Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back To School!

Ladies and gentlemen, yesterday marked the first day of my return to school! Registering for classes, meeting my fellow comrades, orientation. It's all very odd, and yet exciting.

The last time I was in a structured learning environment was when I was at medical school, and I graduated from there ten years ago so this whole back-to-school vibe is not as familiar as it once was. Before you start doing any mental math to try to compute my age, let me assure you that I am not as old as the preceding sentence posits. Having graduated from an international medical school meant that I went there right out of high school (as is the case in most countries around the world), thus bypassing the whole undergraduate experience, and earning the distrust of all my early patients thanks to my youthful appearance! In fact, when I was working in the internal medicine ward at a hospital in Queens, one of my first jobs out of medical school, patients often looked at me at with dismay when I introduced myself, saying, "How can you be my doctor? You look like you are 17!"

But back to the topic at hand. For those of you that do not know, I have gone back to grad school to do my Masters in Public Health (MPH), focusing on health care management. Health care and its (mis)management are a hot topic these days and I felt that this was the perfect time for me to do my MPH. I have spent the past few days poring over the courses, my excitement gaining momentum after reading the description of each course I will be taking. Yes, I am a nerd.

This is an exciting new chapter in my life but I will admit, though, that I am slightly scared at balancing it all. The course work promises to be intense. Plus I now have a 45-minute commute. Both are things that will cut into time spent with my baby boy and the hubby, making plans with friends, writing my blog and ofcourse taking exercise classes  (old favorites and new). I am a great multi-tasker so hopefully I will get into the groove soon! I also have some fun new classes I will be previewing next month, along with a great giveaway so stay tuned - I have no plans to disappear on you!

Question: What are you most looking forward to this Fall?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Delusions of Grandeur: Baking Misadventures

So we had a hurricane this weekend. Sort of. It was more like a torrential downpour. Regardless, like everyone else in the city, I stayed cooped up at home. After twiddling my thumbs for a while I decided that I felt like baking.

So I pored over websites looking for some kind of inspiration, something that would work with ingredients that I already had lying around. I had a lot of coconut flour lying around. Plus I had a ton of baby carrots that promised to go bad very soon.

Enter a recipe for Coconut Carrot Bread.

Granted this recipe called for the use of 2 cups of all-purpose flour. I, however, high on the success of my last baking endeavor, and feeling pretty darn invincible, decided that I was going to substitute the two cups of all-purpose flour with one cup of coconut flour and one cup of whole-wheat flour. I fancied myself quite the bakeress. I would soon learn the error of my ways - my delusions of grandeur.

I popped the concoction into the oven and 60 minutes later had this...

Hmm. Not too bad, I suppose?

Except, once I took it out of the bread pan, it looked like this...

Um, it looks a little crumbly, no? Maybe it would not crumble once I cut into it.

Alas, it did.


Next time I am sticking to the recipe. Or I will read the label on the pack of coconut flour which clearly says to substitute only 20% of a recipe's flour with coconut flour. Not 50%.

On a happier note, it tasted amazing! The crumbly bits actually went went really well in a bowl of milk.

Question: Do substitutions in recipes always work for you? What's the worst substitution-related disaster you have had?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

From Punky To Parenting: Soleil Moon Frye - Diva Mom Book Launch Event

Punky Brewster was a huge part of my childhood, especially when it came to fashion. I donned the brightly colored vest over my shirt. I tried to pull my short hair into two side pony-tails. I tied the bandanna around my knee. The mismatched high-tops were slightly more difficult to pull off in my household- my mom had to draw the line somewhere!

Soleil Moon Frye, who played the sassy and spirited Punky, has matured into a beautiful mom and an entrepreneur who runs a successful children's clothing line. She has just written a book called "Happy Chaos" that chronicles her adventures in parenting. Divalysscious Moms threw a book launch party for Soleil last night which I was able to attend.

The party was held at a stunning and very tastefully decorated model apartment at the Azure, a high-rise on the upper east side of Manhattan with the most breath-taking views of the city.

The Azure

I chatted barre workouts with Lyss Stern, the lovely founder of Divalysscious Moms. Turns out she was a former barre-fly herself!

with Lyss

After a brief presentation by the realtors of the Azure, it was time for the book reading.

We were already excited to be meeting her but Soleil, nonetheless, charmed everyone further. She was incredibly warm, funny and with a total lack of airs. She read a hilarious chapter from her book that described the cluelessness that ensues immediately after delivering a baby. 

After the reading we had a brief Q&A with Soleil, where we learned that she and Cherie Johnson (who played Punky's best friend on the show) are still in touch, and that Punky's personality was very similar to her own. She also provided parenting tips drawn from her own experience. The event ended with a signing and I got to chat with the gorgeous Soleil, where I was able to tell her what a major influence she was in my fashion choices as a seven-year old!  

Question: What was your favorite 80s tv show? 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Accidentally Gluten-Free

I am not gluten-free. Or vegan. Or even a vegetarian. The title of the post simply refers to my recent experiment with coconut flour, which happens to be gluten-free. I had not even heard of coconut flour until a few months ago.

Those who know me know that I love all things coconut. Coconut water. Coconut ice cream. Coconut donuts. I have sampled from practically every single New York city establishment that serves coconut cake. I usually make a bee-line on a menu for any item that has the word "coconut" attached to it. Yup, I like me some coconut. So when I first heard of coconut flour, I knew I had to check it out for myself.

So it turns out that coconut flour is really expensive. A small bag costs three times as much a similar-sized bag of whole wheat flour, which is already more expensive than regular flour.

Anyhow, after acquiring my bag of coconut flour I set about looking for recipes on the internet. I found one that I liked for Banana Coconut Muffins. I have linked to the website so you can check out the recipe there. The original recipe does not use sugar- it relies on the natural sweetness of the banana and the coconut flour. I thought this was a bad idea and so I added a tablespoon of agave syrup. It worked well. I also added 2 tablespoons of almond milk instead of the recommended almond flour, and I avoided raisins completely because I am not a fan.

I was thrilled when the muffins came out looking semi-decent!

In my excitement I called my husband.

Me: So I've baked coconut banana muffins!

Husband: Yum! I can't wait to try them.

Me: Slight disclaimer-they are gluten-free.

Husband: Oh.....hmmm....why are we eating gluten-free?

Me: Well, we're not. It's just that I have a bag of coconut flour that I have been wanting to use, and coconut flour is gluten-free, hence so are these muffins.

I could sense the skepticism in the husband's voice and his sudden disinterest in my baked good-of-the-day!

It reminded me of a hilarious Parks and Recreation episode where Rob Lowe's healthy-living character brings a vegetable loaf to a pot-luck dinner when he has been assigned to bring a cake and invokes this response from the Ron Swanson character...

Needless to say, the muffins tasted nothing like a vegetable loaf. They were delicious and the husband enjoyed them thoroughly.

Question: Have you ever cooked/baked with coconut flour?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Healthy Living Summit 2011: My Highlights

I just got back from the Healthy Living Summit this past weekend in Philadelphia and it was great fun. HLS is an annual conference which unites both bloggers, readers and brands that are passionate about healthy living. This was my first time at a bloggers conference and I was unsure of what to expect. I mean, I'm pretty new to this whole blogging thing and so I essentially went there not knowing anyone. Turns out lots of people were in the same boat.

I will admit that I was secretly relieved to see some familiar faces like Melissa, Jennifer and Sarah. But I loved meeting lots of new people, all with interesting backgrounds and great blogs. I have a ton of new blogs to add to my reader and a lot of new Twitter handles to add to my account.

The blogosphere will be swimming with HLS recaps so I am just going to give you my highlights:

1. The Swag: At HLS check in we all got a giant purple bag chock full of goodies including Uncle Sam cereal, apple sauce, granola bars, Adora calcium chocolates, to name just a few. Unfortunately I devoured quite a few of said goodies throughout the weekend. It's not ideal to have so many snacks at hand in a hotel room!

2. Meeting some of my favorite bloggers: Bloggers share so much of their lives online with their readers that you can't help but feel like these people are your buddies. So when I saw Tina I couldn't help but give her a hug, hoping it would not freak her out. It didn't! She is so warm in person! Love that girl.

I also met some other lovely ladies whose blogs I have been following for a while including Gina, Sabrina, Caitlin, and Lisa. I loved meeting them-they are just as sweet in real life!

Tina from Carrots and Cake was signing copies of her book. Her blog is one of the most popular healthy living blogs out there, probably because of how honestly she writes about her life. She was another person on my "have-to-meet" list, and I am really glad we were able to chat. She is lovely.

3. "The Numbers Game": I love Tina and Lisa and so I made it a point to attend this session where the two were joined by Beth and Janeetha, all of whom spoke about how numbers can influence us, whether it's the scale, calories or even your blog's page views and subscribers, and how not to dwell on those numbers. Each one of them shared their personal experiences. Lisa shared a very moving story of how calories and portions controlled her life when she was training to be part of a fitness competition. We all get side-tracked by numbers but the take-home message was not to let them obscure the big picture.

4. "Monetizing Your Blog": Katy Widrick is a social media genius. Her blog seriously should be mandatory reading for all bloggers (new and old). This was my favorite talk of the conference. I learned so much. Katy spoke about all the ways you could monetize your blog, from the various advertising options to how to go about becoming a brand ambassador to what all to be aware of while you are trying to monetize your blog (hello tax laws!). This lady rocks.

5. Channelling my inner Rocky: On Sunday morning (the last day of the conference) all of us gathered to walk/run a 5k. The route started from our hotel and went all the way to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and back. Yup, the museum is where those famous "Rocky" steps are, and I channelled my inner Rocky as I ran up and down those stairs. I still cannot get the theme song out of my mind...

Bloggers advance towards the Museum

It was a great weekend with lots of good food and lots of new friends.

In other news, check out my review of the Brooklyn Bridge Bootcamp DVD for Well + Good NYC.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Physique 57: New UWS Studio + Class Review

This week Physique 57 opened up its fourth New York studio in the historic Ansonia building on the Upper West side, much to the delight of West side barre aficionados. I took a class there this morning to scope out the scene.

The Ansonia building has an old world charm that is striking. It was a former residential hotel that was built in 1899.

There is an entrance on West 73rd Street that allows access to the Physique studios which are located on the second floor.

The lobby set-up is similar to the midtown and downtown Physique studios, with the familiar hardwood floors...

And familiar wall art!

The lockers in the changing room finally have digital locks!

The real treat were the actual studios. There are two studios at this West side location. Currently only one is in use but the second studio will open for classes a little later.

The rooms are spacious and airy, and will allow more clients per class than the original Midtown location.

The studios are flooded with natural light thanks to the beautiful French doors that open right out onto Broadway.

The Midtown location is still the most convenient for me but the West side location is a very well-designed space that is well-suited for a great workout experience.

I am obsessed with this workout, to say the least! 

Physique 57 was co-founded by Jennifer Vaughan Maanavi, a former Wall Street professional, and Tanya Becker, who was one of the more popular instructors at the former Lotte Berk Method studio in New York city. Together they decided to spruce up the principles of the Lotte Berk Method into a unique workout and so in 2006 Physique 57 was born.

I took an Intermediate level class today with Antonietta, one of my favorite instructors.

The class starts off, like most barre classes, with a warm up which consists of leg lifts. We then head on into intense arm work using a set of heavy weights (5lbs or 8lbs) and do variations of biceps curls, shoulder presses, shoulder lifts and triceps extensions. After a set of push-ups, planks and side planks we begin the first of the three thigh sections. These are performed at the barre and are the most intense part of this class. They  are actually more intense and fast-paced than similar series at any other barre class I have taken. The intensity is teacher-dependent but you could be squatting into a flat-back chair, pulsing a few inches off your feet while holding onto the barre, tucking your hips while in a 'waterski' position or pulsing in a wide second plie. The first time I did the thigh series I thought I was going to die. It is that intense. My legs started to quiver, my heart was pounding and sweat was dripping off me like a faucet. It has gotten better since but it never gets any easier and I love that about this method.

After a 'thigh dancing' interval (one of the hardest exercises in the class, in my opinion) we begin the seat section. There are many variations that can be done here from leg lifts performed while folded over the barre to donkey kicks being done while on the floor to the 'pretzel.' Again, the intensity here will contract your seat muscle into a tight ball that will be screaming for mercy by the end of the set!

The abdominal series is divided into three sections: "Flat back" is done lying on the ground, "Round back" is performed seated with the upper back against the wall while holding onto the barre overhead, and the "Curl" is done with a cushion placed underneath the lower back for support while every single muscle in the abdomen is targeted. Hip lifts and back extensor exercises round off the class.

There are many barre classes but what sets Physique 57 apart from its competitors is its fast-pace and the high number of repetitions performed per exercise. This provides a much more intense workout.

The Good:
1. The workout: This class is the hardest barre class I have taken, and is more intense than a lot of other non-barre workouts. It is fun, fast-paced and will get you the results. I have experienced the results myself and have seen the changes in countless others. Interestingly, doing it regularly has done wonders for my endurance and so I can better handle a tough spin class and even a military style bootcamp.

2. The instructor: Antonietta taught this class and she is fabulous. She is very mindful of proper alignment and made hands-on corrections throughout. She is aware of the differences in clients' strengths and abilities and encouraged us to move into a more challenging position if she felt that we were not sufficiently challenged.

3. The music: The music is what fuels the movements in this class. It varies from top 40 to the 80s to hip hop to mash-ups. It is all programmed according the choreography so you will be moving to a beat throughout. Music is so important for me when I work out and so I love this aspect of the class

The Not-So-Good:
1. The locker rooms: This is more a criticism of the locker rooms at the original 57th Street location which are small and cramped for the amount of traffic they get. You also need your own lock for the lockers. This is not the case at the West side location.

2. Injury: The movements here are high-impact and can be injurious if you are not properly aligned. Luckily most instructors do make it a point to check on all the clients.

I love love love this class. I have been doing it most days of the week for the last four years, including throughout my entire pregnancy, and I am still not bored of it. The choreography keeps getting switched up every few months so your muscles are constantly challenged. It's fun, it's challenging, it's addictive and it works!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'll Take Manhattan

I have been out of commission for a while but I am back. Nothing like coming back home. Especially after a horrendous 14-hour flight on which my kid cried for two straight hours! Not his fault. He was sick and the dry cabin air did his sore throat no favors. Nevertheless, I was THAT person on the plane. The one that everyone is staring at because their kid just won't quieten down. Sorry, fellow passengers, but sometimes you just gotta deal with it!

I lightened up once we were comfortably settled in the back of a taxicab and on our way home. Driving from the airport and seeing the glorious Manhattan skyline always makes my heart skip a beat. My jaw drops and I just stare. Every time. And I have been living here for 10 years. What is it about this place that makes me love it so much?

 * It's the comfort of knowing I can order a pizza at two o'clock in the morning. Or a Reuben. Or a Greek salad. Really. I have done that.


 * It's going out for brunch and finding out that I am being seated on the table next to Richard Gere (true story).

 * It's the exhilaration of running along the Reservoir in Central Park, a calm oasis smack in the middle of this bustling city.


 * It's spending hours perusing books at the Strand Book Store.

 * It's eating a Shake Shack burger (in my opinion, the greatest burger ever) in Madison Square Park.


 * It's watching the gorgeous dancers of the New York City Ballet so effortlessly do their thing season after season.

 * It's screaming my lungs out while riding the world's oldest roller coaster, the Cyclone, in Coney Island.

 * It's watching Madonna rock it live at the Garden.

 * It's walking through the rooms at the Frick Collection, imagining what it must have been like living in this mansion when it was a residence in the early 1900s.


 * It's singing along to the Jersey Boys on Broadway on my birthday.

 * It's discovering little-known but amazing dance companies at the Joyce Theater.

I could go on and on. So many wonderful experiences from this one city.

I couldn't live anywhere else.

Question: What do you love most about the city you live in?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Physique 57 DVD Giveaway Winner!

I loved reading all the comments regarding everyone's favorite workout DVDs! I'm currently travelling internationally and doing my best to muster up the energy to do my favorite exercise DVDs. It really is quite hard to motivate oneself while on vacation. I brought along the Physique 57 Thigh and Seat Booster and also the newly released Brooklyn Bridge Bootcamp DVD. I love that neither require a lot of space or a lot of props.
Anyway, without further ado, I tallied up the comments I received for the Physique 57 DVD giveaway and using I obtained the following number:

So the winner is Alison Scott!

Please get in touch with me at: with your mailing address and we will get the DVD shipped out to you as soon as possible!

Also, stay tuned for another awesome DVD giveaway in a few weeks time! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rear-Facing Car Seats and Other Nuisances

Air travel with an infant is bad enough but a 12 and a half hour flight is especially bad. Add to that the usual flight delays, excessive taxi-ing on the ground and all that good stuff and you have a very unhappy infant and an even unhappier mom. I am a slightly over-prepared sort by nature and so I had been researching the whole how-to-fly-internationally-with-an-infant for weeks. You can do one of three things:

1. Ask for a seat with an attached bassinet (Won't work as my baby is too big for the bassinet)
2. Hold your infant in your lap for the entirety of the flight (12.5 hours? Are you kidding me?)
3. Buy another seat and attach a car seat for the baby to sit in.

To make my life a tad bit easier I chose option number 3. My car seat is airplane-compatible however, because I have a 7-month old this means I need to use an infant car seat, which by definition is rear-facing. I soon learned that this rear-facing nature would become the bane of my existence.

Rear-facing car seats are recommended for infants upto the age of 1 by the American Academy of Pediatrics and recently the guidelines have been revised to include children up to the age of 2. This is based on data assembled from car crashes and it has been shown to be the safest way for babies to travel.

I lugged this car seat all around the airport, along with a stroller, a diaper bag and a handbag (thank goodness for strength training). I pre-boarded (hey, I have an infant. I can do these things now), attached my rear-facing infant car seat to the airplane seat and breathed a sigh of relief. Phew. I survived.

Not so fast.

Within fifteen minutes a host of flight attendants swarmed around me.

"Maam. This car seat has to face forward."

Me: Um, no. It's rear-facing.

Stewardess: No, maam. It has to face forward.

Me: It is an infant car seat. They are all rear-facing. Forward-facing car seats for infants do not exist.

Stewardess: No, maam. It has to face forward.

Me (in my head): Are you not listening to anything that I am saying, dammit?

Me (out aloud): Okay, let's try to place it facing forward.

Obviously it did not work. These seats are designed to sit stably only when rear-faced. Forward facing will quickly result in toppling forward. Which it did when I succumbed to the stewardess' pressure.

Stewardess (seeing the topple): This won't work

Me: Ya think?

Stewardess (thoroughly confused): Hmm. What should we do?

Me: Look, I have used this seat before on flights. Please let it stay rear-facing. It is stable.  According to the manual this is the correct way for the seat to attach.

I was starting to get scared that she would take away my car seat and I would have to hold my squirmy, does-not-like-to-sit-still little guy for the entirety of this fast-becoming-quite-miserable flight. I put my game-face on to show that I meant business and that this seat was going to stay.

Compromise achieved. Game-face was a success: Hold the baby in your lap for take-off and landing and he can stay in the seat during the remainder of the flight.

I'll take that.

I came home and started Googling to see if I had done anything wrong. Turns out that I had not. Apparently this happens all the time. Airlines, especially international airlines, see rear-facing car seats and their knickers get all twisted. Most people opt to carry their infants in their laps and only use forward-facing car seats once their kids are old enough. As a result airlines are just not used to the concept of infant car seats and are thoroughly perplexed when they make an appearance. So annoying! Moral of the story: When wanting to install an infant car seat in a plane, have your facts ready and be persuasive.

I am flying back next week and am anticipating a brawl. Better get my game-face ready.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Soul Bands at Soul Cycle: A Review

Wow, the response to my Physique 57 DVD giveaway has been overwhelming! Keep the entries coming. I'll announce a winner on Thursday August 11th. Now back to regular programming!

I recently took a Soul Bands class at Soul Cycle. Soul Cycle, the wildly popular fitness phenomenon was New York city's first indoor cycling studio. Since opening in 2007 its success has resulted in multiple studios in NYC, a location in Miami and it will soon be making its way over to Los Angeles. I'm an avid spinner and have a taken a few classes at Soul Cycle over the past few years. Classes are fun and set to incredible music but the studio was just not a fit for my style of spinning. However I was really intrigued when the Soul Bands class debuted. This class is designed to provide a complete total body workout where cycling is combined with the use of resistance bands for upper body work.

The class takes place in its own dedicated studio at Soul Cycle's Tribeca location. Each bike corresponds to four resistance bands that hang from the ceiling (two bands are of heavy resistance and two are of lighter resistance). Fingerless gloves are required for this class and are provided free of charge by the studio. These are necessary, I soon learned!

I took class with Laurie Cole. Laurie is probably the most popular instructor at Soul Cycle and her classes are impossible to get into. When I chatted with her after class I told her that I had been trying to get into class with her for years so I could not believe my luck that I got into this one!

Laurie Cole Source

The class consisted of alternating segments of upper body resistance band work with short bursts of good old-fashioned spinning. We did lat pull-downs, shoulder presses, shoulder raises, triceps extensions, biceps curls, abdominal crunches, oblique twists. It was really hard! The bike's resistance was set to medium when we did the resistance work but periodically Laurie would ask us to pick up our speed while we were contracted in a lat pull down or a triceps extension so that added to the challenge, Read: Major burn! The finger-less gloves allow for a tighter grip on the bands, without which I could anticipate some serious friction rub. In between the upper body sets we did some straight-up spinning with increases in both resistance and speed. I was drenched at the end of it - a hot, sweaty mess, and I loved it.

The Good:
1. Instructor: I loved Laurie. Not only did she make sure people were properly set up prior to class, she would get off her bike mid-class and check every single person to make sure they were doing the exercises correctly! That really impressed me. When I spoke to her after class she was incredibly warm and just so sweet. This lady led a killer class and I totally get why she has such a following. Now I want to try one of her regular spin classes.

2. The class: Spinning is such a lower-body intensive exercise and the upper body is often left neglected. Not in this class. You will be working all the muscles in your back, shoulders, arms and core. My lats were sore for days after!

3. Music: Loved the music that was played. Top 40. Classic rock. Hip hop. Something for everyone!

The Not-So-Good:
1. Popular: These classes fill up very fast and classes with the more popular instructors are next to impossible to get into.

2. The price: Classes are $32 each and then it is extra to rent cycling shoes. So it can become an expensive addiction.

Based on my past Soul Cycle spinning experience I was skeptical at how good a workout I would be getting. I should not have been. The bursts of intense spinning gave me my cardio fix while the resistance band work allowed for some amazing upper body sculpting and strengthening. I think an instructor makes or breaks a class and Laurie definitely makes it. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Getting The Most Out of Your Exercise DVD + Physique 57 DVD GIVEAWAY!!!

This Summer has involved a lot of trips out-of-town and that has thrown my workout schedule slightly off-kilter. "Just take a fitness dvd with you," my husband will say nonchalantly, totally unsympathetic to the havoc that has been wreaked upon my exercise schedule.

Easier said than done. Working out to DVDs is very different from actually taking a class. Especially for me. I need to hear the motivating voice of an instructor pushing me, making sure I don't slack off, and telling me that I can do it. I also feed off the energy of the other class participants. If the person next to me is doing full-form push-ups that will give me the determination to do the same.

In the past I have worked out to Jane Fonda and Cindy Crawford's exercise videos (yup, this was back in the forgotten days of the VCR). Lately, however, I bring along a copy of a Physique 57 DVD when I travel abroad, and, because of the recent addition to my family, use it at home on days when I cannot make it to a class.


While a DVD is certainly not the same as a live class here are some tips on what works for me as far as getting the most out of working out to a DVD:

1. The Space: Find a quiet space. If you are like me, and have the attention span of a gold-fish, you will be distracted by everyone and everything. A door slamming shut, smells emanating from the kitchen, my husband typing on his keyboard - all distractors! This can be a problem if I am sharing a hotel room as the hubby will not be too thrilled with me hogging the television, so I try to get my workout in when he is not in the room.

2. Clothing: Wearing fun fitness apparel does wonders for my motivation. When I dress like crap, I feel like crap. So I put on a brightly colored top and a flattering pair of yoga pants and I am good to go.

3. The Workout: Obviously I feel most motivated when I stick to something I enjoy. Being a barre-fly I pack away DVDs like Physique 57's so that I can get my barre fix. If yoga is more your thing there are a myriad yoga DVDs to choose from. For hard-core adrenaline junkies, try a bootcamp DVD.

4. Temperature: The slightest thing can cause me to lose momentum when working out to a DVD and the temperature is one of them. Heat makes me uncomfortable and so I like to keep a small fan handy at home to workout next to and if I am travelling I try to exercise near a source of ventilation.

5. Props: I prefer DVDs that utilize the minimal number of props but if props are involved I try to make sure I have them or a substitute at hand. If I cannot recreate the same moves as the instructor in the DVD then I am less likely to enjoy the workout and am one step closer to turning off the DVD player. I often do not have the prerequsite props for my DVD of choice but I substitute: Filled water bottles make great hand weights, and a small, firm cushion works well enough to pass as a playground ball.

Physique 57 is one of my all-time favorite fitness classes. It changed my whole outlook to fitness when I first started doing it four years ago. I was astounded by the changes that I saw in my body once I started taking regular classes. There are currently six DVDs available. I own them all and can attest that all six will give you a killer workout but my favorite is the 30-minute Thigh and Seat Booster.

This DVD packs a challenging, lower-body intensive workout in just 30 minutes! Perfect for those of us who don't have the time or the patience to devote a whole hour. It includes lunges, leg lifts and my favorite, the Twizzler (one-legged squat where you alternate the non-standing leg from its starting position behind you to in front of you where you cross it over the standing leg-yes, it is as intense as it sounds!). Want to see for yourself what Physique 57 is all about? Check this out!

For more information on this amazing method be sure to check out Physique 57 on Facebook and Twitter which they are constantly updating with great fitness tips and the latest studio news.

Physique 57 is generously giving away a copy of my favorite workout dvd, the Physique 57 Thigh and Seat Booster, to one lucky reader.

To Enter: All you have to do is to leave a comment below telling me if you like working out to DVDs and if so, what your favorite workout DVD is.

I will announce a winner on Thursday August 11th.

*Open to residents of the Continental US only.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Alexander McQueen Mania!

This is the last week of the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met. If you haven't already seen it I strongly urge you to go! It really deserves the rave reviews it has been getting.

I decided to go to the Met this morning not quite expecting the jarring crowds that packed the museum. This was at 11am on a Tuesday morning.

Um, all those people snaking around the first floor balcony? They are waiting to enter the McQueen exhibit. Please note that the actual exhibit is nowhere near this balcony. The waiting time for these poor people at the time this picture was taken was 2 hours 30 minutes.

Okay. I thought, Plan B. Become a member of the museum and skip the line. That took another fifteen minutes as I was not the only one who had this bright idea. Nevertheless, feeling quite smug with myself I went up to the exhibit, bypassing hundreds and hundreds of people waiting in that miserable line only to get to this:

This is the back of the members-only line!

Luckily I only had to wait 20 minutes.

Sadly, I was not allowed to take any pictures. But thanks to the Internet I was quickly able to find my favorite outfit from the exhibit.


Those are microscope slides on the mannequin's back , painted red to give the sense that there is blood underneath. I think the hematopathologist in me appreciated that! The skirt is made of ostrich feathers that are dyed red. Pretty wild!

It is such an awe-inspiring and creative exhibit. A definite must-see!