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 ūüôā

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 ūüė¶ 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!

Weekending: “Ladies Night”, Zeke’s 1st Birthday and Local Supplier Meet & Greet at Whole Foods

You guys! This past weekend was busy, busy, busy…. but with all fun things so I can’t complain! I got a massage on Friday, which was a great way to end my “vacation” week and to kick off the weekend! After my massage, my friend Jess picked me up and we headed north for dinner in New Hampshire at Tortilla Flat with some of our other St. Michael’s friends. It may seem weird that we traveled all the way up there for dinner at a Mexican restaurant, but there was a Tortilla Flat near St. Mike’s and both Kia and Lauren worked there, which meant we went there… a lot… so¬† we had to check it out!

IMG_7496 IMG_7497

Skinny Marg and a Combo Plate- nothing about Mexican food photographs well…

I have to share the cutest story from our dinner. There were 6 of us and all of a sudden a waitress brings over this little (5 or 6 year old) boy. Here’s how the situation went down:

Boy: Are you out for a ladies night?

Us: Yes, we are.

Boy: Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Us: Oh yeah? Why’s that?

Boy: Because I’m the ladies man!

So cute! We died laughing.

Luckily, it was an early night, which was good because I knew Saturday was going to be a big day. I cannot believe little Zeke is already ONE!!! It’s so crazy. Sara put on the most wonderful celebration- from the decorations to the food to the drinks to the company- everything was perfect! We lucked out with the weather, too. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, but it was such a great day celebrating a very loved little boy!

IMG_7569 IMG_7568 IMG_7545 IMG_7543 IMG_7542

I mean, can you get any cuter than little Zeke in his 1 year old shirt with a bow-tie?!?! Love! Also love my Shapleigh girls and getting to spend an afternoon with them ūüôā

Danielle and I headed back to MA early on Sunday since I had a blogger event to attend at Whole Foods.

local supplier

I’m always excited for blogger events, but I was especially excited about this one because I’ve been big into buying locally and organic and wanting to know where my food comes from. It was a small event, but there were a number of vendors with samples ranging from fish to prepared salads to cheeses and butters to muesli,¬†pickels,¬†salsa, ice cream and iced coffee. It was so great to chat with all of them to see how their products are made, where they are located and what makes them different than other similar items sold in grocery stores.

IMG_7559

I’m a big fan of good swag bags ūüėČ Some of my favorite things I tried were:

  • Cheeses and Sea Salt &¬†Maple Butter from Vermont Creamery– I put some of this on my dad’s homemade bread it and it was absolutely amazing!!
  • Muesli from TuTu Muesli I anticipate early working hours, which means I’ll need to bring breakfast on the road with me so I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes with the sample that I received from TuTu. I bought some Muesli from Bob’s Red Mills and will likely do “over night oats” with that.
  • Salsa from Nola’s Salsa This stuff was absolutely delicious! There’s nothing better than fresh, homemade salsa and this totally fit the bill for that. The owner lived in Texas for a while and learned from the best. She only uses real ingredients and you can taste the difference. I can’t wait to open mine!
  • Ice cream from Tea-Rrific Wow. This tea-based ice cream was SO good. They actually brew the tea when making the ice cream so you could taste the specific tea flavors in each one. My favorite was the Masala Chai and the Chamomile- Perfect little sweet treat!
  • Cold Brew coffee from Grady’s Cold Brew– I gave up coffee about a year ago, but when I heard the vendor explain how it’s made without brewing coffee. Grady’s Cold Brew has less caffeine, it’s less acidic (much easier to drink!) and is easier on digestion than regular coffee. There’s no added sugar and the ingredient list is short: water, coffee, chicory and spices. All he added was a little almond milk for me and it was perfect!

Big thanks to Jess and Whole Foods Charles River Plaza for hosting such a great event… and providing us with some amazing swag bags with the products we were able to learn about and try.

Questions for you: How often do you get together with your girlfriends? What was the best part of your weekend? Do you like to shop locally or buy organic products? Have you ever heard of the ones I listed above?

Wellness By The Water Retreat

You guys. I had the most amazing day on Sunday at the Wellness By The Water Retreat, which was hosted at Le Meridien Cambridge hotel. Going into this day, I knew that I would be in my element as the website described it as:

Join us for a luxury fitness and wellness retreat in the city. Escape to beautiful Boston for a full day of fitness, yoga, nutrition, spa services and wellness.Sought after professionals brought to you for all of your wellness needs including:

  • Bootcamp
  • Yoga
  • Stretch & Breath Work
  • Nutrition
  • Spa Services
  • Wellness Services
  • Catered nutritious meals and snacks
  • Health & Wellness companies providing information and samples of their products!

But I had no idea just how awesome it would be. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to that! (well, some people, but I am guessing most of my B2B readers would think it’s pretty amazing).

Anyway, I arrived at the hotel just around 9am, quickly realizing that I forgot my yoga mat (which they reminded us to bring in an email that I looked at earlier that morning). #epicfail. I did OK without one, but I did feel a little silly! After I checked in, I met up with Athena and Ashley. I was SO excited to get to hang out with two fitness enthused people like myself for the day, as well as many, many more people just like us!

025

athena, ashley, me

Photo Credit: Athena

 Shortly after everyone settled down, the two creators of the event, Kendall and Celeste, introduced themselves and gave us an overvue of the day.  By 9:20, we were already on our first workout of the day: 30 minutes of Boot Camp with Celeste!

026It was awesome! We did some really neat partner exercises such as partner¬†sit-ups, “run the plank” and partner lat. pull downs,¬†and I can’t wait to bring some of them into my classes! After boot camp, we broke out into smaller groups based on the color on our name tags.

029We were scheduled for 30 minutes of the following workouts:

Barre. Omgoodness. Let me tell you were my legs and core BURNING! I have done a couple of other Barre classes, but no one has ever made me hold a plie¬†squat so darn low, with so many pulses. I was literally dripping. Tessa was AMAZING and I totally want to take private classes with her. I loved it! Tai Chi was pretty cool as well, since that was something that was totally new to me. I work at the Y with Julio, who lead us in Tai Chi and his knowledge and passion for this was wonderful.¬† We focused on a lot of breathing in Pilates, which couldn’t have come at a better time for me. As you have probably noticed, May has been a little rough for me thus far, so taking some time to really BREATHE was juuuust what I needed!

027

028

By the time I was through all of these classes, I was really quite thankful that lunch was next on the agenda. We ventured downstairs and couldn’t believe the meal we were served. I was expecting a buffet or something simple, but we were served a lovely salad and main meal (we called it the Wellness Wedding meal!).

041

Kendall also spoke about a few ways to “lighten up” for the summer. I am not sure I could cut out dairy all together, but it was interesting to hear the alternatives to dairy! I am always up for hearing about different food “lifestyles”, so I loved learning about all sorts of different new food ideas and recipes throughout the day.

032After lunch, we had time to mingle and browse through the vendors before attending the 6 different 20 minute sessions scheduled out for us. I loved this station by Eventbrite!

040Yum, yum yum! Athena and I had to pose for a pic!

britemix with athenaDuring this “break” before the afternoon sessions started, there was also a “photo booth” area run by Lucie Wicker Photography. Omg I LOVE these things!! Of course we had to jump in for some fun!

photo-booth

photo-booth-3

photo-booth-4So fun! After everyone had some time to mingle and check out all of the vendors, the afternoon sessions began. We had 20 minutes at each station, which felt a little rushed at times, but only because I was always so interested in every company that we were learning about! I started at the John Hancock table and learned about financial things (sorry for my lack of better terminology!)

037From there, I went to the Organization Table with Allison Webber, which I totally loved. She was amazing and super interactive and could really just read people very well. She said that 50% of her job is therapy and working with people to let go of their issues in order to de-clutter and organize.

I was so looking forward to my next stop: massages with Body Waves Massage. As you know, I work out A LOT and carry LOTS of heavy bags, so I am always in need of a massage. I stole this pic from Athena’s blog that she got from Celeste Pratt on Instagram¬†and had to use it because that’s me getting a massage in the back right! She said I was really tight, especially my right quad, so I have been trying to foam roll¬†more actively this week. #hurtssogood

massage-room

My next sessions were acupuncture with Synergy Acupuncture¬†and skin care and nutrition with MZ Skincare. I have never had acupuncture¬†before so I was really excited about this! I told her I had shoulder issues and she did a little extra for me. I didn’t notice a huge change, but I wonder if going to acupuncture¬†for full sessions would help¬†alleviate¬†my injuries?? The presentation by MZ Skincare was also really interesting in that they gave us good tips on choosing REAL sunscreens and how to clear up your skin from the inside out, meaning, learning about how to feed your body nutrients that help with your skin. Very interesting.

 Finally, I went to a CrossFit class for a WOD (workout of the day) with Sarah Loomis. Funny side note: Sarah worked for the BSC and taught UXF and actually subbed one of my classes! Small world, indeed! Here was our WOD:

038Good thing I am totally loving real burpees ūüėČ we skipped the 21 reps due to time, but did 15 reps of burpees and lunges, followed immediately by 9 reps of both. If that doesn’t get your heart rate up, I am not sure what will! I also loved the EMOM¬†(Every Minute on the Minute) workout because it was a great way to push YOURSELF, which I am a fan of. The goal was to try to have MORE rest time every round… I can’t say I did, but I did move a lot faster from round 1 to round 2!

Lastly, our FINAL event of the day was a nice, closing yoga session with Kendall. Another funny side note, Kendall was auditioning at the BSC for yoga the same day that I was auditioning for kickboxing and TBC. I knew I recognized her!

kendall-teaching-yoga1From Celeste’s Instagram

After a very busy and physically active day, a nice, restorative yoga session was just what all of us needed. I haven’t been practicing yoga because of my shoulder injury, but it felt really great on Sunday!

Overall, I cannot fully express how wonderful the day was. Athena did a wonderful recap of the day, too, so check it out! As she said, it felt great to be in our “happy places” all day. Huge thanks to Kendall and Celeste for organizing such an incredible event and day! I can’t wait for the next one!

Questions for you: What’s your “happy place”? Ever been to a health and wellness retreat?