Try Something New: Pure Barre with Blog & Tweet Boston (Plus a Powerful Message of the Day)

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I’m a huge fan of trying new workouts, challenging yourself and most importantly finding that exercise that makes you shine (you know, makes you feel beautiful, strong and confident in your body!) After all, that’s what FitFluential means to me.

So when I was invited by Jen and Kerrie from Blog & Tweet Boston to attend a complimentary class a Pure Barre Boston yesterday afternoon, I jumped on the opportunity! While I have taken barre-style classes before through Core Fusion at Exhale Spa, I have  never tried Pure Barre so I was excited to see what was in store!

Pure Barre recently opened their new Boston studio at 350 Newbury Street, which is a prime location for anything & everything fitness and health if I do say so myself. (Side note: sweetgreen will be located just a walk away right by Copley Station, scheduled to launch in June. Boston foodie & fitness peeps, I know you are going to fall in love. You can read all about my new job at sweetgreen here!)

The first thing I noticed upon walking in was the beautiful space: clean, fresh with lots of natural light. Plus, they have lockers and keys available to students, so you don’t have to lug around a clunky lock or worry about stollen goods (huge plus)!

Before class, I chatted it up with some fellow bloggers (new & old). Most of us were new to Pure Barre so we knew we’d be in for a serious sweat sesh! As we were waiting for class to begin, the lovely instructor Fiona went around to shake everyone’s hand and introduce herself. I loved her energy and personal approach, making everyone feel comfortable and pumped for class to start. The studio owner Lauren was also there to take class with us, and help with corrections, which was a nice treat!

The Pure Barre Scoop

Class was an hour long, with loud fast-paced music blasting throughout. Let’s just say, Fiona gave us a killer workout, with pretty much nonstop movement for the entire 60 minutes. I totally felt the burn especially in my abs and thighs, and still do (in a good way)!

We worked everything from arms and butt to thighs and abs, moving from the floor to the mat to the bar. I loved the fast-paced, energetic approach, as I didn’t get bored once!

I also really liked Fiona and Lauren’s genuine care for their students, encouraging us to hold a little longer (or sink a little lower) and correcting our posture. This was especially helpful during the glutes work on the bar, as I totally needed a hip adjustment. We were also constantly reminded to tuck, a super important part of the workout to really get as much as you can out of it. The instructors definitely know their stuff, which is important to me as a first-timer!

I’d definitely recommend Pure Barre for anyone who wants a real challenge, and likes a group fitness atmosphere in a non-intimidating setting. It’s also great for those looking for results, as the barre method has been known to tone and sculpt the body and really work your core.

[me with superstar instructor Fiona! Photo credit: Jess, Little Miss Runshine]

Many thanks to Pure Barre Boston and Blog & Tweet Boston for putting this fabulous event together. Feel free to email me or comment if you have any questions regarding the workout, as I’m always here for honest feedback and advice!

P.S. Here’s my message of the day that I’d like you all to reflect upon, which also happens to be a tweet I posted earlier today!

Have you ever tried Pure Barre? What was your experience like? How can you celebrate and encourage other women?

Sneak Peak Inside My Kitchen Pantry: NuttZo Omega 3 Seven Nut & Seed Butter

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Good afternoon lovely ladies and Happy Sunday! Hope you all stayed warm & safe during the Blizzard. As for me, I escaped to our condo in Waterville Valley, N.H with the family for a weekend of snowshoeing, card-playing, unplugging and wining & dining.

New Hampshire is one of my favorite places to unplug, relax and simply appreciate the beauty in nature. I also love spending quality time with my family and The Boy without any distractions from the outside world. Oh, and one of our favorite activities: eating good food. Last night, I enjoyed Salmon Oscar-style from the Woodstock Inn Brewery, which was topped with asparagus and a decadent Béarnaise sauce, served with mashed butternut squash and steamed broccoli. I have no words!

NuttZo: A Jar Full of Love

Speaking of good food, I’ve totally been loving NuttZo, an Omega-3 packed Seven Nut & Seed butter. If you didn’t already know, I’m totally nuts about nuts, nut butters and seeds for that matter (love my flax!) So when I received a jar of NuttZo  to sample myself, I was ecstatic to try a new brand of one of my favorite “condiments.” There’s no better time than Valentine’s Day season to give your body a generous dose of heart-healthy nuts, or show someone you love just how nuts you are about them!

A Touching Story

I especially like the story behind the company, as knowing where my food comes (who, where, what, why?) is quite important to me. When I found out that the President/Founder Danielle Dietz-LiVolsi is a go-getter, fitness-lover mom of two who created NuttZo to provide her two children (adopted from the Ukraine) with adequate nutrients, my heart melted.

She didn’t let the fact that her two little boys were deficient in vitamins stop her from doing everything she could to make them stronger and healthier and in effect, NuttZo was born. That takes dedication, passion and love. Because of Danielle’s experience, Nuttzo is now a proud sponsor of Project Left Behind, dedicated to providing care and support for orphaned children. Now that’s a story.

Health Benefits & Features

You can read about all the incredible health benefits from eating Nuttzo here (heart health! cholesterol control! antioxidants! digestive support!), but the main reason I’m so crazy about it boils down to these 3 big things:

1. QUALITY INGREDIENTS: The ingredients are real, pure and to top it off organic. In fact, their Original flavor has just 8 simple ingredients: Organic Peanuts, Organic Cashews, Organic Almonds, Organic Brazilian Nuts, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Flax Seeds, Organic Hazelnuts, Organic Sea Salt. Not to mention it’s Vegan and Kosher, made without any added sugar or hydrogenated oils. You can’t get much “cleaner” than that!

2. GREAT FLAVOR: I wasn’t quite sure how the blend of so many nuts would turn out, but I was pleasantly surprised! The bounty of nuts gave it a great crunch, and the seven flavors really just worked together nicely! I love the crunchy, all-natural texture, especially when spreading on toast or oatmeal and the NuttZo definitely delivered!

3. OMEGA-3 BOOST: Omega 3 Fatty Acids are excellent for healthy skin, hair and nails!  Plus, they’re known to improve heart & brain health, and lower LDL cholesterol. You can read more about the health benefits of Omega 3s here. While sometimes they’re difficult to get from everyday food, NuttZo makes it possible to sneak in a healthy dose. In fact, just one serving of this delectable nut butter provides 50% daily value of Omega 3 ALAs!

NuttZo, 4 Ways

1. Scooped Straight from the Jar:

2. Added Into My Morning Blueberry, Banana & Maple Oats:

3. Mixed into My Health-Boosting Post-Superbowl Party Green Smoothie:

4. Spread Onto Ezekiel Toast with Banana & Cinnamon:

Join the NuttZo Love-Party

Looking for a new, healthy way to enjoy your nuts, or amp up your everyday peanut butter? Join the NuttZo party! I promise you’re going to love it and, well, if you don’t I’m sorry. I brought a jar to my parent’s house for the weekend and they’re already huge fans. And the other afternoon I received a picture message from my cousin who scooped up her own NuttZo (the Peanut Free variety with Chia Seeds) to try for herself. She wrote, “This girl trusts her cuz! I tried it at your parents house the other day. Yum! Jeff is excited since he adds flax and chia to his cashew butter anyway!” The NuttZo love is already spreading!

What’s your favorite kind of nut? Do you have a nut butter you stick to, or are you willing to try new varieties? Crunchy or creamy? What are your favorite ways to show your loved ones you’re “nuts” about them?

Note: I was given a jar of NuttZo Original Nut Butter to review as part of a FitFluential Campaign, but as always all my opinions are my own.…

Healthy ChickLit: Be Thankful

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As hard as it may be to do so, I think it’s vital to focus on the feel-goods in your life every day. At the beginning and the end of the day, I try to find a few things that I’m thankful for or blessed to have. They can be the little things, like being able to run 3 miles bundled up in the cold (even when you’d rather stay in bed) or the big things: the life-changing things.

Often this comes up during health coaching, when women feel as though they aren’t “enough” or could be doing “better.” I try to re-shift their thoughts and remind them of all the wonderful achievements they already have, to focus on all of the good (that you showed up for yoga, your glorious family, the home-cooked, nutritious meal you made for your boyfriend) and let go of all of the “bad” (that you skipped the gym, that your thighs are too big, that you didn’t get what you wanted.)

Things I am thankful right now:

That my dad survived a bad car crash the other night on the highway, even though the car was totaled: He spun out on ice and the car turned facing the wrong way, shut down and all the lights turned off (in the middle of the highway). As he saw a large van speeding toward him, my dad said that he thought that was it for him. He couldn’t get out as the van would hit him, so all he could do was pray. Luckily, at the last minute the other car saw him and came to an abrupt stop, totaling the car. Even thought his car was totaled, he is alive and everyone came out with no injuries. That I am forever thankful for.

That The Boy brought me a delicious bowl of steel cut oats with almond butter, cinnamon, flax seed and all the fixings, along with a cup of organic Equal Exchange Love Buzz coffee while I was catching up on some work. While we may argue occasionally or butt heads now and then (it’s our first year living together) I am thankful for his everyday acts of love & that he appreciate living a healthy lifestyle like me. I also admire his ability to stay positive even through the really tough times he’s been going through. He is a glass-is-half-full winner in my books 🙂

That my body was able to carry me through a 90-minute invigorating hot yoga class at Prana Power Yoga in Central Square yesterday, and that I fought my desire to sleep in and instead do something nice for myself. I am also thankful for a beautiful song I discovered during the class: Places I know by Lykee Li. Her voice is angelic.

That I can write well…and that it’s finally starting to pay off in a big way!

-For my creativity & a new project under works that I couldn’t be more excited about. I promise to share with you as soon as everything launches!

For all my beautiful, inspiring friends & people who support me in my life like:

  • My lovely friend Kelley who treated me to a cup of French Press coffee and Sunrise breakfast sandwich at an adorable little cafe in Cambridge – Mariposa Bakery (all of their food is cooked there and most is organic & locally sourced). Kel is a beautiful friend (and fellow health coach) whose passion and soothing nature radiates! Our time together is always the best.
  • My best friend Morgan who sends me feel-good texts and cheer-me-ups all the time, and who is also my #1 venting gal. Whenever we need to let things off our chests, we meet up and know that we’re both there for each other, 100% judgement-free. We just “get” each other perfectly. Yesterday she let me know how excited and proud of me she is…a message that came at the perfect time.
  • My old boss who sent me an email this morning to thank me for a delicious recipe I posted a couple months ago on my blog that he made for his family. He wanted to remind me that people are listening to my blog, and that I made a difference in his home. It was a wonderful email to wake up to. The reason I write, coach, and share all of this information is to make a difference in the lives of others. This right here makes me smile big.

What are you thankful for right now? Let it out…don’t be shy!

What FitFluential Means to Me: The Inside Scoop from a FitFluential Ambassador

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As I’ve mentioned before here on Healthy Chicks (and as I’m sure you can tell by the badge on the right), I am a proud FitFluential Ambassador. If you haven’t checked out the FitFluential community before, which was founded by Fitness Rockstar Kelly Olexa, I strongly suggest you do so over here.

While FitFluential is packed with an amazing group of like-minded enthusiasts sharing their passion for wellness every hour on the hour, today I wanted to share with you what “FitFluential” means to me. More specifically, my very own definition of living a “healthy lifestyle.”

Discovering an Exercise Routine that Makes you Shine

[Move100 Campaign; Photo Cred:]

Just like there is no Perfect Man for every woman, there is no perfect exercise that works for everyone. In fact, I don’t believe in rules or perfection at all.

Some live for CrossFit and Pilates, while others feel their best by doing yoga and running. Some spin 6 days a week, while others enjoy being one with nature and going for long hikes with loved ones.

The point is, it’s not going to work for you unless you enjoy it. Find the exercises that make you shine, and run with it. What gives you a natural high? What makes you feel strong and confident about your body? What moves you?

Remember this can change, as we go through phases throughout our lives. Currently, I’m into yoga (for inner peace and serenity), running (for clarity & sweat) and circuit training (for strength). However, I wouldn’t reccomend this routine for everyone as THE. BEST. EVER. There is no best. Do you. This right here is one of the many reasons I love the FitFluential community so much: everyone brings something different to the table.

Also, be sure to take risks by trying new classes and different types of exercise, as you may surprise yourself. This morning I took a hot yoga class with a friend at Prana Power Yoga in Central Square and haven’t felt such a sense of bliss in a long time. In the past year, I’ve completed my THIRD half marathon (I can’t believe I’m saying that), PR’d my 5K by over a minute, and took part in the Move100 Initiative.

Setting intentions for yourself is really helpful in reaching your fitness goals as you are doing it for YOU and no one else. Attempt to let go of competition and comparison and challenge yourself. It’s much more fun that way!

Fueling Your Body With Food That Makes You Feel Your Best

Just like my viewpoint on exercise, I feel the same way about how we eat. One diet doesn’t work for everyone! Remember that. While your best friend may do well on a strictly vegan diet, you may thrive on good-quality, organic grass-fed meats. While some may be able to devour the bread bowl like it’s no tomorrow, others (like myself) may have difficulty digesting gluten in large amounts.

While we’re on this topic, I don’t even like the word diet in the first place. To me, healthy living is a lifestyle and something that’s a part of your life 365 days of the year. So you over-indulged in pizza last night or your weight went up two pounds on the scale. When you’re living a healthy lifestyle, those little “slips” start to not matter as much.

In fact, I am so passionate about helping other women overcome a diet-obsessed lifestyle, that I’ve created a unique wellness program for exactly that. I’ve been in there, that place where the scale rules your life, where you stay in from social outings with friends out of fear of the menu, where food is scary and overwhelming. And let me tell you, there is not fun.

In the past few years, I’ve never been in a happier place with myself and my body. And it all started when I stopped dieting and starting living, when I stopped buying fat-free, cardboard tasting, diet-everthing and started eating real food, when I stopped fearing food and began to fall in love with it.

For me, eating well means filling my plates with clean food, local and organic as much as possible but not ALL THE TIME. It means eating a plant-heavy diet (lotsa greens!) with loads of colorful fruits, good quality grains, fish and occasional organic chicken. It means having fun, and not being afraid to make mistakes, in the kitchen! It means recognizing the foods that make me feel crappy (too much gluten, fried food, etc) and loading up on the foods that make me feel fantastic (sauteed greens, quinoa bowls, green smoothies in the Vitamix, homemade soups, sushi + fish).

And of course, there are nights where I drink one too many glasses of red wine or indulge in a little too many cheese & crackers, but that’s OK. Be realistic about it and ask yourself “How Do I feel?”

Communicating + Collaborating

[random run-in with Cait at Daybreak; photo cred: Cait Plus Ate]

This one’s a biggie! I think making relationships with other people (both similar and different to you) is key. I love how everyone in the FitFluential community is so willing to share, connect and spread the love!

It’s so fun discovering different bloggers, attending unique events and taking part in incredible wellness initiatives.

I find such a joy in creating new friendships (both in person & virtually) with amazing women all over the web including some of my old-time Boston faves like Jess from Eat Drink Breathe Sweat (who actually introduced me to FitFluential) to some of my new faves like Heather from For the Love of Kale and Caitlin from Cait Plus Ate. Honestly, these women are amazing and ever-so-inspiring. This whole community is!

Oh, and communicating &  collaborating goes outside the “blogosphere” too. It’s about connecting and networking with people every day to  ignite that inner passion, and potentially create amazing relationships along the way.

Having a Positive Attitude (Most of the Time)

[enjoying some giggles & QT with the boy]

For me, above anything else, healthy living is about your attitude and mindset. Be confident in who you are, walk your talk, fill your life with positivity, take risks, embrace your body, lend a helping hand when you can, and SMILE. I think it’s important not to take life too seriously and to have a little fun with it.

Be sure to make time for the people you love and surround yourself with positive people who bring out the best in you. Drop the envy & jealousy and replace it with admiration & determination. Be the best you that you can possibly be!

SHARING TIME! What does FitFluential mean to you? For fellow FitFluential Ambassadors, share your thoughts here! For others, how is living a “healthy lifestyle” defined according to you? What do you agree or disagree with? Remember there is no right or wrong answer. That’s the beauty of it all.

Healthy ChickLit: Just Move

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Today’s ChickLit: Take time every day to MOVE, even if it’s just taking your dog for a brisk winter walk or dancing in your PJs.

We all know exercise is good for our health, and can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and other serious health concerns. However, to me, exercise is much more than that.

It’s about movement, clarity, motivation and feel-good energy (you know, that thing called endorphins). While usually I like to sleep in on Saturdays, today I woke up (sorta) early for an a.m. Hatha yoga class at my local gym.

Not only did it feel good to stretch, strengthen and challenge my body, but it gave me an incredible rush of energy and “happy hormones.”

So even if you don’t have time to run 7 miles or take part in a kickboxing class, make time for something, anything that’s going to get you moving.

As we like to say over at FitFluential: #MOVE #GETAFTERIT

How can you make more time to move? If you need a little boost to get started, check out my “From Oy Vey to OK in 30 Days” Health Coaching Program, individually catered to Y-O-U. I work with women in their 20s to help them reach their full potential in fitness, healthy eating, lifestyle and happiness!

WellnessFX: Healthy Insights, Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

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[“You Can Only Improve What You Measure”]

WellnessFX: What It’s All About

As you all know, I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, both taking care of myself on the inside and out. I’ve always been a firm believer that what’s going on inside is just as (or even more) important than what’s happening on the outside. That’s why many people are sick or facing health roadblocks and may not even know it because they feel perfectly “fine,” or at least what they think is “fine.”

When I was introduced to WellnessFX, a web-based platform designed to produce deep insights into the state of your health all through a blood test, I knew it was up my alley. Who knew you could learn so much about what’s going on inside your body all through a few drops of blood? Pretty interesting, huh?

The Prep Work

First, I visited the WellnessFX website (which couldn’t be easier to navigate) and signed up for their Baseline Package. This option included:

  • A blood draw at a lab near you
  • 20-minute health consultation with practitioner of choice
  • Personalized lab results loaded into your WellnessFX dashboard
  • Satisfaction guaranteed (now that’s service with a smile!)

Since WellnessFX wasn’t in MA at the time (it now is!), I decided to make my appointment in CT, where I grew up. After all, I was due for a nice visit with my family anyway, and luckily the commute from Boston to my home town isn’t that bad at all.

After I made the appointment, I filled in my WellnessFX profile, entering my weight, health concerns, family history, current supplements I’m taking, and general wellness facts. I then received a confirmation, and eagerly waited for my appointment.

The Blood Draw

I was informed to fast for at least 12 hours before my appointment, so I loaded up on sushi with the family the night before and stopped eating before 9 p.m. (since my blood draw was scheduled for 9 a.m. the next day). I also avoided alcohol and exercise for the 24 hours before my blood draw, since they can alter the results.

On the morning of my blood draw, I woke up bright and early to head to the LabCorp lab center.

[Off I go with my confirmation form in hand!]

I had expected to be held up in the waiting area for some time like I’m used to at the doctor’s office, but was pleasantly surprised when the woman took me 5 minutes before my scheduled appointment. The lab specialist couldn’t be sweeter, as we chatted about life to take my mind off the fact that she was drawing my blood. I was in and out in the matter of minutes, one of the most pain-free, convenient medical experiences of my life.

[Happy as a clam!]

I kept my bandage on throughout the afternoon, even during my shopping spree, and then removed it at the end of the day with not even a mark left on my arm!

[Who said blood draws were scary?]

The Results

My results arrived only three days after my appointment, so I anxiously logged onto my WellnessFX dashboard to see! I loved how easy the team at WellnessFX made it to understand the results, breaking them down into different sections (Liver, Electrolytes, etc) and color-coding (Green for Low-Risk, Orange for Moderate-Risk and Red for High-Risk).

[Super pumped about my incredible Cholesterol levels, especially considering high cholesterol runs in my family]

Luckily, most of my profile was green (yay for health!), however I did have a couple orange and reds thrown in there which definitely caught my attention. I was especially worried about my thyroid, as my TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) was high, signifying the potential for an under-active thyroid i.e. hypothyroidism. Apparently, the less active your thyroid, the higher your TSH will be. Since my mom has had issues with her thyroid in the past (hyperthyroidism) I thought I was doomed.

[Uh oh…I’m in the red zone…]

I was also a little concerned about the higher amount of CO2 in my blood. What does that mean? Am I dying?

If you haven’t noticed yet, I am a bit of a hypochondriac. However, I decided to quit the worrying, and wait until I spoke with the practitioner who could better explain the results.

My Consultation

After I received my test results, I scheduled an appointment with a wellness practitioner. There were about a dozen of practitioners that I could choose from, but I decided to go with Sarah Brett, RD, LD due to her expertise in functional medicine and natural health. I am not really a fan of medications, and try to go the natural way as much as I can (i.e. diet, supplementations, etc).

I loved that I didn’t have to go in for my 20-minute appointment, as it was scheduled over the phone. Therefore, I could follow along from the comfort of my own laptop!

Sarah was wonderful, and super knowledgeable about supplements, diet, and health in general. At the beginning she asked if there was anything in particular I was concerned about (which I told her my thyroid and CO2) and I felt completely comfortable throughout our entire discussion.

She informed me that I did not need to take any notes, as she would send me a full set of recommendations and notes after the talk. So instead, I simply listened and absorbed the information!

First of all, she made me feel so much better about my TSH level, explaining that I was just a pinch over the normal range and that often times a thyroid test should be done twice for accurate results. For example, if I eat a lot of kale (which I do) or soy foods, the numbers could be off. That may explain why mine was a bit higher. She told me to re-check again if I’d like in a few months, but to not worry about it. Also, if it were really an issue, there are many natural solutions, such as decreasing certain foods (anything in the cabbage family like brussels sprouts) and increasing foods with Vitamin A like sweet potatoes, carrots and liver. Since I don’t have any other symptoms of hypothyroidism (like weight gain, extreme fatigue and constipation) I am not going to fret too much about this.

*Update: Since then my TSH has gone down to a 3.19, and is now up to a 4.5, so it’s become quite a concern especially since I want to start a family soon. It’s still better than the initial 5.32, but not optimal*

As for the CO2 in my blood, Sarah explained that this can be from frequent exercise, which is likely the case in my situation, and not too worry since it is just right above the normal range. Another “red flag” was the slightly elevated Apo B, that is the amount of protein in your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. This attaches itself to LDL cholesterol molecules, having the potential to cause plaque buildup. Luckily my cholesterol numbers were impeccable, but it’s still something to keep an eye on. Thankfully, this can all be treated with diet, particularly increasing my Omega3s through a fish oil supplement, ground flax, cold water fish and walnuts, all foods I love anyway! I’ve been meaning to be more diligent about my fish oil supplement, so I will certainly get back on that as well.

Sarah also suggested I take 5,000 IU of Vitamin D3 a day, which I already bought a while back and will begin taking ASAP. It is very common for those living in the North East to be deficient in Vitamin D, but mine was extremely low (only 23.6) which posed more of a concern. Luckily, these numbers can quickly improve through supplementation, since Vitamin D is very hard to get from diet alone.

At the end of our conversation, Sarah told me that my lab results were very impressive, and that she often sees women in their mid-20s with some major health issues. This made me feel great about everything I do to take care of myself, through eating a wholesome, well-rounded diet to exercising and remembering to breathe. As a Certified Health Coach, I take my health pretty seriously and try to set a good example for others!

[click to see an enlarged image of my recommendations and notes]

Overall, my experience with WellnessFX absolutely exceeded my expectations! I feel so much better about what’s going on inside my body, and am eager to see how I feel once I start following some of the recommendations, particularly taking a good-quality D3 vitamin and increasing my Omega3s. I would recommend WellnessFX to anyone who’s like to get some deeper insights into their health. After all, numbers don’t lie so you know these results are backed by pure honest answers.

Note: Since my original blood draw, I’ve ordered  a Full Thyroid Panel, which I recently got the results for. I’ll be writing about my updates soon! You can check out their current packages here.

Have you ever had a complex blood draw? What area of your health are you most concerned about? Would you be interested in something like WellnessFX for yourself?

Note: FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.

Random Thoughts from a Rainy, Friday Afternoon

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Happy Friday ladies! As I sit here finishing up some work in Starbucks, many thoughts are flowing through my head. I’m not sure you know this about me, but I am always thinking. I mean always, always. What can I say? I’m a girl of many (sometimes crazy) ideas. Here’s what’s going through my mind on this rainy Friday afternoon:

-There is a older man sitting next to me at Starbucks who has been writing on a napkin for the past hour. When I glanced over (I swear I’m not nosy) I saw that both sides of the napkin are completely covered with teeny-tiny scribbled handwriting. The hopeless romantic inside me likes to think he is writing a love letter to a long lost woman from his past.

-This grande medium roast with one pump of pumpkin may just be the perfect pick-me-up for a rainy, dreary day

-What if our dreams could be recorded and transformed into movies? Seriously, between my boyfriend and I, I think we’d be famous. But then again, would we really want to replay some of those dreams?

-There’s only two (plus some) months left until Christmas. When is it too early to watch Love Actually and The Holiday?

I am running the Newport Half this weekend (eek!) Will I break my PR? Will I break my PR? Will I break my PR?

-I have 5,159 emails in my Gmail inbox. Will that number ever read 0? Now that’d be the day…

-I have been accepted on a Fitfluential campaign for Yurbuds. Please, please, PRETTY PLEASE come today in time for my half. I am so sick of the ones I have that continuously fall out of my ears every time I sweat/turn a corner/the wind blows.

-I want sushi. Like now.

Happy weekend-ing friends!

5K PR & An Apple (Fritter) A Day…

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This morning, my family head down to Niantic, CT to run the Half Marathon/5K road race. Since I will be running a half marathon in three weeks from today, I decided to take it easy by doing the 5K this time around.

Well, I guess I didn’t really take it easy after all; I ended up crushing my 5k PR by over a minute at a brisk 25:37. It’s hard to believe that I completed my first 5K just about fives years ago in over 33 minutes!

Someone on twitter had asked me how I knocked over a minute off my time, or what I was doing differently. Honestly, it’s all mental for me. These past couple months of half marathon training have taught me that I can push myself in ways I never thought I could. I can do it. I can run faster. I also give props to the amazing community online, including all the fellow Fitfluential ambassadors. Seriously, can you get more inspired than that?

I was super proud of my PR, but even more proud of my mom who ran her very first 5K for the entire distance. My dad, sister, cousin and her husband opted for the half marathon, so we had a blast cheering them on at the finish line. There’s really nothing quite like the adrenaline rush you get from running.

After the run, we loaded up on water, Rhode Island clam chowder (it was a nice break from the heavy cream-based chowdah they serve in Boston) and fresh apples. We then stopped for lunch on the way home, and Starbucks of course.

Later on in the day, my mom, a friend and I stopped at a local farm to see what they were serving up. Well, we were in luck! We got there just 10 minutes before close, and they just made another fresh batch of apple fritters and apple cider. Naturally, we got two bags of fritters and two cups of cider (a cold and a hot). Honestly, there is nothing quite like an apple fritter and a crisp cup of cold cider that says fall.

OK, off to get some work done and cozy up in some PJs while the rest of the world watches football. Days like these make me fall in love with New England all over again.


A Year’s Reflection on my Experience at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition

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This week, I received a special package in the mail: my certificate from the American Association of Drugless Practitioners that states that I’ve met the requirements to be a Certified Health Practitioner. Yes, I am finally officially official, and boy does it feel good. It seems like just yesterday that I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to begin my journey to become a health coach, and now I’m finally there.

Here are some highlights from the year:

September 2011: I began my classes at IIN, and became amazed by the weekly lectures. I also attended IIN’s Fall conference, where I met a group of like-minded students and inspiring speakers like Deepak Chopra and founder Joshua Rosenthal himself. I also shared my first “I love you” with The Boy, something neither of us had ever said to anyone before.

October 2011: I completed my second half marathon in Newport, RI, which I will also be taking part in this year. I felt strong, powerful and inspired, and also broke my PR by five minutes!

November 2011: I celebrated one year with The Boy in the lovely Waterville Valley, NH. Everything was perfect, and I couldn’t be more happy.

December 2011: I fell more deeply in love with core fusion classes at Exhale Spa, and celebrated the holidays surrounded by friends, family and loved ones.

January 2012: I took a mini trip to Fisher’s Island to visit the grandparents, relax and “unplug.” It was pure bliss.

February 2012: I signed on my first client. My dreams are starting to become a reality!

March 2012: I signed on two new clients in two weeks. Things are really picking up.

April 2012: I hosted a mini Open House for my business at my mom’s hair salon in Connecticut.

May 2012: My article written for Milkshake, LLC on the Green PolkaDot Box was published in the Huffington Post. This was a huge accomplishment for me, as I went to college for journalism and have always taken great pride in my writing. I was also accepted as a FitFluential Ambassador, an outlet for me to continue to share my passion for healthy living. Seriously, what a month!

June 2012: I quit my part time job at the spa to focus more on growing my business, freelance writing and networking. It was a bold risk, but I knew it’d be worth it. I also hosted my very first wellness workshop, “Get Real (About Food).”

July 2012: I turned 25, a quarter century that is. This was a big year for me, as I have many goals for myself at 25, including becoming financially stable and growing my business.

August 2012: I received my certificate as a Certified Health Practitioner in the mail, and could not be more proud of myself. I think it’s safe to say I’ve finally found my calling!

And there you have it. A year in the life of a health coach in training. I can honestly say that this had been the best year in my life including my relationship, career and personal life. If you’re interested in learning more about my education at IIN, feel free to email me at any time, comment or head on over to their website to learn more.

Friday Favorites: Food, Fitness & Fun

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Good afternoon ladies! I haven’t done one of my Friday Favorites posts in a while, so I figured I’d get back into the groove today. Here’s what I’ve been crushing on this week…

  1. Cat Stevens albums, particularly this song. I used to listen to his music when I was younger and it somehow reminds me to be calm, strong, confident and inspired
  2. The $50 voucher to Basho Japanese Brasserie that my boyfriend bought me from LivingSocial. They definitely serve up the top three Spicy Tuna Maki rolls I’ve ever tasted.
  3. The new FitFluential #proof tanks. Once you sweat, the back reads “#proof” and well it’s an extra excuse to get extra sweaty during workouts!
  4. My super refreshing, delicious homemade summer tabouli. It was so good that I’m actually making it again for a summer BBQ this weekend.
  5. Sticks & Twigs from Mary’s Gone Crackers. These little gluten free, whole grain pretzels are to die for, and contain good-for-you whole grains like brown rice, amaranth, quinoa, and millet.
  6. Grilled turkey burgers with sauteed mushrooms & onions, topped with melted fresh mozzarella.
  7. Running! Yes, I am running again in training for the Newport Half Marathon this October. And let me just say, it feels gooood.
  8. Snail mail from a good friend. Nothing makes me smile more than a letter in the mail!
  9. Shutting down. Yes that means no TV, phone, or computer within the hour before bed. Try it sometime…
  10. These handmade little hair ties from local Boston company, Stanz & Co. Stay tuned, there will be a giveaway on my blog in the near future!
  11. Hummus wraps for lunch. Hummus + leafy greens + olive oil + cucumber + salt & pepper + feta + whole grain pita.

What’s at the top of your list this week? HAPPY Friday!

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