One Year Later…

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Today marks the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.  One year since lives were lost and others forever changed.  One year since the city of Boston changed in a multitude of ways.

I’ve thought a lot about what I wanted to say today.  I’ve thought a lot about the experience I had, the emotions I’ve felt and continue to feel and how that day affected me.  A huge part of me wanted to say nothing at all today but ultimately that doesn’t feel right.  I’m sure there will be a lot of different point of views on the day and I think it’s important to remember that everyone will react and feel in their own way.  In the end, there is no right or wrong feeling today.  There is hope and strength, and grief and sadness and even anger.  And whatever it is you may feel today, that’s how you feel and that’s ok.

I wasn’t physically harmed when the bombs went off but like so many others I was in the area and was affected in some way.  In the months that followed the bombing I suffered from nightmares about bombs and death and terror threats.  I’d wake up scared, with tears streaking my face.   To this day I still panic if there are a lot of sirens and can immediately feel the fear creeping in.  When you live in a city, there are a lot of sirens which means this happens more than I’d like it to.  Most of all, I’ve struggled to find my own peace with the events.  Reading the news, and seeing stories related to the marathon makes me sad and quite honestly is just too upsetting for me.  Personally, I was dreading this day.  For me, it brings up so much emotion and I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with it.

Perhaps what is most significant is how the events have impacted my relationship with running.  When I ran the B.A.A. Half in October a bunch of fire trucks zoomed by with sirens blaring as I was approaching the finish line.  Rather than enjoying the last quarter-mile I was panicking, and wondering what was going on.  It’s with that feeling that I’ve shied away from races.  I’m just not ready to toe the start line to a major marathon with 40,000 other people.  I’m sure I will again, but right now I need more time.  So many runners have found peace with the events through running.  Countless runners have run races to raise money for the victims of the bombings- they’ve run 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, marathons and even across the country.  It’s amazing to see how much they’ve accomplished, and how much money they’ve raised.  But I’m not ready for that and as a result I feel a bit disconnected from the running community and I’m sure I’m not alone.  A year ago, I never thought I’d be saying that.  But it’s true.  For me, running solo with my thoughts is what I’ve needed.

Beyond my own feelings and emotions, I’ve noticed how much kindness the world has shown our city and those affected.  It makes me happy to see victims standing strong, running this race and experiencing genuine acts of kindness.  I followed a dream wedding created for one couple thanks to The Knot, countless fundraisers to help pay medical bills, friendships of a lifetime created as a result and so much more.  And while all the good does make me happy, another part of me feels sad.  Sad that we have to see such kindness come out of such a horrible act.

It’s my hope that Marathon Monday will be a day of healing for this city.  I hope that it’s our chance to take back the city, and return Marathon Monday to a day of community, hope, resiliency, strength and all the good a marathon stands for.  I hope it’s a day for us to heal and move forward.

For today, I’ll be thinking of those we’ve lost, those harmed and honoring the strength of the city that I proudly call home.  

#bostonstrong

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Product Review: Cobb Hill by New Balance

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It feels like spring has finally sprung.  I’ve noticed buds on the trees, had my first run in shorts and t-shirt, we’ve cleaned and opened up our three season room, I pulled out my crops and have been happily wearing flats for a couple of weeks now.  I love spring fashion…pastels and bright colors, flats and sandals, dresses and skirts.  It just makes getting dressed more fun.  One of the trends this year has been cut out or perforated flats.  I think they are super cute, and even cuter when they are ultra comfortable.

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Cobb Hill by New Balance

If you have been following this blog for any length of time you are well aware of my obsession with comfortable and stylish shoes.  Heels have never been my thing and I just can’t justify being uncomfortable all day in a pair of shoes.  If I could wear sneakers or flip-flops everyday I probably would.  When I received an email from the good people at Cobb Hill by New Balance asking if I wanted to review a pair of their shoes I said yes! How could I not?

A little about Cobb Hill…it’s  a small division of New Balance.  They develop products designed from every angle- style, comfort, and support.  Cobb Hill offers everything from open toe sandals, to boots to flats to hiking shoes.  Many of their shoes feature REVlite technology which is the exact same mid-sole cushioning found in New Balance running shoes.  It’s lightweight, responsive like a running shoe and long-lasting.  An all around win if you ask me.

I chose to order the blue Ivy’s.  I loved the loafer style with the oxford detailing on the toe and the cut-out.  They definitely fit in with my spring wardrobe and I couldn’t wait to try them out.  I will say that these don’t feature the REVlite technology BUT based on how comfortable my Ivy’s are, I’m guessing the shoes with the REVlite are pretty amazing.

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Cobb Hill by New Balance

My thoughts…

Pro’s

  • Stylish and cute for everyday wear.
  • Incredibly comfortable and supportive.  Working in non-profit I definitely have some long days, I wore them recently on a 12-hour work day and was pretty comfortable and happy!  I paired them with a black shift dress, a blue cardigan and some fun jewelry in case you were wondering.  I also love them with jeans!
  • The rubber sole.  I have some shoes that don’t have a rubber sole and they can be slippery on some surfaces. No worries about that here!
  • Made of leather both inside and outside and are of very high quality.

Con’s

  • They definitely got more comfortable as I wore them and needed to be broken in a little bit.  I got a blister the first day but to be honest I think that was from another pair of shoes, and the fact that I’ve worn socks and boots for too long.
  • The sole is a little thick, not quite like your typical flat BUT it’s for a good reason.  The extra thick sole is what makes them so comfortable and supportive.

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I really love my Ivy’s and the Cobb Hill line.  I actually have worn out my black ballet flats and need to replace them.  I’m thinking of ordering the Cobb Hill REVchi flats.  The other bonus is I’ve gotten a TON of compliments on my shoes.  A bunch of my co-workers were complimenting me on them and all agreed they need a pair of Cobb Hill shoes.  I’d highly recommend them!

Thanks to New Balance and Cobb Hill for sending me a pair for review!

Have you heard of Cobb Hill before?  Would you try these shoes?

Product Review: Lucy Activewear

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If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you know I love workout gear.  I moved to Boston when Lululemon was just catching on and I fell in love.  I owned more Lulu than I did regular clothes and stalked the weekly emails to see what new products came out.  Eventually I out grew my Lulu addiction and found myself with an Athleta addiction.  I’ve since branched out and now own a little bit of everything.  I like to think I spread the love!  When Lucy Activewear reached out and asked me if I wanted to review their clothes I immediately jumped on it.  One of my favorite yoga teachers lived in Lucy and always raved about it.  I’d also walked by their store and was also intrigued.  After wearing their gear for runs, barre and yoga I see why people love it.

Lucy Activewear

Lucy Activewear

The lovely folks at Lucy sent me a pair of the Breeze On By Capri, the Breeze On By Dress and the Zen Seeker Tunic to try out.  I was immediately impressed by the little details.  The capri had adorable little cutouts behind the knee for venting, and the seem on the front had a nice little detail.  On the dress there was scallops on the trim, and the same little cutout detail on the back to match the capri.  The tunic was super soft and had a really cute and stylish back.  Everything felt as good as it looked when it was on.  It also fit true to size which I appreciated.

I’ve worn all of the pieces for both yoga and barre.  Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Extremely comfortable.  I often find capris like this to be really tight and not that comfortable.  These are very stretchy and soft and they moved with me the whole time.  I was really impressed at how comfortable they are.  The tops are both really loose but still flattering.  I really liked the length of the Breeze On By Dress.  The tunic is super, super soft.  I really liked how it’s fitted in the chest but fluid in the waist.  Both tops stayed snug around my hips during yoga which was awesome!
  • Wicking.  There is nothing worse than a piece of workout gear that doesn’t keep you feeling dry.  No one likes to sit in their own sweat.  All three of these pieces did a great job at wicking the sweat away.
  • Quick drying.  This goes hand in hand with the wicking properties but all three pieces dried so quickly.  It was actually really impressive.  Kudos to Lucy for that!
  • Lightweight.  I love a workout top that’s lightweight, all three pieces were made of lightweight, stretchy material that moved with me.
  • Durable.  I’ve washed all of the pieces quite a few times now and I’ve been really impressed with the quality.  They’ve come out like brand new each time.  I haven’t had any trouble with piling or the like.  The only thing I did notice was that the drawstring on the pants pulled out in the dryer really easily.  Thankfully I was able to quickly thread it back through the waistband.  I tied a knot at the end and haven’t had a problem since.
  • Versatile.  I’m actually thinking I’ll wear the dress at the beach this summer as a cover up.  I LOVE when a piece of workout gear does double duty!  I could also see myself wearing the tunic in the summer with a pair of shorts since it was so comfortable.

I like to give an honest review and usually that means some negative feedback.  Aside from the waistband issue on the capris which turned out to be a non-issue I don’t have anything negative say.  I’ve been really impressed with the product and completely get why yoga instructors and the like rave about Lucy gear!

Lucy Activewear at the Barre!

Lucy Activewear at the Barre!

In terms of price I felt that the items were on par with the cost of other major brands.  The capris are $89, the dress was $79 but is currently on sale for $54.99 and the tunic is $59.  A little bit of an investment but certainly a quality product that would be able to own and wear regularly for years to come.

I’ve gotten a ton of compliments on the Lucy Activewear clothes at both barre and yoga classes.  I’d recommend all three items I was sent!  Be sure to check out Lucy.com for the latest styles and follow Lucy Activewear on Instagram for updates and more!  A huge thank you to Lucy for letting me test and review some of their latest styles!

Have you bought Lucy Activewear before?  What do you love about their products?

Sunday Morning Catch Up

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Hi Friends!  I’ve been MIA lately and missing you! Life’s been a little busy and there is only so many hours in the day which means sometimes this little blog takes a back seat.  Luckily, it’s a Sunday morning, it’s raining and we can catch up over a cup of chai tea.

I’ve been feeling so good lately when it comes to eating and workouts.  My eating habits are far from perfect and I don’t work out as much as I’d like but that’s really ok lately.  I feel like for so long I was caught up in how many workouts a week I was going to do, how long my workouts were and having a perfect combination of cardio and strength.  These days I don’t even plan my workouts, I go by the feel of the day and what sounds fun and interesting.  Some mornings I am up at 5:30am practicing yoga or going for a run.  Other days I reset the alarm, sleep in until 6:30 and go for a quick run, or do a 30 minutes barre workout after work.  The only constant these days is the 6am barre class I take down the street every Friday morning.  The variety challenges my body and helps tone my muscles, in fact I’m still losing weight and inches.  In terms of eating, we’re still loving salads and lean protein like salmon, chicken and turkey and it’s easy to stay on track with these good healthy meals.  We’re still learning and adjusting.  Some weekends we eat too many carbs or overindulge on date night but it’s ok- life is short.  I’d love to say that I drink a green smoothie everyday but that would be a lie.  Most days I do but other times I want toast with peanut butter and banana or a bowl of cereal.  It’s not perfect but it works for me!

Wedding planning has been so fun.  I don’t share our planning process and the details here as this is a space for running and yoga talk but it’s definitely a big project that takes up a good chunk of my time and truthfully keeps me from posting more frequently here.  I was a bit worried about planning our wedding.  So much so that I wanted a very small, intimate wedding of less than 50 people as I thought it would be easier to plan.  We are actually having over 100 people at our wedding but still hoping it will be intimate.  I’m so happy we’re planning a larger wedding with all the fanfare.  It’s been a really fun process so far and an experience I’m so happy to share with Michael and our families.  We just finished booking all of the major details and even booked our honeymoon!  I’m beyond excited for our big day and counting down the next 7 1/2 months with great anticipation.

The Big Day!

The Big Day!

Speaking of our wedding.  It definitely has me thinking about my race plan for the year.  You all know I typically run a marathon or half-marathon (or two) in the fall but with our wedding in November I’m not really sure I want to commit to that.  I’ve been enjoying the wedding planning process, mostly because I’ve set aside the time to plan it.  And the fall will be even busier with all the little details coming together, my bridal shower and the bachelorette party.  As, someone who thinks they can do it all, I find myself more often than not in situations where I’ve taken on too much and get stressed out.  I really don’t want to stress out about my wedding or a race.  Both are supposed to be fun.  So I’m thinking a may not run a fall race this year and enjoy this exciting time in my life.  I’m also really loving my workouts lately.  It feels so good to run for the fun and enjoyment of it, or skip a run and go to yoga or hit the barre instead.  I love the variety and the freedom to do what feels good.  What is up in the air is spring half marathon.  I’d just do it for fun, and not worry about time and PR’s.  Decisions, decisions.

On April 12th we’ll celebrate 6 months with Twila.  She’s been such a joy in our lives and makes us laugh every.single.day.  She’s so goofy and funny.  She has this little purple mouse that she plays with.  She’s always pushing it under the couch or in a closet and then comes and yells at you until you get it for her.  It’s so funny.  She’s really come around lately and been so snuggly and full of love.  I just can’t get enough.  There’s nothing better than the unconditional love of a pet.  And who can resist her silly bat ears and sweet eyes?!

Twila

Twila

I’m off to make breakfast! I’m thinking is a french toast and scrambled egg kind of morning.  Thanks for catching up with me friends! I’ll be back soon!

Tell me, what have you been up to?

Keeping Healthy with Doctor Visits

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I have a confession. I’m really bad about going to the doctor. Like REALLY bad. . In fact it’s been about 9 years since I had my last physical. It’s actually kind of embarrassing because I claim to be so healthy. But really, I think that’s why I haven’t made it a priority. I’m not overweight, I eat well, I don’t abuse alcoholic, I exercise regularly- I do everything they tell you to do. Except have regular doctor’s visits.

There’s something about getting engaged that motivated me to make doctor’s visits a priority. The biggest accomplishment for me was finding a primary care doctor and have a physical. For the first time in almost ten years. She was awesome and pretty much told me what I already knew, I’m healthy. I’ve gone on to schedule and attend all those overdue appointments. Now I’ve got 2 new inhalers, new glasses, and contacts and I feel better than ever.

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There is a certain sense of relief in visiting the doctor and hearing I am healthy. It’s also rather motivating to keep doing what I’m doing. And it kind of verifies those 5am runs and green smoothies payoff.  All good things.

They say an apple a day keeps he doctor away. Perhaps it should really be that an apple a day keeps the doctor happy? If you haven’t made doctor visits a priority in your life I encourage you to do so. It truly brings healthy living full circle and is worth every minute.  Plus, as my doctor told me, collecting data when your healthy builds a baseline that will be helpful to have as you age.

Tell me, do you make doctor visits a priority? If you don’t, why not? It’s worth every minute and it’s good for your health!

Healthy Benefits of Coconut Oil

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By now we’ve all heard about the benefits of coconut oil.  It’s a healthier alternative to olive oil and canola oil, tastes great with those bitter greens like kale and you can even use it for baking.  It’s also anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and moisturizing.  This weekend we had some fun utilizing coconut outside of the kitchen.

Healthy Living with Coconut Oil

As a moisturizer. 

After a long, cold winter we’ve been suffering from dry skin and were looking for some relief.  After reading about all the benefits of coconut oil and after a recommendation from a friend, we decided to give it a try.  Michael suffers from eczema so we were curious to see if it would help those patches.  We were pleasantly surprised at how moisturizing the coconut oil was.  Michael’s patches definitely looked much better the next day.   An added bonus was that a little really goes a long way!  The only downside was that you end up smelling like coconut oil.  We’ll definitely be keeping a jar in the bathroom to ward off dry skin and using it more regularly.  If you’ve never tried coconut oil as a moisturizer the trick is to put it on when your still damp from the shower.  Your body will absorb more of the oil then.  It’s definitely worth trying it if you’ve never done it!

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil!

Oil Pulling. 

Have you heard about this in the news?  Michael has read about it a few times and I received a press release talking about it this week.  In our quest to make this a healthy year as we prepare for our wedding Michael wanted to give it a try.  I wasn’t too keen on it but was convinced to give it a go.

Oil pulling is when you swish oil around your mouth for 20 minutes.  You can use sunflower oil, sesame oil, olive oil or coconut oil.   The oil is absorbed through your tongue and is absorbed into the body.  The idea is that bacteria will cling to the oil, when you spit it out you remove the bacteria and toxins from your body.  The benefits are a healthier mouth including whiter teeth, healthier gums, better breath.  It can also help alleviate headaches and cure insomnia.

The recommendation is to swish for 20 minutes but not to gargle.  We melted some coconut oil, took a spoonful and started swishing.  We couldn’t even look at each other because we were both going to laugh and spit out coconut oil everywhere!  So we went to separate rooms and kept on swishing.  I had a really hard time with it, I actually really wanted to gag multiple times.  The other thing that made it really hard was that as you kept swishing, the oil started to taste really gross.  I made it for about 9 minutes before I had to spit it out.  Michael held strong and went for 16 minutes.  Once you spit the oil out, you swish with salt water.  It helps remove some of the oil from your mouth.  Water tasted delicious and brushing my teeth felt even better! I even noticed that my teeth were brighter!

I’m not sure I’d try it again but I think Michael may.  He didn’t seem to mind the process and is really interested in some of the benefits.  I’m glad I tried it.

I’m off to help Michael cook dinner!  We’re having fish tacos…cooked in coconut oil!

Have you moisturized with coconut oil?  Would you try oil pulling?  Have you tried it or do you pull regularly?

Getting Fit with Gaiam

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Hi Friends!  So last time I was here I talked about the workouts that are helping me lose weight.  Today I wanted to share a little bit more about the tools that are helping me to lose weight.  Back in January Gaiam offered to send me a few different workout products to test and use as part of their Get fit with Gaiam campaign.  As a yogi, I’ve always been a big fan of Gaiam and all they have to offer.  I’ve bought yoga videos, blocks, straps, mats and props from them and have been following them on social media for years.  I love their philosophy, and I love their products.

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Get Fit with Gaiam

I opted for the Gaiam Sol Natural Cork Block and the Banyan & Bo by Gaiam Premium Yoga Strap.  I was pretty excited for the cork block as I have a foam block at home at it’s just not quite wide enough or sturdy enough for poses like supported bridge.  This cork block is really wide and thick so I feel very safe and secure when using it for supported bridge or standing splits.  I was actually thinking I need to order a second one so I can use them as props to help deepen my backbends or when working on splits.  I also really liked the yoga strap, it’s nice and thick and doesn’t have any stretch to it.  I’ve found that some yoga straps will stretch when I use them to lengthen my hamstrings or open my shoulders.  This one did not do that at all and again felt really sturdy and supportive when using it.  I’d definitely recommend both!

Gaiam Sol Natural Cork Yoga Block and Banyan and Bo Premium Yoga Strap

Gaiam Sol Natural Cork Yoga Block and Banyan and Bo Premium Yoga Strap

The other item I received was the Step360.  I was hesitant about reviewing this as I was really worried it would be another workout item I’d never use.   I have to tell you, I’m so happy I decided to test this out!  With this winter being so cold and snowy it’s really given be another outlet to sweat it out.  So what is a Step360?  The step has 2 air inflated chambers with a solid surface on the top making it a combination between a step, a trampoline and a balance board.  It was super easy to set up, I pretty much inflated the air chambers and was good to go.  It came with 2 DVDs with a variety of workouts on it and a sculpting cord.  I absolutely love the workouts.  They are interval based and really easy to follow.  The best part is they are 10 or 20 minutes long.  The cardio based workouts do a great job of increasing your heart rate and working your agility.  The strength workouts with the use of the sculpting cord really work your whole body.  I’ve been sore after every workout! The Step360 has been really fun to use and has added a whole new dimension to my workouts.

Step360 by Gaiam
Step360 by Gaiam

A big thanks to Gaiam for letting me test out the Gaiam Sol Natural Cork Block and the Banyan & Bo by Gaiam Premium Yoga Strap and the Step360.  They’ve definitely made my workouts more fun and helped me to continue to live a healthy life!

Have you tried the Gaiam products?  Would you try the Step360?