Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bucket List #163: Take the Roosevelt Island Tram


Sunday morning was cold, overcast, and windy which were the perfect conditions for me to stay in my warm bed. I'll admit that the thought did cross my mind as I heard the wind blowing outside my window at 5:30am, but I paid $50 to run the New York City 10K and I had bucket list items to cross off! I got my butt out of bed, dressed in the warmest athletic clothes I could find, and I made my way to the subway. I had quite the underground journey as I made my way down, around, and all over Upper Manhattan, but my first adventure of the day awaited -  Bucket List Item #163: Ride the Roosevelt Island Tram at 60th Street and 2nd Avenue. 

This aerial tram crosses the East River connecting Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It uses a regular MetroCard as payment which is really convenient especially for those who have a monthly or weekly pass. I don't specifically remember when I added this to my bucket list, but I'm assuming I included it after pedaling by it during the 5 Boro Bike Tour or after seeing Matt Bomer's character, Neil, jump trams during an episode of White Collar. Either way, it's a fun experience to take such an unusual form of transportation especially since New Yorkers are used to commuting below ground most of the time. The Roosevelt Island Tram offers nice views of the east side of Manhattan with glimpses of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.


The New York City 10K also included great views of Manhattan as the course ran along the East River. Unfortunately, I was too cold and busy kicking butt during the race to stop for photos. I know - so unblogger of me, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.


I wasn't a huge fan of the course since it was just the same two laps around the island. Seeing Mile 5 signs after just beginning the race and the Finish line before I even made it to the halfway point really messed with my mind! On the bright side, the course was pretty flat which is always appreciated. Whether it was the course or the wind pushing me along, I completed the race with a PR - 2 minutes and 49 seconds off my last 10K race, the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K in February! Not only did I PR with this race, but I also crossed an item off my Birthday Bucket List -  run a new race. Done!


After a morning of rest, I celebrated a run well done with a trip to DTUT  (it stands for Downtown Uptown) in Yorkville on the Upper East Side with a friend. I've been wanting to go here for months! The vintage couches, funky artwork, and notable light fixtures add to the relaxed and cozy ambiance. I had a cinnamon roll and hot chocolate (I wasn't kidding when I said I love hot chocolate!), but I'm really excited to go back soon for their fondue, s'mores, and wine special on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday for $32. And since I love a good deal, I recommend purchasing this same special on Groupon to save $16. Date night is planned! #yourewelcome


As you can tell, I'm all about the food post-race. Let me know your favorite way to celebrate in the comments below!

Stay fit and fabulous,

A

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Friday, October 17, 2014

FITerview with Donna Burke

Yesterday, I was one of the lucky bloggers invited to experience the Fitness Magazine #FitBlogNYC event at the Mercedes Club. I tweeted, Instagramed, and Facebooked some quotes and photos, but more detailed blog posts will be coming your way soon!

 
I decided another FITerview post was long overdue, so today I'm interviewing my best friend and entrepreneur, Donna Burke. Seriously - don't let our 14 year friendship fool you into thinking I'm biased. This girl has her own fitness fashion blog, Yoga In Heels, helps with her family's businesses, and just started her own workout, FORME - to name a few projects she's currently working on. Oh, and she does it all in six inch heels...or really cute wedge sneakers depending on how she's feeling that day. Check her out:

Tell us about your fitness story.  I was a rough and tumble girly girl as a kid. I grew up playing soccer and always wanting to play with the boys, but would have to skip every other week for dance classes. I danced ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, and Irish Dance until I was 18 and then quit to play soccer in college. I had always believed you needed to kill yourself at the gym and sweat a ton, but when I got injured training for my first marathon, that all changed and I found myself finding the best results from low-impact, barre workouts at Pure Barre. From there I decided to start teaching at a local independently owned barre studio, and when I realized I was still missing something from traditional barre classes, I created FORME.
 
Photo from here.
 
Tell us about FORME.  I call FORME “Barre Fusion.” It’s a barre inspired class that takes the ballet movements that lean and tone your muscles and mixes with traditional Pilates and body pump type movements. There is a 3 minute cardio abs section that kicks you into the fat burning zone and amps up the results of the workout. I personally have lost 30lbs doing this workout!
 
What is your current fitness goal?  I can honestly say that I don’t have one because I’ve reached them all! After my running injury, I gained 30lbs and because of FORME can proudly say I am 100% happy where I am. I have a few half marathons planned for 2015, maybe this year I’ll train to keep up with you, Alec!
 
Do you have a pre and post-workout routine? If so, share your secrets!  I like to get dressed and put on light makeup for my workouts. I believe that confidence can start from the outside, and my best workouts are ones when I walk in feeling my best, so I channel my inner workout Barbie and pick out a great outfit that makes me feel awesome.
 
Photo from here.
 
What are three items that are always in your gym bag?  Shashi Sparkle Barre Socks, MPG Sweater to throw on after class, Ponds Cleansing wipes
 
Speaking of gym bags, what brand do you carry? Depends on the day! I have a few in the rotation currently: my oGorgeous Beverly Bow Bag, a leopard print bag by a Parisian designer, and my “Namaste, Bitches” canvas tote.
 
What are your go-to snacks to munch on for energy throughout the day?  Pita chips and spicy hummus
 
What is your favorite healthy meal?  Pesto Chicken breast with veggie skewers
 
Photo from here.
 
What is your favorite fitness brand to wear at the gym?  Currently loving BrasilFit, their patterned capris are so fun and their Emana capris are just amazing.
 
What is your favorite song to jam out to during a sweat sesh?  Oh there are so many! Currently, "Drop It Low" by EsterDean
 
I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know your thoughts on the FITerview series by leaving your love notes or hate mail in the comments below!
 
Stay fit and fabulous,
 
A
 
 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Join Me At #FitBlogNYC Today!

I was lucky enough to receive an invitation from Fitness Magazine to attend this year's #FitBlogNYC event! The 2013 #FitBlogNYC event was filled with sweat sessions, fitness goodies galore, a panel of experts in all areas from makeup to cooking to blogging, and a lots of networking/friendship-forming between fellow bloggers. (Last year, I met Alyssa @ Breathe. Love. Do Yoga.!)
 
It takes place today from 9:30am-3:00pm at the Mercedes Club - one of the most fabulous places I've ever worked out at in NYC. If you want to follow along with all my fun, subscribe to my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages - or you can follow the official social media hashtag, #FitBlogNYC, to see what everyone is up to today. This morning, we will hear stories and advice from:

Holly Rilinger - Celebrity Trainer
Photo from here.
 
Marci A. Goolsby, MD - Famed Sports Medicine Physician
Photo from here.
 
Carla Hall - Chef and TV Personality
Photo from here.
 
...and more!

Stay fit and fabulous,
 
A
 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Get Over It!

Recently, a friend came to me seeking advice on how to move on from upsetting situations quickly. She said she was really impressed with my ability to not hold on to hurt feelings. I didn't realize this was a talent I had until she mentioned it, but it's one of the best compliments I've received!

Don't get me wrong. In the moment, I still call my mom full of rage to get her advice on how to successfully get away with murdering an evil stranger who yelled at me or an ex who broke my heart (not that my mom is an expert on that subject matter...), but eventually I get over it. I can then smile at the stranger as I pass them on the street and be cordial with the ex, and you can too! Below are my tips:

Photo from here.
 
 1.  You are the only person that can make you upset. Think about it. If someone cuts you off in traffic or breaks up with you then they cut you off in traffic and broke up with you. That's what happened. End of story. You are in charge of how you react to unfortunate situations. Choose to be unshaken. Choose to be happy.
2.  Forgiveness is for you. I once read that forgiveness isn't for the other person but for our own sanity. This was an "ah-ha light bulb" moment for me. Sometimes it is best to just let go of the situation, so you can have peace of mind.
3. There are more fish in the sea. There are about 7.125 billion people on this planet, so why let one person negatively affect you? Whether it's a friend, significant other, or your dog walker, if they don't show you respect and kindness then you should move on.

Photo from here.

Having said all that, I believe there is a fine line between having a chill, go-with-the-flow attitude during hard times and being treated as a doormat. Feel free to tell people that wronged you how you feel. Then take a breath, count to three, and move on to a happier place. You deserve it!
 
And, if this post didn't help then there is always Tay Tay's wise words of wisdom...


Stay fit and fabulous (and don't forget to shake it off!),
 
A
 
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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Weekend Recap: Two Weddings, a War, and a Workout

Bye, New York!

This weekend I flew home to Atlanta, Georgia. It was quick, crazy, and didn't go as planned, but it was so wonderful to be home! I flew in Friday afternoon, and headed straight to my favorite salon, Three-13, for a little bit of a fall/wedding weekend makeover. With my eyebrows waxed and my hair colored and styled, I was ready to head to my first wedding of the weekend.
 
Unfortunately, during my drive to Tilae's wedding, my phone died and my charger wasn't working. I tried to remember the directions as best as I could and was able to make it to the city where the wedding was taking place. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the venue and neither of the two gas station attendants I asked could help me. I had to drive all the way home and missed the wedding. I'm still upset and embarrassed just writing about it! Darn you, technology!
 

My momma and I front porch sittin'

 
Saturday morning, I headed to my roommate's childhood home with my mom. Yes, my roommate in New York City grew up less than thirty minutes from me in Georgia. Small world, huh? Lance's house happens to sit on the grounds of the Battle of Allatoona, and this weekend was the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle. There were reenactments and demonstrations. I can't even imagine growing up in a house with so much history! He needs to leave the city and move back home immediately, no?
 
 
 

Blogging circa 1864

 
 
Oh, you know - just a blood stain left over from an amputation during the Civil War...
 
This view...
 
Later that evening, I made my way to my second wedding. The groom, Eric, and I attended Georgia Southern University together and became running buddies once we moved back to Atlanta after graduation. (You might remember him from this post. #ThrowbackThursday) Everything was absolutely stunning that evening. I enjoyed dancing and catching up with all my old college friends. It was basically a mini reunion! Everyone was introducing significant others, showing off engagement rings, and talking about their new babies, but I was like, "I'm just single and living in New York City. Is it time for cake?" What is my life?! 
 
 
 
On Sunday morning, I headed to Virginia Highlands for a pre-flight workout. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but my friends are basically the coolest, most awe-inspiring people I've ever met. My best friend, Donna @ YogaInHeels, just started her own barre workout, FORME Studios. #NoBigDeal I was so excited for my first class with her! She did an amazing job kicking my butt...and arms, and abs, and thighs. Even my cheeks hurt the next day from smiling so much! She's a rockstar, and you can learn more about Donna and FORME in my upcoming FITerview post soon.
 
 
reunited and it feels so good!
 
After our workout, we all headed over for brunch at Buttermilk Kitchen in Buckhead. My good friend, Jessica, was able to meet up with us there which was extremely exciting because I haven't seen her since my going away party almost two years ago! My trips home just never coordinated with her schedule until now. We all caught up on our crazy lives while devouring chicken biscuits with pimento cheese and red pepper jelly. Could we be any more Southern?! (Actually Donna and her family are Irish, but I digress...)
 
Whether it's the South or Sweden, I always get hot chocolate. Some might even call me a hot chocolate connoisseur.
 
 
friends and family
I don't have any plans for this weekend, so it will be nice to recover from such a quick trip home last week. Let me know your plans in the comments below!
 
Stay fit and fabulous,
 
A
 
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Adventures of Alec and Ricky in the City

It's probably not a bad thing that this is the only middle school photo I had access to.

I apologize for being MIA the past couple of weeks. Last week, my childhood friend, Ricky, came to New York for a wedding (I wish I had some awkward middle school dance photo to insert into this post, but I only have a group shot from our eighth grade retreat in North Carolina...). Since he’d never been to New York City before, he decided to extend his trip from a short weekend to a week. I didn’t waste any time playing tour guide! After he had settled in, I gave him a taste of this fine city with a trip to the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. Not only is Shake Shack a deliciously fun experience, but it’s also a great way to hit up some of New York City’s best landmarks – Grand Central Terminal, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and the Flatiron Building.

Holding up the milkshake didn't have the same effect...

It was late (and of course the line was long), so we just ordered a chocolate milkshake and a ShakeMeister Ale from Brooklyn Brewery. While Ricky and I went to middle school and high school together, we probably haven’t seen each other since Halloween four years ago. We had a lot of catching up to do!

Tourists!

The next morning, we visited Rockefeller Center. Unfortunately, the NBC Studio Tour is closed until early 2015, but we were able to take a historical tour of the buildings on the property and visit Top of the Rock (one of my Top 3 Favorite Places in NYC). The tour was extremely informative and entertaining. Our guide, Brooks, taught us all about the Rockefeller Family and the drama that went down between the family members during the construction of the Rockefeller Center buildings. Basically, John D. Rockefeller (who was extremely traditional) butted heads with his wife, Abby, over the types of artwork she chose to decorate the buildings with. He wasn't a fan of all the modern art and nakedness, but we all know the saying - happy wife, happy life. Abby got her way! After learning so much on the tour, I'd love to read biographies on Abby and John Rockefeller. Their philanthropic and entrepreneurial ventures are fascinating!

Top of the Rock

Later in the week, I dragged Ricky along to aerial yoga at The Om Factory at Union Square. While I don’t do it as often as I’d like, I think aerial yoga is a lot more challenging and more fun than regular yoga. We got to hang upside down and do flips! I could do shavasana (corpse pose) in a hammock all day/every day, let me tell ya! We topped off the evening in true, New York fashion - ordering takeout from Seamless and watching a movie.

chilling in my aerial yoga hammock

The highlight of the week was getting to experience the Book of Mormon. I've been wanting to see this show for almost three years now (since I was living in Atlanta!), and Ricky made it happen! Over a casual conversation with a new friend I work with, I discovered that her main gig is acting in this show! My friend, Marja was absolutely amazing on stage (as was the entire cast), and it was so neat to witness someone I know perform on Broadway. After the show, we got to slide past the metal barriers, go through the stage door, and get a behind the scenes look at a Broadway show...after getting Ben Platt's autograph! That evening made the list of My Top 10 Coolest NYC Moments.

Book of Mormon Fun!

"I'm like Tinkerbell, Finn. I need applause to live." - Rachel Berry

I left Ricky and the Big City behind on Friday in order to travel down to Atlanta for two weddings. Drama and adventures ensued, so check back later this week for my weekend recap!

Stay fit and fabulous,
 
A
 
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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

FITerview with Danielle Wechsler

I've decided to start a new series - FITerviews! During these posts, I'll interview some of my favorite fitness professionals in New York City and beyond to bring you all the juicy (sweaty?) details from the road they are taking to build their fitness empires to what is in their gym bags. I'm kickin' FITerviews off with my friend and creator of cheerFIT, Danielle Wechsler:


Tell us about your fitness story. I was always active, could never sit still, and on any given day was found doing flips and somersaults in the middle of my living room. I started my ‘fitness’ career in gymnastics and never looked back. I was a competitive gymnast for most of my life and it was from weekly practices and summer conditioning that I was introduced to fitness at such a young – and I LOVED it. Talk about the girl who looked forward to conditioning practice, huh?

In high school, I decided to shift gears and join the cheer team. It was through cheerleading that I soon found another passion. I quickly progressed my cheerleading career to cheer in college where I cheered D1 for Syracuse University. Throughout my college cheering career I tore my ACL twice (still torn today). After tearing my knee for the 2nd time, coaches and doctors told me it was time to retire the pom poms, but I was not ready to quit! Turning every challenge into an opportunity to achieve something great, I was able to defy the odds and strengthen my knee to full recovery all through fitness. I quickly learned that fitness really does work. As a fitness junkie, I quickly advanced my fitness passion and became nationally certified through ACE, SURFSET Fitness, and PILOXING to start personal training and teaching group fitness classes.

As a trainer, cheerleader, and entrepreneur I combined my experience and passion to launch cheerFITAs young entrepreneur , I have been involved with fitness all my life and have proved that with hard work, dedication and a dream, there is no stopping me. Just see what I have in store for you next : )


Tell us about cheerFIT. cheerFIT is high-energy, body-rockin’ workouts and online programs for both cheerleaders and group fitness buffs. It originally started after I saw a definite need for fitness and strength programs for cheerleaders. As the sport (yes, sport!) continues to advance, the demands become greater and greater and the injury rates for these athletes has skyrocketed. It was after tearing my ACL twice during my cheerleading career at Syracuse University, that I then took matters into my own hands. Instead of surgery again, I rehabbed my knee to full recovery – all through fitness. With such success, I then combined my passion for cheerleading, knowledge in fitness, and business experience to create cheerFIT. I originally created cheerFIT to focus on helping cheerleaders stay in shape all year round, rock a killer bod, and prevent injury.

cheerFIT has since expanded to include anyone looking for a great way to stay in shape. This high energy yet intense workout is fused with cardio intervals, calorie blasting circuits, and cheer inspired exercises, making cheerFIT a great way to tone, sculpt and define. cheerFIT has recently launched our next biggest initiative, monthly Pep Rallies!

cheerFIT has it all! We have specific programs unique to any goal! cheerFIT has programs for cheerleaders, cheer teams, and fitness enthusiasts of all ages and levels. The weekly bootcamps and monthly pep rallies are an awesome way to sweat it out in a group fitness environment, while the online workouts and custom programs provide that personal touch. cheerFIT is your very own personal trainer and motivator!

What is your current fitness goal? I like to challenge myself, try new things each month, and do something out of the box that I would not have typically ever done. This month, I want to give boxing a try!

Do you have a pre and post-workout routine? If so, share your secrets! I like to have a plan so that when I go to the gym I know what workout I am doing and what muscles I will be working. I go to the gym with a plan and leave feeling accomplished! Bam : )

What are three items that are always in your gym bag? Well, I am always on the go and ready for anything (they call me the ‘bag lady’), so I've got it all covered in my gym bag. My all time staples though are:

  •  Green stride gum
  • A notebook
  • An extra workout outfit – you never want to be caught with the opportunity to get to the gym and then realize you have nothing to workout in!



Speaking of gym bags, what brand do you carry? I've got a a Marc Jacobs sport bag that is my ‘go to’ everything bag. I use it as both my over-sized purse and gym bag. With that said, I do have my eye on a lululemon bag, so I might have to make the switch soon : )

What are your go-to snacks to munch on for energy throughout the day? Almonds are my all time beyond favorite snack. I can bring them on the go and they are great to snack on when I need that extra energy boost throughout the day or after a workout.

What is your favorite healthy meal? I love a good ol' salad. I recently had a salad that topped the charts - kale salad with grilled salmon, orange slices, toasted hazelnuts, coconut shavings and some other goodness!

What is your favorite fitness brand to wear at the gym? Oh, I love them all – it is hard to pick just one! My top favorites are Athleta, lululemon, and Nike!

What is your favorite song to jam out to during a sweat sesh? Anything fast paced and fun to ‘dani pop’ too. 

I hope you enjoyed our first FITerview - there are more coming your way soon! Also, check out what cheerFIT is all about tomorrow night at 7pm at Athleta on the Upper East Side in NYC, and say "hello!" to Danielle!

Stay fit and fabulous,

A


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