Thursday Thoughts

Hey guys! How is your week going? Things over here are going well. My work week is very much what I call a “catch-up” week as I don’t have client meetings but I have a lots of things on my to do list that I’m trying to get done as well as cleaning out and organizing my entire Outlook inbox.

I have a number of posts ready for next week including some fun announcements, but today I thought it’d be fun to share some random musings with you guys as we wind down the week.

Royal Palms shuffleboard

Tuesday night I headed to Royal Palms Shuffleboard for an evening of beers, laughs and shuffleboard with fifteen other local P&G employees. It was a great place to sit back, relax, catch up and talk about everything except work. If you haven’t ventured out to Royal Palms yet, I highly recommend it. They have a great beer selection, plenty of booths for catching up over drinks, ten shuffle board courts and a food truck serving an assortment of Greek food. You can walk-in or you can make a reservation in advance, which costs $40 for an hour court time. Don’t worry if you’ve never played before – they provide a complimentary lesson!

brick nyc

My goal half marathon, the NYC Half, is in five weeks and I’m excited and nervous at the same time. My training has been very different this time around with only three runs per week but my cross training has me feeling stronger than ever. During yesterday’s B/X class at Brick Grand Central via ClassPass (<–get $25 off your first month) I could feel the difference that the mix of cross training is making. My legs, arms and abs felt strong as we pushed through the multiple five minute AMRAP sessions including wall balls, rowing, push presses and jump squats. I am going to use this week’s eight mile long run as a diagnostic to assess any changes I need to make in the coming weeks. 

Speaking of running and training, I wish I had a crystal ball to know how much longer winter was going to last. I am tempted to invest in a few more pieces of warm weather running gear like better gloves and a wind-proof vest. Since I’m running outside at least two days a week now, having the right gear is a must. Tonight’s forecast already has me feeling cold – 25 degrees and 20 mile per hour wind gusts! If I was to order new gear today, I’d buy these Asics wind-proof gloves, this Nike vest and this Nike Dry-Fit wool top.

Until reading her post today, I’d never heard of the “Jesus year” but if anyone is making it happen it’s Theodora. She has shown so much strength this year and is truly making 2016 her best year yet! Today is her birthday so be sure to hop over to Preppy Runner and show her some love!

After a number of emails back and forth, my best friend Amy and I finally booked a long-awaited girls vacation for the end of April! We are going to spend four sunshine and blue water filled days enjoying cocktails, massages and relaxing at the adults only Iberostar Grand Hotel at Rose Hall. I’ve been craving a warm, sunny, beach-filled vacation for a while and I was elated when Amy said she was happy to join in the fun. Years ago we planned to plan a similar trip for our 30th birthdays but due to living abroad, babies and life it never happened.  I’ve never been to Montego Bay, Jamaica but considering that our goal is to read, relax, swim and enjoy drinks poolside, this all-inclusive resort fit the bill perfectly!

As you guys know, this weekend is Valentine’s Day. Similar to New Year’s Eve, this is one of those holidays that I feel is over hyped and way too commercial. Instead of going out to an over priced dinner where we’re forced to order from a special pre-fixe menu, Bo and I are doing something a bit more fun AND inexpensive.  We each are choosing a favorite workout, favorite food and favorite activity to enjoy together on Sunday and Monday. I think mine is going to be enjoying a homemade cheese plate, going to hot yoga at Tangerine and going to see a movie at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) which is supposed to be a gorgeous venue.

So, I’m craving a change in the hair department. My hair is the longest it’s ever been and while I love it, some days I go to Pinterest and search “lob hairstyles for thick hair.” I mean how cute are these styles?  But then I think, “Ashley who are you kidding, you don’t know how to blow dry your hair like that or use a curling iron to get those tousled waves.”

I think part of this haircut inspiration is due to the fact that the amazing hair stylist who I loved when we moved to Carroll Gardens didn’t in fact move to South America like the salon told me! It turns out she’s working a few blocks over at Sara June, a small, boutique salon near Park Slope.

Your turn: What’s on your mind today?

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Updating My Smoothies + $50 iHerb.com Giveaway

Happy Tuesday! I can’t believe it’s already the second week of February. How are the days flying by so quickly? Well, just in time for that second month of the year when resolutions and healthy habits start to fly out the window, I am partnering with iHerb.com today for a post and giveaway that will help you guys stock your home with items to help you live your healthiest year yet!

improved smoothie

Over the past few weeks, my love of smoothies has grown exponentially. The perfect way to pack a lot of delicious, healthy flavors into an easy to sip and refreshing serving, I’ve been enjoying them for breakfast, snacks and even lunch if it’s an especially busy day. After dreaming about the delicious smoothies that Kristine, Rachel, Georgie and others make, I knew I needed to invest in some new ingredients. In comparison to their vibrant, unique, nutrition packed smoothies, my typical green smoothie seemed simple and boring.

Based on their recommendations, I hopped over to iHerb.com to stock up on a few ingredients that would help me elevate my smoothies to a new level in terms of flavor, nutrients and aesthetics.

If you’ve never heard of iHerb, you’re in for a treat. I became an iHerb fan while we were living abroad as they were on of the only websites which would ship Kind Bars to Switzerland without charging a fortune or taking forever. In fact, my friend Lauren once received her order of Luna bars from iHerb in just a few days even though we were thousands of miles away!

The online retailer sells thousands of products that help you live a healthier life including vegan, natural, vitamins & supplements, and a huge beauty section. In this month’s order I updated both my smoothie drawer and my beauty regimen. Tonight I’m going to focus on the smoothie aspect as I’m going to include a few of the beauty items in an upcoming Friday Favorite’s post once I’ve had a few more weeks to test them.

iHerb believes in delighting the consumer especially in their shipping! You qualify for free shipping if you spend over $20 AND most orders arrive in 1-2 days. My order was delivered in less than 24-hours!

i herb pic 2

So, what did I order for my smoothie drawer?

  • Goji Berries – Often advertised as the most nutritious fruit on Earth, these tiny berries have more than 140% of your daily Vitamin A, 20% Vitamin C as well as four grams of protein and 3 grams of sugar! I love the tart punch and chewy texture they give to my smoothies. I’ve also tried substituting them for raisins and dried cranberries in my afternoon, homemade trail mix. Love it!  I would buy these again!
  • Acai Powder – I’ve heard about this miracle fruit for ages but never spent the money to buy the frozen or powder version. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a try. Unfortuntely, I think I’ll stick to the antioxidant mix which includes acai versus this rough, hard to dissolve, expensive powder. I didn’t taste the flavor when adding it to my smoothie and ended up with a grainy texture. I will not buy this again.
  • Superfruit Antioxidant Smoothie Mix – I saw this item recommended in a few different blog posts over the past few months and had taken a screen shot of it. The blend includes goji, pomegranate and acai powder which provides a great sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. It tastes delicious and provides a rich color to smoothies! I would buy this again!
  • Tera’s Whey – I’ve gone through three tubs of this protein powder since discovering it back in October. It blends perfectly in smoothies and results in a frothy, thick smoothie that also tastes delicious thanks in part to the use of Madagascar vanilla. Each serving packs 21 grams of protein for only 3 grams of sugar and 110 calories. I would clearly buy this again!

improved smoothie

If this is your first time shopping at iHerb you can use my discount code TCB960 to receive $5 off your order once you register on the website.

Iherb image

Now, it’s your turn to win your own $50 shopping spree on iHerb.com! Winners will need to register on iHerb to claim their prize but shipping will be paid for both US and non-US winners.

You can enter in 1 of 3 ways:

  • Leave a comment letting me know your favorite smoothie combination.
  • Follow @healthyhappier and  @iherbinc and leave a comment letting me know you did.

Giveaway will close on Thursday, February 11th at 11:59 PM EST.

This post is a sponsored partnership with iHerb.com but all product and website opinions are my own.

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Five Things to Do Before Trying A New Workout

We’ve all had that horrible feeling. It’s the cold sweat or butterflies that start fluttering in our stomach as we walk through the door into a new workout class or studio. You have no idea what to expect, you become intimidated and suddenly forget everything you’ve learned during other workouts. You consider leaving or hiding in the back of the class during the 45-minute workout. You are miserable the entire class and regret the choice you made.

title boxing club pic

Last night as I walked through the doors of Title Boxing Club, I felt all of these emotions and more. The studio was larger than I expected, I was learning to wrap my hands for the first time and I was intimidated by the 60-minute class which was longer than other boxing classes I’ve taken.

Since moving back to New York City, it’s no secret that I love trying new classes and workouts. Thanks to ClassPass, I’ve had the opportunity to try over 65 classes in the past few months. But, trying new workouts and studios can come with a certain level of intimidation and fear. Trying something that you don’t know much about, especially if you’ve heard horror stories from other people about how hard and challenging the class is, can leave you wanting to stick with the studios that you know.

But, getting out side of your comfort zone can help you learn more about your workout style, improve your cross training, challenge your muscles and discover what could be your new favorite studio.

If you’re trying to step outside your comfort zone with a new class or studio, here are a few tips to help ensure you have the best workout possible even when you’re trying somewhere new.

  • Do your research ahead of time. Spend at least a few minutes doing some research on the workout ahead of time. I recommend going to the studio’s website, if one exists, as well as a review site like Yelp or Rate Your Burn. Make sure you can answer these few questions before you leave your home or work for the studio. There is nothing worse than showing up at a studio late because you can’t find it or assuming you can rent a towel or buy a water only to find out that this studio is barebones and doesn’t offer anything other than a water fountain.
    1. What do I need to wear?
    2. What do I need to bring (mat, towel, water, boxing gloves, wraps, etc)?
    3. Do they have showers?
    4. Where is it located? Is it upstairs or on street level?
    5. What time do they close the doors or can I show up a few minutes late?
  • Arrive five to ten minutes early. I know this can be difficult especially if it’s a before work class or directly after work but having time to get acclimated to your surroundings and speak with the instructor will help you feel more comfortable. I always recommend letting the instructor know it is your first time taking the class so they can keep an eye on you and provide you with a higher level of instruction or provide pointers.
  • Be honest with the instructor. There is a time and place for the whole “fake it until you make it” mentality. A workout class that you’re taking for the first time is not that time. Be honest with the instructor when describing your fitness level, experience and any injuries you may have. The last thing you want to do is get injured.
  • Convince a friend to join you! Walking into any new experience is more comfortable with a friend by your side. After signing up for the class, do your best to convince one of your friends or workout buddies to join you. Working out together is a great way to catch up and have new experiences together as well as providing you with someone to grimace or give the side eye to during the hard sets and laugh with during any awkward moments. You’ll set yourself up for even more success if you happen to find a friend who has taken the class or visited the studio before as they can provide you with first hand advice.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s okay to take a breather, laugh or even skip a move if you’re not comfortable. When last night’s boxing instructor told us to jump on the bags and hang for as long as we could, I looked at Jess and laughed out loud. Trust me, during a hard or intimidating class, laughter can infuse you with the energy you need to push through the rest of class! 

title boxing with classpass

(Picture source)

Luckily, I ended up having a great first experience at Title Boxing last night due in part to the ClassPass friends who helped me push through the class, the instructor who gave me pointers during class and the research I did in advance which let me know that I’d need to buy wraps in advance.

What was the last class that left you feeling this way? Or, is there a class you’re thinking about trying but are too nervous to try? I’m definitely intimidated by the reviews I’ve read about Tone House but have promised myself that I’ll try it this month!

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