Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Insider’s Guide to ElliptiFit

For those that follow my blog, you know that I completed a 5k race in mid-January. However when I was sidelined earlier this month with plantar fasciitis, my podiatrist told me that the best cardio workout for someone with my condition would be cycling or the elliptical.

So when I heard about ElliptiFit, I was super excited to take the class! I love taking group fitness classes. The boost that you get from an instructor with a great attitude, combined with the energy of the crowd, really helps motivate me to workout longer & harder.

ElliptiFit Sign

ElliptiFit is a 45 minute group fitness class that engages your upper & lower body, as well as core. My first thought was, will I get a good workout in only 45 minutes? Let me tell you, this class made me sweat & kicked my butt! Throughout the class, the instructor jacks up the intensity by having you adjust the resistance & ramp levels on the elliptical machine. Not once is your resistance set at zero! You are also moving your arms with a push & pull motion, frequently changing hand positions on the handles, thereby giving you an arm workout.

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Since I was driving in from the Valley, I signed up for the Friday noon time class with Alison. She is very energetic & motivating. Ali will walk up & down the aisles of the studio, checking your form & arm positions. She often shouts out encouragement to the students. I also really liked her playlist! This is coming from someone who will change spin instructors if I hate their music, lol! A killer playlist really makes the class for me & will pump me up to work harder.

The studio set-up is really nice. It’s got fun “mood” lighting & mirrors everywhere so that you can check your form while you work out.

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There’s cubby shelves in the back so that you can store your gym bag, two changing rooms & a spacious bathroom.

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Overall I really liked ElliptiFit. It’s a high intensity workout that is easy on the joints because of the low impact.

Since the studio is located in West LA, I will probably not be able to take the class on a regular basis. However I would definitely attend again if I am in the area! The space is located on Santa Monica Blvd. on the second floor of a mini-mall. There is free parking in front as well as in the underground parking garage.

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If you live on the Westside or happen to be a fitness enthusiast who doesn’t mind the drive (like me), then you should definitely check it out! Visit the ElliptiFit website for information on studio hours, class schedule & pricing.

Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. I received a complimentary ElliptiFit session to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

Blo Blow Dry Bar

Last Tuesday I went to a fun media event at Blo Blow Dry Bar in Beverly Hills. Blo USA is an international chain of blow dry bars, where you can get your hair washed & blown out in various styles.

After the stylist washed my hair, I consulted Blo’s hair menu book & picked out a style that had loose curls.

Here’s my before & after photo:

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When I got home later that evening, my daughter was so fascinated by my curls! She’d never seen my hair like that because I’m pretty much a “throw it in a ponytail” kind of mom.

She begged & begged me to let her get her hair styled that way for the upcoming Father-Daughter Dance at her school. I’m pretty much all thumbs when it comes to styling my own hair, let alone my daughter’s, lol! Fortunately for us, there’s a Blo Blow Dry Bar in the Valley (Porter Ranch), conveniently located 10 minutes from our house.

I did have reservations about it at first, thinking hmmmm…is she too young for this sort of thing? I know some moms who would never let their elementary school aged daughters get a manicure at the local nail salon, let alone a professional blow out. Since this was a special occasion, I decided to splurge a little and let her get it done.

The big dance was last Friday & she was so excited to sit in the salon chair!

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Here she is at the big dance! The happy smile on her face was well worth the $21 (not including tip) that I paid.

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So what was that media event that I was covering? I was meeting the cast of the Private Lives of Nashville Wives!

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Last night was the premiere of their show on TNT. Click on over to Surf and Sunshine to see my review!

Tell me: Have you ever gotten your hair blown out? What was the occasion? 

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Throwback Thursday – Meeting an Olympic Gold Medalist

In honor of the Olympics, I wanted to post this photo from last December, when my daughter & I met Kristi Yamaguchi!

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She was at an outdoor rink in Burbank to promote her book & foundation.

wpid-PhotoGrid_1392920016035.jpgMy daughter has been taking ice skating lessons since December, so naturally we are watching the Winter Olympics.

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Although because they broadcast it in the evening, close to her bedtime, I record it & then we’ll watch the ice skating competitions together over breakfast (fast-forward through the commercials & other stuff).   🙂

Are you watching the Winter Olympics? What is your favorite sport to watch? Will you watch the closing ceremonies this weekend? Sound off in the comments below!

Lemonade Studio City

Last week I had the opportunity to check out Lemonade, an eatery known for its seasonal southern California comfort food. Lemonade’s newest location opened last month in Studio City. I had gotten a taste of Lemonade in Westlake Village over the Christmas holiday break & really fell in love with their fresh, healthy cuisine! So when I found out that we were getting a location in my own “back yard” I was thrilled!

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Lemonade Studio City is located on a popular stretch of Ventura Blvd. When I visited it last Wednesday, there was a steady crowd of people going through the lines – moms with young kids, business folks on their lunch break and women in yoga pants (such as myself) who looked like they had just finished with their Pilates workout across the street at the local studio. 🙂

Lemonade is a Los Angeles-based fast-casual cafeteria-style eatery. When you first walk in, grab your tray & follow the buffet line.

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There are a TON of options – salads, soups, sandwiches, braised meats, mac ‘n cheese, even vegetarian chili!

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It’s easy to be overwhelmed with all of the choices; however, the folks behind the counter are very friendly & knowledgeable about the food. I found them to be helpful when I had questions about the ingredients in some of the salads.

Here’s a sampling of their proteins:

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They offer several lemonade flavors, even sugar-free options. I chose the cucumber mint, which tasted very refreshing!

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Lemonade Studio City has both indoor & outdoor seating.

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The decor inside is very light & bright with whimsical touches like this ceiling art.

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Since it was a warm, sunny day (typical SoCal winter weather), I opted to sit outside.

LemonadeStudioCity_Plate(clockwise from upper right: red quinoa with arugula, Fuji apple, sunflower & pistachio; butternut squash with brussel sprouts, grapes & almonds; Israeli couscous with wild mushrooms, parmesan & lemon truffle; chipotle brown rice pasta with smoked gouda & cherry tomato; curry chicken with green apples)

For my protein, I chose a red miso beef short rib:

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My meal was delicious, but the stand-outs for me were the chicken curry, miso beef short rib & the red quinoa. I loved the nutty flavor & crunchy texture of the quinoa. The short rib was very flavorful & I’m a big fan of curried chicken.

A friend of mine once said that a meal isn’t complete without a sweet treat. At Lemonade, there are many options:

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Lemonade is known for their huge macaroons, so naturally I got a lemon flavored one!

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There are several Lemonade locations throughout the Los Angeles area, a location at Fashion Island in Orange County, as well as one in Ventura County. I’m so happy that there is one in the San Fernando Valley. If you are ever in the area, you should definitely check it out!

Lemonade Studio City is located at 12401 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604. The food menu & lemonade options rotate on a daily basis. Visit their website for more details. As far as parking options, you can valet your car for a flat fee of $3 or do street parking (if you can find an available space). Tip: If you plan on doing a bit of shopping (as there are tons of cute boutiques in the area), I found an inexpensive public parking lot close to Ventura Blvd. & Laurelgrove Ave. My car was parked for a little over an hour & I paid only 90 cents. What a bargain!

Tell me: Have you been to Lemonade? What did you try?

Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. I received a complimentary meal to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

Giving Back to the North Valley Family YMCA

This is not a sponsored post.

The North Valley Family YMCA is a place that my family has been going to for many years. My husband likes to work out using the cardio machines & shooting basketballs around in the big gym. My daughter has taken ballet & tap classes from the fabulous dance instructors at the Y. Over the summer she participated in a kids cooking class, where she made delicious healthy snacks.

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It’s no secret to readers of my blog that I love taking TRX classes. Well, did you know that these TRX classes are taken at the Y? Imagine that! Even the big named franchise gyms near my house don’t offer this class.

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For those living in the North San Fernando Valley, I’m sure you know at least one person who utilizes the services of the Y – whether it is taking swim lessons, participating in the various sports leagues, attending summer camp or going to Y-Guides meetings with their parent.

Right now, the North Valley Family YMCA is in the middle of their Annual Campaign.

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Please consider donating to this important cause.  Your gift provides support for youth development, healthy living & social responsibility in the following areas:

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These are just several ways your gift will help strengthen the community by supporting youth development, healthy living & social responsibility.

Please consider making a donation today! Even a gift of $25 can help make a difference & ensure a brighter future for our community!

Should you make a donation through the link, please ensure that you designate it for the “Capital Campaign” & type my name in the write-in section of the Community Support Team (see sample below).

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Thanks so much for taking the time to read through this post. I believe that through social media, we can do social good! 🙂

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Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. I’ve been a proud supporter of the North Valley Family YMCA for many years. As a Community Gifts Team Member, I’m happy to volunteer my time in writing this post. All opinions are my own.

DK’s Donuts in Santa Monica

A few days ago I had to drive over the hill to the Westside for a work meeting. Since I was already out that way, I figured that I’d swing by DK’s Donuts in Santa Monica & pick-up some sweet treats for my family. I had heard from folks that DK’s does a version of a cronut that is to die for!! I’ve wanted to try a cronut ever since I first heard about it last summer. What is a cronut you ask? It is a croissant and donut hybrid.

DK’s Donuts is a tiny shop in a little strip mall located on Santa Monica Blvd.

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This is what you see when you first enter (swoon)!

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I knew immediately that I wanted to get a couple of DK’s Double Decker O-Nuts. But what flavor? There are so many to choose from: Strawberries N’ Cream, Cookies N’ Cream, Green Tea, Lemon…the list goes on & on. I finally settled on the special house cream flavor & also an ube flavored one. They are $3.95 each.

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I also bought an assortment of the smaller O-Nuts in various flavors: Nutella, glazed with special house cream, cinnamon dusted & chocolate covered with cream. These run for $2 a pop.

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A couple of regular donuts made their way into my box – a blueberry flavored donut & also an ube donut.

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The shop sells sandwiches, bagels, smoothies & cold pressed juices. There is also a huge coffee bar & a few small yellow tables. When I was there, they had a few patrons sitting at the tables, but mostly people bought their items & left.

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I made my way back to the Valley & later that night my family happily dined on these donuts for dessert. The Double Decker O-Nuts are big enough to share. I recommend getting multiple flavors, cutting them in half & sharing so that you can sample each flavor.

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The texture of the O-Nuts are flaky & light, similar to a croissant, but they have a sweetness to it like a donut. My daughter LOVED the Nutella O-Nut the best. I liked the cream one & my hubby liked it ALL! 😉

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I happily paid for my box of sweet treats & I’ll do it again the next time I’m in this area! 🙂

My Left Foot

Don’t let the title fool you, this is not a post on the Daniel Day-Lewis film from the late 80s, but rather it’s about the pain that I’ve been having in my left heel since last Fall. (Ok, I know that I’m dating myself for using such an old pop culture reference, lol!)

Starting in September, my heel would hurt at random moments. Then in late November, the pain started to persist everyday, usually late in the evening or right after I worked out (which is generally 3-4 days a week).

To help alleviate this pain, I’ve been using these items/techniques:

Frozen Water Bottle
A runner in a Facebook group that I belong to had told me about this trick. Take a water bottle & put it in the freezer. Then when your heel is hurting, roll your foot over the bottle. It sounds weird, but it totally works!

Foot Massage Ball
While I am watching TV or sitting at the computer (like right now), I roll my foot all over this sucker. The little nubs really get in there & dig into my heel where it is hurting.

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KT Pro Tape
I’ve been using this since last Spring when my right knee started hurting while jogging. I had originally used a knee brace, but it kept slipping even though I used the smallest size. Then a friend told me about KT Tape & it definitely supports my knee in a way that the brace never could. For the last several months, I’ve been taping my foot as well.

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Superfeet Insoles
Last year I went to Fleet Feet Sports in Encino & had them evaluate my running style. The salesperson had me jog around the store barefoot to see how I ran. Turns out that I suffer from over-pronation & the Superfeet insoles placed in any of my running shoes will help counteract that issue. I also found out that over-pronation can eventually lead to plantar fasciitis.

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Ultra Roller
I use this roller on my legs after a workout to get the kinks out & also on my heel. The grooves on this particular roller really get into the tissue & massage it.

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Feet Stretches & Exercises
In the morning, before I start my day, I do these simple exercises. It really helps warm-up the muscles & tissues in my feet.

Despite all of my best intentions, my heel started to really hurt in the last month. As most of you know, I ran two 5k’s in the last 3 months – one in November & one in January. Yes, I know this probably contributed to the plantar fasciitis, but you know what they say about “playing through the pain!” Honestly I really think that it all started last summer when I wore flip flops every day. Now mind you, I was using FitFlop sandals (not the traditional flimsy flip flops), so I felt that these provided enough support for my feet. At the time my feet didn’t hurt at all, which is why I kept using them in the summer whenever I wasn’t wearing my workout shoes. However I definitely think it added to the start of my heel pain.

I finally went to see my doctor about 2 weeks ago. He evaluated my foot, took a couple of x-rays & then diagnosed it as plantar fasciitis. I’m on a high dosage of ibuprofen to help with the inflammation & pain. While the meds have helped a lot, I’m going to ask to see a podiatrist when I go for my follow-up visit with my doctor next week. I’ve gotta get my foot back to 100% so that I can run the Disneyland 10k on Labor Day weekend!!

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I just happen to really like all of these products! All opinions are my own.