unintimidating community. It’s been really nice to hear.”

Vagianos envisions Hera partnering with the NFL to bring about an even bigger community of women who can “enjoy sports with style.” We’ll be rooting for her—and Hera—but in the meantime, join us as we make our own fanicures.

“Hands down, the biggest misconception is if you’re feminine and stylish that means that your knowledge base is nil,” Vagianos says. “So basically being a woman means really not knowing about the game, and that’s something I really want to address with this site.”

Photo courtesy of Hera Sport

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5 Things Every Football Player Wishes You Knew About Football

Written on September 5, 2014 at 6:33 pm , by

NFL season is officially on, and we’re pretty sure the men in your life (husbands, boyfriends, fathers, brothers, uncles, grandpas, distant cousins, etc.) are already glued to Sports Center and planning what type of beer they’re going to grab for game time. And while most of us are led to believe the male-football obsession is the only one that exists, it turns out things aren’t so one-sided. In fact, nearly half of the NFL’s fans are female, according to recent Scarborough research. So instead of rolling your eyes at every angry gesture your man and his friends make at the television, let yourself get caught up in the emotion too. Because not only are there things they want you to know (trust us, they’ll find it incredibly sexy when you rattle off player stats), but the players wish you did, too. New York Giants linebacker Jon Beason gave us some scoop:

1. Football requires brain power. Yes, the game is actually more than just a mean arm and fancy footwork. The guys have to think fast and memorize each play beforehand, so nix the “dumb jock” stereotypes, stat.

2. It is a job. We all know players in the NFL are making some nice chunks of change, but they don’t just show up, play the game and leave. There’s a ton of preparation that goes into each game, and when they travel, they have a curfew and bed check. No special guests allowed!

3. Not all players are the same. ”The majority of guys have a lot of stuff outside of football that makes them unique,” says Beason. “Football is a reflection of who you are, but it’s not all you are.”

4. They, too, have fitness mantras. “Talk is cheap; play the game” and “No toughness; no championship” are some of the quotes we found splashed across the Giants’ locker room when we took a tour with actor Taye Diggs and Duracell. Right on, boys.

5. Those headsets the coaches use are crucial. Angry coaches screaming into mics ring a bell? Communicating to the guys on the field is harder than it looks! Games get really, really loud, and they need to get messages to their players fast. Before technology, coaches had to use hand signals. Yowza!

Want to see how NFL games are powered? Check out Duracell’s infographic for some interesting facts on the technicalities of the games.

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Tackle Healthy Tailgating With Top Chef Stefan Richter

Written on November 21, 2013 at 11:44 am , by

The pro’s tailgate time-saving trick: caramelize onions the night before the game for sweet flavor, sans stress. (Photo courtesy of Stefan Richter)

Hot dogs, nachos and burgers are tailgate staples but can lead to healthy practice turnovers. Topping them off with calorie-dense condiments and cocktails? Game over. Cheer on your favorite team (and your own self-control) with these three guilt-free swaps from Top Chef contestant and Stefan’s at L.A. Farm Chef/owner Stefan Richter. Winning never tasted so good.

Add Flavor, Not Fat. “Everyone loves Sloppy Joes!” Richter says. Use lean ground turkey meat instead of beef and add in your favorite veggies like onion, green pepper and metabolism-boosting habanero. “The spicier, the better.” Spoon onto a toasted whole-grain bun from your local bakery and you’re ready for kickoff!

Re-Think Your Drink. What kind of six-pack do you really want? Forget the heavy brews and try Richter’s crowd pleaser: Mulled Cider. “Mix together two quarts apple cider, two allspice berries, a tablespoon of brown sugar and a sliced apple and orange,” he suggests. Lightly simmer on the grill then serve, spiking with a rum or bourbon of your choice for a hot toddy.

On the Light Side. German coleslaw is a must for this Finland native who spent the majority of his childhood in Germany. “We don’t use a mayonnaise base,” he explains. Start by combining a bag of shredded cabbage with chopped onion and green pepper. “For the sauce, boil a cup of brown sugar, a cup of white vinegar, a sprinkle of celery seeds and a half a cup of oil.” Pour over the veggie mix and chill for a refreshing, better version of the unhealthy stuff.

Want to add a festive flair to your football foods? ‘Tis the season to sport your spirit by serving and eating from plates of your team’s colors and logo. “Tailgating is paper plates and Solo cups,” the chef explains. “Why make a mess out of something that’s quick, fun and easy?” Now that deserves a touchdown dance. Hut, hut, hike!

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Four Gourmet Snacks That Transform Your Typical Tailgate

Written on September 27, 2013 at 10:30 am , by

Fancy up your tailgate. (Photo courtesy of Harry & David)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Football season is in full force, and so is our tailgating practice. Who doesn’t like good friends, great food and tasty brews on a cool, autumn day before filing into those stadium seats? And while we’ve indulged in our fair share of the classic beer-and-brats pre-game fare, these football favorites can feel overplayed week after week. So why not mix it up a little? Add a gourmet twist to your tailgate this weekend with these snack swaps:

Swap: Stadium Peanuts. This cute mini keg is chock-full of mixed nuts. Roasted and seasoned with a praline coating, the sweet and savory Mixed Nut Keg from Harry & David will have everyone reaching for a handful!

Swap: Potato Chips. Lose the greasy bag and try these Bagel Chips and Cheese Spreads from Figi’s instead. Light and crispy, these baked snacks pack a fresh bagel flavor and pair perfectly with their accompanying  spreads.

Swap: Cheddar Cheese and Crackers Plate. Your classier friends will love this elegant Antipasti Platter from Williams-Sonoma. The Alle-Pia Finnochiona salame, Pedrozo Dairy Northern Gold cheese, Guilio Bulloni Pane Carasatu crackers and olive assortment create a plate that looks almost as good as it tastes.

Swap: Nachos. Trade fat-laden chips and stringy cheese for fresh Bruschetta Toppings loaded with flavor! From roasted tomato, raisin and onion to sesame, cilantro and white bean, Dean & Deluca transforms slices of Italian baguette into indulgent appetizers with this artisanal set of toast toppings.

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Team Spirit: Root Those Boys on in Style

Written on September 13, 2013 at 3:35 pm , by

Junk Food Vintage NFL Curated By Kristin Cavallari At STYLE360 (Photo by Thomas Concordia/WireImage for STYLE360)

Hut, hut, hike! From nailgating to tailgating, we think we’ve kicked football season off the right way. But we want to show you how to showcase your team spirit and still look super cute, without looking like you’ve raided your boyfriend’s closet. Leave that oversized, shapeless jersey at home, and show up to your Sunday Funday hotspot wearing your team’s colors in a more – dare we say – fashion-forward way.

After attending the Junk Food Vintage NFL fashion show, which was curated by Kristen Cavallari, (none of the pieces that walked the runway will be available for purchase, but we’re totally inspired by the cute jersey dresses, and leather sleeve crop tops!), and seeing this ad while watching the games last Sunday, we put together a little round up of what we’ll be sporting when we hit the stands to watch our teams kick butt this season.

  • Pair a loose tank with a leather jacket and your fave worn-in jeans (cuffed at the bottom!) for a laid-back but edgy look. (Junkfood Touch Down tank, $30)
  • Knot up a v-neck tee (that sort of resembles a jersey), and score some major points with your man as you rock his team’s colors at your next tailgate. (Nike Fan tee, $45)
  • Show off those abs (you’ve worked hard for ‘em!) with a sporty crop top. For an unexpected look, style it with a flirty skirt like this one. (Victoria’s Secret Pink Cropped Athletic tee, $50)
  • Layer a baseball-style sweater under a vest for those chilly SNF games! (Touch by Alyssa Milano Fan for Life sweater, $75)
  • Are you a comfy-casual, watch-the-game-from-your-couch sort of girl? Throw on a cozy rugby shirt with your go-to leggings. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you have to look like you rolled out of bed! (NFL Shop Shabby Rugby tee, $36)
  • For those days when your hair just won’t cooperate, a jazzy baseball cap will have you covered. (Victoria’s Secret Pink Sequin baseball hat, $40)

Get Tailgate Ready with Celeb Trainer Mike Ryan

Written on September 13, 2013 at 10:15 am , by

Don’t be sidelined with tailgate aches and pains. Mike Ryan’s four strengtheners will have you cheering like a healthy champ. (Photo courtesy of Karen Pearson)

Written by Gabriella Rello, editorial intern

With football season finally here, we can’t help but be pumped for tailgates. Can you blame us? Although we love to cheer on cute guys in tight pants, pre-game fun with our pals is what makes football season worth waiting for. Throw in some good food and drinks and we’re counting down the days until the next kickoff! As we gear up for fan festivities, it’s clear game day prep isn’t just for our favorite teams. While the stands aren’t quite as dangerous as the field, common activities like loading up coolers and sprinting to seats leave fans with fears of being sidelined. Gold’s Gym and celebrity trainer Mike Ryan teamed up, giving us four moves to tackle pre-game injuries.

Prevent Pre-Game Back Strain: Standing Arm and Preacher Curls

Cooler-carrying duties can take a toll on your back, so pump up your arm routine to relieve some of that pressure. Add three sets of seated dumbbell tricep extensions, suggests Ryan, for 12 reps. After each set, jump into a superset of 15-18 reps or seated dumbbell curls, using a weight that’s lighter than your extensions, but still challenging.

Tackle Forearm Flipping Fatigue: Dumbbell Reverse Wrist Curls

Grilling seems like an easy tailgate task until the forearm ache sets in. Prep your wrists for endless burger and hot dog flipping with dumbbell reverse wrist curls. With an overhand grip on the dumbbell, lean forward resting your forearm at a 90-degree angle on a bench. Then lower the weight down and bring it back up, flexing your wrist throughout the process. At least three sets of 12-15 reps on each side will keep you in chef shape, says Ryan.

Avoid Second Hamstring Pulls: Lying Leg Curls

Top-notch football tickets are hard to come by. Do your wallet and legs a favor by opting for the nosebleed section. While climbing endless stairs may leave your muscles in need of a “Hail Mary,” pre-game hammy strengtheners like lying leg curls will make it a possible feat. Adding four sets of 12 reps will build muscles ready to scale the stadium.

Skip Stadium Sprint Splints: Straight Knee Calf Wall Stretch

Whether you’re late for kick-off or trying to beat the post-game parking lot rush, running at full speed can lead to painful shin splints. To avoid an embarrassing injury, Ryan suggests setting aside 5-10 minutes a few times a week to stretch out your calves with straight knee calf wall stretch. Aim for three or four sets, holding for 15-30 seconds per side.

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Sarah Thomas Shatters NFL Glass Ceiling (We Can’t Wait to Cheer Her On!)

Written on August 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm , by

Look how fierce! Imagine making a call against one of those guys? Standing next them is scary enough… (Photo courtesy of the AP/The Advocate, Eliot Kamenitz)

Sarah Thomas is about to tackle some major gender barriers, evening one of America’s biggest playing fields—football. The 39-year-old Brandon, Mississippi resident and mother of three is set to make history as the first permanent female ref hopeful in the NFL this upcoming season. You go, girl!

Discovered by a scout after working her way up from peewee to college-level (she was the first female to officiate an NCAA game in 2007), Thomas is currently one of the 21 official finalists in the NFL’s higher-level training pool. Oh, and did we mention she has a full-time job in pharmaceutical sales? Plus a 7-month-old? No big deal.

The mentally demanding career is not all about snap judgments or pros/fans not approving your calls (insert obnoxious booing and trash talk here)—it’s also physical! Referees have to be fit so they can keep up with the players, plus agile enough to get out of a quick running back’s (or scary linebacker’s!) way. Not a problem for Thomas. According to The New York Times, she was the first athlete at her high school to letter five times in a sport (softball) and went onto the University of Mobile on a basketball scholarship.

Confidence is another one of Thomas’ strong (striped) suits, according to the NFL’s vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino. Being a woman doesn’t make her any less qualified or capable to officiate in her eyes. “I don’t feel that it’s been harder for me because I’m a female,” she told ABC News. The only time she ever felt out of place? When she sported her uniform during her pregnancy. “The spouses of my crew made me a maternity referee shirt,” Thomas told The Times in 2009.

Thomas did not set out to break a glass ceiling; she just followed her love of the game. And for that, we applaud Thomas and wish her nothing but the best of luck. Talk about girl power if she makes the cut! As she told Bloomberg last month, “If you’re doing things because you love them, then things have a tendency to just kind of fall into place.”

Now you tell us: What are your thoughts on Sarah Thomas becoming the first female NFL referee?

Ditch the Parking Lot: How to Bring Tailgating Into Your Home!

Written on December 22, 2012 at 10:38 am , by

Written by Jennifer Fiorentino, editorial intern

Homegating [verb]: Bringing the spirit of football games into the comfort of your own home.

That’s exactly how we would describe what happened  when actress and singer Holly Robinson Peete invited us to the NFL homegating kickoff here in New York City. Along with celebrity chef Laurent Tourondel, who whipped up some of his favorite game day bites, we experienced the art of homegating first hand. It just may become a new tradition for some of our staffers!

How exactly does homegating work? It’s simple: if you love the spirit that surrounds tailgating, but want to ditch the unpredictable weather or can’t always afford to hit up a game, homegating is a fun alternative. Invite some pals over, decorate the house in team décor and serve the foods you’d see cooked up at your typical tailgate.

“Our fans have an incredible passion and we are pleased to bring them more ways to connect with the game and each other,” says Tracey Bleczinski, NFL’s vice president of consumer products.

Forget tailgating in the cold, crazy weather. It’s time to bring team spirit back home this season (Photo courtesy of NFL).

To find out more about how to bring a little health to the fan-friendly fun, we sat down with Peete and learned about her own family’s homegating routine. Check out the secrets this NFL wife (she’s married to former Panthers quarterback Rodney Peete) practices below!

Read more

Star Chef Aaron Sanchez Amps Up Your Football Snacks!

Written on October 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm , by

These snacks will have your taste buds screaming, “touchdown!” (Photo courtesy of Sara Jaye Weiss)

Written by Jennifer Fiorentino, editorial intern

If you’re looking to tackle your Monday night football snack lineup, we have just what you need (minus the shoulder pads). PopChips, along with Iron Chef America and Chopped star Aaron Sanchez, have teamed up to give you a new fall recipe perfect to pair with a crisp, fall beer. What could scream “football season” more?

“These cemita sandwiches are my version of the classic sub, full of flavor and healthy goodness,” Sanchez says. “By grilling the chicken and using nutrient-rich avocado instead of mayonnaise, we take out some of the unnecessary fats. Salsa Tortilla PopChips are the perfect complement – their sweet and salty flavors enhance the smoky heat of the sandwich.” We guarantee these won’t make it to half time.

Grilled Chicken Cemitas and Garlic-Chipotle Love Sauce with Salsa Tortilla PopChips

Serves 4

210 calories per sandwich

For the Cemitas:

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 4 Cemita rolls (or hamburger rolls with sesame seeds)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup refried beans, warmed
  • 8 oz. oaxaca or mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Thinly sliced lettuce
  • Fresh cilantro leaves

For the Garlic-Chipotle Love Sauce:

  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 3 Tbsp. canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt

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The Colts’ Lucky Star: Rookie Andrew Luck Prepped and Ready for the Season

Written on September 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm , by

Andrew enjoyed Quaker oatmeal with local children Tuesday, as he helped launch the NFL PLAY 60 Super Bowl Contest. (Photo courtesy of AJ Mast /AP Images for Quaker)

Are you ready for some football? If so, you’re in luck because the season kicks off this week! Speaking of “luck,” regardless of whether you have a killer lineup set for your Fantasy league or are forced to tune in because of your significant other (hey, those tight pants aren’t that bad on the eyes!), one name that should certainly sound familiar is Andrew Luck.

The 22-year-old Heisman runner-up was taken first overall in April’s 2012 NFL draft and has quickly but efficiently shifted from Stanford student to a pro as the Indianapolis Colt’s starting quarterback. We caught up with Andrew to get the dirt on preparing for the season, what it has been like making the leap from college to the NFL and more! Here’s what we learned:

Playbook vs. “real” book smart. It’s important for any player on the field to have football intelligence, but playing smart is imperative for the quarterback while calling plays to gain yardage. Andrew has the brains—he was the valedictorian of his high school’s 2008 class and recently earned his undergraduate degree architectural design—to match his athleticism. “Learning a new playbook has been a learning process but it’s going in the right direction,” he said. For his first in-season game against the Chicago Bears, Andrew has been fully immersing himself in the opponent’s defense, analyzing and developing strategies that will put his team in the best possible position come game day. Read more