class review: banana skirt productions
lately, i’ve been making an effort to switch up my workout routine as much as possible. i’ve never been much of a gym rat and need variety in order to stay motivated. one thing that’s great about living in new york is that there is no shortage of gyms and studios offering soooo many different kinds of classes. i’ve been class hopping a lot lately and i thought i would start doing some class review posts so that you guys can get a glimpse of what some of these places are like. hopefully, i’ll be able to do this for other cities i travel to, so that the reviews won’t be strictly for the city i live in, as i know i have readers all over the place!
last week, a friend of mine invited me to check out a cardio dance class with her at banana skirt productions and it was so. much. fun. banana skirt offers a few different types of classes, but most importantly, they are most popular for the artist specific classes where an instructor teaches you the actual dance moves from the videos of some of your favorite songs, which is what we were dying to try. obviously we decided to attend a beyoncé class… because duh.
we went to the 7/11 class because this has kind of been my 2015 theme song. i definitely own the KALE sweatshirt she wears in the video and just felt like this was the class i had to take. if you’re not familiar with this video, get familiar with it asap. it was a full class of people of all different skill levels [oh, i should mention that i’m a terrible dancer and still had a great time] and the instructor really broke down the steps and made it accessible for everyone… and she was also really encouraging and made it a point to make everyone feel comfortable, since clearly we can’t all move like beyoncé [although it’s really fun to try]. they also will post a clip from your class to their instagram [you can check my class out here] which is super fun to see after the fact. so, what’s the verdict?
4/5 bananas for banana skirt productions!
i’m giving banana skirt 4/5 bananas only because i didn’t sweat as much as i would typically like to [it’s not really the nature of a class like this, since you’re stopping and learning the actual dance moves] but the $20 price point [so cheap for new york!], the atmosphere and the overall experience will definitely be bringing me back soon!
what other studios should i check out?!
motivation mondays: week 30
good morning! how was your weekend? we had gorgeous weather here in new york which [as always] elevated my mood to new levels. it’s so much easier for me to get up and out of bed on the weekends to workout, meet up with friends and just generally be productive when it’s warm and sunny. i’m really, really hoping that the winter weather is behind us and we can just look forward to only nicer and nicer weather from here on out. i hope that wherever you are, the weather is working in your favor, as well!
lately, i’ve been talking a lot about change on the blog and how sometimes you just need to know when it’s time to let go of things that aren’t working for you anymore and move on, take the leap and see what happens. and while i totally believe this to be true, i can’t help but tell myself “easier said than done”… right?
well, yes and no. of course making big decisions is hard. It’s scary. we don’t know how it’s going to end up. it could end up being the wrong decision, but it could also end up being the right decision, the best decision you have ever made. and, even if it doesn’t, this motivation mondays post is going to put it all into perspective for us:
correct me if i’m wrong, but i think this is a pretty simple concept. wouldn’t you rather know that something wasn’t the right decision than wonder what might have happened? at least failing at something means that you tried. you can’t fail if you don’t try, but i almost see not trying and never knowing as a bigger failure than trying and having something not work out. don’t you?
links to make this monday morning a little more bearable…
1) BEST NEWS IN A LONG TIME. LET’S F*CKING GO.
2) i love lena dunham for many reasons. mainly being because homegirl doesn’t give a f*ck what people think about her and isn’t afraid to be honest with the world about what she’s doing and why she’s doing it. in a society so plagued by superficial things like appearance and weight, i thought this was a great reminder of the mental benefits of exercise, which don’t often get talked about.
3) last but not least… a few weeks ago, a family friend’s dog was hit by a speeding car and required emergency surgery for broken legs and dislocated hips, among other things. she’s doing great, but their vet bills are over $15,000. a friend of theirs started a gofundme to help them offset some of the costs. if you can donate, every little bit helps.
have an amazing week everyone… what’s on the agenda?!
image courtesy of but first, coffee
5 things more important to your health than what you eat
Image courtesy of The Wellness Warrior
when it comes to our health and wellness goals [losing those last pesky 10 pounds, getting mad gains, being beach ready in time for summer, etc.] diet obviously has a huge impact on whether we reach them or not. i’ve read that the key to weight loss is 80/20… 80% what you eat and 20% how you’re working out. while i’m sure that there is some validity to this, diet and exercise are not the only things important to your overall health and wellness.
in my health coaching practice, i work with clients to find balance in all areas of their lives, simply because a person can be eating all of the “right” things, working out regularly and still not be seeing the results they are after if they are constantly stressed out or feeling drained [physically or mentally] by other things going on in their lives. when pursuing your health goals, you need to look at the overall picture and make adjustments accordingly.
here are 5 things more important to your health than what you eat:
1. where your food is coming from: while this is obviously related to diet, it’s less about what you are eating and more about where what you’re eating is coming from. food that comes in cardboard boxes that has a sh*tload of ingredients you can’t pronounce should be avoided as much as possible, along with fruits and vegetables that have been doused in pesticides, refined sugars, highly processed carbs, and meat/fish/dairy from factory farms. whole, organic, natural foods such as fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains and meat and dairy products from grass-fed/free-range animals [if you’re into that sorta thing] should make up at least 80% of your diet. when you’re eating real foods, you don’t need to worry about counting calories and you’ll find that your weight will begin to naturally balance itself out.
image courtesy of buzzfeed
2. career: believe it or not, if you aren’t happy with your job, the chances are that you’ll be pretty unhappy overall. because we spend so much of our time at work [a lot of people go wayyyyy beyond the traditional 40-hour work week, which in my opinion, is already long enough], it has a huge impact on how we feel. work-related stress easily permeates our home and social lives and while we do our very best to keep “work” and “life” separate, that can be pretty hard to do sometimes. as you know, stress can have a major impact on your mental and physical health, including making weight loss more difficult. finding a career that you look forward to showing up for everyday is a key component to living a healthy, balanced life.
image courtesy of a gentle woman
3. relationships: much like your career, if you’re in a miserable relationship [not just romantic, but with a toxic friend or an unbearable family member], your overall health suffers. we need fulfillment from our relationships, the same way we need nutritious fulfillment, and when we’re in relationships that aren’t giving us what we need or are draining us because we give too much every thing falls apart. if you’re not happy with your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife, do something about it. start communicating and voicing your feelings. see if the changes that need to be made can be made or if it’s time to move on. cut a toxic friend or family member out of your life. these things are not easy to do, but dealing with the consequences of maintaining the relationships that no longer serve you is even harder.
image courtesy of etsy
4. sleep: sleep is so important to our health for many different reasons. first and foremost, we simply need to rest… duh. not getting enough sleep runs us down, leaves us feeling lethargic and impacts our performance at work and the gym/in yoga class/etc. and can make us unbearable to be around in social situations. i mean no one likes dealing with a grumpy, sleep-deprived 28 year old, amiright? second, sleep is essential for regulating hormones in our bodies, including hormones that are responsible for helping us maintain our weight. when our hormone cycles are disrupted it throws our entire body out of whack, making losing weight [and keeping it off] even more difficult than it already is for some of us. 7-8 hours of sleep a night is ideal, but you should never be getting less than 6 [although having a late night out here and there is totally fine, just not something you should be doing three times a week].
image courtesy of kissing karma
5. your attitude: you’ve probably heard this all of your life, but it’s true. attitude. is. everything. what you think you become. if you’re always putting yourself down and telling yourself that you’re never going to reach your goals, guess what? you probably won’t. we can create our own reality through our thoughts. the power of intention is real and sometimes the difference between making it and breaking it is believing you can do it. wake up every day and make the choice to believe in yourself… to be happy… to accept yourself no matter what. instead of being your biggest critic, try being your biggest cheerleader and see what happens. if you only take one thing away from this post, let it be this:
image courtesy of @successwithjake
let’s be clear here for just a minute: i‘m not saying that you should stop worrying about what you’re eating or how often you’re working out. both of those things are still very important, but without these other things, they really don’t mean much of anything. take it one step at a time if you have to. start going to bed 10 minutes earlier than usual one week, then up it to 20 minutes the next. have a conversation with the friend who is mentally draining you tomorrow and then start figuring out your next career move. It doesn’t have to all be done at once. baby steps… remember?!
what i ate wednesday: philly edition
when i’m planning a trip, whether it’s a full-fledged vacation or weekend getaway, i would say about 75% of the things i end up putting on my to-do lists are related to food and drink. making sure to try a famous local/national dish, experiencing a popular restaurant that’s famous for x-y-z, enjoying coffee, wine or beer that is specific to the city or region i am in and of course, finding the hidden gems that are go-to spots for the locals.
i spent last weekend in philly, which you might have seen on instagram, and naturally spent a decent portion of the weekend checking out some places that came highly recommend by friends, and investigating a few spots that caught my eye on social media [one of the many ways i put instagram to use]. i did what i ate wednesday recaps for my last eurotrip and my weekend in south beach, so i figured why no continue this tradition and fill you guys in on some incredible philly eats.
dinner at cuba libre:
firtst and foremost: the cocktail list was massive and had some really unique libations [we opted for the pineapple-basil, and mint, ginger and honey caipirinhas] which is always a nice starting point. we shared the yucca fries, and spinach and manchengo buñuelos as appetizers… definitely opt for the latter here… and the vegetable paella [pictured] as our main course. i love when a vegetarian friendly paella is offered… you really don’t see this much! also, the vibe here is great. you really feel like you are sitting outside under palm trees and street lamps in havana… or at least that’s what i imagine it would be like to be sitting outside under palm trees and street lamps in havana!
ice cream at franklin fountain:
the moment you set foot in this ice cream shop you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time. the décor is all vintage, the employees dress the part and the ice cream is unbelievable. they have an extensive menu of sundaes, milkshakes, and floats, but since i didn’t really feel like going into a food coma at 2pm on a saturday afternoon, i opted for a good old-fashioned two-scooper in a cup: one scoop chocolate and one scoop whirly berly [chocolate with salted caramel swirls and cocoa nibs.. yea]. two scoops was probably much more than i needed but i polished that sucker off anyway. #yolo
beer flights at 2nd story brewing company:
flights… because why limit yourself to only one… or two… or three… beers? they had eight signature brews on tap, so how perfect was the option for two flights [four beers each] so we could give each one a try? they had a few different stouts and an i.p.a., but my personal favorite was the fritzie’s lager… i ordered a draft of this and in my mind i was transported right back to oktoberfest.
brunch at hawthorne’s:
what would a weekend getaway be without a brunch stop? not my kinda weekend getaway, that’s what! sunday morning we headed to hawthorne’s and expected a long wait, but were seated immediately [it probably helped that we arrived at 11am, before the brunch crowd]. they have a full, help yourself style “beer boutique” here, but i opted for mimosaw instead. they serve them “deconstructed” with your own little mini-bottle of champagne, so you know they aren’t skimping on the bubbly. the menu was amazing and making a decision was truly a challenge, but the bananas foster waffle really hit the spot. i sampled a bite of the funnel cake french toast and this would have been another great option. you really can’t go wrong here.
i don’t have pictures from a few of the other places we stopped, but reading terminal market is definitely worth checking out. there are basically 1,000 options here and it’s mostly grab-and-go/bakery/deli style places, so it’s a good place for a casual and inexpensive lunch. we had dinner at continental mid-town on saturday night and while i was super confused by the menu when i first glanced at it, i wasn’t disappointed at all. it’s all tapas/shared style dishes and the eclectic variety of cuisines is almost as awesome as the ambience and décor.
so, to sum it all up, when it comes to philly [based on this trip]:
must eat: hawthorne’s
must drink: cuba libre
honorable mention: franklin fountain
motivation mondays: week 29
so… mondays are definitely a little easier when the weather is seasonally appropriate… amiright?! loving that this morning I was able to leave my apartment in a spring jacket and scarf… i think the parka and winter clothes are ready to be retired. i know i’m ready for sandals, dresses, shorts and t-shirts… which might all still be a little ways off in the distance, but at least i feel like we’re getting closer!
a friend of mine sent me this quote last week and it was just too perfect. i knew immediately that i was going to use it for this week’s motivation mondays post… leave it to louise hay to drop some serious truthbombs.
this one really resonated with me and it’s so simple and so obvious that i can’t believe it was the first time i had ever heard it. or maybe i had heard it before, but wasn’t in a place where i was able to accept it and make it a part of my mentality.
i’ve spent years and years being hard on myself, scrutinizing myself in ways that i would never, in a million years, scrutinize my family or friends… or anyone for that matter really. i think we all do it, at least from time to time. and why? what’s the purpose of it? it’s not helpful, it makes you feel like sh*t and most likely is only digging you further into the hole you’re looking to get out of. not only that, but talking sh*t about yourself around other people gives them permission to talk sh*t about themselves. so often i find myself in the middle of conversations where everyone is just bashing themselves and it’s terrible. it just allows the vicious cycle to continue.
i saw this video made by dove a couple of weeks ago, and this little “experiment” was an eye opener for me. take a look:
i mean… it brings up an interesting question… would you ever say some of the things you say to yourself to your friends? your mom? your sister? you’re frenemies even? i don’t think so. so what makes it okay to say these things to yourself?
take some time this week to really pay attention to your thoughts and how many negative, hurtful things you say to/about yourself on a daily basis. write them down if you have to.
maybe, if we change the way we think about and talk to ourselves, the way we see ourselves will start to change and the progress we’re looking for will start to come a little bit easier. what do you have to lose? again, it’s not like criticizing yourself has gotten you anywhere anyways.
links to some good stuff for this week:
1) it might be the day after easter, but this was just too good.
2) this buzzfeed quiz kinda goes with today’s motivation mondays theme. what kind of beautiful are you?
3) last but not least, if you’re not signed up for my weekly newsletter, i would recommend changing that a$ap. i’m going to be offering something really special to all of my subscribers this week and if you want to get in on it, i would highly suggest subscribing right here!
have an amazing week… and stop being so hard on yourself! i’m going to make an effort to do it myself, so let me know what happens when you stop sh*t talking yourself… i promise it will be only good things!
image courtesy of invoking joy
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