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Working Out Barefoot Can Help Your Posture—And Your Sex Life

Since you could walk you’ve been told about the miasma of benefits that come from working out. Being in shape equates to both physical and mental strength, which carry over to positively affect other areas of our lives, i.e. you’re less stressed and more likely to eat healthier. But unless you’re referring to yoga, when you think of working out you’re most likely thinking about doing so in your typical gym “uniform”— tank top, sports bra, shorts or leggings and sneakers.

But what if you’ve been missing out on additional workout benefits just because you’ve been wearing shoes?

World-renowned podiatrist Dr. Emily Splichal gave me the scoop on why targeting your nervous system during a workout with bare feet will give you the #gains you’ve been looking for all along.

 

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“If you can do a barefoot practice twice a week then you’re going to be getting prolonged benefits from your practice,” Dr. Emily explains to me after leading a short vinyasa at Pure Yoga on her new Naboso Barefoot Technology yoga mat. “To really reap the benefits you need to be working out on the right surface. Both hardwood floor and a special mat will stimulate your feet, unlike carpet or thick cushioned yoga mats.”

The Naboso mat is different than other yoga mats, because it is slightly bumpy so that it can target the nervous system through your feet, hands and even forehead while you’re resting in child’s pose. Clearly practicing what she preaches, Dr. Emily explains (with perfect posture) that “Working out barefoot is very much helping your posture. You’re not depending on other surfaces to find your balance, it’s up to you to find it in your core.”

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Photo: Naboso Technology

And of course, what comes along with strengthening the core is strengthening the pelvic floor. “The pelvic floor is your sex muscle and strengthening it can help your sex life. It’s not a kegel but it connects to your glutes,” Dr. Emily adds, “but don’t hold your breath or push your stomach down and pelvic floor out. Make sure your practice goes smoothly and that you’re holding a straight posture the entire time.”

The Naboso Barefoot Technology mat retails for $110 and can be purchased on Amazon. It’s pricier than a normal mat, but it’s the same price as a new pair of sneakers… which you’ll no longer be needing. 😉

Stay Classy! xx

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Method’s Limited Edition Subtle + Serene Collection Will Help You Relax This Spring

* I did receive products from Method for this post however, as always, all opinions are my own.

With another rainy April weekend in the books, I’m ready for those May flowers to start blooming and for the sun to come out. Spring has undeniably arrived and the weather has (finally!) warmed enough enough for me to justify stuffing my winter coat at the bottom of my closet, where I hopefully won’t run into it again until next year.

With spring has come the subtle + serene collection from Method. If you’re a seasonal decorator and healthy home product junkie like me, then get ready to celebrate because Method’s latest collection is both pretty and created with all-natural eco-friendly ingredients.

Method products are designed for maximum sustainability with a mission to create products that are natural and not harmful to humans or the environment. Each of the subtle + serene nature-inspired scents will help you cleanse and relax, knowing that you’re using something that’s good for you.

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The calming fragrances were designed in bottles inspired by a minimalist decor approach. The hand wash collection is available in the following scents; ocean waves, chamomile lavender, white rose and ginger tea. Each scent is accentuated with essential oils and naturally derived ingredients.

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The collection is available in bulk on Amazon and individually at Target. The products come in both foaming and gel formats—they are limited edition, so be sure to get them before they’re sold out! x

If you’re looking for an all-natural organic cleaner, this buzzy brand has what you’re looking for. And if you want to start making the switch to clean beauty, trying these all-natural shampoos and conditioners is a great place to start. 

Stay Classy! xx

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Why Kombrewcha Is About To Super Charge Your Next Happy Hour

If you haven’t found yourself on the kombucha band wagon just yet, you aren’t alone. I had been skeptical of the so-called “miracle drink” that says it can do everything from align your chakras to give you enough energy to get through the day. Actually, I still haven’t even tried downing one of the many flavors that it comes in… except for the alcoholic version.

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No, I didn’t cheat on Whole 30 (which brings you on a sober kick for 30 days). I actually tried Kombrewcha right before starting the diet. Here’s why you might want to try it at your next happy hour or girl’s night in.

Keep reading to find out the benefits of kombucha and it’s alcoholic sister drink, Kombrewcha.

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Kombucha, the non-alcoholic drink, is essentially fermented black tea (yes, there IS caffeine in this drink) and natural sugars that come from fruit. Because it is fermented, it is good for gut health and your digestive system, just like Whole 30! In addition to improving your digestive system, it is also known to help mood stability and mental clarity.

Add a little bit of alcohol to it and voila, you get Kombrewcha. Kombrewcha is basically beer for the wellness junkies out there. It only has 2% alcohol which may seem ineffective when compared to other options, but for only 75 calories a bottle, light drinkers can actually feel a buzz.

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Kombrewcha is the hippest new beverage option for those who want to cut virtually all harmful things out of their diets… cough, cough Whole 30 anyone?! And whether you try it out at brunch or at home, the delicious flavors won’t be a disappointment.

Stay Classy! xx

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Whole 30 Reflections: Days 8-14

Since my last post I have a few updates. Most importantly, I’m excited to say that Whole 30 isn’t nearly as rough as it was the first week. What do I mean by this? A whole slew of things.

Before I go into the details of my second week, I want to make something clear. I did not begin Whole 30 to lose weight. I decided to start it, and stick with it, for a bunch of other reasons as I mentioned in my last reflections post. I wanted to figure out why I felt bloated all the time, why I felt weird abdominal pains and how to prevent my body from developing another ovarian cyst. The result of enduring the “deprivation” of the diet for the first seven days resulted in positive results that I had not had from any other diet.

That being said… How do I look?

In just seven days, I dropped ten pounds. This morning, back at school after spring break, I tried on my favorite pair of jeans. They’re a simple chic pair of skinny jeans from Joe’s Jeans (and if you’ve ever tried jeans from this brand, you know that they are the softest and comfiest respectable non-legging pants out there) but they are also my tightest pair of jeans. At least they used to be. Even with a belt on, I found myself constantly pulling up my pants all day. And it’s only the first week. 

It’s so unfathomable to me how much digestive inflammation I’ve been living with until now and how uninformed I was before the Whole 30 program. I was amazed drop that weight simply by switching up my diet to unprocessed whole foods with no changes in the amount that I exercise (this week I just did yoga went on the elliptical, which is less than the yoga, HIIT, elliptical combination that my weeks normally include).

How do I feel?

Besides the fact that my pants no longer fit (and I gave up shopping for lent… oops) let’s get into how I’m feeling on my second week of Whole 30. In a nutshell, AMAZING.

Physically, I feel stronger, leaner, more flexible and more energetic. I’m able to workout harder than I was before and I’ve seen an increase in my workout motivation. Yeah, waking up at the crack of dawn to cram in a workout has never been easier.

Mentally, I’m appreciating this shift in mind-body connection. Did you know that 50% of your dopamine levels are in your gut? Which means that an unhealthy (and unhappy) gut can lead you to be more depressed and experience higher levels of low moos and anxiety. Now just think about what happens to your mood when you gain that 50% back with a healthy anti-inflammatory diet. *Insert endorphin dance here.*

What’s next?

Week 3, of course! We’re heading into the homestretch here people – I mean, we’re basically half way there. Admittedly it is still difficult to go out with friends to brunch or dinner or God forbid, happy hour. On this plan you get to be the sober wing woman for a month while your friends drown themselves in cocktails at boozy brunch or delicious crispy fried wings with Ranch at happy hour… I digress. There’s always Whole 30 approved sweet potato fries!

It’s also difficult to keep coming to the realization that I need to cook for myself even more than usual. A lot of planning goes into sticking with Whole 30. You need to have the right ingredients to make yourself food because most likely, the restaurants and fast food spots around you won’t have much that’s Whole 30 approved. (How sad is that?!) For example I realized this last night at 11pm, where I dragged myself out of bed and away from my laptop to whip up some string beans and grilled chicken – I made it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and then squeezed some lime juice and juice from an orange on it… YUM.

Whether you’re in it to feel better, look better or simply challenge yourself, do yourself a favor and give Whole 30 a whole-hearted try. After a few days, you’ll start to experience some of these feelings yourself.

Stay Classy! xx

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Whole 30 Reflections: Days 1-7

I would be lying to you if I said that the first week of Whole 30 wasn’t hard. It was. It was a test of mental strength, physical endurance and my basic knowledge of the program and nutrition. I’ve been reading Deep Nutrition which is written by Catherine Shanahan, MD, the nutritionist for the Lakers and it has offered some insight on how to successfully maintain a healthy yet anti-inflammatory diet. It’s a big book, almost textbook status, but it has so much interesting information about how to heal yourself through food and how what you eat has a direct impact on what your kids will look like… scary, I know.

Before I get too ahead of myself, I want to explain the basics of the diet and why I’m doing it. So, here goes nothing.

What is Whole 30?

It’s an elimination diet where you stop eating processed foods, sugar, legumes, grains, alcohol and dairy for 30 days. After the 30 day period, you slowly reintroduce each food group back into your system a day at a time. This allows you to see the way your body reacts to each food group, as well as to see what your body is actually craving instead of what you think it should be consuming.

Why did I start Whole 30?

For most of my life I’ve been blessed with a healthy digestive system and a very limited amount of stomach problems. That changed this year where my body began reacting differently depending on what I was putting into it. After calling out of work one day crying with stomach pain that I was unsure from what it was caused, I decided that enough was enough. I wanted to figure out what was reacting so violently with my digestive system so I didn’t have to feel that way anymore.

Two of the harshest (and most frequently consumed) ingredients that we consume in our daily lives are sugar and dairy. These are also the two ingredients that have been proven to heal our bodies from the inside out, especially for women who suffer from endometriosis and other ovarian problems. Experiencing my first ovarian issue this year, I wanted to try out this diet to see if cutting two of the things I most frequently was consuming could actually help heal the pain I was in and the issues I was facing.

Whole 30 Days 1-7: How do I feel?

Like I said earlier, the first few days of Whole 30 were ROUGH. My body was craving its regular routine. It felt deprived when I substituted my usual morning breakfast ritual (oatmeal with honey, almond milk, dried coconut flakes and flax seeds) with two eggs scrambled with kale and a small potato. It felt deprived when I went out to dinner with my family and was unable to eat cheesy garlic bread, pasta, wine or any of my usual dinner staples. It felt deprived when my usual afternoon yogurt was replace with a piece of fruit and the rest of my snacking was cut down drastically. And then all of a sudden… it didn’t.

As the days dragged on my body started to adapt. When I went through the pantry I could feel my eyes focus in on the foods that I knew I could eat and blur the ones that I couldn’t. I realized that potatoes were going to be my savior (both sweet and regular) and fruit was how I was going to satisfy my sweet tooth. Now on Day 7, I still miss oatmeal and the apple and blueberry pies that were up for grabs in my office kitchen (happy belated pi day!) almost made me quit. But today I realized that for the first time in a long time I don’t feel any stomach pain when I eat. My digestive system is working better than usual and I start to feel fuller while eating less food. (Did you know most processed foods are created chemically to leave you feeling hungry so that the industry makes more money and you buy/eat more food?) I’ve also lost weight, am more motivated to work out every day and drink a TON of water and herbal teas – did I mention that I gave up caffeine as well?

I’ll keep you updated on my progress the next few days but from what I’ve experienced so far I urge you to try Whole 30! Even if you can only make it for a few days, you’ll see how much your body can change when you eat whole non-processed foods. If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask! x

Stay Classy! xx

Treat Yourself This Spring At Spa Week

Even if you skipped Spring Break this year it isn’t too late to treat yourself. Celebrate your personal and physical achievements during Spring Spa Week, where you can get professional holistic spa services for an affordable flat rate, all over the US! Everyone needs a little “me-time” every once in a while, and this is the perfect way to sneak it in this spring.

According to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), US healthcare costs are predicted to rise 5.8% each year until 2025. This is part of the reason that many people are turning to more holistic and organic approaches to preventative and restorative health. Including facials and massages, spas offer a ton of holistic healing methods that are sure to relax your body and mind.

A healthy lifestyle has the ability to change your body, mind attitude and mood – all for the better. Spa Week happens twice a year to celebrate these changes as well as continue to spread the message about how important it is to focus on health and wellness in your life. Whether you’re located in NYC, AZ or CA – there’s a spa in your area participating in Spring Spa Week. In fact, there are spas all over the country excited to offer affordable *~new~* treatments to celebrate the wellness achievements of their customers.

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Between April 17th-23rd, these treatments will be incredibly affordable (think more than 50% off) and the services are getting creative. Usually $100-500, for the entirety of the week services at participating spas will be a flat rate of $50… which is incredible!

So if you’re in the Arizona area, try the Amethyst Massage or if you’re in New York City check out the facial options at The Red Door – Elizabeth Arden’s spa. I’ll be trying out some services in New York City in the coming weeks and will report back on my thoughts! You can start booking services on March 20th on the Spa Week site.

Stay Classy! xx

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Your Immune System Needs A Pick-Me-Up + Ester-C Giveaway

With the weather switching back and forth between snow and sunny spring days—in the same week—the environment isn’t the only thing that’s getting confused. Just like there’s currently fully bloomed cherry blossom trees in Washington D.C. right now, our immune systems are letting down their guards due to the trickery of the fluctuating temperatures.

According to a study on Vitamin C and Immune Function,  supplementing your diet with Vitamin C is an effective way to prevent illness or prolong the duration of an illness you are currently fighting. With our bodies in a state of confusion at the drastic weather changes we’ve been enduring, it is important that we keep feeding it the nutrients it needs to keep us healthy. This is where the new line of Ester-C’s immune strengthening products comes in.

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I was at the launch party that Ester-C threw at The Marmara Park Avenue to celebrate their newest launch of products. There were snacks, drinks and super relaxing massages to help everyone charge their health while learning about the “better Vitamin C.”

 

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Ester-C stays in your white blood cells for up to 24 hours, which is longer than the absorption of regular Vitamin C lasts. The new product line includes Immune Charge Gummies, 24-Hour Immune Support Vitamins and Immune Charge Quick Dissolve Tablets. The line is completely gluten-free, non-GMO and was created without using any artificial flavors.

 

Keep reading to find out how you can win products from the new Ester-C line!

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Before we get into the giveaway details, let’s talk about how adorable this (1-year-old!!) Bernese Mountain Dog is. He was at the event as the Ester-C mascot and he was SO well-behaved!

Class and the City x Ester-C Giveaway Rules:

  1. Follow Class and the City via WordPress or Email.
  2. Follow Class and the City on Facebook.
  3. Comment one reason why you’re excited for Spring! x

Good Luck & Stay Classy! xx

Cocoa V Is The Vegan Chocolatier NYC Has Been Waiting For

Cocoa V    *    174 Ninth Avenue New York, NY 10011    *    $$

Last week, New York City received a gift just as good as any present you could buy yourself. The owner of Blossom du Jour opened her latest vegan business venture in Chelsea. The chocolate shop is located in a quiet area of the city, surrounded by other gourmet and vegan eats and boutiques. The ambience and space leaves little to the imagination with just a few stools for seating and the kitchen covered by a curtain, making the experience truly intimate.

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The chocolates are fully vegan, gluten-free, non-dairy, kosher and organic. They are handcrafted using only the best ingredients to create unique and delicious flavors, including Lavender Vanilla and Pistachio Apple.

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In addition to truffles and chocolate squares, Cocoa V offers a beautiful variety of chocolate bark and brittle. You can mix up the variety to your liking, whether you’re putting together a unique box for yourself or a friend. Because the chocolates are handcrafted, they’re also meticulously decorated with edible metallics, colors and designs. The overall affect is beautiful – and yummy.

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I tried a few samples while I was at the shop and brought some home for later… I ate this box in one sitting, but it’s totally guilt-free so I ain’t sorry. 😉 The piece that I’m holding below is Chocolate Peanut Butter and Jelly… and it was by far my favorite piece that I tried!

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If you’re in the area and are looking to spoil yourself, Cocoa V is the place to visit. In the summer they’ll be offering homemade dairy-free ice cream and ice cream sandwiches, and Belgian waffles. Their ingredients will also change with the season, so you can expect to see flavors like Edamame, Lime and Sea Salt!

Cocoa V also ships nationwide and you can place orders in stores or through their website.

Hungry? Maybe you want to whip something chocolatey up for yourself. If so, try out this guilt-free fruit dipped recipe or treat yourself to  a more traditional recipe for classy chocolate chip cookies!

Stay Classy! xx

Pure Yoga’s Zen Flow Class Will Take Your Chakras To The Next Level

Pure Yoga’s Upper West Side studio is a beautiful experience from the moment you walk through its front doors. It hits you with warm mood lighting and a spike in temperature to about 75 degrees. The entryway is full of meditative and Buddhist art, gorgeous red and copper mandalas and signs such as the below.

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Of course, what else should we expect from Equinox Gym’s highly regarded yoga brand?

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Down the stairs you’ll find the front desk, a small athleisure shop that sells apparel from Pure Yoga and Spiritual Gangster, yoga advising rooms and luxurious locker rooms. The hallways are lit with red and orange tones and are lined with wooden doors to studio rooms and luxe areas to relax and reflect in between classes. Things slow down at Pure Yoga – a deeply needed contrast to the crazy hustle of New York City.

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The Pure Zen Flow class is offered from 6-7:30pm on Sundays. When I entered ten minutes before the class started the room had already been set up with orange mats, blankets, yoga blocks and towels. The room was lit with relaxing orange mood lighting and two yogis were deep in seated meditation.

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I sat and stretched as I took in my surroundings, and felt a surge of gratitude that I was able to start off my week in such a resort-like place taking the time to detox my body and mind.

The instructor started to play soft music and guided us through a ten minute pravasana, or breath work, while we sat in hip opening positions. This is a science-based practice that relies on a certain number of short and deep breaths, in and out, in a certain order to create a relaxed and open mindset. Hip openers contribute to this result as well, as they make the ten minutes an experience full of emotional release as well.

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Next we slipped back into downward dog and began a 60-minute vinyasa flow. I had been nervous that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the class because I’ve only just started getting back into my practice again, but the warmth of the room (now closer to 85 degrees) helped heat up my muscles and made me more flexible. The instructor was wonderful at guiding the class while also allowing room for modifications and freestyle.

After slowing down with five minutes of savasana, during which he came around and placed essential oils on our necks and foreheads, we flowed into a fifteen minute meditation practice. Part of which was guided until the entire room was silent. It was a truly wonderful 90 minutes.

If you’re interested in trying out the class for yourself, you can do so for $15 or $12 if you’re a student. Pure Yoga also offers monthly membership packages that start at $155. They have two studios, one on the West Side and one on the East Side. They offer over 20 different styles of yoga including barre and hot yoga.

Namaste & Stay Classy! xx

Review & Giveaway: pHur Organic Disinfecting Water and Cleaner

Whether you are happily expecting like Beyonce and Amal Clooney, (I can barely contain my excitement about this, literally my two favorite celeb ladies!) or you are just looking for a new way to make your home healthier, this week’s featured product is sure to keep your home and family healthy the organic way.

pHur Water saw a very important gap in the home cleaning market and leapt straight into fixing it. From cutting boards to kitchen tables, yoga mats to work desks we all know how dirty and gross the things we use daily can become. A few months ago when I was looking into how to clean my yoga mat organically, I realized that the only options offered included harsh chemicals that I, under no circumstances, wanted to be inhaling during downward dog.

As I got back into cooking again (never lost my love for it, just the time in which I could do it!) I realized that the same went for my kitchen table, where most of my chopping and whisking and eating occurred. Did I really want to be wiping up food messes with chemicals? Did I want chemicals to surround the area where my roommates and I are constantly eating or doing work?

pHur created a totally organic and natural solution to this. Their formula cleans just as well as those I’d been using in the past, but the disinfectant and cleaning sprays are made from just two ingredients (that are totally legible and don’t need to be translated in a Google search) water and salt. That’s it! And believe me when I tell you that it works.

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If you’re ready to start living cleaner and more naturally, you can purchase your own pHur System Kit for $30.95, here! The kit comes with a bottle of Disinfecting Spray, Cleaning Spray, a microfiber cloth, and an On-The-Go Disinfecting Spray (which is perfect to bring to the office).

OR you could enter the Class and the City x pHur Organic Cleaners *~GIVEAWAY!~*

Follow the steps below to enter the giveaway:

  1. Follow Class and the City via WordPress or Email.
  2. Follow Class and the City on Facebook.
  3. Comment on this post why you want to make your home healthier!

Good Luck & Stay Classy! xx