Our Five Favorite Tween Brands – We Bet They’ll be Yours, Too!

Being a mom of a tween-aged girl (that is, an 8-13 year old) can be a challenge, to be sure. That sweet girl you once knew is changing in a lot of ways, and finding out what she really does and doesn’t like. These years are a big part of shaping the woman she’ll become, and your support – however much she thinks she doesn’t need it – is critical.

This is particularly true for active girls, as this is the age when so many of our daughters stop participating in organized sports. The factors contributing to that decline in participation are varied, and as unique as the girls themselves, but one consistently cited reason is a lack of confidence. Confidence in their abilities, their changing body, in possessing a skill set that will take them to the next level.

That’s why we love these brands that focus on tween girls! Each one is focused on inspiring confidence in your favorite girl. From putting her best face forward, from clothing to footwear, stylish bags and of course the BEST athletic gear for girls, these are the tip-top providers of tween products.

CALZICO

Calzico offers fun and functional fashion that inspires confidence! Their cute and versatile age-appropriate clothing for tweens ages 6-14 includes soft reversible tees, dresses, jackets and skirts, so your favorite girl can be confident and comfy from the classroom to the playground!

Calzico’s creations flip, zip, and layer! Their zipskirt (with the removable layer) or the reversible jacket that can be worn four ways mean your favorite tween can create over 20 different looks with just a few pieces. Designing garments with greater versatility, comfort, and function is Calzico’s central focus — so many ways, she’ll have outfits for days!

Founder Shannon Tennyson counts on daughter Callie (the “Cal” in Calzico) to review sketches and provide design, fit and style input. Together, they makes sure every item is well-designed enough to last multiple seasons and provide a variety of different looks. To get their amazing 4-in-one jacket or top-selling zipskirt, visit them online at calzico.com. If you’re not ready to buy just yet, sign up for their updates and receive their free Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist for Tweens, free!

VISIT CALZICO HERE

Dragonwing girlgear

Ready to find the products that will make your daughter strong beneath it all? From the moment she steps out the door to the high-fives after practice, Dragonwing girl gear lets her know that you’re there to support her, all day long!

Dragonwing girlgear founder MaryAnne Gucciardi struggled to find age-appropriate, supportive athletic gear for her daughter. Clothes in the girls’ departments were all fashion-focused and made of lower quality fabrics, not meant for real athletes. Women’s athletic wear didn’t fit and wasn’t age-appropriate. Forced to shop in the boy’s department, everything was ill-fitting. Shopping trips were awkward and sent the subliminal message that being athletic and strong wasn’t feminine.

So MaryAnne set out to design her own solution, a line of performance wear designed for pre-teen and teen girls. No wedgies. No slipping straps. A fit that’s snug. But not tight. Made for the sports they play. She calls it girlgear.

The result was something even greater, that gives girls the freedom and confidence to focus on the competition, skills, and teamwork of the sports they love, empowering them to play – and be – their best. Dragonwing offers not just the ultimate in sports bras, but camis, compression shorts and leggings with good looks that are only surpassed by their performance… just like your unstoppable daughter!

SHOP DRAGONWING HERE

prep skincarePrep Cosmetics

Great skin starts at an early age! Prep Skincare gives your tween a line of age-appropriate and fun cleansers, moisturizers and more to inspire habits that will protect her skin for a lifetime! There are no cutting edge ingredients in PREP’s formulas because at this age, girls just need good tried and true, safe ingredients that won’t cause them harm as their bodies develop and grow.

PREP Cosmetics is on a journey to empower young girls to take care of their skin and their health. She’ll be thankful today to have a beauty routine that is all her own, and even more thankful tomorrow for the positive effects protection from the sun will have on her skin and her confidence.

GET THEIR STARTER KIT, HERE.

PREP’s Chief Medical Officer, Carole Aponte, MD recommends girls use the starter kit every day to keep their healthy skin clean, fresh and protected. Each order comes with their PREP skincare 101 guide, which teaches girls how and when to use each product.

 

Sari Bari handmade productsSari Bari

While Sari Bari most certainly isn’t limited to items that appeal to tweens (those bed covers are AMAZING!), we love their mission and their promise and it’s a great message to share with our daughters.

Their unique products are made in Kolkata, by women exiting the commercial sex trade or who are vulnerable to exploitation or trafficking. The Sari Bari promise doesn’t stop with the job –  they firmly believe that’s not where the freedom journey ends. Holistic care is a high value at Sari Bari, which is why they journey with women as partners in their social support needs as they continue to take courageous steps towards restoration and wholeness.

Watch their video to see them in action:

Ready to check out a unique gift that gives back to the world? Your tween will collect about a million compliments on her Meye Messenger Bag!

Hannah's ShoeboxHannah’s Shoe Box

Your tween girl’s feet may be as big as yours, but that doesn’t mean women’s shoes are appropriate or even comfortable!

Hannah’s Shoebox was created after the store’s owner, a mother, became frustrated with her challenge to find age-appropriate shoes for her then six-year-old daughter who was wearing a size six shoe at that time. Her daughter’s shoe size continued to match her age until she reached age 11. By that time, the challenge to find age-appropriate shoes had become even more difficult. That’s when and why Hannah’s Shoebox was born.

Don’t waste another dime on poorly-made shoes that just don’t meet your daughter’s needs! Hannah’s Shoe Box offer quality shoes in women’s sizes 5-13 that are undeniably cute and age-appropriate for tweens! Every style and occasion is covered, from every day school and uniform shoes to special-occasion, with the boots, wedges and sandals your girl wants.

BROWSE THE GREAT STYLES HERE!

 

So, the more you know, the easier this “parenting-a-tween” thing gets, right? Inspire her confidence in all areas of her life – with these great brands and your support, you know she can take on the world! Be sure to share this post with other moms – they’ll thank you later!

*Money can buy you lots of great Dragonwing gear, but it can’t buy you love! These opinions are solely our own, based on personal knowledge of the above products. These are not affiliate links, and no promotional fees have been paid.

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Concussions important issue for girl athletes-updated info here

There have been many articles and efforts to improve safety on the soccer field for women and girls.  As an update to our posts of six years ago, I provide new information on prevention and training alternatives from Cindy Parlow Cone and Excelle.com

Our original articles are here:

Don’t be fooled by common misconceptions about concussions.

A great article on concussions from Taylor Twellman.

Recovering from a Climbing Concussion

and new information can be found here:

Pro players speak out about the ‘absurdity’ of the concussion protocol in women’s soccer

Check out these excellent video on the what Cindy Parlow Cone’s experience learning to head the ball at 18 -and still being a World Cup Champ and Olympian!

http://bit.ly/2t0FV3P

http://bit.ly/2u5o9MP

 

July 12: Happy Birthday, Kristi Yamaguchi!

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Happy birthday to figure skating star Kristi Yamaguchi! Yamaguchi began figure skating as physical therapy for her club feet (club feet rotate internally at the ankle), but the sport soon became her passion. Initially skating with her pairs partner, Rudy Galindo, she won the gold at the 1988 World Junior Pairs Championship and the 1989 and 1990 U.S. championships. After placing first in the World Junior Championships in singles in 1988, Yamaguchi decided to focus on singles. This endeavor proved incredibly successful; Yamaguchi won the World Championships, Skate America, and the Nations Cup in 1991 and the U.S. Championships, World Championships, and Winter Olympics in 1992. Since then, the figure skater has won the reality program Dancing with the Stars and established the Always Dream Foundation, which aims to help children’s dreams come true. Watch the dramatic performance here

Happy Birthday Cindy Parlow Cone

Happy birthday to Cindy Parlow Cone, three-time NCAA Women’s Soccer Champion and founding member of the Women’s United Soccer Association, former head coach for Portland Thorns FC and in her first year as coach in her first year as head coach of the Portland Thorns, led the Thorns to the NWSL Championship. Parlow was a member of the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic, and 1999 and 2003 Women’s World Cup, teams. Parlow Cone played professionally for the Atlanta Beat for three years and was the Coaching Director of 13-18 year-old girls’ programs at the Triangle United soccer league.  Cindy is a co-founder of Goals for Girls.  Birthday –May 8th.

Last Firsts from a Soccer Mom.

It is that time of year for parents of high school seniors when we’re enjoying the last -firsts of many club and high school events.  Last first soccer game of the year, last first day of the last semester, last club night.   Looking back at all the things I’ve learned, I’ve decided (rather than wallow),  I’d share a few of the most useful lessons.  From the importance of chocolate milk to the recruiting process.  Make sure to catch next few blogs.  I’d love to hear your stories and tips too!

Here’s to team Glow Angel -where it all started, and to the coaches, parents and friends I’ve made on the fields.

xo

MaryAnne

Dynamic Stretching advice from Dr. Lindsay Di Stefano and Dragonwing

Spring sports tryouts are underway -and warming up safely is key to playing well and minimizing the risk of injury. In this blog, we asked Dr. Lindsay Di Stefano to provide readers with evidence-based, practical information to help encourage safe and healthy participation in sports for all athletes, but with a special focus for pre-adolescent and adolescent girls.

First Step to Any Activity: A Proper Warm-up

In the past, you may have witnessed this scene –fifteen girls put their bags down and jog around the soccer field together. They stop at midfield and align themselves in a circle with one teammate in the center. This “captain” leads her team through a series of static stretches by counting off 30 seconds per stretch. After the team has completed a few stretches, they walk off the field to their waiting coach and begin practice. Have you seen this scenario before?
I surely have! Here is an example of another common scenario frequently played out on youth sport fields: The team arrives, they start talking to one another, catching up on the day’s events, and may start juggling or passing to one another before the actual practice begins. Or a third scenario occurs when an athlete walks out of their front door and starts running three miles. Unfortunately, the athletes in all three scenarios are not helping themselves be as prepared as possible for any training, practice, or game. Not only are these athletes not putting their bodies in the best condition for performance, but they may also be increasing their risk of injury.
A better solution to these examples above is to gradually prepare your body for the upcoming activity. Generally, the first thing to do is to start increasing your heart rate, which will begin to “warm-up” your muscles. There are many ways to accomplish this goal. You can walk at progressively faster speeds, leading to a jog, possibly incorporate some quicker runs, or you can ride a bike with low resistance, or even play a small game that involves low to moderate effort. The goal is to just get your body moving!
After you are feeling “warm” and perhaps even sweating a little bit, you can start performing some specific exercises for various muscles. These exercises will help the muscles get used to working (producing force) while they are moving. Here is where the big difference lies between traditional “static stretching” and a “dynamic warm-up”. Once you have “warmed up” your body through gradual exercise, you do not want to stand in place and essentially cool it down. Static stretches that are held for a long period of time may also interfere with your muscles’ ability to work effectively. Research has shown that a dynamic warm up helps to more effectively prepare the body for athletic participation.

Instead of performing static stretches, try some of these dynamic movements. Similar to the warm up activity, you should gradually progress the speed and intensity used for these exercises. The goal is that you are ready to jump into full-speed activity when you are finished with these exercises.

Walking knee to chest
Walking knee to opposite shoulder
Walking quad stretch
Walking hamstring stretch- one foot in front, sit back onto back leg and lean forward towards front foot, front knee straight and back knee bent, toes down to the ground
Walking calf stretch- same as the walking hamstring stretch expect pull toes/foot upward
Walking lunge/hip flexor stretch- walk out into a lunge, keep body upright,
Side to side lunge/groin stretch
Walking cross over/piriformis stretch
Walking lunge with rotation
Heel walks/Toe walks
Butt kicks
Hamstring kicks
Skipping
Carioca
Lateral shuffles

So next time you see athletes start performing “static” stretches before any physical activity, suggest to them that they should try out some new moves that might help prevent injury and may improve their performance!

Black History Month: Celebrating Serena Williams!

Sharing stories about women athletes matters. Equally important, hearing stories of amazing women athletes matters. One of my favorite legends is Serena Williams. To celebrate Black History Month, the artist Simone Grace is creating a coloring book with portraits of 28 amazing black women and one of the world’s greatest athletes, Serena Williams is featured.  Simone is my friend and classmate -and when I asked her if we could share this page with our community of athletic girls and their parents, she generously and ecstatically agreed. You can get a free printable coloring page here!

Check out all the illustrations of visionary black women who are luminaries in politics, arts, activism, business and sports. Coloring is a fun, empowering and relaxing activity for all the strong girls and women in your life and makes a great gift! You learn more about Simone Grace and how to get the entire printable coloring book at the GoFundMe page here.

xoxo
MaryAnne
Founder of Dragonwing girlgear

mosaic

 

The “why” of Dragonwing girlgear.

kickstart_bannerPeople often ask me why I am so passionate about sports and girls and I have a simple, important reason – we need this generation of girls, now more than ever, to reach their potential.  Sports participation at any level is one path to actualizing potential –it is established and proven – we don’t need to create a new program or study its benefits.  But social expectations and social media are getting in the way of girls.  When I realized “the underwear experience” could have an impact, I had an aha moment that I could do something about it.

Let’s take Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid.  On one level of the pyramid is community or village – we all know and accept that it takes a village to grow a strong confident girl.  We are happier with friends, family, a team, a tribe.  Belonging is important.   Connections give life meaning (Brene Brown).  Sports provide a natural community.

The next level of the pyramid is self-esteem.  Sports build self-esteem in so many ways, such as setting and achieving goals, graciously winning, building resilience, pushing your comfort zone for what you think you can do and then exceeding it – just to name a few. For more on this, check out this TedEx talk by Alisa Herr.

Unfortunately, feelings about breast development are a top reason girls drop out of sports.  According to a recent study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, “three quarters of school-aged girls report breast-related concerns regarding exercise and sports.”   75%!!!  That’s just not acceptable.  Starting and normalizing conversation about body changes can improve this.  Sports programs frequently recommend protective gear for boys, like cups, or compression shorts, but there is no comparable list recommended for girls. At Dragonwing girlgear, we provide girls that list and more.

Having an excellent-fitting, high-performance sports top – whether it is a bra, cami or thermal tee-shirt, that is designed especially for the athletic girl’s figure, can eliminate worries about underwear malfunction.  Embarrassment about changing bodies can alleviate concerns about body image.  At Dragonwing, we strive to free up emotional energy– so girls can focus on their game – and everything else they want to achieve… because when girls are confident, the possibilities are endless.

 

 

 

Soccer Star, Laura is ‘Feeling Confident’

With the NCAA D1 Women’s Soccer College Cup being held this weekend, it is only appropriate that I highlight a local middle school soccer player and her review on the new Racerback Cami.

Ambassador, Laura from North Carolina says,

“I love the new Racerback cami- from the comfortable built in bra to the easy-to-move-in material! The fitted, but not too tight cami, allows me to move swiftly and easily. The material is smooth and flexible and lets me run and workout without having to tug at my cami or feel uncomfortable. I love how the racerback is closely fit to my body but is in no way too tight. In addition to the comfort, the cami makes me feel confident and look confident. When I am doing ab workouts, for example, the material does not stick to me like other shirts or camis do, it allows me to work-out without having to stop and fix my top. Because of the fitted material, when I am running I don’t feel like my shirt is so uncomfortably loose.”

Thanks Laura, I am so glad you are enjoying your Racerback cami! Check out the Kickstarter and get your Racerback cami today and join Dragonwing Girlgear in their mission to grow confident, strong girls.

Also, tune in to watch the Women’s College Cup this weekend and support our college women and local Tar Heels! They play West Virginia tonight, Friday December 2nd, at 5 and Finals will be held Sunday, December 4th.

 

Giving Tuesday: Dragonwing Girlgear Style

Dragonwing Girlgear is dedicated to giving back and supporting others who want to do the same. Goals for Girls is an organization that connects girls from all over the world together to empower one another through service and soccer. In hopes of helping to further their mission of girls helping girls, Dragonwing Girlgear is donating one bra to Goals for Girls for every bra purchased today. You have the chance to instill confidence in not only your daughter, but another young girl somewhere in the world. Join us and Goals for Girls in our Giving Tuesday efforts to provide gifts that keep on giving: a top-of-the-line sports bra and the gift of empowerment.