Let’s Take a Drive: Cross Country Road Trip Plans

April 29, 2016

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Since we’re on the topic of moving across the country and epic travels, let’s chat about how MM, Ollie and I plan to get ourselves from NYC to San Francisco. The answer: a 16-day cross country road trip. I am so pumped for this journey. I’ve been wanting to do a cross country road trip for years (it was even on my 30 before 30 list) and I was starting to lose hope that I’d have the opportunity. When we decided to make the move west, MM commented how much easier it would be to fly to California. Well, obviously. But this isn’t about ease, it’s about an amazing once-in-a-lifetime chance to take our time traveling across America; there was no way we were going to do it via plane.

After online research and talking with friends who have done similar trips, we’ve come up with our route. Initially I thought we’d book a few hotels and wing it the rest of the way, but once I looked into a few hotels in key locations, I realized we’d be traveling during prime summer vacation time (the first two weeks of June) and not all hotels would be dog friendly. To avoid the risk of sleeping in our car, we went ahead and booked hotels for all 16 days of our trip.

Here’s our basic plan, created with Roadtrippers.com, a super helpful site. Road Trip Map

New York City→Niagara Falls→Ann Arbor, MI→Madison, WI→Soiux Falls, SD→Mount Rushmore→Badlands, SD→Billings, MN→Yellowstone National Park, WY→Grand Teton National Park, WY→Jackson Hole, WY→Park City, UT→Bryce Canyon, UT→Zion National Park, UT→Las Vegas, NV→Los Angeles, CA→San Francisco, CA

When we decided we’d do a cross-country road trip, I thought you just sort of jump in your car and drive west. Delusional, right? A lot of planning is going into this trip and as I learn things along the way, I’ll pass those learnings on to you.

Some topics I plan to explore:

  • How to pack for a road trip
  • How to eat healthy on the road
  • How to stay active and get exercise during the trip
  • How to not go crazy and kill the other person in the car
  • How to keep your dog happy during the journey

As this is my very first cross country road trip, I would love advice. If you’ve done a similar trip, what tips would you give? Leave them below and help us get prepped for our 4,170 mile adventure!

*photo via

 

Wedding Wellness Part III: 10 Tips for Planning the Ultimate Honeymoon

April 27, 2016

Abu Dhabi

For today’s Wedding Wellness post I’d like to introduce guest blogger Erica of TheWorldWideWebers.com. Erica and I lifeguarded together as teens many years ago, and more recently, I’ve been creepily stalking her Facebook account because she always seems to be on the most amazing adventures, like living in Singapore, South Africa and Switzerland and countless trips in between. I didn’t know the story behind all her travels until recently when she launched her blog The World Wide Webers (read her story here), and as bloggers go, we reconnected.

I am thrilled to have expert traveler Erica sharing advice on how to plan an epic honeymoon. I love traveling and know that I want a once-in-a-lifetime sort of honeymoon, but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. As a reminder, wedding planning can be stressful, but in the end it will be worth it, and hopefully after all the fuss is over, you will have your amazing honeymoon to look forward to as husband and wife. Planning an unforgettable honeymoon should not be something that stresses you out as you plan your wedding (way too many other details are reserved for your stress). Thanks to Erica, I now have a better handle on how to plan the perfect trip.

So without further ado, here are Erica’s 10 Tips to Planning the Ultimate Honeymoon!

Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva…especially to the far corners of the earth on the best honeymoon of all time. Ok, they don’t say the last part in Princess Bride but they should have.

In honor of Passover we ask, “How is this trip different from all other trips?” Well, like any other travel there’s luggage to pack, money to spend and logistics to conquer, but unique to a honeymoon is the pressure for perfection and the all-important excuse to go BALLS OUT. So, here’s 10 tips for planning the best honeymoon, and just remember, people will only ask you where you went for the REST OF YOUR LIFE…no pressure.

1. Commit to taking a honeymoon: Taking time off is tough, weddings are expensive and the world is going to hell in a hand basket; there are a million reasons why honeymoons are increasingly difficult to carve out time for, but this is the one trip not even your boss will give you grief about, so stop making excuses and plan one!

2. Take your time: Can’t go right after the wedding? Can’t travel too far due to budget and time constraints? Waiting for off-peak season? As Frankie says, RELAX. Whether it’s a 3 day staycation or 3 months around the world, it’s not any less special if it’s long after your hangover from your wedding has disappeared, just get out there in your first year of marriage.

Maldives

3. Don’t plan a full beach holiday: This is the most common mistake people make. Relaxation after the wedding is necessary (repeat VERY NECESSARY), so definitely plan a few days of sunshine-filled lounging in a beautiful place with a gorgeous room for your “inside” time 😉 But, if you attempt to spend all your days at a beach destination you run the risk of becoming engrossed in conversation with a volleyball by day 6.

4. Be well-rounded (ideally not physically): Pay attention: this is the most important honeymoon planning tip! Combine different environments to make the best experience. Lounging on a beach + exploring ancient temples, eating through a trendy city + tracking rhinos on safari, drinking your way through wine country + hiking mountains (even small hills will suffice). Don’t be a one note honeymooner; spend a few days in each location to make the most of your holiday.

Namibia

5. Experience something together: Get out there and work off those breakfast buffets! Whether it be crawling up sand dunes in Namibia, climbing 900 steps in Petra, parasailing off a cliff in Nepal, or hiking Table Mountain, get your endorphins moving and have something to tell people you two accomplished when you get back, besides just making babies.

6. Go fishing (for free stuff, not actual fishing…actual fishing is not that sexy): ALWAYS state it’s your honeymoon to get free upgrades, special discounts, champagne, chocolates, spa treatments, etc. Someone just paid a lot for a wedding (even if it was your parents) so honor their empty wallets by getting something free out of the deal.

7. Prevent divorce: Reduce your chance of issues and newlywed arguments by making the travel logistics of your honeymoon as seamless as possible. Choose places that are reachable by direct or 1-stop flights and easy transit (whether public or private) on the ground. And work with good safari or tour operators where necessary, you don’t have to go it alone.

Cambodia

8. Be careful of your honeymoon souvenir: Getting pregnant on malaria pills is a big no-no, so if you want a honeymoon baby do your research on your location to make sure your African safari or Asian adventure doesn’t require them.

9. Be adventurous: Maldives, Seychelles, Hawaii, Bora Bora, they’re terrible! Just kidding, they’re straight up gorgeous, but they’re sand and water. Make your honeymoon as unique as you are and venture outside of the standard honeymoon destinations, or at least combine them with other extraordinary locations (i.e. Sri Lanka + Maldives, South African Safari + Mauritius, Namibia + Cape Town).

Mauritius

10. Make it special: this is a once in a relationship trip, different from all other trips you’ll take. Be detailed, plan ahead and create special moments that you’ll remember forever, like a hot air balloon ride, helicopter ride, couples massage, private dinner on a secluded beach, eating at the chef’s table, after hours tour of a museum…whatever tickles your fancy! Don’t wait to knock off items on your bucket list when you’re 64, start now when your taxes still have no dependents listed.

Maldives

Kick off the honeymoon period with an amazing experience creating great memories to last you until you get to use your first anniversary as the next trip excuse. And remember what Princess Bride says, “tweasuwe youw wove” 🙂

Why not?!

Have any honeymoon questions for Erica? Leave them below!

And make sure to check out TheWorldWideWebers for travel tips, a peek at what it’s like living abroad (with a baby & two pups!) and to basically be jealous of and get inspired by all the world traveling Erica does.

*all photos c/o Erica Levine Weber

 

Saying Farewell to New York City

April 25, 2016

New York City Skyline

Image via

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while, and now that it’s time to actually write it, where do I begin? After nine years of living in NYC, the time has come to say goodbye and move on.

My first experiences in NYC were when I was young, visiting with my family. My mom grew up and spent most of her life in New York and since we only lived four hours away, it was a trip we took frequently. I knew from a young age that after college I’d live in NYC. I can’t remember any sort of thought process going into it, for me, it was a given—after college I’d immediately move to the city to pursue my dream of working at a magazine as a writer.

During college, I spent two summers interning in NYC, the first one at Shop Etc. (a short-lived Hearst Magazine) and at InStyle. I loved everything about New York City; it was my dream come true. Working in magazines felt glamorous (as glamorous as an internship can be) and I started to find my way and life in the city.

Just as I planned, a month after graduating college I packed up and headed to New York. At this point, I was still just as obsessed with New York as I’d ever been. Even though my first apartment was a studio turned into a two bedroom with a roommate, I was still living the dream! Oh New York.

First Summer in NYC

First summer living in New York City

When I first got to NYC I didn’t have a job lined up but wasn’t worried, it would all work out. And it did, I eventually found a job at Lucky Magazine, although it was on the publishing side, not editorial.

Lucky Magazine internship

After a couple of years at that job, I started to question my love of the magazine industry, even though it had always been my dream job. I decided to move to  TV and did marketing at Bravo and AMC Networks. After a few years there, I ended up back in magazines, working at Seventeen and now also at Cosmo.

Looking back at my time in NYC, I’ve worked for a bunch of companies that the younger me could have only dreamed about. I worked in 4 Times Square at the Conde Nast building, a building that gave me chills the first time I walked in for an interview. I worked at 30 Rock, casually passing them filming The Today Show (my fave morning show) every morning and would pass SNL actors in the hallways. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to teach at Equinox for nearly eight years. Despite NYC being a very tough place to live, for me it felt easy. It was close enough to home, I had friends and a very good knowledge of the city.

Even though I came to New York knowing a lot of people, I’ve made so many new great friends along the way, through fitness, through work and through other friends.

Prepping to start the NYC Triathlon with my tri girls

Prepping to start the NYC Triathlon with my tri girls

Over the years, friends have slowly been leaving the city.

So many great friends made over there years, but slowly they all start leaving the city!

Another great thing about NYC: so many great things just a short drive away.

Another great thing about NYC: tons of great things just a short drive away.

Even with that, slowly I started to fall a little bit out of love with NYC. When people asked me about living in New York, I always used to say that unless you absolutely love NYC, you shouldn’t live there. There is way too much to hate that if you weren’t obsessed with the city, you’d hate living there. It’s expensive, it’s pretty dirty, the winter’s can be rough and the summers can be hot as hell. But if you love NYC, it doesn’t matter; it’s still the most magical place. For a long time for me, it was magical. Eventually though, your preferences can shift.

In the back of my mind I knew that NYC was not going to be a forever place for me. I know I’m not alone as slowly over the years, friends have been leaving the city. Before I met MM I decided that I’d give NYC a few more years and if I didn’t meet someone, maybe I’d try a new city (I said this, but I’m not sure I actually would have gone through with it). Fortunately, I didn’t have to do that because I met MM. We felt the same way about NYC, we loved it, but knew it wouldn’t be forever. Where we would go next? That was always the big question.

MM is now finishing up grad school at Columbia and when it was time to start looking for jobs; I encouraged him to look all over. Maybe he’d find something in NYC and we’d be in the city for a bit longer and that would be fine, but maybe this would be our chance to try something new. When he got a job offer in California, it was sort of a no brainer. We weren’t necessarily set on CA when he started the job hunting process, but with the great opportunity for MM’s work, and a totally new scene for us, it made perfect sense to just go for it. I’ve spent about 3 days in my entire life in San Fran and know almost nothing about the city, but even so, I’m confident that this is the right next move for us.

Visiting San Francisco 2 years ago, the last time I was there.

Visiting San Francisco 2 years ago, the last time I was there.

By moving across the country, I’ll be leaving my job at Seventeen and Cosmo. As much as I enjoy the work and will be sad to leave my coworkers that have become good friends, I am ready to leave. Working in magazines was my dream for as long as I can remember, but that dream and passion has shifted. It’s no longer my ultimate career aspiration, I have new things I want to accomplish and go after. And it’s okay that my focus has shifted. Now is the perfect opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and go after new dreams.

A New York favorite: Central Park

A New York favorite: Central Park

Leaving NYC will certainly be bittersweet. I have so many close friends that I will miss and it’s nice to know my parents are a quick-ish car ride away in Maryland.

I also have no sense of how to navigate a new city. I’m so used to New York, but I’m excited to take on a new challenge of exploring a new city, meeting new people and trying out a new pace of life. When I moved to New York I knew so many people, I had a built in network. In San Francisco, I know about 3 people. It might sound weird, but I’m kind of excited about that. I’m not excited to leave my east coast friends, but I think getting out of your comfort zone is so important to growing as a person. I’m sure once I get out there it will be harder than what I have built up in my head, but I’m still excited.

As I prepare to leave New York, I haven’t completely fallen out of love with this great city. I know there are so many things I will miss, most I probably won’t even realize until I’m gone. I will always love New York and think about the nine years I spent here as pretty amazing. But sometimes you have to take a leap and try something totally new, and now’s our time.

On May 31st, MM and I will pack up our belongings and cram it in our car for a cross-country road trip. MM, Ollie and I will be taking 16 days to drive from New York City to San Francisco. I’ve always wanted to do a cross-country road trip and am so excited (and maybe a little nervous) for the adventure we’re about to embark on.

You know I will keep you posted on all our plans as we make our way out west. I hope you continue to follow Shapin Up during this big journey!

San fran Bay

How To (Safely) Navigate NYC Via Citi Bike

April 22, 2016

Citibike

photo via

When I first heard the news that Citi Bike was coming to NYC, I assumed it would be a complete mess. As someone who had biked around NYC a bit, I knew it to not be a particularly bike friendly city and if people who didn’t know how to bike took to the streets of the city, I couldn’t see this going well. After a couple of disaster-free months and tons of New Yorkers taking advantage of Citi Bike, it looked like it was here to stay.

As a bike-loving, subway-hating New Yorker, I decided to join the crowd and sign up for a yearly Citi Bike membership. MM and I both joined last Fall and during winter, stayed away from biking. Now that it’s warm, I’ve started using the bikes again and have gotten a bit more comfortable navigating the city bike lanes.

The first time you get on a Citi Bike, especially if you are used to a road bike, it feels like a tank. It’s heavy, moves slower, but feels super steady and secure. You don’t need to be a pro biker to be able to handle these simple bikes. The only adjustable thing is the seat, there are three gears and a bell. That’s all it is! After riding around the city, I’ve learned a few things that have made my rides easier and safer. If you’re new to Citi Bike or considering joining, here are my tips to navigate riding in NYC:

  1. Wear a Helmet: May seem like a no-brainer, but I’m shocked at how many people down’t wear helmets in the city. I know that the Citi Bike bikes are more steady than other bikes so you aren’t likely to fall over, but without a helmet, you’re leaving your safety in the hands of drivers, other bikers and clueless walkers. While there have been times I want to jump on a Citi Bike but don’t have my helmet handy, I’d rather skip the ride than risk it helmet-less.
  2. Test the Breaks: The Citi Bike are pretty well maintained, but just to be safe, give the breaks a little test when you start your ride. Make sure everything is functioning as it should before you really get going.
  3. Stay Alert: Unfortunately, riding in NYC doesn’t get to be a ride where you can zone out and cruise. Unless you’re in Central Park on an empty day, you need to stay alert at all times. The minute you lose focus, one of those annoying tourists staring into space will step right in front of your bike.
  4. Pack the Essentials: When prepping for a ride, I make sure to have my helmet (can you tell how serious I am about helmets yet?), sunglasses, a backpack (two favorites from Lululemon: all day backpack for heaver loads and run all day backpack for minimalist rides) and hand sanitizer. I don’t even want to think about how dirty the handlebars are so hand sanitizer is a must.
  5. Right of Way Means Nothing: While you might have the right of way, don’t depend on it. As I keep saying, there are a lot of clueless people wandering around NYC. You’ll notice that people use the bike lanes as walking lanes and trucks use them as unloading zones. Don’t assume that because you have the right of way, people will get out of your way.
  6. Use Your Voice & the Bell: Each Citi Bike is complete with a bell, and while you should use it to alert people in your way that you’re coming, they will probably ignore it. Use your voice to signal you’re coming, along with the bell.
  7. Check The App: Citi Bike has an awesome app that lets you know where the stations are, how many bikes vs open spots there are, and can map out your route. As many bikes and stations as there are, they can run out of bikes, so before you head out, make sure you know where there’s a bike and also where you can easily drop it off at the end of your trip.

The above list makes Citi Biking sound stressful, and it kind of is. That being said, I’m still a fan, and here’s why: you can avoid a packed sweaty subway and get fresh air while getting where you need to be, it’s faster than walking and sometimes faster than the subway, and with a membership it’s way cheaper than the subway. A yearly Citi Bike membership is $155 and an unlimited monthly subway pass is $116.50, so yea, how can you even compare those costs? And obviously it’s cheaper than cabs.

If you join Citi Bike, it may take you some time to get used to riding in the city, but stick with it and you’ll feel comfortable soon enough and will enjoy the fresh and and smooth riding.

Do you use Citi Bike? Any tips I missed? Share them below!

leonardo citibike

If it’s good enough for Leo & Jonah, it’s good enough for me. photo via

Race Training Week 7 + Renewed Run Love

April 18, 2016

juice press

How I chase all my long runs: a stop at Juice Press

As a runner, I know that some runs will be good and some will be bad, and unfortunately it’s sometimes tough to predict what you’re going to get when you lace up your sneakers. After realizing last week marked the halfway point of my training cycle for the NYRR Brooklyn Half, I was excited to reset my goals for the next 6 weeks leading into the May 21st race.

With a 9-mile Saturday run planned, I was a bit nervous since I haven’t been feeling that motivated and the most I had run for training was 7 miles. Fortunately, this weekend’s forecast couldn’t have been more perfect for a long run. Early in the week I signed up for the Nike Run Club long run, hoping it would give me that extra push to not skimp on any of the scheduled miles. When Saturday came along and my alarm went off at 7am, I laid in bed debating if I was going to get up. In the end, my bed won out, but not to worry, a couple of hours later I actually did get up and eventually made my way to Central Park.

The weather was so amazing that I didn’t care that I would be running solo for over an hour. My 9 miles consisted of the large loop of Central Park (6 miles) and I extended the route at the very top of the park, going around the lake in Harlem, and then going around the reservoir on the way back down towards the middle of the park.

I was happy with my pace and by the end of the run, I felt awesome. While I haven’t been running as much as my training suggests, this run (and the finally warm weather) made me more excited to get out for Central Park loops.

I hope that you also had a chance to get out and enjoy the great weather with a good run!

Here’s this week’s fit plan:

  • Monday: Teach 6:30am cycling at Equinox East 33rd
  • Tuesday: 2 mile run, EVF Performance
  • Wednesday: Teach 6:15am cycling at Equinox West 92nd, Pure Barre
  • Thursday: Training workout with Mudderella & Uplift, 4.5 mile run
  • Friday:  Yoga
  • Saturday: 10 mile run
  • Sunday: Rest

Cheers to a strong training week + lots of sunshine ahead!

Why You Should Staycation + A Peek At Mine

April 15, 2016

latte

Do you ever feel like you need a vacation when you come back from vacation? Even the most relaxing of vacations leave me wanting a little something more before I head back to the office. Every so often we all need a break, a little time to simply relax and refresh.

Very rarely do I take random days off from work. Typically I save all my vacation days for actual vacations, often cramming in as many days of travel as I can into limited days off (all about those red eye flights!). As much as it pains me to take vacation days and not go on an actual trip, staycations are a totally different kind of treat.

Last week I took the full week off and spent half in Maryland doing wedding planning and the other half in NYC. Having the time off to relax was pretty amazing. I thought I’d want to sleep in every morning, but found myself getting up on the early side, ready to enjoy the day.

I can’t say the same for this sleepy head. I swear Ollie has the sleep habits of a teenage boy. If i didn’t get him up, he’d probably snooze until noon every day.

Sleepy Dog

In my opinion, a perfect staycation is a mixture of productivity and doing nothing. It feels great to knock some items off your to-do list, but don’t overload your days too much, you should give yourself time to rest and relax so you come back from your time off feeling refreshed.

To make the most of your time, create a concise to-do list. I hate the feeling that after a day off I accomplished absolutely nothing, so I always make sure to at least do something productive. Your to-do list shouldn’t be full of annoying tasks, it should also include things you love doing but don’t have always the time for, like trying a new restaurant, taking the time to try a challenging recipe, extra long walks with your dog, etc.

If you don’t get through your entire list, it’s ok, it’s just there to give you a little structure in an otherwise open day.

After my week off, I came back to work feeling great (ok maybe great is an overstatement. the first day back to work after a week off is brutal no matter what). I used my week off to get a lot of wedding stuff taken care of, caught up on sleep, and also had plenty of me time.

How I Spent A Day Off

I used some of my free time to explore parts of NYC that I don’t frequent enough. One day I made downtown plans with a friend to check out ModelFit. I love taking a 10am workout class, you get a proper amount of sleep but also get your workout done early-ish.

ModelFit Mini Review

The workout is described as a mix of Pilates, Yoga, movement, motion, balance, stability and functional training. The class started out with a super slow warm up. So slow that I thought, is this for real? Fortunately, the pace and the challenge picked up throughout the session. We used ankle weights and did very slow movements throughout the hour, leading to muscle burn but not much sweating.

modelfit

I enjoyed the workout and felt like I benefited from the moves but it’s not a class I’m running back to as the pace was a bit slow for my taste. I can see why it’s called ModelFit; it’s really great if you have a naturally lean, model-like body (and if you do, aren’t you lucky!) but if you’re not one of those blessed people, I think you would need to supplement this workout with cardio and heavier weight workouts to see a body change.

foam roller

The Butcher’s Daughter

After yoga we walked a couple of blocks to The Butcher’s Daughter, a place on my to-do list for so long. This tiny spot is super cute with a healthy and fresh menu. I got an almond milk latte and the Spicy Kale Caesar; I’m still dreaming about it. It. Was. So. Good.

the butchers daughter

butchers daughter

juice

As much as I love a good vacation, a staycation is pretty sweet too. If you don’t have any extra vacation days to splurge on a random day off, don’t be too sad, at least it’s Friday and the weekend is here, a mini-staycation in itself!

Wedding Wellness Part II: Getting Toned

April 13, 2016

Pure Barre 1

Welcome to Wedding Wellness Part II, dedicated to getting that toned, dreamy bridal body. Let me start by saying that getting fit and toned for your wedding is not about losing a ton of weight and looking like a totally different person on your wedding day. To me, it’s about feeling like your healthiest and best self on your wedding day. For many brides, if you’re feeling fit and toned, you’ll feel good and radiate that good feeling throughout your big day.

I’ve put a lot of thought into what workouts are best to get that toned and slim bridal body. Of course eating right is a key player as well, but today we’ll focus on the fitness side of things.

One of the most popular bridal workouts is heading to the barre. These ballet-inspired classes are known to be full-body toning workouts, giving devotees the desirable long and lean look.

As a barre newbie, I talked with a pro, Shalisa Pouw, Senior Master Teacher at Pure Barre to get the inside scoop. Side note, Shalisa owns the Boulder, CO Pure Barre and says it has the most gorgeous views of the mountains, I need to visit!

From Shalisa, I learned that there is a loyal following of brides at Pure Barre because it does wonders for your upper body–arms and chest–two very visible parts of your body in most wedding gowns. While it’s a full body workout, those are key bridal focuses. As someone who has helped a few brides over the years get fit for their weddings, I can attest that toned arms are the number one request.

pure barre

For Newcomers: 

The first class may be intimidating, but don’t get scared away! Everyone feels a bit out of their element and it can take a couple of classes to get into the swing of things. Because many of the moves are super tiny, it can be hard the first time around to know what you should be doing, but thanks to great teachers and clear direction, you’ll catch on quickly.

While you might feel uncomfortable at first, the instructors and students are extremely welcoming. Expect the class to be hard, it’s not an easy hour, but within a few classes you’ll understand the burn better and will learn to embrace the shaking.

How Often

Whether you’re a bride-to-be or simply looking to see results, Shalisa recommends taking Pure Barre classes 3-5 times a week (5 is ideal if you can swing it). Most Pure Barre studios offer a special 3-month package for brides and that 3 month period is the ideal amount of time to devote yourself to becoming a Barre regular.

To get in a cardio, check out the new Platform class at Pure Barre. This one will get your heart rate up and will help you get your sweat on. If you’re taking 5 classes a week, aim for two of these to balance cardio and toning. A perfect week would be 3 Pure Barre standard classes and 2 Platform classes.

The workouts are definitely hitting all body parts, but if you have more specific goals in mind, Pure Barre blog wrote up the key moves to getting wedding day ready, based on your dress style, read the tips HERE.

Too Busy?

With wedding planning (and let’s face it, life in general), some weeks can get busy and getting to 5 classes might be a struggle. If that’s the case, check out Pure Barre DVDs or the at-home streaming service.

If you don’t have time for the at-home workout, throw in a couple of your favorite barre moves from the comfort of your home (planks anyone?).

Finding Your Faves

All Pure Barre instructors go through the same training and the classes all follow a similar format, but teaching styles differ. When you first get into Pure Barre, try all the teachers. Some you’ll connect with more than others, whether it’s their cueing, personality, tone, etc. Shop around and get a taste of the variety to find the instructor that resonates best with you.

After the Wedding

Like I said before, getting ready for your wedding is about feeling your best. Even after the wedding is over, why would you want to lose that amazing feeling? I asked Shalisa about post-wedding students, she said she has girls coming to class after the honeymoon and saying that during the honeymoon they missed Pure Barre! If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.

I can admit that your wedding is probably one of the best times to go totally all out with your workouts. While 5 classes a week might be unsustainable after the wedding, you’ll likely fall for the workout and will want to keep up with it a couple of times a week.

My Plan

I’ve only taken a handful of Pure Barre classes over the years and never went regularly enough to find my groove. I took a class this week and loved it. I know that leading into my wedding, Pure Barre is going to be a huge part of my get-toned plan. As the wedding approaches, if there is a Pure Barre close by (and I hope there is, there are SO many locations), I plan to sign up for the three month bridal package and become one of the devotees that I hear so much about.

Diversifying workouts is important so Pure Barre won’t be the only thing I depend on. I plan to also do cardio in the form of running and cycling, and may compliment the low weight / high rep barre style with heavier weights once a week.

pure barre

Soon I’m trying out the Platform class and will give you all the deets. You will most certainly be hearing more about my fitness plans as the wedding approaches.

If you’re already married, what workouts did you do to prep for your wedding? And if you’re currently engaged, what’s your bridal fitness plan?

pure barre 3

A huge thank you to Shalisa and Pure Barre for lending their expertise on this piece! All photos c/o Pure Barre.

Check out Wedding Wellness Part I: Getting Organized HERE.

Race Training Week 6 + Goals for the Next 6 Weeks

April 11, 2016

Girls Running

Photo by Katie Rowan, pictured running at Mile High Run Club with Kayla & Meaghan

Week 6 of my Brooklyn Half Marathon training marks the halfway mark. This is the perfect opportunity to take a look at my progress and reset my intentions for the next 6 weeks.

How have I been doing? Fine. I’ve done some of my runs and skipped others. Pretty par for the course when I train for races. What has stayed consistent is getting workouts in and pushing myself. I’m not hitting all my weekly miles, but I am keeping active and feeling strong. It’s been a bit chilly, one of my excuses for not being excited about getting out and running. Being mid-April, I can only hope that the cold is behind us and I’ll be more inclined to wake up early and hit Central Park.

Looking ahead at the next 6 weeks leading into the race, here are my goals:

  • Make better running plans. Instead of just telling myself I’ll go out for a long run, I’m going to make plans to meet up with friends for at least some of the miles, create fun running routes with desirable destinations and join Nike Run Club events. When I was training for the Chicago Marathon I found the company and encouragement from Nike to be super helpful when tackling long Saturday runs.
  • Do the speed workouts. These are easy to skip, because basically they are the worst. Instead of avoiding them, I’m going to make them a priority.
  • Get more sleep. You can workout harder and train better when you get proper sleep. I’ve been extra bad about this recently and with the race on the horizon, it’s time to get in those z’s.
  • Fuel properly. I haven’t been eating poorly, but I could do better. Much like getting enough sleep, eating the right food will make those miles feel even better.

Here’s this week’s plan:

  • Monday: Teach 6:30am cycling at Equinox East 33rd, 8×400 speed run
  • Tuesday: Pure Barre
  • Wednesday: Teach 6:15am cycling at Equinox West 92nd, Platform at Pure Barre
  • Thursday: Teach 6:30am cycling at Equinox West 76th
  • Friday: Rest or yoga
  • Saturday: 9 Mile Run with Nike Run Club (let me know if you want to join!)
  • Sunday: EVF Performance

My One More: April Blogging Goals + Giveaway!

April 7, 2016

Ollie in the park

As a Premier Protein ambassador, each month I’m sharing my goals with you, the extra X that I’m striving to accomplish. The last couple of goals have focused on fitness–my last two months were about running and yoga. I’ll rate my progress as ok. Actually, when was the last time I went to a yoga class? Not sure, maybe I’ll squeeze one in tomorrow. Anyways, lets look forward!

This month’s goal is not about fitness, it’s about blogging goals. Recently my blog went through a redesign and my hope at the time was to be more consistent with my posting. Unfortunately, I’ve seen the opposite happen. With lots of things going on in my life right now, I haven’t prioritized the time it takes to keep this blog running properly. It’s so important to me to continue this passion project and grow it, that this month my goal is to get into a regular routine, making this blog a bigger priority.

So what can you, my loyal readers, expect? My aim is to post three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I launched my Wedding Wellness series and once a month I’ll feature a post about getting to your wedding day healthy & happy.  You’ll get my regular health, wellness & fitness scoop, workout reviews. new recipes and whatever else pops into my head. With a lot of changes coming up in my life, I can’t wait to share all of the exciting things ahead with you.

*Giveaway!* To help me hit my goal, please let me know what content you’d like to see from me! Are there posts or advice you’re looking for? Share them below and I’ll pick one person who comments to win a pack of Premier Protein goodies plus a $20 gift card to Lululemon to snag some new workout swag for the warmer spring weather…whenever it decides to show up.

Thank you to Premier Protein for our partnership and for giving me the proper nutrition to keep my energy levels up, helping me to hit these monthly goals.

Race Training Week 5 + Thoughts on a PR

March 29, 2016

PR Goals

A day late, but have no fear, I’m still following my training plan! Well, sort of. As much as I try to stick to my scheduled workouts, we all know things come up and get in the way. Because I’m not trying to win the race, heck, I’m not even sure if I’m trying to get a PR in this race (more on that below), I’m okay with a little change of schedule. Take this week for example. Every so often I’m invited to workout events, it’s a great opportunity to connect with brands, other bloggers and try out a new workout. This week happens to be a popular one and I’m scheduled to attend three workout events. On top of that, I’ve got my two cycling classes to cover, and I’m heading out of town for the weekend.

So…where do those runs fit in? That’s where I have to get a little creative. Fortunately, one event is at Mile High Run Club and that will serve as my speed workout for the week. On Monday after teaching a cycling class I hung around the gym a bit longer and did a quick 2 miles on the treadmill. I still have that pesky 8 mile long run to fit in. My weekend away is to Maryland for wedding planning so I’ll either scope out a running route there or make the ambitious goal to run those 8 miles before work on Friday (don’t hold me to that).

Now about that race PR I mentioned (PR=Personal Record). I love that so many of my blogging buds shout from the rooftops their running goals and aren’t afraid to fail. I admire these strong ladies and I too sometimes strive for a PR. I set goals for both marathons I ran and was very vocal about how I’d make it happen (1 time it did and 1 time it didn’t!). This time around, I’m just not sure. Truly, how committed to the goal am I? I feel like no matter how many races you run, you always are thinking about a PR.

I signed up for the Brooklyn Half thinking maybe I’d aim for a PR, but the more I train, the less I seem to care about it. If I’m being honest, part of not aiming for a PR is that I do think there’s a good chance I’ll fail. I ran my half marathon PR at a Rock ‘n Roll Race towards the end of training for my first full marathon, so 13 miles felt like a short run (crazy because I definitely do NOT feel that way now!). My finish time was 1:45:25, for me, quite fast! I’m confident that if I put my heart into training, beating this is possible. BUT, at the same time, I have so many things going on, that beating this PR isn’t at the top of my priority list and you know what, it doesn’t need to be. Maybe for another race I will feel like putting in the hard sweaty hours, but this time around, that’s not what it’s about.

I’m taking inspiration from Ashley who recently wrote about her training and racing experiences at the NYC Half and with many races on the horizon, her goal is to Run Happy. Instead of a PR, I too want to Run Happy. I want to enjoy the experience, the exercise, the great outdoors and the camaraderie with my fellow runners (so many friends running the BK half!).

And speaking of enjoying the experience, here’s a look at this week’s workout schedule:

  • Monday: Teach 6:30am cycling at Equinox East 33rd, 2 mile run
  • Tuesday: TrampoLEAN class with C9 (omg wish me luck, I’m terrified)
  • Wednesday: Mile High Run Club with Clif Bar (am) and Peloton Cycling with Specialized (pm)
  • Thursday: Teach 6:30am cycling at Equinox West 76th
  • Friday: 8 mile run
  • Saturday: Yoga or Barre
  • Sunday: Strength Class

Do you have a PR you’re working towards or another goal for your next race?

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