New Balance Kicks Off Healthy Girls Night Out Campaign: Light Up the Night with NB Boston

Read full article | 4 Comments

If you know me well, you know I love a good, solid girls night out. There’s nothing like getting all dolled up, sipping cocktails or going out dancing (er, trying to dance) with your favorite gal pals.

Mix in a sweaty run + healthy apps + being surrounded by empowering women? Um, I’m sold.

You heard me right. This week, MA-based company New Balance launched their very own Girls Night Out campaign, bringing a refreshing new meaning to “Girls Night.” In their own words, “Less primping, more pavement pounding. Lipstick’s optional, footwear’s not.”

By signing up online you are given all the tools needed to plan your perfect “Girls Night Out” no matter where you live, or who you run with. Map your routes based on fave running hot spots, get alerts on other sweet runs going on in your area, and even share upcoming runs with your lady friends! Because, I mean c’mon, running & sweating is always better with your best friend followed by a solid catch-up sesh.

Oh, and it gets even better! This one-of-a-kind brand is actually hosting a series of special, 100% FREE “GNO Celebrations” in cities near you including our very own Beantown!

Next Thursday May 15th they’ll kick off the celebrations with “Light Up the Night” including a 3.6 mile fun run, live music, guest speakers by local fitness experts not to mention cocktails & apps.

Registration is complimentary, but you must RSVP to attend. (Scroll to the bottom of the page and click RSVP next to Boston) The event is held at the New Balance Experience Store located at 583 Boylston St in Copley Square at 6 p.m..

Stay tuned for more GNO celebration events coming soon to Boston! Little hint: I’m going to be helping with the upcoming summer events and couldn’t be more thrilled. See you ladies on the road! Question for you – what’s your dream girls night out?

XoXo,

Rachel

                 

An Assignment for YOU: How to De-Stress Your To-Do List For a More Productive Day

Read full article | 2 Comments

To do-lists are great. I won’t lie: I love them.

Grocery lists.

Getting-ready-for-vacation lists.

Wedding lists.

Office lists.

Life lists.

There’s something about checking something off that list – be it asparagus, buying my veil (yippee!), or hitting that deadline – that feels so rewarding.

But do your to-do lists ever 100%, completely stress you out? OK, I won’t lie (really, this time). What I meant to say is I love them most of the time. Waking up to a to-do list a mile long (with 5 different colored pens screaming at you!) can be a little scary. OK, a lot scary.

In comes the HAPPY to-do list. In the morning as you sip your cup o’ tea (or coffee) or whatever feel-good beverage you so choose, take some time to write down all your “stuff” you need to get done for the day, you know, your typical “to dos.” Then after you get it all out (the good, the bad & the ugly) write down 2 to 3 things you’re going to do for yourself. A-hah, there’s a catch!

Just as rewarding as crossing all the things off your to-do list, is the ever so satisfying feeling in knowing you took care of YOU today. ‘Cause like I said, how you start your morning is how your day will flow so if it starts with a monstrous, overwhelming to-do list, well, you paint the picture.

OK, YOUR TURN! Your “assignment” today is to add 2 things to your to-do list that are solely for yourself. It can be anything from painting your nails to phoning an old friend but you have to actually WANT to do it. There should be no “need to” involved. Circle those 2 things and DO THEM by the end of the day.

For accountability you can announce your to-dos on social media and give me a little shout out @healthy_chicks (on twitter) or @HealthyChicksGroup on Facebook. Can’t wait to see how it goes!

Xoxo,

Rachel


                 

I Dare you to: spend more time with family

Read full article | No Comments

{cuddle sesh feet pic!}

I often discuss the importance of self care and making more time for yourself. But almost just as important is making more time for your family. Try as we might to spend ample time with our loved ones, sometimes life just gets in the way. That doesn’t make us a bad person by any means; it actually makes us human.

The beauty of it is that we can always work on improving, on become a better person not only for ourselves but for the people we love most. As my man said last night, “We have our whole lives to grow & improve as people.”

Seeing as though I’m getting married in less than 6 months (eek!) I’ve been thinking a lot about taking care of myself & being the best fiancé I can be. It couldn’t be more fitting that this month’s dare for UnitedHealthCare’s Source4Women campaign is We Dare You to Spend More Time with Family.

And what better way to get you to do something than by a good ol’ fashioned DARE? 

To participate, all you have to do is enter here, sharing a picture of you spending time with your family. Oh, and did I mention your entry puts you in a drawing to win a $400 gift card?

Bad news is there’s only one day left to enter April’s dare, but the good news is you’ve still got time to enter and win this month’s grand prize!  And if you miss out, there will be another healthy dare for you in May!

I want to know, what are your favorite ways to spend time with your family? Cooking together or sitting down at the table for dinner? Going on family vacations? Taking a trip to the park?

Share below and then post your “dare” here by the end of the day on April 30th to enter the sweepstakes. I’m also going to start a chain on the Facebook group here so we can all inspire one another!

XoXo,

Rachel


                 

Morning Rituals: Why how you start your morning can make or break your day

Read full article | 4 Comments

How do you start your day? Take a moment and think about that for a few minutes. Do you rush straight to the coffee pot? Do you check your email on your phone before you even get out of bed? Do you go for a run? Do you hit “snooze” 10 times on your alarm clock?

While I’ve had a pretty solid morning ritual down in the past, I’m not going to lie I haven’t been keeping up with it of late. If I’m being perfectly honest, these past few weeks, I’ve been starting my day with work. And not inner work like meditation or writing, but work work.

There’s nothing wrong with loving the work you do and wanting to jump right into it first thing in the a.m., but if you don’t take the time for your own work (you know, that inner soul work), you’re setting yourself up for disaster. After all, how you begin your day is most likely how the rest of your day is going to pan out.

So if you start by checking your bajillion unread emails (been there!) or rushing to the coffee pot running on empty (totally been there too!), you’re likely going to have an overwhelming, exhausting day. If you hit snooze a dozen times on your alarm clock (you guessed it, been there too!) you’re likely going to have a procrastinating-running-late kind of a day.

Last week, I set an intention for myself to amp up my self care. And a big part of that is starting your day with something for you, something really juicy that lights up your soul and makes you feel good. Because just as you can set your day up for disaster, you can also set it up for something really beautiful.

Yesterday, I began my day by lighting one of my favorite candles and taking a moment for Heather Waxman’s “Raise Your Vibration” meditation from her  Soul Sessions album (which you can snag here!) I then took out my journal to release my thoughts, over a cup of yummy lemon verbena rose petal tea. How do you think the rest of my day went? Pretty happy + zen to say the least.

Today I am starting off with a little writing, by far one of my greatest passions that makes me feel me. The beauty of it is that you can start your morning however your little heart desires as long as it’s something for yourself.

Yes, you do have time for yourself…you just need to create that time. Work can wait. Emails can wait. People can wait. Favors can wait. You can say “no” to those things that suck your time and energy, and you can say “yes” more often to yourself.

Ask yourself, what is 15, 20, 30 minutes of your morning going to cost you? Then ask yourself an even deeper question, what is is costing you not to take these 15, 20, 30 minutes to yourself?

I’m telling you: don’t let your “to dos” get the best of you; make that time for yourself each morning and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Oh, and be patient with yourself too; this type of transition is not easy and can take some time for adjustment but it’s well worth it on the other side.

How do you start your day? Do you have a morning ritual? What’s one thing you could do each morning for yourself?

                 

{Guest Post} It’s What’s On the Inside That Counts The Most

Read full article | No Comments

I’m honored to feature a guest post by my lovely friend + yogi Cara Gilman on the blog today. (You may remember her from my “Healthy Chicks in the Community” post a while back.) Aside from being the most genuine, smiley gal I know, she also gives killer advice on mindfulness and looking within your soul to find the answers. I mean, she is a yogi after all!

Today she shares her thoughts on why it’s what is on the inside that matters most. I’ll let Cara take the floor from here.

Growing up we were constantly told to not judge a book by it’s cover. To let go of physical appearances and to look deep within ourselves and others to find love. Even in our yoga practice it can be challenging to not get caught up in the physical appearance of the practice. That’s why it’s essential to remind ourselves that our practice gives us so much more if we open ourselves up to it and let go of self doubt and negativity.

Growing up, I was not the nicest teenager to myself.  I felt so uncomfortable in my physical body that I did not allow myself to feel any true love. The only love I would feel would be from compliments or attention. No connection was made with myself. The only voice I heard was negativity. I was never good enough. Even when something good happened, I was too focused on the next thing or positive attention that I never took the time to be grateful. Interestingly enough, I was almost afraid to love myself in a way. If I let down my guard and let love in, how would I motivate myself to keep growing and to be better?

This all changed for me when I ran my first marathon. There was something about the training and doing something I never thought I could ever do that lit a flame within me. To even get to that starting line, I needed to believe in myself and the training process allowed that to finally happen. Crossing that finish line gave me a sense of confidence that I will never forget. Wow, I CAN DO ANYTHING I put my mind to. Love was finally there. A connection within myself was finally made.

To this day, what keeps this fire going is my yoga practice. It keeps me real. Sometimes it brings awareness of the ridiculousness of my thoughts when I’m not being very nice to myself. Sometimes it lets me know what exactly what my body needs that day (a longer childs pose instead of a sun salutation or early savasana) or sometimes it brings my mind back to focus by realizing what “stories” I’m wrapping myself up in. All these lessons reminds me that, Its really what’s on the inside that counts.

Let go of the perfection. Let go of what things look like and ask what does it feel like? The asana of our yoga practice is fun but don’t let it be the focus of your practice. Challenge yourself to make it more than just physical. Allow it to work inward and you’ll open yourself up to so much more. Give yourself some true love. Namaste!

What do you to keep your spirits high and to get in touch with yourself?

Cara Gilman is lover of movement. She is a yogini, a marathoner, a cyclist and a bootcamp enthusiast. This combination of strength, endurance, flexibility and mindfulness bring balance and grounding to her life and she incorporates these same elements into the yoga and cycle classes she teaches. You can visit her website at CaraGilman.com

                 

10 Little Ways to Amp Up Your Self Care

Read full article | 7 Comments

Try as we might to keep it all “together” 24/7, sometimes life just gets a little nutty. Whether you’re busy working a full time job you love, chasing your dreams or putting in the hours at a 9-to-5 job you can’t really stand, every now and again we need a little mental breather.

Unfortunately when we lead action-packed work-hard, play-hard lifestyles, one of the first things that tends to go is our self care. You know, that precious time we have with ourselves to feel a little bit more sane, a little bit more you.

This past year, I’ve had nothing but love + luck come into my life including 2 big life events: an engagement, an offer at my “dream job.” While I’ve been full of passion, joy and everything in between, I can’t lie that my self care has been put on the back burner (well maybe not all the way on the back burner, but at least pretty close). When you love the life you are living, it’s easy to forget about the most important person out there, that is yourself.

Heck, I’ll be the first to admit that it can be exhausting trying to do IT ALL all. of. the. time.

And that’s where the good ol’ self care comes in. The good news is it’s never too late to start up again. Just like anything (eating well, developing a healthy exercise routine, treating your body with love), each and every day can & should be treated like a blank canvas.

Here are 10 little ways to incorporate self care into your life each week:

1. Journal first thing in the morning and/or again right before bed to release any negative thoughts or tension that may be fogging up your mind. This also helps with clarity and getting real about your emotions.

2. Take a cat Nap: There’s no shame in taking a nap. Sometimes on my busiest days, I come home for a 30-minute “power nap,” which gives me just the spark I need to make it through the rest of the day with energy + focus. On this note, make sure you are getting enough sleep each night. We all know we’re not the best versions of ourself when sleep-deprived living off coffee.

3. Play with essential oils: Take a trip to a local health store and purchase some essential oils aligned with your particular wellness needs. I am in love with blends with lavender for better sleep & to ease tension, or citrus fruits for energy. I also recommend “Rescue Remedy” Bach Flower Remedy to relieve tension on-the-spot.

4. Give yourself a makeover: It’s amazing what a nice blowout, freshly painted nails and a little makeup can do for your mood.  Take the time to make yourself feel pretty in the morning (whatever that means to you) for an instant confidence boost.

5. Move: Sure, maybe you’ve been slacking on the fitness front of late, but that doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Start small by aiming to move – in any capacity – every day. You’ll be surprised how quickly it raises your spirits, and your body will be thanking you for taking the time for yourself.

6. Gift yourself some quality “me time:” whether it’s curling up on the couch with a good book and a springy candle, journaling or having a yoga date with yourself, me time is an absolute must when it comes to self care.

7. Let go: Let go of any negative energy or mental blockages so you can think more clearly and be a better you! Some of my favorite ways to let loose is going for a long run, practicing deep breathing, writing or mediating. Speaking of meditation, it doesn’t need to be this big ordeal with pillows, blankets, music and an uncomfortable cross-legged position. To me, meditation is simply working to still your mind and be alone with your thoughts. The best part? It can be done anywhere and first and foremost should be about Y-O-U. No need to overthink it.

8. Be kind to your body: Often times when we neglect our self care, we’re not so nice to our bodies either. If you find you’re calling yourself fat or bashing your weight, it’s time to give your bod a little love. Honor your body. Tell yourself “I love you.” Dance. Walk around the house in undies and embrace it all.

9. Cook more meals at-home: One of the best ways to bring self care back into your life is through the kitchen. Cook yourself nourishing meals filled with foods that hum to you, and slowly ween away from those that suck from you or leave you feeling “blah.” Dedicate the time to cook for yourself with a little extra love. Your body will thank you later.

10. Craft your nourishment menu: Make a list of the things that nourish your mind, body and soul and actually make the time to do these things. Be honest with yourself on what truly lights you up and makes you feel your best.

Do you ever feel like self care gets pushed aside when life gets busy? Which of these tips will you implement this week? What are your favorite ways to take care of yourself?

                 

Cooking in the Bean: Just Add Cooking Review

Read full article | 23 Comments

I have a confession: While I do love eating healthy meals + cooking, sometimes I just don’t feel like putting in the work. Ever since I started working a full-time job, I’ve found it a bit trickier to do as much home cooking as I used to do.

To be honest, sometimes when I come home from a long day, all I want to do is put up my feet, plop on the couch, grab a cup of tea (or a glass of vino) and order takeout sushi. I’m a real girl, after all.

That’s why when I heard about Boston start-up Just Add Cooking (JAC), which delivers pre-portioned meals to your door all ready to go, I was intruiged.

The Scoop

Just Add Cooking is exactly what it sounds like: a meal delivery service that takes the stress out of cooking. Instead of worrying about the stress of prepping and grocery shopping, you can really focus on the fun part, that is cooking.

You get to hand-pick which recipes you + your fam will love, and then the friendly folks from JAC deliver a box of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients directly to your door each week, chock-full of meals for the week. No meal-planning. No stress. No grocery shopping. No mess.

The Box

I was so excited when I received my first box, perfectly packaged and full of all the fresh produce, herbs, condiments and proteins needed for my 3 recipes. I absolutely loved their packaging, and the fact that each ingredient is pre-portioned for your recipe so you don’t need to worry about measuring or “messing up” the quantities.

Another great perk is that JAC includes just the right amounts of spices + herbs so that you don’t need to buy an expensive jar or spices or large bunch of fresh rosemary that’ll only go to waste.

The Details

Since I live with my man, we opted for the 2-person meal box which included the ingredients for 3 meals. As I mentioned above, you can choose your own favorite recipes to make, and each serves just the right amount for you + your roommate/boyfriend/best friend/husband/sister/fill in the blank.

There are a variety of options available each week to choose from, so that you won’t get bored eating the same meals every week.

As for the pricing, it depends on what type of service you opt for. Currently, you can choose between four-person or two-person boxes, with either 3, 4 or 5 meals worth per box. As I mentioned above, I received the 3 meal two-person box for my man and I, but it depends on your living situation. Hate cooking + prepping? Perhaps you want to go with the 5 meal selection? Love to cook but just a bit crunched on time? The 3-meal box is probably best for you.

Pricing is as follows:

4-Person Boxes
5 Meals: $139
4 Meals: $129
3 Meals: $109
2-Person Boxes
5 Meals: $99
4 Meals: $89
3 Meals: $79

The Meals

Speaking of the food, for our 3 meals we opted for the Mexican Cod, Couscous Marrakech and Pork Loin Africana for a nice variety. Each meal comes with its own recipe sheet complete with directions, ingredients and cooking order to simplify the whole process.

While all of the meals were good, I personally liked the Couscous Marrakech the best, which was the first meal we prepared together.

It consisted of:

  • chicken
  • couscous
  • yellow onion
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • chorizo
  • tumeric
  • chili
  • green beens
  • fresh parsley
  • Greek yogurt
  • pickled jalapenos
  • lemon
  • salt

I absolutely loved the unique flavor, especially the bold chorizo and kick of lemon. It was super filling, and refreshing to cook something a bit outside the box.

In a Nut Shell + a Surprise for YOU

In a nut shell, I really love the concept of Just Add Cooking and think it’s a great option for busy, social city-goers like myself. I also love that they source ingredients locally or organic when they can, which is important to me as someone who really cares about where my food comes from. If you’re interested in giving JAC a try yourself, you’re in luck! New customers can use promo code SPRINGBLOG to receive $20 off their first order when placed by 5/31/14.

Note: I received a complimentary meal box for review, but as always all opinions are my own.

Do you enjoy cooking + grocery shopping or does meal planning completely stress you out? What kinds of things do you do to take the stress out of cooking?

                 

On Finding Your Drishti (In Yoga & In Life)

Read full article | 1 Comment

Last week, I took my first yoga class at Om Warrior in Boston with the owner & highly talented yoga teacher Marc McDonald. Before I walked into class, I was feeling a bit off (my mind was swirling with thoughts, doubts & fears) and life just seemed…chaotic. I knew I could resort to my yoga mat to find some answers, some clarity.

During class, the instructor (Marc) was taking us through a tree pose series and encouraged us to find or drishti for balance. Suddenly, I looked up and saw a beautiful, odd little elephant figure by the window with the sun subtly shining in, and thought That’s it. From that point on, suddenly my worries and fears from the outside world didn’t seem to matter. I was here, I was present, I was living in the now to its truest form.

In yoga or meditation,” finding your drishti” is a technique involving focusing on one point or object for greater concentration or balance, in my case the elephant. But if you take it into everyday life, I like to think of it as simply living in the now, experiencing life to its finest.

It’s finding peace with the past and slowing your mind down when it starts spiraling into a bout of future-tripping.

You see, it’s easy to get caught up in the ups & downs and crazy obstacles the universe sometimes throws at us. But if you pause for a moment and simply focus on where you are right in this moment, things become a little brighter, a little more OK.

These next couple weeks, I’m attempting to focus on finding my drishti beyond yoga practice and meditation, and I’d love for you ladies to join me. It may be as simple as taking a deep breath on the verge of breakdown, finding the joy in watching your children play or observing the first flower bloom for spring. Or it may mean closing your eyes to find peace in the now, or journaling your feelings before bed.

How can you find your drishti in everyday life? In what ways do you practice focusing on the NOW?

XoXo,

Rachel

                 

ClassPass launches in boston: 4 reasons why you need to get on it (like, now)

Read full article | 1 Comment

It’s no lie I have a love affair with fitness, particularly group fitness and boutique classes. Actually, I’m kind of a serial fitness fanatic, bouncing around from studio to studio. Hey, a girl has her needs.

So when I was informed that NYC-based fitness startup Class Pass was launching in Boston, I was immediately intrigued!

What is Class Pass, you ask? It’s exactly what is sounds like: a “pass” to various fitness classes near you. Essentially, they’re a gym membership but for boutique studios. With the membership fee, you have access to 10 classes a month, up to 3 classes at any given studio. Pretty cool, huh?

This week, I attended their Media Launch Party at Flywheel Sports in Boston, and completely fell in love with the brand (and the girls behind it). Such a fun-loving, cheerful bunch! Plus, who doesn’t love a good sweat session at Flywheel, I mean c’mon?

After class, we all enjoyed tasty goodies from sweetgreen and bolocco, and mingled with the group. Plus, we were given little goodie bags packed with a water bottle, natural energy drink, muscle rub sample from mio scincare, and an adorable tee that I may or may not have claimed as my go-to PJ top.

Bottom line? I’m sold. I love it. I’m all about it. Here’s why:

1. It’s flexible + convenient: With 25+ studios featured in Boston, ClassPass lets you pick ‘n’ choose those that are most convenient for you. Not a fan of a.m. workouts? No problem. You can actually search classes by time and date to find those that suit your exercise needs. Are you a spin and barre addict, but not really feeling the bootcamp-style? Great, you can also conveniently sort by studio to view upcoming classes in your area.

2. It can help your wallet: For $99 a month, you get access to 10 classes each month, up to 3 visits per studio. With drop-ins averaging around $25 or $30 these days, you can save some mad cash when you’re a serial boutique fitness addict like me. Cha-ching. Not to mention, ClassPass features some of my favorite Boston studios including Exhale, Flywheel and Recycle (plus many more I’m drying to try).

3. It’s fun (and you can cheat on other studios without feeling guilty about it): One of the reasons I love working out at different fitness studios is because I like to keep things fresh ‘n’ fun; I could never commit to just barre or just spin or just yoga; I’d quickly grow bored and miss my other classes. But a gym “membership” that lets you bounce from one studio to the other (without breaking the bank)? Now we’re talking. And ClassPass allows for just that. Plus, you don’t need to feel guilty about cheating on your go-to barre studio with a little afternoon yoga because, I mean, you have ClassPass. You can have it all.

4. It’s good for your bod: To go along with my above point, I’ve never been one to do ONLY yoga or ONLY running because I love variety, and so does my body! With ClassPass, you can break up the week with barre on Monday, bootcamp on Wednesday all wrapped up with a rejuvenating yoga sesh on Sunday afternoon. This way you can enjoy fun & challenging workouts in your city, while not over-exerting any one muscle group.

To learn more about ClassPass or get started on your monthly membership head on over to their website to request an invite. Note: I was recently given a complimentary one-month trial membership to ClassPass, but as always all opinions are my own.

                 

Happiness is all about you (and only you)

Read full article | 5 Comments

One of my favorite quotes (& one that I go back to often) is:

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”  - Steve Furtick

Think about that for a second, and I mean really truly deeply think about it.

To me, it’s pretty much saying we’d be a whole lot more happy (and confident) if we simply quit comparing so darn much. Take Facebook for example. You’re having a crap day so you decide to go peruse social media (worst decision ever). Within seconds of logging in, you find that Susie just got the job of her dreams, Mary’s about to start her own business (the same business you wished you started 2 years ago), and Lisa lost 15 pounds with that new diet she’s been trying. Oh, and Jane got engaged. Great, well isn’t that just dandy, you think as you pour yourself another glass of red, tears streaming down your face.

But then again what do you expect when you’re comparing your shittiest of shit days to everyone else’s spotlight moments? You’re setting yourself up for the worst.

You see, happiness comes from the inside, and to be happy (I mean truly, genuinely happy) you and only you will ever know how that feels. It’s a feeling. It’s your feeling.

And my happiness does not = your happiness. That’s why when we compare our downs to someone else’s ups, we’re left feeling like crap. Because we’re looking outside of us, rather than the beautiful things that are sitting right before our eyes.

We need to open up our eyes, and look inside.  Easier said than done, I know.

That’s why I’ve decided to sign up for 100 Happy Days, a challenge with yourself to post one thing a day that makes you happy. The best part? It’s a challenge for YOU, and no one else and it can be as private or as public as you want it. One of my favorite “rules” is this: “It’s not a happiness competition or showing off contest. If you try to please/make others jealous via your pictures – you lose without even starting.” BAM!

Bonus: if you make it through all 100 days, they send you a little book full of your happy moments. How cool?

So today, March 2, 2014, I choose to start my 100-day journey to happiness. I’ll be sharing my photos + happy moments on instagram, Facebook and twitter if anyone would like to follow along!

Who would like to join me? It’s happy time!

Xoxo,

Rachel

Do you ever catch yourself comparing you lows with other’s highs? How can you begin to look internally to find true happiness?

                 

 
Loading...
Get on my list to receive FREE weekly bursts of healthspiration (plus my 11 Secrets For True Weight Loss!)