Fitness Lover’s Gift Guide

We are down to the wire, but if you are looking for last minute gifts, here are gift ideas at every price point for the fitness lover in your life (or yourself).

Under $25

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Eos Lip Balms are just the best! They are great for preventing chapping on those winter runs.  $4.99–available at any drugstore

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Runner’s World Subscription.  The gift that keeps on giving–I look forward to seeing this in my mailbox each month, although it’s probably time to go for the iPad subscription at this point. $12

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Choosing Raw Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat. A beautifully written book inspired by the beautifully written blog.  I love this book because it is so much more than recipes; it helps you make practical, achievable, healthful changes no matter what your relationship with food. $13

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Gift Certificate to Liquiteria, Hu Kitchen or any local health food spot.  Perfect for post-workout recovery.

Under $50

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C9 Printed Leggings: These come in all kinds of fun colors and prints and they are under $30! I’ve been wearing mine nonstop. It’s a good way test out the print trend at an affordable price point.

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C9 Space Dye Pullover This is another great Target find! It’s cozy and cute.  It’s really warm, so you can wear it in lieu of a jacket for most of the winter.

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Gift Cards to Their (Your) Favorite Studio.  May I suggest Refine, Uplift, Barry’s Bootcamp, Soul Cycle, Flywheel, Mile High Run Club and City Row? $30-35

Under $100

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Erica Sarah race necklace. On my list every year.  They are the perfect combination of inspiration, victory and elegance. Around $50

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Athleta Triangular Be Free Tight Pricey, but Athleta has had the most gorgeous printed tights this year.  I want them all. Bonus, they have a wide range of size options! $74

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New Balance Wind Blocker Half Zip Let’s face it, wind is what really makes cold weather running tough.  This top will help stop wind in its tracks so you can journey on.  Plus, I love the side detail along the neckline. $99

Under $175

Finally, some splurges!

shoppingThe Soda Stream Revolution Starter Pack.  We got this as a wedding gift and it’s the best! I love that it has four different fizz settings, so if you are more of a Pelligrino than a Canada Dry, you are all set. As someone who is not a water enthusiast, this thing keeps me hydrated. Bed, Bath and Beyond usually has them, so snag one with a 20% off coupon! $174

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New Balance Fresh Foams. My favorite new shoe of the year!  I use these for running as well as pretty much all my workout classes. Plus, they are super light if you are lugging them around pre or post workout. $110

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Lululemon Weekend Warrior Bag I’m going to admit that I’ve never owned any Lululemon workout bag, but I’ve always wanted one!  I can never justify the price, but as workout bags go, you can’t find many with better style and function. No matter how much schlepping you have to do, this bag has you covered with room for your laptop, yoga mat and water bottle, plus wet/dry compartments for swim gear, dirty shoes and sweaty apparel. $148

New Balance Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the New Balance Giveaway!  The winner of the $75 gift card is :

True Random Number Generator  11

I really really want the glow beacon vest!

Congratulations, Ash!  The drawing was totally random–I promise!  Enjoy the glow beacon vest!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! I’m hoping to get through a bunch of errands and organizing, including:

  • Get 3 loads of laundry out of the  dryer and fold and put them away.  I don’t mind doing the washing and drying, but the folding and putting away kills me.
  • Finish holiday decorating–currently 75% complete
  • Continue throwing out things we don’t use, we are doing this slowing and trying to get rid of 2 garbage bags full of stuff each weekend until we have less clutter!
  • Finish some birthday and Christmas shopping–all online
  • Grocery shop and start prepping for large dinner party on Thursday
  • Make dinner for tonight, I promised Frank I’d make this PW recipe.
  • Take Pettitte to dog school
  • Organize the chaos that we currently call a bedroom
  • Wash dishes

If I get through all of that, I will be thrilled!  Better get moving.photo-6

Winter Workout Playlist 2014

It’s time for a playlist.  I have to say the end of Gossip Girl has left a serious void in my life where fun indie music finds used to be.  However, I’m liking the sort of throwback vibe of a lot of the songs on this list.  Here are some songs to help your work up a sweat as the temperature drops.Various-Artists-Workout-Music-300x300

Ghost-Ella Henderson
Animal-Maroon 5
Uptown Funk-Mark Ronson
Bang Bang-Jessie J
Habits-Tove Lo
Cool Kids-Echosmith
Shake it Out-Taylor Swift
Lips are Movin‘-Meghan Trainor

Also, don’t forget to enter my New Balance Giveaway!

New Balance $75 Giveaway

In September I ran the Reach the Beach Relay as part of New Balance‘s media team.  It was a great experience and I got to check out a lot of great gear, almost all of which I wear on a weekly basis.  I love New Balance  and their products so much that I wanted to do a giveaway for readers!

Before I get into the giveaway details, I wanted to share a few of my favorites…

The ice racerback this tank is paper thin and perfect on a hot day…or for hot yoga. The racer back really adds to the style of the top.

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The first are the Fresh Foam running shoes.  They are light and springy!  I wore them in the last leg of RTB and they pushed me through a tough final 3.1 miles. I wear these all the time and get lots of compliments.  They come in road and trail versions. photo 4

Fresh Foam 980

w980pp_nb_31_iIf you are looking for a light shoe that still has plenty of cushioning, this is it.

My  other favorites are from the Anue studio apparel line.

I love this light long sleeve top with the sheer patterned back. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look to be available right now, but maybe something similar will pop up soon.

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And the burn out wrap–which is available! It’s literally the perfect top to throw on to head to the gym or a class. It even has pockets-POCKETS!

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 The Giveaway:

To enter to win a $75 New Balance Gift Card, just go to the New Balance site and leave a comment telling me what item you’d most like to add to your fitness collection by Friday, Dec, 5th at 9:00AM EST.

Winner will be announced on Friday, Dec. 5th.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

After being quite sick for over a week, I’m finally on the mend–I hope.  Phew, I was just about to break down and go to the walk in clinic or my actual doctor!  Sorry to all my co-workers for refusing to  take sick days–I promise I always cover my cough.

Today has been both lazy and busy, Frank’s at work, so I’ve had all kinds of thoughts and nobody to share them with, thank god for blogs, right?

Here are just a few things on my mind, feel free to chime in!

Thanksgiving Live: I love Thanksgiving specials on the Food Network, but apparently, no Thanksgiving Live this year.  Was is because of the very awkward on air feud between my beloved Giada and Alton Brown last year?

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I guess Food Network isn’t taking any chances this year. I wonder if Giada and Alton have spoken since!

Petty is So Cute in his Petticoats

I’ve gone a bit nuts with buying winter clothes for Pettitte.  He’s pretty much always better dressed than me when we go out.  That said, the poor dog is still cold even in his jackets.  The sweater+jacket combo seems like overkill, but it might be necessary. We managed to make it to the vet for a bordella shot, then to petco to make up for the shot, and then a quick trip to the Union Square Dog Park.  It was my first time at that dog park, the dogs there were so nice and Petty had a blast, but it smelled terrible. Not sure if I’ll be back.

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Sweatpants

Is it acceptable to wear sweatpants until I change for a 9:30PM dinner?  I think the answer is no, but I will likely disregard my own advice.

Shake it Out

Will I ever get Shake it Out, out of my head? It’s been weeks.  This is so embarrassing, I need to download something new stat.

Andy Cohen

I read both of Andy Cohen’s books, Most Talkative and The Andy Cohen Diaries in a couple days.  I love Andy. I love Wacha.  How have I never run into him? We seem to go to a lot of the same places in the village.

Giveaway

Most excitingly, I have an awesome giveaway planned! It’ll be up in a couple days, if not sooner.  You won’t want to miss it.

What are you thinking about this Saturday?

 

City Row Review

I tried City Row once over the summer and last week with Ashley, so it’s definitely time for a review!  Let’s do this.

Source: NYRacked

Source: NYRacked

Logistics are always important to me when considering a workout and City Row gets an A+ for ease of use.  The studio is less than a 10 minute walk from my apartment, so I can get up 30 minutes before the class and still make it on time. Hu Kitchen being right next door is a nice bonus too!

The studio itself is small, but sleek.  There is a check in desk with friendly staff and a small hallway with coat hooks leads right to the studio space, a big room with about 20 (estimate) ergs.  There is also a small bathroom and cubbies for shoes and bags right in the studio, so you don’t have to worry about locks.  It’s a very well laid out functional space and I really like the great views down 5th Ave and 14th Street.

The workout: I’ve tried two classes, the Signature Row and the Row+Flow.  Descriptions here.

Source: NYRacked

Source: NYRacked

The signature class alternates 6 minutes of hard core rowing with 6 minutes of strength.  I love how you are constantly alternating, so the class never gets boring.  Even if you’ve never rowed, it’s pretty easy to pick up the basic motion and even add some fun oblique twists.  In my classes, you were often rowing for short bursts to achieve as certain amount of meters or split times–sort of HIIT-style. The strength was tough also, even the light weights really burned as we did a full body circuit by the end of the class.

The signature class was a great mix of sweat and strength, the short intervals, kept it interesting and I felt like I got a good workout in.  I also think Frank would really like the class, and I love any workout we can do together.

The Row+Flow class started with about 15 minutes of rowing followed by 30 minutes of yoga.  The instructor was equally good at teaching both row and yoga, she paid lots of attention to form and expected us to row at challenging pace. However, I prefer the signature class to row and flow, 15 minutes of rowing didn’t seem like quite enough time to really get my sweat on, although I did like that the 30 minutes of yoga was short yet effective.

Price: Classes are $32.  Typical.  But they are on ClassPass, so you can get a bit of a discount that way.

Will I try it again?  Yup. I’d like to try the SignatureX and Signature Row–Core Focus classes as well!

 

Beauty Must Haves (Empties!)

I am a very low-key person when it comes to beauty and make up.   However, there are a few products that I really love and use on a near daily basis. I thought I’d share my list of non-make up beauty products that have become my go-tos.

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1.) Supergoop! This is a relatively new product for me. I believe I got it in a Birchbox a while back.  It was an instant favorite.  It’s heavier than my normal moisturizer–#6, so it will be great as we move into winter. I like its creamy texture and the built in sunscreen. $18-20

2.) Blowpro Faux Dry.  Oh my god.  This dry shampoo CHANGED MY LIFE. I tried dozens of spray formulas before I finally found this dry shampoo.  It is literally the only dry shampoo that actually refreshes my hair and saves me from shampooing daily. I have fine, oily hair and it needs a daily wash.   Other dry shampoos actually made my hair greasier. However, Blowpro actually absorbs the oil, blends easily and extends my hair’s life for a day.  I can’t say enough about it. It’s worth every single penny. $20.

3.) Yes to Cucumber Facial Towelettes. I bought these for Reach the Beach and they were another instant fav.  They are so refreshing. It’s like have cucumbers on your eyelids. A daily moment of serenity if you will. While you might need another eye make remover if you have a lot of make up on, these are perfect for a quick clean. $2.99

4.) Kiehls Creme de Corps.  This was a gift from a friend and I really love it for a weekly body moisturizer. It’s very rich, so it’s great for winter skin.  It has a very mild scent, which is great because I don’t like fragrance in lotion. $18

5.) Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment.  I got this as a birthday gift from Sephora.  I know these have a lot of fans, rightfully so, they are awesome.  They are a light, but effective moisturizer in beautiful packaging.  I find them more effective than your average chapstick and they glide on like silk.  I really like both the untinted and colored. The only downside is the price, $22.50 seems like a lot for a single tube of chapstick!

6.) Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer.  I’ve used this for years, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it. While my friends who work in beauty say it’s time to  upgrade, this product has been great to me. It really does reduce redness and even out my skin tone.  $14.99

7.) Origins Cheeks and Balances Frothy Face Wash.  I love this for a squeaky clean face.  I use this mainly in the summer when my skin is on the oily side, and it keeps blemishes in check. $21.50

 

NYC Marathon 2014: Canceled

Congrats to Frank!  A two time NYC Marathoner!  He just rocked the 26.2 miles and he’s strutting around today like it was nothing!

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What a rockstar!  I saw him running by in Long Island City and then I hustled to the subway to meet him at mile 18. I jumped in to run with Frank through the Bronx and said goodbye at mile 23.  Then we met up with friends to celebrate at the Tangled Vine. By the way, they give a free glass of champs to all finishers.

I have to say, this year, despite the crazy winds, everyone I saw on the course seemed to be having the time of their lives.

Not running this year was pretty tough for me.  I just couldn’t get my long runs where they needed to be. A planned 15 miles became 12, a 17 become 13 and so on and so forth. I just couldn’t strengthen my mental game to get in those crucial long long runs. It was tough for me. I’ve only ever canceled on a race I had registered for once, the Brooklyn half a few years ago. A few times, I’d missed a 4 miler, but never anything significant.

I have to say, canceling my registration was beyond unceremonious. It took me three tries on three different days to actually hit the cancel button…and then nothing.  It just said NYC Marathon 2014–Canceled.  No, sorry we’ll miss you this year–hope to see you next year.  Not even an email confirmation with details of how the deferral works.  Nada. Tear.

Not running the marathon reinforced a feeling that I’ve been experiencing a lot lately.  Unfocused. I just don’t have the discipline that I used to have. I don’t know what happened to that person who just always made long runs and workouts happen no matter what. It’s not that I don’t still love working out, it’s just not a priority in the same way it once was.  But mostly, I just feel like I am lazy.

Part of it is sheer laziness.  The other part is a certain little fur ball that I absolutely adore.

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I typically wake up around 7AM and immediately take Pettitte out.  I could stick him back in his kennel and go to the gym, but I feel bad because 7-8:30AM is the only time he gets out of the crate in the morning.  It’s the same deal after work, I take him for a walk anytime between 5:30 and 7:00PM depending on when I get out of work, and then I don’t want to just stick back in the crate when he deserves some time to run around.

I guess Frank and I will have to work out some kind of alternating schedule, but it’s definitely a dilemma that I’ve been facing.

Ashley actually posed a good solution by suggesting a 6:00AM Barry’s Bootcamp class this morning. When I got home, Frank was just taking Petty out for his walk.  I kind of hated my life when the alarm went off at 5:20AM, but having my workout done before work was priceless. It even gave me time to write this blog post. I’m not sure I can always get up at the crack of dawn, but I guess that’s the old discipline thing again!

Oddly enough, I feel better after letting this all out. Thanks blogies!

 

Classpass Review

Over the summer, I subscribed to ClassPass (formerly Classtivity) for two months. I always wanted to write about it, but I’m just now getting the chance.

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What’s class pass? It’s a monthly membership that allows you access to classes at over a hundred boutique studios throughout the city.  They are adding new studios all the time, most recently my beloved Physique 57.  Barry’s, Exhale, Flywheel, etc. are all listed as places you can use your class pass access. For about $89 a month, you can attend as many classes as you want, but you can only visit each studio 3 times.

My experience: My first month, I tried Cityrow, Cyc and Studio 360.  I liked all the classes, each of the studios were nice and having the classpass was a good motivator to try something new.

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So, why did I only go to three classes, which is basically breaking even if you figure a class at full price is about $30?

While classpass does partner with some of the hottest studios in town, you can only sign up about a week in advance for classes that have available.  So you are kind of getting last minute spots.  What I found was that the most in demand places had few to no classes available whenever I checked. For example, I never once saw a Barry’s class available regardless of the time of day.  Generally, most classes that had availability were offered at off-peak hours, so I occasionally saw an Exhale or Flywheel offered late morning or mid-afternoon on weekdays. Overall, I ended up taking 6 classes total in my two months, so I didn’t save any money in the end.

Who do I recommend it for:  Classpass a great option for someone with a very flexible schedule. If you can go to 9:30AM classes, you will have a lot of options. But, if you follow a standard NYC work schedule, it’s going to be hard to find classes you  can attend unless you are really dedicated to checking consistently every day.   It’s also a good option if you want to try a lot of up and coming studios or yoga studios, which tend to have the most availability.

Final Thoughts:  I love the idea of classpass and they do have an impressive number of partnerships with fitness studios, but I found that it just didn’t mesh with my workout schedule. If I did Classpass again, I’d go in planning to check for openings daily and I’d plan to try mostly newer studios.

 

Introducing Pettitte

Just over a month ago, we welcomed a new member to our little family.

Pettitte Ace. He is named after the famed Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte.  Ace was his dad’s name–and the perfect fit.

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We spent about 5 months looking for dogs.   It took us a very long time to decide on a breed and then quite a while to find the right dog within that breed. I really wanted a cocker spaniel like my childhood dog–Frank not so much.  We happened to  meet a beautiful blue beagle one day, after that, we were pretty sold on beagles.  We ended up missing out on that dog and were pretty devastated.  I spent lots of time looking for blue beagles and applying for beagle and cocker spaniel rescue puppies.  Nothing worked out and I took a few weeks off my search.  Then I found a dog named Pete. I exchanged about 90 emails with the breeder and had several hour long phone calls.  I was still wary of buying a dog I found on the internet, but something about Pete seemed right; he wasn’t a blue beagle, but he was cute and super spunky.  He arrived on August 29th.

Here we are right after we brought him home.  We soon realized he was way too small for the leash we had bought him!

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He’s pretty much your average puppy, he loves chewing and sleeping!

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And wants nothing more than to be on the couch, which is almost always allowed.

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And treats!  This dog is food motivated!

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After the first week, which was very overwhelming, things have been great.

Pettitte is awesome about being in his kennel at night and when we are at work.  He’s dominating house training and he just nailed the roll over. Plus, he’s super friendly to man, child and dog alike.

We are still working on the chewing, biting and nipping–super annoying, but we are trying to be patient.  He also occasionally is stubborn on his lease and just up and refuses to walk.

But all in all, he’s doing pretty darn good for being 3 months old. I just wish he would stay this little forever!