The new skinny?

In the past year there's been a shift in the way the media, celebrities, trainers, and studios are framing conversations around body image and fitness. Once en vogue, "skinny" is now a four letter word, a la "diet," and instead it's all about being strong. The thing is, I'm not sure anything has really changed. Yes, there are studios, personalities, and media outlets that have definitely made changes and I applaud them, but on the whole, I feel like the images I see and articles I read have just substituted one s-word for another. 

Really? I hope so.

Really? I hope so.

From challenges to recipes that promise indulgence while still being good for you to workouts being advertised by how many calories the average class-goer will burn, the underlying message still seems to be: lose weight by doing this. The intention is good, challenges allow people to set goals and for many such specifics are a powerful motivator, recipes show people that it's not all or nothing but a balance and that changing one's eating habits doesn't mean giving up everything delicious, but calories burned? This one I really think should go away. I know some people use calories in their fitness journey, but to say that a class will burn X number of calories puts the emphasis in the exact wrong place, not to mention that everyone is coming in with such different body compositions that the numbers just don't mean much for the majority. As well meaning as such articles and programs are, where do we draw the line? When a challenge ends, who helps people determine the right amount of classes, squats, time to hold a plank, etc. for them? When meals are described with words like "cheat," it automatically paints them as bad and pulls on the complex relationship that on some level everyone has with food, particularly now when you could drive yourself nuts trying to find whole foods that are antibiotic free, pesticide free, have not been packed with fillers or substituted along the supply chain, are eco-friendly, and sustainably and ethically produced. (My head is spinning too. A garden is probably the best bet, but then you know there would be a study on where the seeds came from. Pick and choose your battles and do the best you can I say.)

When celebrities are interviewed or studios and trainers use testimonials for promotion, there is often an, "I lost X pounds/inches" component. On the one hand, this is not surprising at all. There is a demand for this information and it's what sells. Business is business. But wouldn't it be awesome if there was also discussion about how Mr. X can now run around with his son without having to stop every few minutes or an anecdote from Ms. Y in which she tells us that the clerk at the store offered to carry her bags but she didn't need help because she has gotten so much stronger. 

I'm not sure what the answer is and it may not be solvable. Maybe I'm being impatient and change will come in time or maybe it's here and I'm missing it? Would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments. 

Friyay!

Hooray for Fridays

Rather than having Fridays be "Finds," I've decided to make it a grab-bag. Fridays are fun (or at least they should be). The weekend is in sight, and hooray, you've made it through the week! To treat myself on Fridays, I'd rather not be limited just to finds and instead throw out some fun,  another rep of fitness, an extra helping of food, travel, real talk, or a find if I have a good one. This week I'm giving you a fun/find combo. 

A Room of Balloons!

Last weekend I had plans to get froyo with a friend. I know, I know, could we be more basic. But then, as I was falling asleep Friday, and obviously going through Snapchat stories, I saw my sister's bff's snaps from Martin Creed's "The Back Door" exhibit at the Park Avenue Armory. The show had been on my list but once my screen filled with clips and pics of my sister's friends in a room filled with balloons I knew I had to go immediately. 

Don't you want to go in there IMMEDIATELY?! Me too!

Don't you want to go in there IMMEDIATELY?! Me too!

My friend was more than up for it and we had one of the most fun afternoons I've had in a long time. It was like being in a ball-pit except you're walking through rather than swimming and it's easier to move through balloons than it is plastic balls. (Why is it so hard to get through those things anyway?) As we approached the front of the line, which moved pretty quickly, we were both swept up in this state of pure joy and excitement. There was an innocence and simplicity to it that I'm not sure I've felt in a long time. Working freelance; navigating the NY dating scene; living in NYC; and the tragedies, instances of bigotry and hatred, and slew of other horribles that have been unleashed on the world, is draining and it's easy to get jaded. An afternoon of silliness was just what we, or at least I, needed. 

The number of people and time that you're in the balloon part of the exhibit is limited but you get a decent amount of time to play. Still, we have both seriously thought about going back. The rest of the exhibit is also worth seeing, though I caution you that the video portion is not for the faint-of-heart when it comes to bodily functions and you might not want to bring children in depending on your rules/feelings on what they see and how it will be received (SPOILER: You will see someone "relieve herself" on a floor and there is nudity (female top, male bottom from behind).  

If you will be in NYC before August 7th, I can't recommend it enough. Who knows, maybe I'll see you in the balloons. Click here for more info.

Baby's First Poke

I'm not sure I've made it through a day in these past few weeks without hearing "poke." From adults running around, eyes glued to their phone #gottacatchemall, to people raving about one of the newest food crazes in NYC, it's all about the poke 'mon (I'm so clever I know). I've never been a raw fish girl, at Japanese restaurants I always opt for the "Kitchen Entree" portion of the menu or go with a non-raw roll, but something told me I was going to try the poke trend. 

[Source]

Since it's opening this past spring, I've heard nothing but praise for Wisefish Poké. After a bit more investigating, I knew it was my turn to experience one of their bowls. After the recent NYPost article "Everything we love to eat is a scam," a horrifying truth that I actually already knew about, I definitely had reservations about ordering fish, especially as this would be my first time going raw. Perhaps not the wisest decision (again, aren't I clever?), but as much as I hate the fact that we are being scammed and food substitutions are rampant, unchecked, and, in more instances than I want to acknowledge, unsafe, all I can do is the best that I can and I have to pick and choose my battles. My poke bowl wasn't going to be a battle; plus Wisefish has tofu and edamame on the menu so I could opt for a non-raw fish protein if I got cold feet. 

Succulents in the middle of the communal table. Love.                   [IG: @heatherjmtl]

Succulents in the middle of the communal table. Love.                   [IG: @heatherjmtl]

So how was it? To quote the Terminator/Arnold "I'll be back." The restaurant is small, with one communal table and 2-3 window seats. The vibe is clean, fresh, and beachy; employees wear baseball hats that have a floral motif and the logo is a cute little fish which in hindsight is perhaps a little sick a la "I'm going to eat you." Ordering is done via iPad with an employee, next up is the pay station, and then you wait for your bowl. The man I ordered with was very kind and explained the ingredients listed that I wasn't sure of (masago? fresh ginger mojo?), he also asked about allergies which was really thoughtful and particularly lucky for me because I am allergic to certain seaweeds. Who knew that the zucchini noodles at Wisefish are seasoned with seaweed? They were easily able to accommodate me and made my bowl with plain zucchini noodles; the man I ordered with even went so far as to include "NO seaweed" in my name so the kitchen staff would be sure to see it first thing.

Not my bowl. I was so wrapped up in catching up with my friend that photos didn't cross my mind; bag blogger I know. However, this bowl looks a lot like mine and don't worry, there are forks if you need (I need).                [IG: @tjdocena]

Not my bowl. I was so wrapped up in catching up with my friend that photos didn't cross my mind; bag blogger I know. However, this bowl looks a lot like mine and don't worry, there are forks if you need (I need).                [IG: @tjdocena]

I went the create-your-own bowl route, but they also have four "House Favorites" which you can choose from. Everything is so fresh, prices are reasonable, and the portions are pretty perfectly sized. All in all, a delicious summertime, or anytime spot. I'm already planning my next combination!

Have you tried poké or any other new foods recently?

Fit for What?

Fitness. It's a word we encounter everyday, usually many times over. It recently struck me to look at the word itself. What are we getting "fit" for? In non-exercise world, fit connotes being appropriate for something, a match, having the right qualities and/or qualifications. Fit for a King. We fit together. The perfect fit. So what does that mean when applied to the realm of health and wellness?

Samesies except brownie. [Source]

Samesies except brownie. [Source]

Simply, I think it means that we all need to take a step back and think about what it is we want to achieve and what makes us happy when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Which exercise method fits you? What will get you to your goals? What do you enjoy doing? Where do you find your strength? The beautiful thing is that the answer will always be different, be that as your own needs change or just amongst people. We're all at a different place in our journey and what we need one day may or may not be what we need the day after that. 

For all the reasons that I am not a fan of ClassPass on the whole, I do think the fact that it makes it so easy for people to look for what they need and experiment time and again with new methods is wonderful and a real strength of the platform. Somedays I feel like you open Instagram, Facebook, etc. and are met with various yoga poses, quotes about squats and/or burpees, smoothies, and acai bowls with the implication that this is what fitness looks like and yes, there is more, but that this is what it really is and if you don't do these things then you're not really part of the fitness community. This isn't meant to be a criticism of posts or accounts like these, I enjoy seeing and follow many of them, instead, it's just a reminder that there are so many ways to be "fit" and none of them is wrong (or right). I don't do as much yoga as I should, do squats 1x/week, haven't done a burpee since the beginning of June, and have never gotten into the smoothie and bowl scene, although that's in large part because they are usually full of my nemesis the chia seed (what up allergies), but I still consider myself very much a part of the larger fitness community. In the end it's about what fits YOU and that will always be different than what fits someone else, unless you clone yourself. I think, I'm not really sure how clones work. 

How do you define fitness? What is currently fit-ing you?

Not Everything Has to Be Exciting

As the title suggests, not everything in life will be exciting. Duh. My week was, to an extent, in keeping with that theme. It was about getting back into a rhythm and settling in after vacation, jet lag, and a short holiday week. Accordingly, my finds were more mundane and in some cases, re-finds.

  • Essie Licorice Nail Polish: Last summer I got really into this color. I'd never felt comfortable with a black nail and wasn't sure I could pull it off but, after seeing the black nail trend sported by a character on a terrible reality show (maybe character is the wrong word but I feel like reality TV is so edited and curated that that's what the people are), I had to try it. It became my go-to polish for the rest of the summer but by late fall, I was feeling more seasonal maroons and gold. A week ago the hankering kicked in and *swoon* my nails are jet black and looking awesome, at least I think so, and really, that's all that matters.
  • Jewelry: I get in jewelry ruts. Aside from my "L" necklace which I wear always- day, night, shower, sleep, gym, it's basically part of me #sorrynotsorry, I find that I rotate between 3 pairs of earrings and 1-2 bracelets. Like many people, I like sparkly things, and thus over the years I have been lucky to amass a very nice jewelry collection, but rarely do I let each piece have it's day in the spotlight. This week I changed that and started mixing it up a bit. Putting on pieces I hadn't worn in years was so much fun and felt like I suddenly had all these new accessories. So, go shop your own closet, jewelry box, etc. You'll find so much there and it costs zero dollars!
  • New Friends: I'm not sure if you can "find" friends but go with me. Sometimes we let age hold us back. I think this comes from the very real and necessary limits that we have when we are younger, but somewhere along the way, it takes on this silly dividing line quality and certain activities, relationships, places, etc. that are in no way age-specific, get linked to a particular age range. Over the past few months, I've gotten to chit chatting with a fellow client at Flywheel. She is 16 years my senior, but we have a lot of the same interests and values. I felt a little weird about it, but I suggested going out for coffee. She was game and we ended up having a great time! While we are at different stages of life and I can't relate to what it's like to be a wife and mother, there is so much we do share in common. As much as I am a child at heart, I also have an old soul, at least I've been told as much basically my whole life. It's true. I have always been able to connect with people many years older than me, having thoughtful discussions from a fairly young age. Even still, I don't think any of us should let age limit us when it comes to finding people to make up our tribe. Good people are good people, no matter their age (or any other way they might be classified by society). We're already working on finding a time to do it again and I hope "this is going to be the start of a beautiful friendship." Name that movie- hint, clip is right here:

What things did you find this week? 

Entwine

Last night I went on a date that well, I'll leave it at this, I don't plan to see him again. Aside from feeling like I was in an episode of Sex & the City (or the beginning of a horror movie), he picked a great spot. Luckily there's pretty much zero chance that he'll be there again, so I can safely return! #silverlinings 

[Source]

Entwine bills itself as "crafted cocktails x artisanal food." What does that mean? Well, I'd say it's part wine bar, part cocktail lounge, part restaurant-lite. Their food menu is not just bar snacks, light bites, small plates, etc. as so many wine and cocktail-centric places are, and they serve brunch, lunch, and dinner, but you get the sense that the drink menu is really the star of the show. We only had drinks, but the food I saw going to other tables looked and smelled really good and  many of the other patrons seemed to be repeat customers.  

The space itself was total West Village charm. The bar when you first walk in is a bit cramped but in a cozy way and it wouldn't be awful to sit there. You then travel down a fairly dark hallway to a small back room with only a few, well-spaced tables, allowing for an intimate setting in the best sense of the word. Through a glass door you find the patio which is where we sat. High walls block and the foliage from the trees that grow out of the courtyard block out mostly all sight of the adjacent buildings. There are more tables outside than in the back room, or at least that's how it seemed, and they are a bit closer together, though still spaced enough so that you don't feel like you are spending the evening with those at the neighboring tables. There is also a second bar and seating area downstairs. I can't really speak to that since I never saw it but reviews seem positive. 

Who wouldn't want to go back here?! [Source]

Who wouldn't want to go back here?! [Source]

Honestly, my only complaint was the company (and sadly I've had worse). Service was excellent, though a little pushy towards the end as it neared the patio's closing time (the patio closes earlier than the rest of Entwine, I'm not really sure why), and they had a simple but extensive drink list. I stuck with rosé because I love wine and even though it's already July, I still had yet to have my first glass of pink deliciousness. (Coincidence that pink is my favorite color and I love a good rosé? Hmm...) If you're looking for a new spot to add to your rotation, I would definitely suggest checking out Entwine. Here's hoping your partner in crime is better than mine was!

Any great spots you've recently been to? Accepting bad date stories as well :)

 

Five Favs: June

Before we get any further into July, let me back up and do my June favorites and apologize for a week plus of silence. I definitely over-estimated my ability to get back into the swing of things while majorly jet-lagged. June was a fun but hectic month with lots of travel and experiences that I will remember forever. Let's get to it.

Freddie Falls in Love

[Source]

The month began with seeing a friend perform in the dance show "Freddie Falls in Love." I love watching dance shows but was a little worried about my ability to sit through 90 minutes without words given that I didn't know the story ahead of time and knew nothing about this production, or past productions. Any worries I had were silenced the moment the show began. The cast was magnetic and the soundtrack, a compilation of well-known hits, perfectly carried the show, complementing the plot in a way that made you feel like these songs were actually made for this show rather than to be sung by the various bands and artists who had released them over the years. 

Summer Jams

For me June, and the beginning of July (and probably a good part of the rest of the summer, have been all about Betty Who's cover of "I Love You Always Forever" and Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop The Feeling." The original "I Love You Always Forever" was one of my favorite songs when it was released and this cover transforms it but also reminds me how much I love the original (and what a totally cheeseball song it is). Are you in a bad mood? Put on JT now. Better yet, watch the music video because it's charming AF and starts in a diner! You're welcome.

Renting a Car

When I see this picture I hear Aladdin saying, "Do you trust me?" to Jasmine. [Source]

When I see this picture I hear Aladdin saying, "Do you trust me?" to Jasmine. [Source]

I hit a major milestone in June: I rented a car for the first time. While legally I have been able to rent a car for a few years now, I had no reason to do so until the middle of the month when I was attending an out-of-state wedding. I was pretty nervous about it- driving an unfamiliar car on new-to-me roads, do I pay for the full tank of gas, what insurance option do I pick, what if I can't work the radio/AC/etc. I'm happy to report that the car rental, driving, and return all were easy peasy. A silly marker of growing up? Of course. Do I feel more like I'm a big girl now? Of course! (No, not really, just mildly more so.)    

Orange Is the New Black

So this is where you've been Jason Biggs. [Source]

So this is where you've been Jason Biggs. [Source]

Is this how that Internet Tweeter thing works? I know, I know, Orange Is the New Black or OINTB as the cool kids say, is not new. Still, I just began watching and was instantly hooked. I even went so far as to look into whether or not I would be able to access Netflix in Croatia and Italy so that I wouldn't have to wait almost two weeks to get back to it. (I could but by the end of each day I was so tired that I would fall asleep shortly after Regina Spektor stopped singing the theme song. #netflixbingefail). Now that I'm back in NYC, I am part-way through Season 3 and debating whether I should slow down to make it last longer or speed up because I need to know what happens next. #firstworldproblems

Croatia & Italy Trip

At the end of June, I had the privilege of going to Croatia and the Lake District of Italy with my parents for 11 days. After over a year of no real vacation or time away from the great state of NY, I needed this trip, badly. Getting out of my routine, experiencing something new every day, I forgot what that is like and how refreshing it is. To do this in one of the most beautiful parts of the world that I've ever been to with my parents made it all the more special. At 29, I don't usually spend such a prolonged time with my parents, especially as one-on-one time. To have this time, was really special and I don't know if it will ever happen again. Croatia has been a bucket-list trip for me for several years now and to see Christo and Jeanne-Claude's "The Floating Piers" in Italy was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Poor future trips, you have a lot to live up to, although if you have brownies in your country, you've got some edge.

When in Italy, souvenirs for friends at home = pasta; arches in Dubrovnik, The Floating Piers.

What were your June favorites? Or, you know, some for July since this is so late?

Foods I Miss When I'm Away

Whenever I'm away from home for a while, I start to miss certain foods (assuming that I don't have them wherever I am). They are usually simple things, nothing you would ever get terribly excited about on a day-to-day basis, but for better or worse, they're what I want. Ironically, I encountered some of the things on my list for this trip, today, but since it was still 10 days until I saw them, I left them in. 

I would pay so many Euros for one of these right now. [Source]

I would pay so many Euros for one of these right now. [Source]

  • Salmon: On this trip, I have had lots of fresh fish, but there hasn't been much salmon (had delicious smoked salmon at lunch today!). I know salmon is one of the more ordinary fishes, but I just love it and usually eat a fair amount when I'm home.
  • Vegetables: have been readily available, but the veggies on offer are pretty much limited to tomatoes, peppers, fennel (does anyone like fennel/licorice? anyone? Bueller?), & zucchini. I want broccoli, beets, mushrooms (got these today!), artichoke, avocado (had an avocado sauce at dinner tonight!) basically anything but tomatoes and peppers. 
  • Peanut butter: I've always heard this is a "American Food." Whether or not that's true, I would like some pb on a bagel stat please & thank you.
  • Brownies/cookies: When it comes to desserts, I like dense and fudgy. Brownies are my weakness, my favorite, my ride or die. My mom did manage to find a chocolate muffin at breakfast one day but it was no brownie, but close. I also had a delicious dark chocolate mousse yesterday (sorry no photos), but again, not quite the same. I think eating a brownie may be one of the first things I do when I get home.

Do you have food cravings when you're away from home?

Turns Out I Don't Hate Running

When on vacation, routines change and that includes workouts. A few weeks ago, I started getting the itch to try running again. I think it was caused by watching people do spring runs and TRIs and listening to people discuss their upcoming training plans for the NYC Marathon. Whatever the impetus, something clicked and I started thinking about how much I used to enjoy my runs, even though my time running was cut short by a fractured femur and my flat-footedness. 

After speaking with a friend who is a Triathlete, and one of the most athletic people I know, I learned that he too is flat-footed. If he can run the number of marathons, races, and just miles for exercise and fun as he does, then what was stopping me? Well, mostly fear. The last time I ran was seven years ago on a trip to Morocco. Unbeknownst to me, the bad step I had taken was actually a sprained ankle and after a few hundred feet, I was in tears. I still don't know how I was able to walk back to the hotel on my own power. 

Truth [Source]

Truth [Source]

As luck would have it, our hotel in Zadar only had a bike and a treadmill in it's "gym" (a hallway with the machines lined up in the basement). I figured there was no time like the present and if I had to, I could stop. 5 miles later I was on a total high and felt like I could go forever. I ran another 5 the following day, and then we were onto our next stop on the trip. I still feel incredibly accomplished. I wouldn't win any races at my pace (6.5 mi/hr, so between a 9.5 and 9 min. mile) but for not having run in 7 years, I have to humble brag. 

Two days later, my quads are still feeling it and going downhill/down stairs is not so fun. That said, I can't wait for my next run. Will I ever run a race? Maybe one day. Growing up I wanted to run the marathon like my father had (multiple times). I'm not sure I have 26.2 miles in me, but now I know I could definitely do a 5k and 10k so maybe a half is possible and who knows, maybe one day a full!

I'm not sure about full on love, but it's definitely like like. [Source]

I'm not sure about full on love, but it's definitely like like. [Source]

Have you overcome any fitness fears? Any tips for running newbies?

 

Croatian Eats & Finds

Hello from across the pond and then some. Apologies that you are getting a Wed/Fri post mashed into one but between jet lag and then being out exploring all day, it's not so easy to find a time to blog. One more week and then I'll be back and on track. 

Pre-trip, I had some tell me that the food in Croatia was nothing special, while others said it would be lots of fresh fish, and wikipedia informed me that a staple was pasta with red sauce. I wasn't quite sure what to make of this so I just hoped for the best. I also came prepared with snacks, as I do just about everywhere I go. My go-tos are bars (usually Quest Bars, though I'm not in the OMG Quest Bars are life camp that some people are), apple-coconut bars from Trader Joe's (those are the only 2 ingredients), and packets of lightly salted, dried edamame- a great protein boost and a little salt which I find helps stave off any light-headedness that I have on occasion experienced due to having low blood pressure, and dried banana fruit leather (there are a few brands that make this). All of these are portable, easy to eat on the go, and lay pretty much flat for easy packing.

[Source]

The food situation in Croatia is a mix of Italian and mediterranean/seafood. I love a good piece of fresh fish so I've been really happy. The fruit is also incredibly fresh, as are the tomatoes. My only complaints are that desserts are mainly strudel and gelato (not really my jam) and every kitchen is seriously heavy handed with the oil/butter/dressing (which my stomach is not totally on board with). Now that we are on the coast, the views that accompany our meals are gorgeous. It stays light at night until about 9:15pm, which makes dinners particularly beautiful.

Where to even begin with finds? Everything here has been incredible thus far. Despite the country's history and lack of independence until the 1990s, everyone is kind and seems to have a positive outlook on life, a stark contrast from what I experienced when I visited Prague in college. If I had to narrow it down, it would be the following:

The flowers. OMG the flowers. Everywhere, even the tiniest apartments have balconies full of the most vibrant flowers.

The GardenThe Garden is a bar/lounge/restaurant right near the hotel we stayed at in Zadar. It is the only raw, vegan restaurant in Zadar (shocker lol) and is delicious! I wish I could get their Art of Raw salad in NYC.

Greetings to the Sun & the Sea Organ. Right along the water's edge in Zadar are two installations, one is called Greetings to the Sun and the other is the Sea Organ. Greetings to the Sun is an inlaid 22 meter in diameter circle, on the pier, made up of lights and solar cells. During the day, the solar cells absorb energy and at night display a light show. Apparently the energy also powers some of the surrounding waterfront area. (You can read more about it here.) The Sea Organ is just a few steps from Greetings to the Sun. Looking like massive marble steps from the outside, beneath (and not visible) are several sets of pipe organs. As the wind and waves wash through, the air they push goes into the organs and comes up through openings in the pier. The sound generated is at once haunting, beautiful, slightly off-key, reminiscent of Dory speaking whale in Finding Nemo, and completely magical. (You can read more about it here.)

Greetings to the Sun far left and right; Sea Organ in the middle 

Have you recently had any memorable travel eats or finds? 

Two tickets to paradise... But I want to workout too

Vacation. Is there anyone who doesn't like hearing that word? As important as it is to get away and recharge and explore new cultures and was of life, if you're like me, you also want some form of fitness on your trip. Exercise is part of how I start my day, it gets me going and there's nothing like heading into your day on an endorphin high, knowing that you've already crushed it. I also find it comforting. As much as I love trying new things, I'm also a creature of habit. When I workout, I'm bringing a little piece of home with me. But what to do when you're away and don't have access to the gym, your favorite boutique fitness class, trainer, etc.? Never fear, there is tons that you can do!

Brought some Flybarre to Belize. What do you think of my seltzer weights? #pulselife 

Brought some Flybarre to Belize. What do you think of my seltzer weights? #pulselife 

Try a local class: You might be away from your home studios, but many cities are home to some great and unique workouts. Do a search online, ask friends, locals you meet, etc. and use it as a chance to see what the local fitness scene is like.

Hotel gym: Don't knock the resources available at your hotel. There is usually at least a treadmill and you can do all sorts of things with free weights, a resistance band, or just your own bodyweight. 

Walk/hike/bike/kayak/etc.: Are you somewhere that has outdoor activities? If so, take advantage of your surroundings. Bonus: You'll get to experience the place you are visiting in a new way! 

Apps/Online: In the past few years there has become a veritable smorgasbord of online and app-based workouts. Not all are free and it can be a lot to sort through, but there is some great programming out there and workouts that range the gamut from yoga to playlists for a run; truly something for everyone.

Personally, I tend to go the gym and take advantage of what the locale has to offer in terms of outdoor activities (a walk or hike, swimming, etc.). I find it useful to bring a resistance band as they pack easily and can be used in a host of exercises (and for stretching). If I can't find weights, I use bottles from the mini bar. Pillows can sub in for a ball (ish, it's not perfect). Have a chair/bed/couch? Voila: Tricep dips! You can also do these in the airport and I totally have. Did I look nuts and get some stares? You bet. Did I care? At first and then not at all.  

Above all, have fun with it, do what you can and enjoy your vacation! A little time off never hurt anyone.

I know, I look awesome but I just climbed up a huge Mayan temple. 

I know, I look awesome but I just climbed up a huge Mayan temple. 

What do you do for fitness on vacation?

There is still goodness & 2 Finds

This week has been rough. The news seems like it should be renamed "the bads." While we mourn, comfort, and take action to make things better, we also must keep living and finding the good that is out there. 

While the biggest "find" on my mind is a Father's Day present (I am still woefully empty-handed because my dad is IMPOSSIBLE to shop for), I have found two awesome things to share with all of you. *Fingers crossed* a gift for my dad follows soon!

On Sunday, the Museum at Eldridge Street is having their annual Egg Rolls, Egg Creams, and Empanadas Festival. Arts & crafts, food, music, general fun and a celebration of three cultures with roots in the neighborhood- so much yes to this! A multicultural celebration feels especially important given recent events. 

Challah making (IG: @jenbenz87); Empanda Demo (IG: @waynesimpkins); Mahjong (IG: @tominpok); & Decoration/Part of larger structure (not sure) (IG: @mexicalibert)

My other find is a much-needed accessory for my upcoming vacation: a passport holder. In the past I have poo-pooed these, thinking they were completely unnecessary. However, after much travel without one and then using an old leather planner cover as a makeshift case, hoping that each time I opened it neither my passport nor my global entry card had slid out, decided I needed a proper passport case. I set off down 5th Avenue determined. Surprisingly I did not have as easy a time finding a passport case as I would have thought. The first store I tried only had ones sans slots for cards and the second only had mens. I, like the woman helping me initially thought, "Isn't this a unisex item?" Turns out these were really pretty masculine. They were also quite dinged up. On a whim I decided to try Paper Source (Side note: one of my favorite stores- fabulous cards and paper goods plus lots of fun little gifty/trinket things and they offer in-store workshops) and success!  

Say hello to this guy:

[Source]

When I first saw it I thought, 'Guess third time isn't the charm,' thinking it looked too gimmicky. But, always open to giving second chances, I reconsidered. My departure date is fast-approaching, I am having a love affair with rose gold (although it's becoming pretty serious, we should probably discuss moving in together), and I decided that, like tote bags, a passport case is an accessory where you can get away with a bit of tackiness. It's cute, it makes me smile, and honestly, who doesn't need a reminder not to take yourself too seriously when you're in the midst of travel stress? Sold.

Did you find anything fun this week?

Travel & Food

Next week I will be heading "across the pond" with my parents for nearly two weeks of relaxation and sight-seeing. As my excitement builds, I have been thinking about past trips and the food adventures (good & bad) that I've had. 

How did someone do this?! [Source]

How did someone do this?! [Source]

I'm never more acutely aware of how distinct the food culture of each country, and city for that matter, is until I find myself somewhere new and notice that while I'm not doing anything rude or gross, my behavior or order doesn't quite match what's going on around me. When I studied abroad in Stockholm, we had a session during orientation during which the program directors spoke to us about some of the key cultural differences we would encounter, one of which was the way that Swedes eat. During a meal, Swedes, we were told, hold their fork in their left hand with the rounded (or back as I think of it) side facing up and their knife in their right hand. Rather than moving their utensils between hands, alternating between cutting and eating like we typically do in America, the Swedes never put their utensils down, instead cutting and then pushing the food with the knives onto the back of the fork and eating from there. Shortly after this lesson, my friends and I tried to eat this way, wanting to live as much in harmony with the culture we were visiting as we could. Cut (pun possibly intended) to us dropping food and taking FOREVER to get through a few bites; it was pathetic.

Semla. A seasonal Swedish pastry. If you're there during the season it's a must try!

Semla. A seasonal Swedish pastry. If you're there during the season it's a must try!

When at a Viking Village in Sweden, you try Rocky Mountain Oysters. 

When at a Viking Village in Sweden, you try Rocky Mountain Oysters. 

Other foreign experiences have been more shaped by specific foods. Most distinctive of which for me was my family's trip to Morocco several years ago. At first, I was loving tagine. The fact that each time the top of the clay pot was lifted different spices, colors, and flavors awaited my palate, despite all being chicken tagine, was fascinating and exciting. A week and ten chicken tagines later, I was less enthused. We more or less begged our tour guide to take us to a restaurant that offered literally anything other than tagine and ended up at a generic buffet in a hotel with plain pasta and rolls. I'm don't know that I've ever unwrapped a pad of butter with such gusto.

The dried fruit and nut selection in Morocco was unreal. We NEVER got sick of stalls like this one.

The dried fruit and nut selection in Morocco was unreal. We NEVER got sick of stalls like this one.

I don't know what foods await me in Europe as we're heading to places I have never been but I've heard to expect lots of fresh seafood and I'm 100% on board with that. I look forward to making new memories, perhaps discovering a new favorite dish, and learning more about the places I will be in through their food.

Do you associate places with specific foods/restaurants? Any restaurants or dishes you'll never forget?

New Schedule & Reflecting on Orlando

I've had a think (#sorrynotsorry I lived in London post-college and that phrase firmly inserted itself into my vocab) and your weekly menu is going to look more or less like this...

  • Mondays: Fitness/Health & Wellness (ex: class reviews, fitness news, thoughts on articles, stress, etc.)
  • Wednesdays: Food (ex: a new recipe, restaurant review, top X places, where I want to go, etc.)
  • Fridays: Finds (Ok yes this is basically a catchall and the lawyer in me hears SCOTUS ruling "void for vagueness" but I need a way to highlight the awesome goings on in NYC & elsewhere, movie/book/TV discoveries, new wardrobe items, etc.)

More general updates and of course monthly favorites will make appearances from time to time as well. 

Now that we've covered logistics, I want to get into today's post and I would be remiss if it were not about the horrific shooting that took place in Orlando. This is not the place where I will be political or debate the Second Amendment. Instead, I want to look at how this impacts us, and in keeping with the Monday theme of fitness/health & wellness, use that topic as the grounding force. 

For me, what was particularly jarring about this event is that it came on the heels of a beautiful, mostly tech-free weekend trip I took to attend the wedding of one of my oldest friends. Surrounded by so much natural beauty in the woods of New Hampshire, where individuals and couples of all races, creeds, genders, and sexual orientations were gathered to celebrate love, it was hard to reconcile what had happened when I came face to face with CNN at the airport Sunday morning.

This was the first thing I saw Sunday. Not too shabby.

This was the first thing I saw Sunday. Not too shabby.

The more I tried to understand how while I was having an evening filled with joy and laughter, my fellow humans were being mercilessly killed, the more I was at a loss. There is no explanation. But, what I am comforting myself with and trying as hard as I can to cling to, is remembering that there is still good in the world. There is still love. In our friends and family, and often in strangers, we can find hope and a helping hand.

In my law school Mediation Clinic, we learned about the effect that facial expression, body language, and tone can have on those around you and how it can change interactions. Sort of obvious I know, but once you start reading the studies and taking quizzes yourself, it really hits you. So much of what makes for a healthy, balanced life, are the relationships that we have and how we go through our day- are we running frantically, are we eating on the go, are we just following a schedule that someone else has printed for us, or are we stopping to be present in each moment (or maybe it's a combination)? Not every day will be perfect and some days you might even actively choose to just go through the motions, sometimes that's what you need. After I've had a lousy interaction with someone, I will find myself working hard not to spread my annoyance (ok let's be real, it can be anger) to others and it is in these moments that I strive to do small kindnesses. This shakes me out of my mood, and is my way of counteracting the negativity I've encountered. 

I found this in a Google Image search a very long time ago. I don't know where it came from, but it's pretty perfect.

I found this in a Google Image search a very long time ago. I don't know where it came from, but it's pretty perfect.

I hope that each of us can find a way to continue on, with love in our hearts and kindness on our lips. In the words of MLK, Jr., "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Be good to each other. 

Seen on the sidewalk. This is what it's all about.

Seen on the sidewalk. This is what it's all about.

"Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes"

I'm a sucker for puns. "Change" made out of change; so corny &  so perfect. [Source]

I'm a sucker for puns. "Change" made out of change; so corny &  so perfect. [Source]

Change is scary, hard, exciting, empowering, and something I've never been particularly great at, and yet I've done it so many times when I look back at my almost 3 decades of life. No, I'm not about to go into a philosophical discussion about change but I am going to tell you that I've decided to change things up a bit here. 

When I first began Glitter for Breakfast, I was so nervous that just getting a first post out took a lot of courage. Now, I'm starting to find my rhythm and I want to give the blog a bit more focus. It will still be a "lifestyle blog," but I will have a more set schedule with specific content for certain days of the week or a week of X & Y followed by a week of A & B, then back to X & Y, etc. (though I can't promise there won't be the inevitable detour along the way). I'm still working out the schedule but you can expect topics like: fitness/health & wellness, food, fashion, travel, NYC, and I'll still do my monthly favorites. 

"If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies." (#sorrynotsorry for the cheesy motivational quote, I love it)

If you have thoughts on how you'd like to me to schedule content, leave it in the comments!

Five Favs: May

Summer is in the air and I love it! I've always thought of June as Friday, July as Saturday, and August as Sunday. May was a great month but, like anyone, I'm glad we've made it to the weekend aka summer! But before it's full steam ahead into June, here are my May favorites. 

Grace & Frankie

I would have done a screenshot from my favorite episode but they're all my favorite. [Source] 

I would have done a screenshot from my favorite episode but they're all my favorite. [Source

As my cousin kindly put it, “I think it’s for people our parents’ age.” Well, that may be, but I LOVE Netflix’s “Grace & Frankie.” It stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterston (but Jane and Lily are the real starts). The acting is pretty much flawless and the cast as a whole is phenomenal- the actors who play the adult children are awesome (some you may recognize *cough* Ethan Embry, Brooklyn Decker). It is smartly written and, unlike so much of the entertainment we are fed these days, is a fresh take on friendship, “modern” families, and aging. I binged the first two seasons (13, half hour episodes each) over just a few days and can’t wait for the third season; hurry up and get here 2017 except don’t because I want to enjoy summer and fall and the holidays, etc.

When friends who live far away come to visit

As we get older friends move for jobs, love, life, etc. and while I am incredibly proud of all of my friends who are off doing exciting things, it’s still hard and sad when someone leaves. I know I am lucky to live in a time in which technology lets us be in near constant communication, but calls and Facetime are hardly the same as actually being together and there’s nothing like a spur of the moment meet up. A few weeks ago, one of my dear friends who now lives in the Bay Area was in NYC for a few days and I got to see him, hug him, ride with him (he’s a Master Instructor at Flywheel- any of you in the Bay Area, sign up for his class NOW, you will not be sorry), it was just non-stop happiness while I was with him.

Could not love you more if I tried. Something weird is going on with my right eye here. Whatever, I love this boy.

Could not love you more if I tried. Something weird is going on with my right eye here. Whatever, I love this boy.

Recess benefit: Beg, Borrow, or Steal

Spring is benefit season. In general, I always feel slightly awkward at benefits, even when I know many of the guests. I’m not sure why but I always feel a slight twinge of “I’ve snuck into Mom and Dad’s world and I’m not really supposed to be here.” However, an event where I never feel awkward and in fact become a barracuda is at Recess’ benefit. Recess is a NYC-based non-profit which gives studio and exhibition space to contemporary artists while simultaneously allowing the public to interact with the artists, you can read more here. For the past two years, the event has been set up as a game. Each guest is assigned a piece of art upon arrival and then with steal and defend cards, you can beg, borrow, or steal (or block a steal with your defend cards) with other guests to obtain a different piece. Both years I have been ruthless and gotten the pieces I wanted. I have also made enemies along the way. Seriously. This year I heard that the girl I stole Mash from said she “lost her dream piece” and now her “whole night was ruined.” Part of me feels really bad about this but the competitive side of me says, this is the game and you knew the rules going in. Play to win baby. Am I awful? Maybe a little. (Last year's loot is on the left and this year's on the right- yes I know I totally could have gone to Michael's and made my own MASH, but that's not the point.)

Chewbacca Mom

If you don’t know who Chewbacca Mom is then a) welcome to planet Earth & b) watch this right now. What I love about this clip was said so perfectly by the person behind my #5 favorite. I won’t do his words justice but to paraphrase, so much of the time things that go viral are negative in content and/or are spread out of a mean spiritedness. This video went viral because the woman’s joy was infectious. It was about sharing laughter and fun. When you watch you laugh with her and never at her. We need more of this in the world!

Branden Harvey’s GOODNEWSLETTER

Branden Harvey is a self-described storyteller who focuses on stories about goodness the world over. I “met” (I will always think it’s weird to know someone when you’ve only ever communicated electronically) Branden through @whatimholding work and when looking at his website, discovered his GOODNEWSLETTER. A weekly email about nothing but happy stories?! Sign me up! I am so happy I subscribed; it’s so refreshing (and encouraging) to wake up on Tuesdays to a reminder that despite the tragedies and injustices occurring daily, there is still a lot of good out there. If you’re sick of only getting news digests that bring you down, you should check this out.

We all need some goodness. [Source]

We all need some goodness. [Source]

What were your May favorites?

"There are places I remember..."

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! This year, the holiday is bittersweet for me. I am fortunate that none of my loved ones were lost during service, and my thoughts and prayers go out to all who were not so lucky. Instead as summer kicks off, I am acutely aware of a very special place that will no longer be a part of my summers, at least not for a while.

Heaven is a place on Earth. No, I'm not getting teary, it's my allergies.

Heaven is a place on Earth. No, I'm not getting teary, it's my allergies.

My mom grew up spending summers in Montauk and in the late 1970s, her parents decided to build their own house in East Hampton. Sadly my grandmother passed away prior to the house’s completion and my grandfather was only alive to enjoy it for a few brief years before he died. However, my family and my mom’s sisters’ families got to enjoy it for decades. Growing up, my immediate family would spend many weekends there during the year and come the end of school, would go out from mid-June to the start of August. Some of my happiest moments and memories took place in East Hampton and when I was there, the beauty of the town and salty, clear sea air worked their magic on me, melting away my stress.

Over time, East Hampton (frankly the whole east end) has changed. Every year brought more “summer people” and with them more traffic, entitlement, and attitude- everything we would go there to escape from. Add to that the fact that as we got older responsibilities, be they academic or work-related, meant that we couldn’t spend as much time there as we once did and that when three families have all adult children, some of whom have their own children, sorting out bedroom assignments when more than one family was there could feel like solving a Rubik’s cube.

I know, I know, I’m sad about no longer having a house in “The Hamptons.” I realize this is the epitome of #firstworldproblems, but to me, it’s not about where the house was or that I no longer have a summer home. It could have been a shack in the middle of anywhere and I would feel pangs of nostalgia. East Hampton was where I felt a connection to my grandparents. Having never met them, to be in a house they were in with flowers in the garden that my grandmother planted and a basement filled with boxes of their things was my way of knowing them. My parents and both of my aunts were married at our house and I think part of me always thought that one day I too follow in this tradition. When I look through my childhood photos and remember my summers, so much of it took place there.

Little Mommy (L); More grown up Mommy with baby me (R)

I know that one day I will go to East Hampton again, but there will be a lot of emotions as I make that familiar drive, knowing that the destination will not be the same. For now, I’m doing my best to look forward to all of the new memories to be made this summer and trying not to cry when I see all of the “Hamptons” posts on social media and lists from various publications about where to eat, shop, sweat, etc. this summer.

Can you believe that when we divided up everything in the house there wasn't a huge fight over this Leah-designed plate of the view? Artists are never appreciated in their time. 

Can you believe that when we divided up everything in the house there wasn't a huge fight over this Leah-designed plate of the view? Artists are never appreciated in their time. 

Have you ever sold a childhood home? What do you typically do in the summer?

Not Just Spinning My Wheels

It’s ironic that this post was initially scheduled to go up yesterday because “boredom” is the last word I would use to describe the past 24 hours. Without going into too many details, I’ll share that an immediate family member ended up in the hospital but has since been discharged and all is well, though some testing needs to be done. Now back to the topic at hand.

Many of my friends and family members are baffled by how I find riding a stationary bike enjoyable, not to mention doing it nearly daily. I completely understand how it could seem weird, you’re not physically going anywhere, there isn’t scenery, it is more or less formulaic, etc., BUT there are so many reasons why not one of these “cons” (for lack of a better word) are an issue for me. (Note: No one seems to think that doing barre multiple times a week would get boring so I never get asked about that and will not discuss it here. Suffice it to say, it doesn’t.)

First, it goes without saying that not everyone will like the same method of exercise so there are people for whom indoor cycling will never be enjoyable. Totally valid. I will usually try anything once but then if it’s not for me, no biggie. Ok so we’ve established that I like spinning, I also like pizza but couldn’t eat it everyday without getting sick of it, so what is the secret sauce?

Ready to ride.

Ready to ride.

As I wrote in this post, I mix it up when it comes to instructors. My regular schedule consists of 4 different spin instructors, each of whom have very different personalities, styles, and musical leanings. Of course there are some overlaps, but in general, it is a totally different experience with each of them. What is more, who is in the class varies depending on the instructor. There are people I know I will see in X’s class, those I know I will see in Y’s class, those I know I will see in both, etc. Thus, even the social element stays fresh.

On a personal level, each day I am in a different place, both mentally and physically (aren't we all?). Hence, I am always looking for different things from my ride and myself. One day I may be pedaling out work stress, other days I might feel really strong and want to set a PR or challenge myself to hit a torq/RPM combination that I've never gotten before. After yesterday's medical drama, I went into class today needing to decompress, let the energy of the room carry me, and sweat out my worries. I was quieter than usual, kept my eyes closed more, and would look to my family for strength during pushes. That's not to say that I've never done any of those things before, but not in the same way or all at once with the specific emotions I was feeling behind them. In a lot of ways, I've travelled so much farther on those stationary bikes than I could ever go on the road. Journeys aren't always measured in miles, though according to my Flywheel Dashboard I've gone 31,356.84 miles in the past 6+ years (I have no idea how accurate that is but it sounds good so I'll take it). On those bikes I have gained confidence, found life-long friends, and broken out of my comfort zone many times over, and to me that is just as, if not more, satisfying than any trip I could take in the real world. 

I still regret not buying this shirt. [IG: @jessonpointe]

I still regret not buying this shirt. [IG: @jessonpointe]

How do you keep your workouts fresh?

Where SHOULD you be? Right where you are!

Apologies for the week+ of no posts. I’ve been having trouble sleeping recently and my energy levels have taken a hit. Waking up between 2:19am and 3:43am (so specific I know) daily for no rhyme or reason was “ok” once, “annoying but whatever” twice, and now is just infuriating. At least there have been some good movies on TV.

Recently, I’ve found myself assuring several friends when it comes to the “shoulds.” You know, where one should be professionally, personally, romantically, etc. by age X. The first time I offered advice, I wasn’t sure if I myself was fully convinced that there really isn’t a right/wrong because self-doubt is so easy, especially now that we are constantly surrounded by highly curated views of the lives of those we know, and those we don’t. However, after having repeated it in various iterations over the past few weeks, I realize that I am 100% of the belief that there is no single way that age X looks.

The more you think about it, the more ridiculous the notion that there is a standard becomes. Given the different interests, lifestyles, backgrounds, gender identities, abilities, educations, need I continue?, that we all have, how could any two people possibly be at the same place simply because they were born close in time or look to one set of metrics to determine if they are on track? Just last week someone told me that she thought I was married, another woman asked me if I had children, and an online quiz analyzed my Facebook profile picture and informed me that I look 19. Clearly these three things are not mutually exclusive, but you get the idea. All of this is to say that wherever you are (myself included) is the right place for you at this moment and it doesn't indicate where you are going. It's the journey, not the destination (cue Miley Cyrus' "The Climb"). To be totally honest and a bit grim, we all have the same destination and frankly I'm in no hurry to get there. Instead we need to focus on what happens along the way, the lessons we learn, the people we get to meet; these variable will be different for everyone and that's what makes life so wonderful. No matter how you feel, where you should be is right where you are and tomorrow you'll be wherever you should be for tomorrow. 

#preach and maj high fives to whoever first coined this

#preach and maj high fives to whoever first coined this


On Meditation, Again

Remember how I said I couldn’t meditate? I was wrong. As I wrote in this post, during LIFTED I had a breakthrough. I finally realized that there is no right or wrong way to meditate and that everything I was experiencing was totally normal and part of meditating. Once it sunk in that I wasn’t a meditation outlier (read: failure), I was able to trust the process and myself to take me where I needed to go during each session, finally beginning to enjoy the benefits of meditation I’ve heard so much about. Do I sound way too woo-woo yet?

If only I had checked out Headspace's IG long ago, I would have known what everyone has been telling us since always, we're all unique. My bad.

If only I had checked out Headspace's IG long ago, I would have known what everyone has been telling us since always, we're all unique. My bad.

My thoughts certainly wander each and every time, but I have learned to be comfortable with that and with reining them in each time they go astray. It’s pretty interesting to see where they go and makes me aware of what is actually weighing on me, however deeply it is usually buried. I have also gotten over my preoccupation with the Headspace app voice reminding me of the Geico Gecko. (Listen: Andy (Headspace voice) vs. Geico Gecko You hear it right?!) It was so distracting that I had to pause a session to look up whether it was in fact the same person or if they were at least related. They aren’t, but how crazy would it have been if they were? It would have really opened up a whole new world of marketing possibilities: “We’ll save you money and your sanity.” But I digress…

I have missed a few days here and there because #lifehappens, but overall, it’s become a pretty regular practice for me and I really enjoy it. I’ve found that the middle of the day works best for me. If I wake up and then close my eyes to basically ten minutes of silence, I’ll be back asleep in no time and that would just end with missed workouts, meetings, etc. No bueno. What’s more, those minutes in the middle of the day, the height of the crazy, are when refocusing is most beneficial for me. Slowing down and physically turning away from my computer (somehow having the tech and work physically behind me allows me to relax much more), let me catch my breath and return to work reenergized and ready to tackle the rest of the day. Eating my words has never been so satisfying.

At 5' tall, struggling to reach things happens on the regular. Just as with meditation, I always find a way (and a shelf to climb). #deep [Source]

At 5' tall, struggling to reach things happens on the regular. Just as with meditation, I always find a way (and a shelf to climb). #deep [Source]

If you want to try your hand at meditating for the first, or millionth time, I highly recommend Headspace. (I was not asked to say that.)

I love this. [Source]

I love this. [Source]

Have you ever found you could do something you were sure you couldn’t?