Tag Archives: deals

Sorting Through Savings

I don’t profess to be a great saver or finance expert, I am sure many, if not most, of you could teach me a thing or three.  So this post is more a reflection of my thoughts on saving—and the recent explosion of deal or discount website to be specific.

I grew up in a family obsessed with saving money in all ways possible. I actually wrote this post about my dad’s crazy saving antics. A treasured family bonding activity was Sunday morning coupon clipping from the ads and then lining them up with store specials.  A coupon or sale on its own was not enough, the two combined was the only option, and only if it was a practical item. Those days have passed, little by little the city has broken me down and I have become much less choosey about where my money goes, it didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.

There are many reasons that it is not easy to be cheap in the city, I won’t point out all of them, but a choice few will give you an idea:

  • Coupons are very hard to come by unless you pay for the Sunday NYTimes.
  • If you manage to find a coupon, many stores and little bodegas don’t take them.
  • Things are more expensive in general: read $6.99 for a box of cereal.
  • City folk tend to shop at many stores, and that means you need to carry a lot of key cards to get discounts everywhere.  For example, I shop at food emporium a few times a year, usually on a whim, but do I want to carry a key card around the other 363 days? Or do I take the time to sign up just for that time?  See next point.
  • Convenience is key, therefore, when you are always running around it becomes easy to just buy coffee out or grab a bottled drink or snack on the go.
  • Bulk isn’t practical at all.  Here’s why: there is little storage space, so you have not place to put 12 rolls of paper towels no matter how much you save if you buy 12 not 2! Families are small:Families are small-1,2 or 3 people don’t really eat enough to justify buying food in bulk. You carry what you buy: as you tend to have to carry what you purchase, you are limited in how much you can buy and how far you can carry it—so again bulk usually isn’t a great option.  I will say reusable bags do provide ample storage and sturdy over the shoulder carrying.
  • We socialize out, not in.  Because people tend to have smaller kitchens and living spaces—oh and tiny kitchen tables, entertaining in the home is more of a special occasion than a common occurrence.  Thus, friends tend to meet in bars or restaurants rather than cook dinner for a group at home.

You get the idea…

Even though I am not as judicious about never spending an unnecessary dime.  I still have an ingrained sense of what is actually a good value and what is really only kind of a deal—like a coupon without a matching special.

I will say that when the explosion of discount and deal sites came out, I was very very skeptical.  I was hesitant to buy something I wouldn’t actually use. However, over the last year, I have found a few sites I love and created a mental criteria to analyze what is a truly good deal and what isn’t.

I’ll start with my favorite savings sites:

YIPIT is my favorite discount finder because it sucks in what they determine are the best deals from dozens and dozens of popular savings sites and compiles the best deals in ONE email. This saves me from tons and tons of extra emails.  YIPIT tends to alternate food, fitness, and beauty.  So you’ll have a bunch of restaurant options one day, and then a bunch of fitness-related options the next.

Since it only features what they consider the best deals from many 10 or so sites, I may miss a deal once in a while, that is probably not a bad thing.  And one email not 10 is priceless. It also allows you to compare options easily, so you can pick the best one or none at all.

As for individual sites, I really like:

Blackboard Eats:

Plus: This one is great because it only costs a $1 to get a discount of typically 30%.  All you need is the passcode and your golden. You don’t need to commit to using the passcode, but it’s there if you want it.

Minuses: Occasionally there are restrictions on dates and alcohol is usually not included.

Village Vines Concierge:

Plus:  The restaurants featured are usually really nice ones, like BondSt.  The discount of 30% is off your entire bill including alcohol.  There aren’t many restrictions on party size, etc.You can make your reservation at time of purchase, but can cancel and get a credit to your account.

Minuses: It’s $10 to book and you have to make a reservation when you buy the deal.

Sites I don’t love as much,

Restaurant.com I used to think this was great, but then I realize how many restrictions came with so many of the restaurants.  You have to be very careful to make sure that your night and party size are going to work with the deal and you often have to spend a minimum amount over the actually gift certificate cost.

How I Determine Whether a Deal is Worthy:

Step One: Is this something I would use if I didn’t have a deal? For example, I go to Pure Food and Wine fairly regularly, so I knew that the Black Board Eats 30% off discount would certainly go to good use, and it only cost $1!

So if it is restaurant, salon or fitness venue I love, I see it as a good deal.  If it’s a place I have been dying to try, then that’s probably worth it too.

While I try not to buy too many fitness deals, since I already pay for a gym, sometimes you can pick the best additional option and consider it an investment.  For example, if I Core Fusion special comes along on Ruelala or Physique 57 DVDs go on sale on GILT ($72 for 6!!), those are things that I truly love and consider a special treat on occasion.  While most of the time, I try and use the gym membership I pay for already, as long as I am only commiting to one thing at a time and I make a commitment to use each and every class or video than a little splurge is worth every few months or so.  And yes, even the package discounts at Core Fusion are a splurge!

Step Two: Are there lots of restrictions? While I did get the Pure Blackboard deal, I didn’t buy the recent groupon deal to Pure Food and Wine because it had a lot of restrictions on what you had to order and how much you had to spend, and since I wasn’t positive I would go before it expire, I didn’t want to put up $15. Fortunately, the BB deal came along shortly thereafter.

Step Three: Is it convenient? This may be the most important question.  If it is not something I can access fairly easily than I am less likely to utilize it. Unless, again, it happens to be one of my favorite uptown places.  For example today I saw a deal for 10 Boot camp Classes for $35.  This is only $3.50 a class, however, it turned out to be in Brooklyn. So even if I decided I could make the hike out there 10 times (I wouldn’t), I would be paying an extra $4.50 for each metrocard trip, $45 extra, that’s more than the deal!

Step Four:  Am I sure I am going to like and use this?

Tying in step 1 and 3, I reflect on whether I am going to use it.  I think the bottom line is if your sure you’ll use it and it’s something your excited about, it’s worth it.

The same goes for tiny local places I have never heard of, I generally want to know what the place is all about before I decide to invest money upfront. I am not saying don’t support the little guys, I love Liquiteria, just do some research first. Yelp reviews rock.

After all that, I have found something that meets my criteria and I am ready to purchase my worthy deal.
Here are my strategies to make sure I use it:

  • Purchase with a friend and commit to going together
  • Make a date to use it before purchasing
  • Put a reminder in my calendar two weeks before it expires.

If you’re still with me, I am interested in hearing your thoughts on savings sites! What are your favorites?  Best deal you ever got?

I actually have a lot more to say about saving and investing, but I will leave that for another day.

If you’re still here and want more, I  also did short-lived Fit Recessionista series a while back:

Most where deals of the moment, but some are still relevant,

Apparel for Less

Financial Fitness

Oh, and my best Fit Deals in NYC

Financial Fitness

So this post is a little different than most of my posts, but I think financial fitness is pretty important and is one of my current focuses.

I used to be an incredible saver. I was thrifty and never spent a penny where a penny could be saved.  However, living in New York gets to you.  You see people spending money—everywhere on everything.  You start to value the convenience of shopping at the nearby overpriced grocery store rather than figure out how to lug groceries home from the cheaper store a couple miles away or from Costco, I mean it’s not exactly like city living is equipped with storage for bulk purchases.  You develop a taste for sushi and you want to have a brown rice salmon avocado roll every single night.  But most of all, you want to enjoy your time and take advantage of the city, which is why you live there after all.  You want to see the shows, go to the shi shi restaurants, shop at boutiques.  Why live in the city if you are holed up in your apartment all the time? And since apartments are on the small side, socializing gravitates outwards to bar$ and re$tuarant$.

What’s a girl to do? Here is my gentle plan for simple savings….

While I am certainly good at finding cheap entertainment and snagging fitness deals, I am not a clothes whore,  I don’t own a single designer shoe or bag, but I have to admit, I have developed a pretty embarrassing “latte factor.” I believe I stole this term from “Smart Women Finish Rich” which I highly recommend, although reading doesn’t guarantee success.  The reading was easy, it’s the action that i haven’t been able to master.  But I am going to give it a go.

I was shocked and stunned when I read about the $100 November/Thanksgiving challenge.  I literally could not believe it would be possible for anyone to spent only $100 on food for a month.  Seriously?  I could spend that in a day.  I probably typically spend $100 on food every 3-4 days.  Easy-peasy.  I know that $100 would be impossible, maybe $100 a week.  That would actually be great—taking advantage of my work meal plan more, asking people to go to cheaper restaurants, going out for coffee not wine.  To Emily—the founder and my friend—and to all those partaking in the Thanksgiving Challenge my hat is off to you and I am reading in  utter awe and fascination!

But instead, I am going to tackle my spendthrift habits in a different, but equally effective way.  By reducing my latte factor.

What is the latte factor?

It is the little everyday (or every hour) purchases you make capriciously. Coffee, gum, energy bar, bottle of water, lip balm, drugstore impulse buys, magazines, iTunes, cigarettes, 4 pm vending machine raid, etc.

Everyone has a different latte factor.  But essentially, they are things that aren’t around long, but their cost can really drain your wallet, in a sneaky and speedy way.  Unlike investing in a nice sweater, which you will have for years, you down a coffee and move on with nothing but a slight buzz to show for it.  Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes that buzz or piece of gum makes you happy in a way that makes the rest of your morning or afternoon enjoyable or at least bearable.

This trick is to cut out or down on your non-essential latte items and keep only the one or two that truly make you happy.

I took a tally of my major latte expenses and man, was it down right embarrassing.  Here is a what I could save in a given day or week

Imprudent Purchase             Cost per day             Cost per week

Bottle beverages                               $8                                $56

Coffee                                                      $2.50                          $5 (twice a week)

Gum                                                         $1.50                              $4.50  (3 times a week)

Magazines                                              $4                                  $8 (2)

Unnecessary snacks                          $4                                      $20 (average per week

Total Possible Savings:                $20                                     $93.50

Wow, that is almost $100 a week on stuff that provides minimal real enjoyment.  I mean at least eating a meal out reflects meaningful social time.  A trip, a sweater, at least there is a memory attached, I don’t have much memory of my last piece of gum!

So this is my challenge and feel free to join me!  I am going to tackle this progressively.  I am going to try and eliminate one “imprudent purchase” each week for 5 weeks (cumulatively) and keep track of my total spending and saving in these areas.  I will check in each week.

Week one challenge: cut back to only 1 bottle beverage purchase per day. Yay for the environment too!

Another great read, I highly recommend: City Chic: An Urban Girl’s Guide to Living Large on Less.  Fabulous book to help you save!

Finally, a few things I have really enjoyed compliments of my magazine obsession:

Padma Laksmi’s 15 Healthy Snacks (in the December Marie Claire).  It’s not online yet, so here are my favs:

  • orange or grapefruit sliced into rings and drizzled with honey and cinnamon (dessert, breakfast or with tea)
  • baked figs with balsamic vinegar and black pepper
  • hummus on endive with parsley
  • Cucumber spears dusted with salt and chili and lime juice

I am also loving Tim Gunn’s new Marie Claire Fashion column

Here are Tim’s Rules for Dressing for a Big Night Out

Here’s a Gunn quote, perhaps directed at me :)

Why, oh, why do people persist in dragging around luggage-size handbags to evening events? I see this with more frequency than I care to recall. What are people thinking? Do they line these behemoths with plastic in order to escape with leftovers?

All right kids, I am going to try to knock off some more school work before the big Gossip Girl OM3 episode!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s my one night at home this week and I will watch teen tv shows if I so please :)

PS: DJC, I hope you are enjoying Mozambique!

ENTER KATIE’s Amazing Your Choice Giveaway–magic bullets, spiralizers, oh my!

Fitness Gear Gift Card Giveaway!

What’s on your fitness gear wish list?  Do you need some  fall/winter training gear?  Who is still hitting the gym in that heat trapping cotton tank?  Do you desperately need a new sports bra—one that is actually supportive?  Or maybe you would like a replacement for those Om-ed out yoga pants? I sure could!


Here’s your chance to win a $50 gift card from Shop It To Me Running, for some brand new running gear!  Who knows, new duds just may  get you excited to hit the gym!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the sister site of , Shop It To Me, Shop It To Me Running.  If you don’t know what Shop it To Me is, it is basically a free   online personal shopper that lets you know when your favorite brands of clothing and accessories go on SALE in your size.  When you sign up, you pick which companies, brands and stores you want included (they have everything from Old Navy to Gucci) and include your sizes.  Then you get an email once or twice a week (you decide) with all the items that are on sale in your size, from the brands you selected  It saves tons of time browsing clearance section after clearance section!


Shop It To Me Running is the same concept, but for all your workout and running gear—you can pick all your favorite athletic brands–from Nike to New Balance—and find out when anything in your size (right down to shoe size and model) goes on SALE.

So guess what?  One Fitness NYC readers will receive a free $50 Shop It To Me Running Gift Card! You even get to pick which store you want it to be for: Sports Authority, Foot Locker, Roadrunner Sports, Finish Line, or Fog Dog. RetailerLogos

Entering is easy, here are the rules:

  1. Sign up it subscribe to Shop it To Me or Shop it To Me Running.  Don’t worry, it’s free,  it doesn’t take very long and you decide how many emails a week you would like to receive.  If you are already a subscriber, you are halfway there!
  2. Leave a comment below listing your favorite brand of workout/running clothing, or your favorite running shoe make and model

That’s it just two easy steps!
On Friday 10/30 at 5pm PST, I will randomly draw a winner from all of the commenter’s.
Good luck — and happy shopping!

See you guys tomorrow for some fitness deals and last minute marathon tips!

Fall In Love with New York

***Just realized this can really be added to my Fit Recessionista series, all of the ideas will are targeted toward affordable health and fitness for fall!**

Most people say fall is their favorite season.  I am not one of those people, but I definitely understand appreciate for crisp, fresh air and an escape from the humidity that only Manhattan and Miami can provide. I will say that fall is a wonderful time to get in as many fun city activities as possible before the bitterness of 17 mile an hour winds howling through skyscraper tunnels makes you reluctant to go outside to do anything more than get from point A to point B as quickly as possible.

Fall displays the marvels of nature releasing and cleansing and preparing to rest and renew.  Even though most NYCers don’t seem to realize that they are missing the beautiful foliage offered elsewhere in the vast part of the state that doesn’t get nearly enough credit—ahem ahem, nyers are more than willing to pitch in and do their part to help create a sustainable future for the city and beyond. 

My job involves a lot of programming and event planning and this month we dedicated a week to focusing on sustainability and green living. I really feel in love with some of our activities, and I wanted to share them with you, so that you could take advantage of all the green knowledge going around on our urban archipelago. If being green is not your thing, don’t worry, I have lots of fun ideas for your too and some fitness finds as well!

Check out Design for a Living World at Cooper Hewitt Museum, which features fashion designers from all over the world using sustainably grown and harvested materials to create conservation focused designs.

Round up the gang or plan a meet up with sustainability-minded strangers at a sustainable, organic restaurant for a night full of green conversation and yummy food.  We are checking out Gusto Organics.

Get the behind the scenes scoop on bargain shopping at Whole Foods.  Whole Foods offers free “value” group tours of the store, showing shoppers where to find the best buys in the store and simple ways to economize.  I was actually wondering if people would be interested in attending if I organized a blogger bargain tour.  Takers?

Go apple picking.  Time from tree to apartment doesn’t get any shorter than if you go a pickin’ yourself.  We are heading to Stuart’s Farm, but here are 6 places that are public transportation accessible, some involve a little more effort than others. For ambitious folks here are 25 orchards that only require a day trip. Don’t forget to throw in a hayride for good measure.

Foliage Run!  We are heading to the tree lined Van Cortland Park for a fun 5K!

Green Market Tour, if you have been holding out on the Union Square Green Market, don’t miss it in its most bountiful season, it’s open M, W, F, and Saturday.

Those are just a couple ideas.  A couple practices I am trying to implement in my own life are never taking plastic bags and reducing the amount of bottles and cups I purchase. 

I also do my best to eat at the sustainable, mostly organic and locally grown dining hall.   There are many great green dining initiatives at NYU.  All of our to-go containers, cups and utensils are biodegradable. And many of the dining halls are Tray Free Zones:

injury 001

We also like to feature local produce—yum-o

injury 002  injury 004 injury 005

Okay for those who only do Green on St. Patrick’s Day, Time Out  New York has an excellent list of fall diversities. Here are 101 Fun Fall Ideas.

My favs from the Time Out list:

  • visiting the cloisters
  • watching the NYC marathon
  • Go to the Gugg for free
  • Checking out the Tim Burton Exhibit at the MoMa (can’t wait for that)
  • Renting a weekend cabin with friends
  • learn to knit
  • checking out the botanical gardens (never been)
  • Getting spooked in sleepy hollow cemetery
  • Brooklyn Brewery Tour—never been heard only great things

If I had to create my own list, I would add:

Finally, just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t break a sweat! If you are bored with your gym routine, shake it up with Time Out’s latest reviews of 50 city-based workouts!  And, even better, take advantage of TONY’s workout deals, discounts and freebies!

Just another marathon Monday (@ chelsea piers)

It was so lovely to have a friend in town! And hard to say goodbye.  But into work I went, and on the way, I noticed that my subway stopped was all dressed up in ING Marathon wear.  So stylish!

marathon monday 001

Work was a little hectic, and I almost forgot that I had an exciting night in store.

I was offered a tour of Chelsea Piers and a massage in honor of Marathon Mondays at the Spa at Chelsea Piers!  How could one turn that down?marathon monday 007

I walked from work to Chelsea Piers Sports Club—it really is fall out there….brisk!

It was funny to see the transition as I headed west on 20th street.  From very residential and quaint:

marathon monday 002 marathon monday 004

To very industrial:

marathon monday 005

Something inside me loves the deserted, industrial areas of NY.  I crave them and seek them out.  They hearken to the fading and, in many instances, forgotten, NY.  Like the heroin chic St. Marks, hooker filled Times Square, and the gritty East Village.  I digress.

I arrived at the Sports Center:

marathon monday 006

I knew a little about Chelsea Piers, but really didn’t know what to expect from the sports center.  I know Chelsea Piers for golf, ice skating and gymnastics, but that is about it.

Would it be an upscale gym? Personal training central?  So I went in to find out.

Erica greeted me and took me for a full tour of the sports center facilities.  If I could only pick one word to describe it, that word would be WOW!

I was kind of in my own fitness heaven.  It was like fitness of the future.  Everything was so expansive and so premium, and yet, it was not at all pretentious.   So here are just a few things I saw on my tour—compliments of Google images:

A six lane 25 yard lap pool, with a whirl pool and one of two sundecks

A 1/4 mile indoor track with a 200 meter competition track—i wish i had workout clothes to calibrate my Garmin!

All the typical gym stuff, but bigger and more spacious:

strength deck (i probably could have gotten lost it was so big)


cardio deck (with a choice of views, tv or waterfront)


pilates reformer studio

-spinning room

Plus two fitness studios offering 100+ classes a week, including yoga, pilates, dance, cardio, swimming, running, weight training and boxing—check out the boxing ring above.

And now the really special stuff:

There was an awesome indoor sand volley ball court for volley ball and sand training classes:

And there was the biggest rock climbing wall ever.  I am actually taking the hall council I advise rock climbing for our retreat on Wednesday, and boy does the NYU rock climbing wall seem paltry in comparison to this:

Bluestreak Sports Training

This is also open to the public for sports specific training.  They have treadmills that go 30 miles an hour.  They have an amazing ice hockey treadmill that you can get harness into while they analyze your gait and crank up the elevation.  They also offer small group sports training, so you can play soccer and do boot camps and drills even if you don’t have time for a team.

Erica recommended that I check out the Beast post-marathon.

It is a 3 day a week boot camp involving:

Participants get two days of squat thrusts, suicides, lunges, obstacle courses and 150,000 square feet of space for innovative, heart-pounding fitness fun. On the third day, BlueStreak serves as home base, where athletes train on Olympic-caliber equipment, taking advantage of Dartfish video analysis, Super Treadmills and the state-of-the-art Plyo Platform.

Okay, so here are my confessions:

One of the most exciting things about the tour was seeing Usher.  Yeah.

I was definitely obsessed with Usher in the “You make me wanna” era.  I am over it now, but as many people often ask me my type, Usher definitely qualifies as my type.  And he is way shorter than expected in person! Anyways, he was playing basketball like absolutely anyone, I would have just thought it was a guy who looked like Usher and kept walking if Erica hadn’t pointed him out ever so nonchalantly.


Moving along.

Overall, I was definitely more than impressed with what Chelsea Piers offers it’s sports/health club members.  You would never get bored and all the great indoor facilities (track, volleyball, pool) would be amazing for winter training. I didn’t ask about pricing, which is always a big determinate, but there are non-member options available for lots of the classes and boot camps, and fun events like Date Night, which is great.  Location is definitely an asset and an obstacle, the location gives Chelsea Piers the ability to have an unbelievable vast facility, but getting to 10th avenue can be a hike when it’s cold.  When I no longer have access to the NYU gyms in June, I will definitely be looking to invest in a gym membership, so that I have a Manhattan option in addition to my building’s gym, and Chelsea Piers will be on the list of Melissa’s perspective health and fitness meccas.


So after my tour, I headed to the spa, put on my robe and slippers and was greeted by Julie, my therapist.

It was a 50 minute massage, that was in a word, magical.  Julie was incredible nice in answering all my questions beforehand, about how to utilize massage during training.  She said that most professional athletes get massages after every game and practice, so getting a massage once a week during training season is incredibly beneficial to anyone putting stress on the body.  I love massages with all my heart, so getting the green light on frequency was no problem for me.

She also explained that physically massage improves blood circulation, balances the body, repairs damaged tissues, gets rid of toxins and brings nutrients to the body.

On a more spiritual level, massage can help you put trust in the hands of another, which can bring you to a more confident and connected place in your training, you learn to depend on something other than yourself to get you to the finish.

I am always quick to encourage everyone doing any major race to schedule a marathon immediately after.  This is because my massage after my first marathon literally ended every single ounce of pain and soreness I was feeling like magic.  However, I had never really thought about them during training.

The massage was amazing.  Julie used heat therapy as well as massage, which was great.  The table was warmed and she used warm towels, I was in heaven.  I have had half a dozen massages in the last two years, and this was by far the most precise and targeted massage.  Julie went far deeper into each area of tension and really worked out the knots in my neck and back and applied significant pressure to all the main problem areas for runners.  Despite a few moments of pain, I was practically asleep and totally blissed out by the end. I can’t wait to see how I feel tomorrow!  The massage was definitely on par with Ohm, which has been my favorite massage place for years.  Chelsea Piers offers a more spacious zen-lounge and Ohm offers more cookies and cakes :)

Definitely take advantage of the Marathon Monday discounts while it lasts!

I  contemplated getting dinner at the Sports Club Cafe, since they have a sushi bar, but I have had sushi 4 times in the last week, so I figured I better not–I’m practically a cliche at this point.  cafe1_596x400 Instead, I hoped in a cab to 42nd and on my way, I passed the premiere of The Stepfather—red carpets, paps and all.  No Penn Bradgley sightings though.

The day ended much the way it started, another ‘thon poster in the train and another shot of my subway stop at night. marathon monday 008

marathon monday 009

Happy Monday everyone, I am going to do homework for as long as I can possible keep my eyes open.

Fit Recessionista: Om, Run, Learn, and Listen

Just a note, many of the specials I mentioned in this post are ongoing, so if you didn’t get a change to zumba or bollywood bhangra, there is still time!

Here is a round up of the September specials to keep you fit, healthy and with a happy bank account balance:

Let’s start with the stuff not quite so NYC exclusive—more at the end too:

Lululemon Classes! If you live near a Lululemon, be sure to check out their schedule of free yoga and pilates classes!

I haven’t checked all the NYC store schedules, but the Union Square shop is offering a Yoga for Runners Class on Tuesday, September 22nd from 8-9PM!  I really hope to attend!

On Sunday, Sept. 27th there will be a Bootcamp for Beginners Workout from 10-11AM

Thoseare just two of several weekly free classes so check out your local schedule for sure!

Try a free intenSati class!

The class sounds great at it is free on Tuesday, September 29th from 6-7PM.   Meet at the Washington Square Park Arch.

IntenSati class description: a high-energy exercise routine that fuses aerobics, martial arts, dance, yoga and strength conditioning, letting you do many routines at once. Combining spoken affirmations with simple choreography, intenSati is said to provide a heart-pumping workout that is physically challenging and spiritually mindful.

Free Spinning Class:

I truly wish there were more spinning studios, so you wouldn’t have to have a gym membership to take advantage of such an awesome workout.  Soul Cycle is offering free classes to celebrate it’s new UES location. You can enjoy one free class by calling (212) 639-1300.  Time slots for freebie classes are: Sept. 25 at 1PM & 6PM,  Sept. 26 at 5PM, and, Sept. 27 at 5PM.  Thanks to Vital Juice Daily for the info!

Free Running Seminar:

NYRR Learning Series event to give marathon runners some final tips about a tapering plan, nutrition, and dealing with aches and pains.  The program intends to help participants prepare for the last month of marathon training.  The program targets both first-time and experienced marathoners.

Free Running Groups:

    6 E 57th St, New York, NY 10022
    Tuesdays 6:30pm, Thursdays 6:30pm, Saturdays 9:00am.  Runs are your choice of 3, 5, 7 miles, post-run refreshments served.
  • ING DIRECT Weekly Group Runs (Monday evenings at 7:00 p.m., starting July 6): These are organized runs over planned routes, with leaders for various pace groups. Post-run refreshments provided.
  • ING DIRECT Café, 58th Street and Third Avenue


If you are a New York Road Runner’s member, you receive discounts at several sports stores including: 10% off at Paragon Sports, Urban Athletics and Super Runner’s Shop. Plus discounts on: acupuncture, chiropractic, coaches, massage, nutritionists, PT, podiatry, and sports medicine.

Serious RUNSPIRTION to make you run RUNSTOPPABLE!


On September 30th, Dean Karnanzes will be speaking about becoming a super athlete or at least get off the coach, active and healthy.  Dean  is the author of one of my favorite running books, Ultramarathon Man, and has run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days.  To reserve free tickets to this Northface Speakers Series event, which will take place at 7PM at the Peter Norton Symphony Space, click here. I wish so badly I could go, but alas, I will be working.  I really think it will be an inspiring event!

For my beautiful Brooklynites,

Body by Brooklyn Spa and Lounge (275 Park Ave (at Washington Ave), Clinton Hill, Brooklyn )  is having a great Fashion Week special from 9/24-9/25

All day Thursday and Friday receive free a mini manicure and an eyebrow shaping; score two-for-one entrance to the spa’s expansive wet lounge, plus two gratis glasses of champagne ($44 retail); and take 10% off all services. Then snack on all-natural and vegan (free!) catering while checking out the discounted threads from local designers.


You know it’s my fav.  Head to Urban Outfitters to listen to and download 25 free tracks.  Some are more workout worthy than others, so preview to taste :).

Not free, but fun!

Lindsay Price’s Playlist:

They’re all good, but I starred my favorites!

Fit Recessionista: Apparel for Less

For my first official Fit Recessionista post, a series inspired by Gena, I thought workout apparel would be a good place to start.  We all need it, but with the high price of yoga classes, gym memberships, race entry fees and studio classes, we can’t always afford to spend a lot on it.  If I had the budget, I would love to prance around the cardio room clad in Stella McCartney’s Adidas line and hit Jivamukti in head-to-toe Lululemon. But that is not my reality.  So while it never hurts to invest in some high end pieces of fitness apparel, it’s more practical for me to compose the remainder of my gym wardrobe from the sale racks and/or bargain bins.

Here is my basic philosophy:

The bulk of your stuff, clothes for the gym, short runs or yoga, doesn’t really need to be expensive.

Invest in a few good pieces of workout clothing for long runs and races.  Good quality clothing can make your run more comfortable.  Breathable fabrics can decrease the heat and sweat factor.  And higher quality clothes are less likely to cause chaffing and more likely to support the girls.

Never skimp on shoes or put off replacing an old pair.

If having a few fashionista-worthy pieces of workout apparel makes it more fun for you to hit the gym, throw a few of those pieces into your athletic wardrobe as well.

So here are my tips:

Why pay more when you can payless?

Let’s face it for yoga and your daily gym trips, there is no need to be fancy schmancy!

As you have probably noticed Target, Old Navy and Wal-mart have decent yoga pants and sports tops.

A few finds:

Cute Target running skort: $13.99

Old Navy Running Tank: $8


Wal-Mart Danskin Rollover pants $11


Department Store Deals

While I think pretty much anything works for yoga and general gym workouts, long runs, race and sports specific training merits apparel of a bit higher caliber–clothing specifically designed for athletics. You can find trusted brands at bargain costs by looking for brands like Nike and Adidas  in the athletic apparel sections of the cheaper department stores like JcPenney and Kohl’s. This way you have the real deal for less, and better yet, for less plus on sale! You can get nice Nike workout tops with built in sports bras for under $20!

As for discount stores, TJ Maxx  tends to stock good athletic apparel. 

Just one fit find for less:


Fila Running Jacket at Kohl’s $29 on sale

If sporting a brand not your thing, there is always American Apparel for cute, indie-esque sports wear at affordable-ish prices.

Outlets and sale sections!

Go straight for these sections at your favorite sporting store before you get tempted by all the brand new stuff. It will still be there when you get done surfing the bargain bins.

And of course, who doesn’t love outlet shopping?  Sports outlets can be hard to come by, but keep an eye out.  Katherine, Gena and I got to check out the City Sports Outlet in Boston while we were at the summit!blogger summit and boston 019 blogger summit and boston 018

Next up: Website Clearance Sections!

If you can’t find an outlet, clearance sections of websites are great places to get the best deals! They usually have a much bigger selection than the actual store and more sizes.

My favorites is the:

Nike Women’s Clearance section

Other great ones include:

Sports Authority Outlet (Brooks Revelation Running Tee $20 down from $35)

Champion Outlet (Compression Vented Sports Bra-was $33, now $16)

Dick’s Clearance (Nike Sassy Short Long Top was $45 now $22 at Dick’s)

Nike Sassy Short Long Top - Dick's Sporting Goods

Paragon Sale Sections

Be a Shoe Snob, but still save a few!

Shoes are not something to play around with! Shoes are the place to splurge bit. Why risk injury for a few bens?

I wrote a whole post about finding the perfect shoe.

I suggest finding your perfect shoe at a reputable running or sports store–one with patient and friendly staff that allow you to test as many pairs as you want desire, while they monitor your gait as you run on the on the treadmill. Once you have found a great pair, there is no reason not to comparison shop online. You can always find great deals with a little googling.

Road Runner Sports has great deals on shoes and apparel, so I always check them out for great deals on sneakers, shorts, and running tops. I have also found the Finish Line has good sales.

Also, see what deals your local running stores offer frequent customers. As you probably know, Jack Rabbit Sports is my personal favorite, and they offer 10% off every single purchase once you spend $100.

JackRabbit NY Running Triathlon Yoga Store

Final Tip: Don’t Get Enticed at the Expo!

Always wait until after a marathon or big race to buy all the signature running bags, jackets and sweatshirts, a few weeks after everything goes on sale for at least 50% off. Just don’t wait so long they run out of your size.

Dawn Workouts and Deals

The last few weeks, the great advice by the HLS organizers, and my schedule for the upcoming week have made one thing abundantly clear: morning workouts are a must!

Last week I averaged about 3-4 hours of sleep a night, mainly due to anxiety, and therefore I only did one formal workout.   While I think it is safe to say that sleep trumps the gym when we are dealing with so few hours, I definitely noticed that my ability to cope with craziness plummeted without my daily sweaty release. So I am going to try to start going to bed earlier, when possible and  not letting any excuses get in the way of my AM workouts.

Today was a pretty chill day compared to the last couple weeks, but even so fitting in a workout eluded me:

  • 6:00 AM wake up, finish two research papers due this afternoon
  • 7:30AM shower get ready
  • 8:00 AM leave apt, head to subway
  • 8:10 AM get off train at Grand Central walk to work and pick up coffee (2ish miles, so a bit of exercise)
  • 8:50 arrive at work
  • 12:30 PM-lunch with boss (no lunch hour workout)
  • 5:00 PM leave work to attend work related planning session (no after work workout)
  • 7:00 race to Astor wine to pick up a bottle for dinner with a girlfriend. They are out of my new favorite, Cupcake Chardonnay, but the guy recommends an amazing Riesling that does not disappoint.
  • 7:30 Meet friend at Nook, a cute BYOB place in the theatre district
  • 9:00 call sister and congratulate her on landing her first real job!
  • 9:30 PM arrive home and start blogging

Too much wine at dinner means that the 30 day shred session I had intended is not happening–thus recommitting me to my AM workout plan!

But guess what? I have a VERY excited new workout planned!

People often ask me how I find out about stuff going on in the city.  I scour NYMAG, Timeout, CitySearch, VitalJuiceDaily, but tomorrow’s workout came to my attention in a somewhat more serendipitous fashion.  A few times over the last few weeks, I have walked by an open garage-type space on my street that had lots of gymnastic rings and tons of super fit people standing around.  I was incredibly curious (acroyoga maybe?), but hadn’t had a chance to investigate.PICT0049

Then, the other day, the sweatiest man I have ever seen got in the elevator with me.  Now I am as appreciative of a good sweatfest as the next person, so  I said, good workout?

He said, yeah it is the group fitness class down the block.  It almost killed me.  Seriously, I want to die.  oh, and the first week is free.

Free kickass workout? Magic words to me!

So after a second of googling,  I found out that just down the block was CrossfitLIC!  A bootcamp style workout based on marine training.  I had heard of Crossfit studios in the city, but convenience is key, and this could not be any more convenient if it was in my  (tiny ass) closet.  So I am all signed up for 6:30AM tomorrow, and I can’t wait.  I tried to get the roomstars to join me to no avail…yet. hehe.  Crossfit has outposts all over, so investigate if you are interested in checking it out. Read more about it here!

More deals that won’t slim down your wallet!

Gena convinced me that a “ fit recessionista” feature should be a staple on my blog, so look for my first official “get fit for less” type post coming up.  As an avid lover of saving a dime, I am excited to get back to posting deals on a regular basis, which has always been one of my intentions with the blog. I will do my best to incorporate ideas and deals in and outside the city. Plus, I hope to have some great product and class giveaways to boot! Here is an idea of what is to come:

The Yoga Room, which I recently reviewed, is offering a free outdoor class on the piers of Gantry State Plaza at 9:00AM on Saturday.  This is also ridiculously convenient, so if I don’t have to work, I will be checking it out!parkyoga

gantry2gantry 3

Fitness in the Square is still the place to be, especially if you don’t have to work! Thursday mornings  in Union Square take advantage of yoga at 8am, Brooklyn Bridge Bootcamp at 9am and Tai Chi at 10am.

Nurture’s Path is holding an open-house launch party on Aug 18, 2009, from 6-9pm at 1133 Broadway, Suite 1020. A group of alternative health practitioners will also be on hand to provide more information about their healing modalities and give complimentary mini-sessions.  In addition to shopping and pampering, guests will also be treated to healthy snacks and beverages, special one-time only discounts, and be entered into a raffle to win some of the products for sale. The first 25 guests will receive an exclusive gift bag. Guests should RSVP to nurturespath(at)aol.com.

Complimentary consultations at Body Love Wellness (244 5th Ave)

Golda Poretsky at Body Love Wellness is offering a free 30-minute consultation (normally $60) to see where clients are in terms of their relationship with food and their body. You’ll discuss symptoms or ailments you’re experiencing and whether a holistic approach to food and body acceptance can help

And finally, some fun extracurricular reading:

Can Running Actually Help Your Knees? (my friend sent me this interesting NYTimes article)

Looking Past the Numbers If you still count calories, here is one more great reason to stop.  Kim Snyder is one of my favorite non-mainstream bloggers and she just did a good post on shifting your focus from calories in, calories out to food in, food out.  It is a pretty standard raw food perspective, but definitely worth checking out.

Goodnight kids.  Crossfit workout review and some thoughts on running coming up this week!

Getting Back in the Routine

I still can’t believe I am back. I miss everyone from the program like crazy.  It is amazing how well all 23 of us got along, and a good thing since we were together for 21 days straight!  Fortunately, I have had a warm welcome back from all of you lovely bloggies, and my dear friends.  When I got home on Sunday, my friend Derek came over and we went out for sushi at Shi.  Not that I couldn’t have gotten sushi in South Africa, but it is such a New Yorky thing to me.  BTW, the “Cupcake” wine was probably the best white wine I have ever had.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to see my roomie yet, which is KILLING me.  But she did leave me a little homecoming gift:more blog pics 307 We share a cultivated love of HIMYM—if you hadn’t noticed.  So the fact that I am now a proud owner of the Bro Code cracks me up.  Did anyone catch last night’s episode?  The Yips?  It was amazing.  One of my favorites…the fact that it involves joining a gym may have something to do with it!

So besides getting back to daily life, getting back into my fitness/healthish eating routine has been necessary too.  I did manage to work out about 40-60 minutes/5 days a week while abroad, but the serious lack of strength training definitely took its toll!  Not to mention that my diet was all over the place and quite indulgent on many occasions.  But I am going to do full posts on my running and gym trips and of course the food (traditional African, tea time, and South African American—made by us), so don’t worry, no details will be spared.  

Anyways, I thought I had probably gained 4-5 pounds since I often felt overly full and didn’t miss too many tea time delectables. So I was surprised that I actually weigh the least I have in a year or so; however, I am also as mushy in the middle as I ever remember being, so the old scale really doesn’t mean much to me.  I am sure as soon as I add strength back into my routine, my weight will go up a bit, and hopefully my muscles will firm up a bit too—I anticipate some shredding in my future.  I don’t know very much about how fat your body can lose muscle and gain body fat, but hopefully trying to reverse the process isn’t too intense.  I can never seem to get a straight answer on increasing versus decreasing body fat and the best plan of attack, so if anyone knows, I would love the info!

Fortunately, while I was away my Garmin FR 60 finally arrived!

more blog pics 303

I had a little trouble figuring out how to use it—must change date, but hopefully a little more time with the manual will help me figure things out.  It’s definitely cute and sleek, I just hope it has the performance and features I need!

So on Sunday afternoon, I had slept probably 17 hours between the plane ride and napping in my wonderful bed, so I did an easy 4 miles and about 10 minutes of light strength.

Monday morning I did a good 4 miles, it was pretty hard, but I was going at a decent pace.

Today, I did one of my favorite types of exercise, city walking. I walked from Grand Central to work, around 2 miles.  Tonight I did about 25 minutes of cardio and 10 or so of lunges, squats, plies and crunches with complimentary weight moves.

I have also gotten back to a produce heavy diet–and have really been enjoying it.  I am making a big effort to bring my lunch to work, rather than to spend $12 everyday on something so so.  Last night I made a great roasted eggplant, sweet potato and chickpea salad paired with an arugula, carrot, tomato, cauliflower, broccoli and cucumber salad.  I toasted the eggplant and sweet potato with a drizzle of balsamic vinegarette and sprinkled them with cinnamon, garlic powder, and cayenne.  After 20 minutes I added the chickpeas for another five.  Quick and easy.  I tossed the raw veggie salad with just a tiny tiny bit of dijon mustard, agave and soy sauce.  The meal was delicious and filling.  more blog pics 301

more blog pics 300

Best part was that I was able to get two dinner and part of a lunch out of the ingredients; bI used more argula and chickpeas toasted with salsa and parmesan for an easy lunch. 

In other news, I have been setting up some running dates and a co-worker invited me to join a big group doing the Philadelphia Distance Run in September.  While it is a little expensive, I think it will be a fun course and a good time.

Oh and really really exciting news, I have a ticket to the Healthy Living Summit.  So I finally get to meet my blogging idols—all of you! And I am staying with one of my best friends from middle and high school, so I am psyched!

Now that I am back in the city, I am excited to get back to reviewing classes and sharing deals. 

Did anyone see the hike/yoga combo  through Outward Bound advertised on Vital Juice Daily?  I totally want to go!  Preferably by winning! I need to save save save these days!

Also in yoga news, there are a couple yoga and pilates studios right in my neighborhood that I haven’t tried.  I guess I also have free yoga and pilates in the building and never go, but I just keep forgetting! Anyways, the Yoga Room is having an open house on August 1st and 2nd.  $10 yoga and pilates classes and $15 reformer classes.

I am out for now, night all!

Not always as planned+half marathon recap

Before I start, a couple event worth mentioning, I have wanted to share so many things and I feel awful when events and deals pass unmentioned!

Jack Rabbit Sports/Runner’s World 8 Week Faster Five Miler Speed Workshop.  $125 for twice a week training on how to improve your speed for distance running.  Comes with a shirt and a one-year subscription to the mag.

New York Road Runner’s Eat, Drink, Energize Workshop: FREE!
May 6, 200, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Robert Wagner Middle School–220 East 76th Street

This lecture event has an amazing panel of nutrition, running and health experts!  I wish I could go but I have a work event that night and a HUGE presentation the next day


New Downtown Exhale  membership options: exhales monthly membership at $170.00 per month, or our annual membership for $150 a month! First time guests can also take advantage of our DT $30 for 7 days of unlimited classes + 10% off retail. Includes all Core Fusion, Core Fusion Energy Flow and Core Fusion Sport Classes.


Be warned: this post is LONG!

Not much has gone as planned this week.  Although, as you know, I am type z, so I don’t really plan anyway.  Overall it was a good, very productive, and relatively social week. I planned to do a bit more posting, but group project meetings, dinner plans, South Africa orientation (can’t wait to share more soon), lots of time at the internship office, work and school got in the way.  But 10 day countdown until I am back in blog action.  Woo-to the Hoo!

As you know I had the More/Fitness half marathon this weekend, and while I hadn’t planned to taper—since I was just treating it as a long run, all the plans I didn’t realize I had made, kind of got in the way, so my normal workout schedule ended up being halved.  I did either core fusion or 40 minutes cardio every day. That was fine, usually when I am busy I use my lunch hour for workouts, but this week I opted for gossip therapy and scheduled several lunch dates with fabulous people, such as Gena

Friday morning I had a truly amazing core fusion class—I find morning strength workouts make me feel blissful all day long, whereas when I do cardio in the morning I often fear I will fly off the treadmill.  However, I pushed myself so hard in class, that I woke up Saturday sore from head to toe.  Pretty much every inch.  I had planned to do an easy 4 miler and hit another core fusion class, so I strapped on my sneakers.  Oh wait, I forgot my sneakers at the office!!!!  Not as planned. So I put on a really old pair of shoes that I bought way before I realized that you need to have your running shoes tailored to your foot, gait and stride.  I made it about 2/3 of a mile and gave up, they were dead as doornails.

So I decided to head into the city, pick up my sneakers and head to core fusion before heading to my internship.  On the way in, I realized my body felt like lead.  I was struggling to get up the subway stairs.   So I decided to stop at my favorite store, Jack Rabbit Sports.  I treadmill tested  and had my gait analyzed for 5 different pairs of shoes before I decided on an updated version of my current Asics gt 2130’s.  Meet my fourth pair of GTs, the GT 2140! 100_2760 100_2761

While I tried on some nice saucony progrid glides and mizunos wave inspires.  I decided to go with the Asics mainly because I am still using my pair from Christmas and it didn’t seem like a good idea to run in two different styles of shoes.  Plus, as soon as, I put them on they felt familiar, like home.  Maybe after the marathon I will try something new.

After that I picked up my 2130’s and went to the rooftop track (the 7 flights of stairs to the top is always the hardest part of the workout) for some light running and stretching.  I decided against core fusion since my body was definitely not having it. 

After that I walked downtown to my internship.

You would think my treats to myself for the day would have stopped there, but this was waiting for me when I got home.

runner gear 003 runner gear 002

Yes, I bought the Garmin!  See companies? blog advertising really does work!  Please feel free to send my any health/fitness related product you need tested or reviewed! Okay seriously, I am actually afraid to try it because while all of you love your ‘Mins, a few of my friends say the GPS isn’t NYC friendly.  But it was $50 less than the polar, which had so few reviews that I decided to go for the G!  I also want to note that my friends also warned me it was HUGE, and clearly I didn’t take them seriously enough.  It is a monster.  That guy on the box must have a hulk hogan arm!

Anyways, I won’t be buying myself anything for a long long time, but if I could I must say I am loving these super cute running items: 

Brooks Viva Jacket

New Balance Tempo Tanks—OMG these are so cute!!!!!!

Livestrong Graphic Tee  I don’t know why, but people always look HOT in these!


So enough shopping.

Back to RACE PREP.

Last night I went to bed around 11:30, very reasonable for me.  At 12:30AM, my phone rang.  It was a good friend, so I picked it up, and was happy to learn he was sober.  But sad to learn he was sad and needed to talk.  So while pre-race sleep was less than planned, around 5 hours when I got up around 6:15 this morning, I was happy I could be there for someone.

Race Day

Anyways I got up decided on race ready shorts—because I really like to be packed in the back—and headed out the door.  I felt NAKED without a jacket or wallet or phone.  Just a couple mini clif bars, metrocard, some cash, my bib, chip and safety pins, my key and my spandex covered ass. Yes, I find 80 degree NYC mornings quite freeing!

I got off the subway at 68th and Lex and was completely a buzz from my prerace iced coffee and Girl Talk on the ipod.  I was in a great mood, which was only made better by finding  Park Ave in immaculate and picturesque glory.  The tulips were standing gorgeously at attention, the cherry blossoms lined the center of the street all the way down to the Met Life Building which was shimmering in the sun.  Even the Central Park East brownstones seemed statelier than usual.  I wanted to remember the scene forever! While I couldn’t take a picture, it was something like this:

So as planned I met Ashley and her friend Sarah at 7:20 on 72nd and 5th.  We took care of last minute race business and go into the corrals.  Just minutes before the race, they announced that the marathon was canceled due to the heat!  I felt so bad for all the women who must have trained for months!  Then they said the half would be an untimed “fun run.” Umm, yeah, not so fun!  Especially since I didn’t have a watch or anything.  I was annoyed, but like I said it was just another long run to me.  All pressure GONE! But definitely not as planned!

I totally respect that they want to protect our safety, but don’t people in the south run in much hotter weather?

Ashley and I did the first 6 miles together.  It was great chatting and getting to know each other better.  It was a rough first loop.  I was extra glad that I had trained running clockwise, which is actually noticeably harder hill-wise than counter-clockwise, which is how all races are run. We didn’t feel the need to be competitive since very few people were taking it seriously and everyone was going pretty slow. 

After six miles, Ashley and I decided to strap on our ipods and run solo.  I definitely felt like the last 7 miles were faster and easier.  Girl Talk was my Gatorade!  I actually burst into song a few times, but quickly realized that was NOT appreciated by my fellow ‘thoners. I never really pushed myself, I just kept my insanely steady and consistent pace and the miles slid by.  It was a very crowded race and the walkers definitely slowed me down as they really didn’t care about staying to the right.  Also, in races, I really don’t walk unless I need to stretch, so I was constantly finding it hard to run through the water stations with everyone at a dead stop. 

The park couldn’t have been lovelier with the blossom in full and radiant bloom all around us.  I tried to concentrate on that and forget that I was tripping over people left and right and zigzagging all over to avoid nipping ankles.  Usually races start like this, but I have never had the congestion last for the entire race before.

I love that I know the park like the back of my hand.  It helps know exactly what is coming and get excited to see the reservoir, Cat hill, the boat house, the 72nd street transverse.  However, the last mile of the race is always hard in the park. The turns just keep coming and you think you are at Columbus Circle making the final turn for the Tavern on the Green finish, when actually you are just hitting the Plaza. By the time I was at this point it was quite hot.  I was also really hungry since I had only consumed a mini clif, the milk in my coffee and a cup of Gatorade.  I realized about 30 minutes from the finish I needed some calories, but it didn’t seem worth it since they would digest that fast anyways.  Eating on the run is all about planning to fuel ahead of time.  Normally I like gus because they digest so quickly that they are like an instant jolt. However, I checked the date on the one I had in my running bin this morning and  it expired in May 2008, so I chucked it. I also recommend gus for adding needed calories without getting used to eating more, you will never crave or miss gus!

Since I was seriously expecting it to be the longest mile ever, I was shocked when I saw the finish and had a lot of fuel in my tank.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t sprint the last few tenth because I couldn’t get around the runners ahead of me no matter how I tried to maneuver and it didn’t seem worth it to trample anyone for an untimed race.

So I just crossed the line.  It was weird to cross without the timing mats.  I just got the race pictures from bright room, it shows me crossing the at 2:19, which means that my time was 2:12 adjusted for the lag.

I realized I could have pushed harder because I never even broke a sweat despite the heat. ooops.  I wanted to play it safe and it was probably the right decision, but I think I will sign up for a short race, so I can try actually pushing myself in a distance I know I can cover without dying.

Anyways the best part of the morning was getting handed a medal!  runner gear 004

I have never gotten one before, in fact, I forgot they give them out at marathons at all.  So that was kind of exciting.  After that eating a third of a chocolate chip bagel on my way home way exciting!  I think I may have been a bit dehydrated because my stomach was seriously angry for a few hours after the race.  When it semi-calmed down, I made a delicious banana oatmeal pancake for lunch, served with almond butter! 




Super yum.