The Most Random Entry Ever.

So, in order to catch up with everything that happened within the past month, I will have a recap post.

The same weekend I went on the brunch with The Boston Brunchers, was my birthday weekend. I had exams on my actual birthday (Thursday, February 21), and so I spent the entire weekend making up for it. 😀

I received a beautiful bouquet from my daddy!

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I also went to Gaslight in the South End with a bunch of friends to celebrate. The restaurant was awesome and they treated my group so well! (Although the service was a little slow at times). They were so sweet about everything though and comped a chocolate beignets for my birthday!

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My duck confit. Delicious!

The same day after the brunch at The Blue Room, I met up with some friends at Casa Romero merely 3-4 hours later for yet another feast. They have an awesome early dinner prix fixe meal, and their margaritas were fantastic!

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So needless to say, I stuffed myself that weekend, and what better way to detox from all that delicious food than with a juice cleanse! I decided on e.t.c. juicery because it kept popping up on several fitness twitter handles and all throughout the Boston fitness scene, and so I knew it was a legit, local, great quality juicery. I picked the 2-day cleanse and coordinated a super easy pick-up time and location. Although you are supposed to prep your body for a juice cleanse for days leading up to it, I did a terrible job at that. But I fortunately did not experience the common “juicing hangover”.

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I’m not going to lie, the first day was hard. Harder than I expected it to be. It required a lot of planning and dedication especially due to my hectic school schedule. I had to make sure I could duck out of class in order to get my juice and drink it. I took thorough notes on when I drank the juices, what I thought of the flavors, and how I felt. So there will be another more in-depth blog post on my juicing experience. Overall, it was a great, positive experience and I would definitely recommend it (and do one again!)

What’s funny is that earlier today, I took a Ryde (spin) class at BTone Fitness with Melina, the co-founder of e.t.c. juicery and she had remembered me from my juice purchase! I was feeling quite ill yesterday, and this morning woke up with a fever, but I took some DayQuil, put on my big girl shoes, and still headed out for the class (since I could only Late Cancel and the only thing worse than being sick for me, is wasting money). Throughout the ride, I made sure not to push myself too hard, but I was surprised that I still managed to keep up with everyone. My throat felt like it was on fire for some points, but other than that, my body was feeling great. I hadn’t had a really good cardio session like that in a while. I would love to take a spin class on a regular basis. I am dying to check out a class at Recycle Studio at their new Boston Common location, so stay tuned for when that happens! Other attendees at this Ryde class included Jess from Little Miss Runshine and Sarah from Sarah Fit herself, both sitting right in front of me! This is why I love Boston, it’s a small enough city that it brings all the local fitness people together. I recognize so many fitness instructors walking down the street or the mall all the time!

One last random tidbit (I promise). My roommates got me awesome gifts for a very belated Christmas and for my birthday!

A yoga mat bag (I’ve wanted one for a while!), toe grip socks from Gaiam (which I used at Pure Barre – more on that later as well), a Bento tupperware box (they know I love to cook my own meals), a GIANT wine glass (they know me so well), and last but not least:

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I am so excited that people associate fitness and being healthy with me now. These gifts truly reflect that and I am grateful for it!

Okay, I am done for today. I am lying in bed and I will be crawling under the covers momentarily for some shut-eye so that I can hopefully recover from this illness in one day. Here’s to sweating, savoring, and smiling!

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A neat “fortune” from my new Yogi Ginger tea!

Once in a Blue Moon: Brunch at The Blue Room with Boston Brunchers

Hello everybody! Sorry for my recent hibernation from the blogging world. I just got extremely caught up in school among other things and this next month will be my craziest, most hardcore month of all of dental school, so bear with me. I will be sharing with you my experience at a delightful brunch I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend with Boston Brunchers. I had heard of this group for a while thanks to Boston Bachelorette and I am extremely excited that I can now participate in the group thanks to my blog!

I arrived with Jen as the snow started to pour down, and we ended up being right on time. The other bloggers were gathered around and the restaurant, The Blue Room, was immediately charming and welcoming upon first impression.

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As we were standing around, they started us off with an extremely delicious drink called the Ramos Fizz, consisting of gin, lemon lime, egg whites, heavy cream, and sugar. It was extremely light and delicious. Not too sweet, which was perfect for my taste.

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We then got seated, and we took in the scenery (aka took a lot of pictures).

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Salt & pepper: uber charming.

We then got right up and proceeded to get onto the buffet line. I couldn’t wait to see what they would present and I was intrigued because the restaurant is one of many in the Boston area that use fresh, local produce and ingredients.

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Such a cute presentation with the cooks right there, reminds me a little of “diner-style”! (which I am very familiar with as I hail from the “Diner State” aka New Jersey). It created a more intimate feel as well.

As soon as we got our food, more pictures were taken (although it was hard not to dig in right away because the food looked and smelled so good and I was hungry!)

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Pictured: soft poached eggs, patatas bravas, applewood smoked bacon, bulgar wheat salad, cannellini beans, marinated beets, smoked salmon, grilled salmon, rain crow ranch roast beef, berkshire pork shoulder, grits, spinach salad with bleu cheese and macadamia nuts, winter braised greens.

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Pictured: spicy tomato soup.

The winners for me were the vegetarian dishes. The meat dishes were okay (a little on the dry side). The grilled salmon and smoked salmon were very good (although the smoked was a tad on the saltier side). The eggs and grits were nothing spectacular. But the rest of the feast was simply amazing. The spinach salad, patatas bravas, winter braised greens were my absolute favorites. The tomato soup was also extremely velvety, smooth, rich, with such a pure tomato flavoring to it.

After most of us had finished our second plate-fulls, they came out with a new Black Currant Pain Perdu just for our brunchers group!

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tbr = the blue room

The management and chefs were extremely pleasant and checked on us a number of times to make sure everything was going well. They could not have been more welcoming and friendlier, a real neat intimate touch.

Afterwards, it was time to dig in to dessert, aka the huge table filled with delectable pastries!

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I fortunately (unfortunately?) don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so I only grabbed a handful of items:

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Some of the pain perdu (delicious!), ginger bread (I love ginger so this was neat), a maple hazlenut concoction (extremely sweet), and my favorite was the coconut macaroons!

Walking out, I was perfectly stuffed, and what better way to walk off a brunch then to pop on over to The Garment District for a little thrifting.

The Blue Room serves brunch every Sunday from 11 AM – 2:30 PM at $27 per person. I was fortunate enough to enjoy this delicious brunch at no charge thanks to Boston Brunchers, but rest assure, I will be back!

“Nobody Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

I came across this tonight and it was one of the most beautiful and inspiring things I’ve seen in a while. Warning – it will make you cry!

It puts things into perspective and reminds us just how fleeting life really is, so remember to treasure and appreciate every little thing. I for one am guilty of sometimes focusing on the negative and things I lack rather than realizing how lucky I am for everything I do have.

Oh, and every single woman out there is beautiful, no matter what. Don’t let anybody else tell you otherwise. Another good reminder that I need every now and then, as I’m sure most of you do too.

http://stylenews.peoplestylewatch.com/2013/02/09/model-with-terminal-cancer-stuns-in-parisian-photo-shoot/

I’m a Liar Liar Pants on Fire!

So remember how I went on that rant yesterday about not being able to touch my toes? Well guess what? I TOUCHED MY TOES!! And I got it all on video. I can seriously count the number of times I have been able to touch my toes on one hand. Once was after going to bikram yoga for 1 month straight at the end of class. The other time was actually for .5 seconds at Hip Hop Yoga the other day, but again, that was in a heated room and I was all warmed up from class. Today, though. I knocked out both the Level 2 of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred, and did ZuzkaLight’s ZWOW 53 half-assed which had stretching components throughout the workout, and I noticed that I touched my toes while sitting on the ground with my feet straight out in front of me. Ecstatically, I jumped up and immediately attempted to touch my toes standing up and I did it! Several times! Usually if I do touch my toes, I cannot reciprocate it right afterwards to save my life, but I did it! Progress and change is possible everybody! It is a slow and frustrating process, but I am super excited about what this will bring and do for me in my fitness journey and especially in yoga! Yay!

I also made a Coconut Ginger Chicken dish in between studying for school a bit today from 1fitfoodie which consisted of 5 ingredients (coconut milk, chicken, sweet onions, ginger, and coconut oil). It was super easy, but it was a little bland, so I threw on some ground black pepper and chili flakes (I throw on spicy chili powder or flakes on EVERYTHING I eat regardless – I love my food SPICY!) and it made it slightly better. And I also threw together my friend’s homemade hummus recipe. Again, pretty easy with a few ingredients!

I’ll post up the hummus recipe some other time.

What did you do on this snowy day? (Which I’m affectionately calling “Captain Nemo, 20,000 Leagues Under the Snow” in a way to be original and classic. ;))

Oh and PS – my friends are signing up for the Boston’s Run to Remember half-marathon and they want me to do it with them. I did the 5 mile run last year (which was my very first race ever!) and I totally considered doing a half marathon this year as one of my new years’ resolutions but I am terrified. I am a very slow, terrible runner and I am absolutely miserable whenever I do run. But I feel like this would be an amazing challenge. Any tips and recommendations out there? Should I do it?!

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”

So this quote has been a recurring theme throughout the week. It came up on instagram Monday, and I kept it close to me throughout the week whenever I went through something difficult. It applied a lot when I took my first hip hop yoga class Tuesday at 2 PM at Back Bay Yoga.

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I’ve actually kept up with a weekly yoga practice for a couple of months now. Honestly, I’ve never really loved yoga and it’s very difficult for me most of the time because I am extremely not flexible. And no, I am one of those people who exaggerate and claim to not be flexible, yet still be able to touch my toes. I cannot touch my toes to save my life. I think I have a straight lower spine and/or really immobile lower back muscles issue + tight hamstrings + tight hips, a deadly combo. I tried out hot yoga for 2 months one summer a number of years ago, and it definitely improved my flexibility, especially going everyday, but I still cannot ever touch my toes. Whenever I am in a yoga class, I listen to my body and only go to my limits. I know I will never be able to do some beautiful yoga poses due to my limited flexibility, and I’m okay with that. I have actually seen quite an improvement in my practice, especially the mental part where I fight through and try to hold a really difficult pose, going way past my comfort zone. In the past, I usually wimped out and went straight into child’s pose whenever something was hard, but nowadays I really see myself trying to hold on and stay with the class.

Back to Hip Hop Yoga. I had heard about this new Hip Hop Yoga craze going around Boston, and I had been wanting to try it out for some time. I saw that Back Bay yoga hosts a 2 PM Community Class every day for $5 cash. It was a great deal, and thanks to my exam schedule, I had the opportunity to go check it out (I usually have class from 9-4 or 8-4 every day so I normally wouldn’t be able to go). I thought it would be a nice, fun and interesting class and that it would count towards being more of an active rest day in between my Crossfit classes on Monday and Wednesday. Boy, was I wrong. It was actually held in a heated room, and some of the poses we had to hold were a lot more difficult that I had anticipated (I’m talking to you runner’s lunge). My yoga mat was also quite slippery and I was slipping like crazy during downward dog (my most hated pose in yoga), so I had to eventually use a stretch band on my mat to hold it. My hands and feet sweat like crazy during any yoga class and so it’s extremely hard for me to hold downward dog for a long time. The instructor was Kimberly Rajotte. She was great as she really took the time and made sure to ask about any injuries in the beginning of class. She walked around the room the entire time, but she didn’t do any hands-on adjustments for anybody. I personally am a fan of when instructors do that, but I understand that it’s not everybody’s cup of tea so it’s not a big deal that she didn’t. At the end during our savasana meditation, I’m pretty sure I fell asleep and woke up because I snored really loudly. Embarrassing… 😛

Every time I think yoga on a particular day is going to be nice and easy, it always ends up being the most challenging class. It’s probably also because I am always doing high intensity workouts usually a day or two before. So I would definitely consider yoga a workout as it manages to constantly surprise me with how challenging it is.

A number of weeks ago, I also managed to go to BeWell’s “Speaking Sam’s-crit” waterfront yoga class with a few friends from class. The instructor was Joanna Benevides and I personally loved her!

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Her class was structured extremely well and flowed very smoothly. I was again very tired and sore from Crossfit and pole classes (more on that later) from the week before, but I was inspired to push myself thanks to Joanna.

So thanks to many different stores and programs throughout Boston, there are always a ton of free yoga classes available throughout the city and I am grateful for it, as it is giving me the opportunity to have a consistent yoga practice going, and it’s opening my eyes more to how beneficial yoga is to all aspects of your life. And it also helps me work out in a different way and allows me to get a good stretch in between all the other types of workouts that I do.

For more information about all the many different free fitness classes offered throughout Boston, check out Jess’ blog Little Miss Runshine and look under Fitness – Free Bos Fitness. I love that she has organized all the different classes offered and I can go to one page to keep track of it all! She was also one of my inspirations to start a blog, so thank you Jess!

So again, I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone, out of your box, and try something challenging or scary to you. It’s a great way to grow!

Happy snow day to those in the New England area! Stay safe and warm out there.

CrossFit

So I officially joined Reebok Crossfit Back Bay a couple of weeks ago after trying out the On-Ramp program. I had experienced a few free trials last fall, and then I got into watching a lot (and I mean, A LOT) of CrossFit videos on Youtube, so I finally decided to try On-Ramp. I had initially though that’s where my CrossFit journey would end as it is quite expensive, but after the first week, I was hooked. Then the last day came and went and I was at quite a dilemma. I loved CrossFit and it was something completely different that could help me push my limits and help me reach new stages in my fitness, but I was painfully aware of how much money and time commitment it required (and being a full-time grad student, both are lacking in my life). So, I considered it over a weekend and I asked my mom to help me pay for the monthly 2x/week student rate as my birthday present. I figured it will be worth it and benefit me in the long run because I only have one body, and I should be treating it right and get into the best shape of my life in my 20s. It’s my 3rd week as an official member and I absolutely love it. I actually went through a break-up right before I started my membership, so it has been a good outlet for me to just throw myself into in order to help me get over my ex. I know, I know. That seems really weird. I just went through a break-up so what do I do? Do I sit there and eat ice cream and watch romantic movies and cry all night? (Which I might have done ONCE :-P) No, I joined CrossFit. But I’ve never been one to be “normal” in any sort of way anyways and I like that about myself 🙂

I know CrossFit has received both a lot of support and a lot of criticism. I’m personally a fan because It helps people of all fitness levels get out there to try and move and do their best, no matter where they are. Yes, it can be intimidating being a novice, but I think it’s inspiring to be surrounded by such amazing fit people. It helps you push and want to become a better, faster, stronger version of yourself.

The most interesting thing about CrossFit for me, is the “mental toughness” that it is slowly but surely building in me. It is tough to push yourself to the limits again and again; to fight through and make yourself do the last couple of reps when every cell in your body just wants you to give up. But I am doing my best, giving it my all, and I’m getting the workouts done. The mental part is half the battle. I’ve already improved by successfully doing my first ever double under last night, and managed to even do a handful throughout the night! I can’t wait to be able to rock them out continuously. I like that it’s not just about strength, it’s also about skills and agility. A jack-of-all-trades kind of workout program if you ask me.

I completely admit that I might have been predisposed to liking CrossFit because my favorite type of and go-to workouts are HIIT (high intensity interval training) already. After discovering BodyRock and Zuzana a couple of years ago, I fell in love with the quick, high-intensity, efficient, bodyweight strength format of it. (I am now dedicated to Zuzana and her new channel on YouTube – ZuzkaLight – check her out! I love her positivity and motivation. And it’s amazing that she offers all that she does completely free!! But I digress…)

So, doing the CrossFit style of workouts was more “natural” for me (it helped that I was at a pretty good level fitness-wise going in), but I am also new to the Olympic weight lifting component of it. I’ve never done any sort of real strength training or weight lifting before, and I was actually quite interested in starting it right before I tried CrossFit. So I’m very lucky that CrossFit has catered to my workout style perfectly. I am getting stronger and making gains every week!

If you’re even the slightest bit interested in trying it out, contact a CrossFit box near you. Almost all of them offer a free trial class catered to the newly curious. It’s free so it can’t hurt (well, actually, it probably will. During the workout and days after when you’re sore – but hey, it’s a good kind of pain 😉

I’m the kind of person who will try anything once (maybe even two or three times) just to experience it for myself and form my own opinions about something. It keeps things interesting, and keeps me challenged. It helps me grow as a person overall, and add’s to my life experiences, which are priceless. So go out and challenge yourself with something new or scary this week (CrossFit or not). I dare you 🙂

Check out the links below for my CrossFit box, and to Zuzka Light’s YouTube channel!

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Pilates Bootcamp with Jennifer Phelan Pilates!

Pilates Bootcamp with Jennifer Phelan Pilates!

This morning, I attended a complimentary Pilates Bootcamp class run by Jennifer Phelan of Jennifer Phelan Pilates! It was held inside Quincy Market and sponsored by Faneuil Hall. I think it’s awesome that such a historic, popular tourist visiting center opens its doors to hold a free workout class to support health and fitness awareness! I was feeling a little sore from Crossfit on Thursday (more on that later) but I pushed through as best as I could. Jennifer kicked my butt and I felt the burn, especially in my shoulders! She is a great instructor and I love her countdowns to help me hang on in there for just a few more counts! I hope to one day take one of her legendary classes (especially her “Best Exercise Class in Boston” Pilates Barre!) Click on the photo to be directed to her page and learn more about her!