Treat Yourself Tuesday: Massage Envy Review & Giveaway

Good morning! I have a special post for you today because it includes a giveaway- that’s a nice way to start your Tuesday, right?!

While the holidays are fun because they’re filled with friends, family, parties & gifts, they can also be stressful when you’re trying to squeeze in a million things, all while trying to stay calm and in the holiday spirit right? Even though I’ve tried to slow down a lot over the years by not going to everything I’m invited to, I still struggle with completely slowing down, which is why massages are so important for me to prioritize. Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend I had the chance to slow down and do something for myself by visiting Massage Envy’s Newton location,

img_7216

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Massage Envy I’ll give you a little background: They are a massage company with locations all over New England. They offer various services such as a standard massage, therapeutic services, facials and more. What I love about Massage Envy is that their prices are very reasonable, especially if you become a member. $65 a month gets you one 60-minute massage or skin service a month and then discounted rates if you want to upgrade to longer massages or other enhanced services. You also get a discount on your second service of the month should you decide to treat yourself extra nice🙂

img_7215

I had heard a lot about Massage Envy so I was really excited to check it out. Upon first walking into the Newton location, I was greeted by a few very pleasant staff members working behind the desk. I had to fill out some paperwork (make sure you arrive early for your first visit!) and loved the fact that they offered me a warm towel for my neck as well as water. Little services like that make me happy!

img_7214

The massage itself was also a really great experience. Julian was my masseuse and he was fantastic- he asked if I had any areas of concern/tightness or areas where I wanted him to focus. Life has been stressful lately and I carry my stress in my shoulders/back so I told him those areas would be great. He had a map of the human body in the room and I loved that he used it to show me where he planned on doing work and then at the end again to show me the areas I was especially tight.

As we got going he asked how the bed temperature was as well as the pressure, and then throughout the massage I appreciated how he a. didn’t talk to me (I don’t want to talk while I’m getting a massage!) and b. checked in a few times to make sure I felt ok and that the pressure was good.

And then before I knew it, the 60 minutes was up😦 I was not ready for it to end, I’ll tell you that! Even though I’m used to the full spa-like experience because we usually go to Exhale Spa where they have robes and showers and steam rooms and things like that,  I really enjoyed my first Massage Envy experience. It is a wonderful place to get a massage if you’re looking for just that: a quality massage to help relax you and work through areas of tightness/tension. The monthly membership is especially enticing since it’s such an affordable price AND would guarantee that I’d make time for myself once a month to relax and unwind.

Lucky for you, Massage Envy has offered to give one lucky reader a free 60-minute massage to the location of their choice in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire! You can find the location that would be nearest to you by going here.

All you have to do to be entered to win is comment on this post telling me your favorite way to relax. Want extra entries? Leave an additional comment if you “liked” the post on Instagram or Facebook! I will randomly pick a winner on Friday, December 9th- good luck!

Thank you to Massage Envy for inviting me in for a glorious hour of relaxation- Can’t wait to go back!

Five on Friday {11.30.16}

Good morning and TGIF! This week seemed to go by slow, but I was in a great mood all week so I can’t complain :)I can’t believe that it’s DECEMBER- how did that happen?! But I’m excited about it- I can’t wait to get a tree, decorate the apartment, listen to Christmas music and all the other stuff that comes along with this season.

Which brings me to my first Five on Friday topic….

  • Light Up The Seaport While the commons and Southie did their tree lightings last night, the Seaport opted to wait and do it tonight. I’m so excited to be there and see the tree be lit and then get drinks after.Gather, Aceituna Grill, The Envoy Hotel, Autograph Collection, Shake Shack, Kings America, & MiniLuxe will all be offering up delicious samples while Gather will also open up a remote bar on the side of District Hall! Plus, a pop-up concert by Andrew Smith Music!  If you’re around, grab your FREE ticket and join!
  • Metabolic Meltdown My friend Lauren just launched her Metabolic Meltdown program, which is 49 workouts that can all be completed at home- and none are more than 30 minutes! What I love is that she breaks it down by bodyweight, total body with weights, lower body focused, upper body focused and core focused. The quick, but effective workouts are my jam these days, as I’ve mentioned before, so I’m totally loving it. I’ve only tried a handful, so I’m excited to try the rest of them. If you’re feeling tired with your workouts or feel like you’re not feeling/seeing changes, I’d suggest checking out her program. It’s especially perfect timing as we enter a busy season!

img_7180

  • Festive Recipes- I had bought a huge bag of fresh cranberries at Whole Foods before Thanksgiving, even though I absoutely did not need them. Sure, I was asked to make fresh cranberry sauce by my mom, but that didn’t require a 2 pound bag of cranberries😉 This lead me to scouring the internet looking for other cranberry-based recipes. I decided on this Paleo Cranberry Bread and then this Cranberry Apple Crisp. Both came out so good!

img_7192

  • Friendsgiving & Thanksgiving- The weekend before Thanksgiving, my SMC friends hosted our 2nd annual Friendsgiving… this time with 3 little kiddos in the mix! We joked about how much times have changed since we graduated (nearly 10 years ago!!!). Per usual, we had such a great time- the food was awesome, the wine was flowing and nearly all of us were together and able to catch up. This has quickly become one of my favorite holiday events! Thanksgiving with my family was equally as nice, although a little quieter since there were fewer people! I couldn’t help but feel thankful!

img_7169 img_7173 img_7211

  • Francesca update- Our little girl is growing like a weed! We can’t believe how much she’s grown since we got her. She was 1.9 pounds when we first brought her home, 2.10 pounds when she had her first vet appointment a month later and we will find out how big she is tomorrow when we go for her next checkup. While she can be a bit crazy (and scratch the crap out of anything she gets her paws near), she really is the absolute cutest thing ever!

img_7244

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and do something festive to get you into the holiday spirit if you aren’t there already🙂

Questions for you: What’s your favorite holiday tradition? Do you have any holiday/festive plans this weekend? How was your Thanksgiving?

Wednesday Workout: Total Body DB 20 Minute AMRAP

Good morning! Did you guys see my post from yesterday? Two workouts in one week- lucky you😉 Today’s workout doesn’t require being outside AND it’s a much shorter time commitment, so if yesterday’s workout wasn’t for you, maybe today’s will be.

With all the teaching I’ve been doing lately, I’ve noticed that my own workouts have fallen a bit by the wayside. Granted, I’m still active and moving pretty much every day, but the consistency and intensity in my own training is just not there right now. Which is OK- I’ll get it back once my schedule slows down a bit.

Since my schedule is so crazy, I find myself having to squeeze my own workouts in, which just means they generally can’t be long. It’s all good, though- once I changed up my training to shorter, more intense HIIT style workouts I noticed my body changed and adapted really well to that style of training.

Today’s workout only takes 20 minutes (25 including a warm up/cool down), so it’s perfect if you’re short on time… something we can probably all relate to as we get into the holiday months, right?! All you need is a set of dumbbells or you can use a kettlebell and you’ll work through the exercises as quickly as possible while still maintaining good form. Rest as needed, but try to rest at the end of each round rather than between exercises.

total-body-db-20-min-amrap

Quick note on the exercises: For the squat-> lunge combo, you’ll do a lunge on each leg and then 1 squat- that’s 1 rep. Push-ups can be done on your knees, toes or elevated surface. If jumping isn’t good- just do regular squats. If you don’t have weights, simply change the bent over rows to a prone pull or superman pull.

I hope you’ll try this!

Questions for you: Do you have a busy holiday season coming up? How do you prioritize movement when you’re busy?

5k Walk/Run Bootcamp + Cold Weather Gear to Keep You Warm

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno. All opinions are my own. #BreathThermo

Good morning! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving- and hopefully long weekend, too! Work has been really stressful so it was especially nice to have some time off that I was able to spend with my family/in-laws. Just knowing I didn’t have to wake up early for a long day in the office was really awesome.

What else is really awesome is a package I received from Mizuno as part of their cold weather apparel line. This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time because I was just looking for some cold weather gear to help keep me warm during my outdoor Seaport Sweat series. Although I’m not leading my 5K bootcamp anymore, I was able to test out the Breath Thermo base layer top that they sent me, as well as their Breath Thermo Warmalite glove. Their cold weather apparel is engineered to keep you warm without weighing you down, which is so important because no one wants to add more weight/resistance to themselves when they’re working out, right?!😉

img_7151

In short, I’m loving both of these products. The shirt is fitted, which makes it a great layering piece- perfect for outdoor workouts where you tend to have to shed layers once you get warmed up. I love the color, style and it fits very true to form- the small fits exactly how I like tops like this to fit (I don’t like when workout tops like this are loose and baggy). On top of the fit, the Breath Thermo  technology generates heat and helps keep the body warm when working out in the cold weather, while still allowing for breathability so that you don’t overheat. There is also a reflective trim which was important to me since I was wearing it during runs in the dark- safety is key!

img_7134 img_7136

My hands (and feet) are always cold, so I was really grateful to receive the Breath Thermo Warmalite gloves. Although they are a bit too big (I ordered the wrong size!), they still work perfectly to keep my hands warm and protected from the wind during running. They’re also great for teaching my fighters conditioning class because the ground is really cold when doing burpees or pushups without them😉 I love that they have the touchscreen forefinger so I can still operate my phone when running/teaching. They also have the Breath Thermo  fleece technology to keep warmth in, and the storage pocket on the top is perfect for holding keys or money or anything else you might need stored while you’re working out outside.

img_7147 img_7152

If you’re looking for some new cold weather apparel for those shoulder months or for layering throughout the colder months, head on over to Mizuno because they have some great products worth checking out. If you came to the blog post just for the workout, here you go😉 While we did this running, you can also walk the 5K and still do these exercises.

5k-run-walk-bootcamp

Big thanks to Mizuno for helping to keep me warm during my outdoor workouts!

img_7153

Questions for you: What’s your favorite brand of outdoor workout gear? Do you like to workout outside when it’s cold or do you take it to the gym? 

Honeymoon Recap: Positano

I realized last week that I never shared our final honeymoon recap with you! In case you missed the first 3, you can find them here:

Napoli
Ischia
Sorrento & Pompeii

I have to admit that I was a little nervous about heading to Positano for the fear that it would be too touristy, similar to Sorrento. However, upon our first sights of Positano during our drive in, my fears were quickly washed away. Although it was still touristy, the charm of Positano was still very much in tact and it just felt less touristy than Sorrento.

img_6535 img_6537

On top of that, we stayed in the most luxurious hotel, which just made everything better, especially after the poor hotel experience we had in Sorrento.

Where We Stayed

We ended up staying at Hotel Villa Franca during our time in Positano. While it was a rather expensive hotel, I’m so glad we splurged on it because it was a wonderful way to end the trip. They ended up upgrading us to their biggest/nicest room and “big” and “nice” really don’t do it any justice. It was the size of a small studio apartment, with a large, luxurious bathroom and amazing jacuzzi tub, a whole sitting area and an oversized terrace overlooking all of Positano. It was in a separate building from the main hotel, but it didn’t prove to be an issue at all since it was only a 30 second walk or so.

img_6545 img_6546 img_6550

The staff was unbelievably warm, hospitable and helpful- we couldn’t rave enough about how welcomed they made us feel, starting with complimentary champagne upon our arrival.

img_6532

We spent a lot of time at their roof deck pool- the lounge chairs were so comfy, the Aperol Spritz’s were absolutely delicious and the bar tenders were very attentive.

img_6580

dsc00363

We didn’t end up eating up there, but everything we saw people eating looked delicious. We did indulge at their daily breakfast where they had everything you could ever imagine, including eggs made your way, assortments of breads/cheeses/meats, cereal, yogurt, granola, fresh juices and plenty of bubbly😉

Our only complaint about the hotel was that it was so far up from the main areas of Postiano- 597 steps, to be exact! While I didn’t mind the steps (obviously), it made it difficult to bounce around and you had to plan ahead for how long you wanted to be down by the beach. They do offer a complimentary shuttle service leaving from the hotel every half hour that brings you down to the beach area which we did take advantage of at night when we would head out for dinner. This was a wonderful service!

img_6554

That was our hotel… wayyyy up there!

Where We Ate

Prior to our honeymoon, we received lots of recommendations for lunches/dinners during our time in Positano, which was nice to use as a base. We found some places on our own which also did not disappoint.

  • Ristorante da Costantino This came recommended to us by the driver who took us from Sorrento to Positano. It’s set up even higher than Hotel Villa Franca, but don’t worry- they have a car service that will pick you up at your hotel and drop you off after, which is a very nice service. While they don’t have outdoor/waterfront space, the front wall of the restaurant is all windows so there are spectacular views- both during the day and at night. We had our driver take us there to make the reservation and the owner was a sweet old Italian man who made us drink an espresso with him after we chatted- it was awesome. It’s a family owned & run restaurant and serves truly authentic (non-americanized touristy) Italian food. It was such a great way to kick off our last part of the trip.

img_6563

  • Chez Black This was a recommended restaurant, I think because of it’s prime location near the beach. We had a really nice meal there, although it did seem to cater more specifically to Americans and other tourists. We would still recommend it!

img_6628 img_6630

  • Ristorante Max This was another highly recommended restaurant to try out (3 separate people told us about it!). We loved our meal here- everything was so flavorful and the wine was ridiculously good! We sat outside and got to play with a neighborhood cat, which I obviously loved!

img_6669 img_6670 img_6672

  • Ristorante Saraceno d’Oro We had big plans of doing up our last night in Positano big, but it ended up raining, so we opted to keep it closer to our hotel. We ended up at this restaurant which ended up being an awesome find. The food was very good and very authentic- I had the eggplant and it was as good as RM’s mother’s- which is saying a lot!

img_6683 img_6684 img_6685

  • Sandwiches- One day we were really craving a basic sandwich & chips type of lunch so we asked a jewelry vendor if he knew of any Salumeria’s in the area (deli type stores) and luckily there was one nearby. The sandwich was SO good we ended up there at least one or two more times. There’s something so great about a simple sandwich made with incredibly fresh ingredients.

img_6559

  • Caffe Positano Friends also recommended this place, and since it ended up being exactly halfway down the cliffs from our hotel to the beach, we saddled up there for lunch one day. The views were spectacular and the food was also really delicious. We got a platter type of plate with all sorts of amazing options- we definitely recommend checking this place out!

img_6590 img_6589

What To Do

  • Walk around and window-shop/pop into stores. There are so many cute little stores selling beautiful things, especially the linen clothes items! I’ll warn you, though, the shops are expensive! We laughed because RM would see something he thought I’d look good in so I’d check it out and be appalled at the price tags- usually upwards of 200-300 euros! That said, everything was really beautiful!

img_6578

  • Have drinks at Hotel Villa Franca- Although these were expensive (25 euros for a glass of bubbly!), the ambiance of the drink area and the views were worth it. Plus, they gave awesome “snacks”- my favorite😉

img_6623 img_6626 img_6627

  • Check out the beaches- We were warned in advance that the beaches were not sandy, so we weren’t totally surprised to find a rocky beach. The rocks were surprisingly pretty comfortable to relax on, and the water was so refreshing! What made it even better was that you could get “to go” drinks from nearby bars/restaurants- Spritz’s on the beach are the best!

img_6659

  • Get handmade sandals- We’d heard that you could get handmade sandals in Positano, and people were right- there were so many little stores selling homemade sandals. We ended up at Creazioni Nana which was next door to Caffe Positano, and I was so happy with how my sandals turned out!! It was such a special memory to take home with me!
  • Rent a scooter RM finally persuaded me to rent a scooter and drive out to Amalfi and Ravello and although I was scared sh*tless about the whole experience, it ended up being one of the best experiences/memories from the trip. We had an absolute blast!!

img_1442 img_1449

You can also take the ferry to Capri, do cooking classes, etc., but we opted to just soak in the hotel and things around us.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we absolutely fell in love with Positano! So much so, that RM said for our 3rd wedding anniversary we need to go back- I’m certainly not going to complain (or forget) about that! This was the last of our honeymoon recaps- I hope you’ve enjoyed them, and maybe they’ll be helpful if you decide to visit the Amalfi Coast!

dsc00365