The Six Letter Word I Struggle With

IMG_1966

For as long as I can remember I have had issues handling one aspect of my life, stress.

PSATs (yes, the practice exam), homework assignments, essays and now bills, stress has always hit me … hard. In high school I would wake up in the middle of the night before a large exam my chest covered in red, itchy, burning hives. As I got older stress took a toll on my GI track — and in all TMI honesty, it still does from time-to-time.

Have I learned to minimize this issue? Mmm … sometimes, but it’s still something I deal with on a case-by-case basis.

Example A: I am moving August 1. No where far (still in the Boston-area), however my lease is up and my best friend of a roomie is wedding the man of her dreams. This means changes, cue the music — thanks Mr. Bowie.

Most recently this stressful aspect of my life radiates in the form of a bad attitude. That’s right, I put on those cranky pants — athletic edition, obviously — and wear them everywhere. In fact, they fit quite nicely.

I try deep breathing, yoga, meditation, even acupuncture to ease my nerves. Most instances it helps, which is incredible, other times not-so-much. Again, case-by-case.

I have realized one thing since my sleepless nights rubbing Sarna lotion beneath my oversized pajama top — I must breathe.

Slow inhales, extended exhales and a conscious focus on my breath is the key to preventing a complete cranks-induced meltdown. It may not involve me face down on the floor pounding my fists, but it’s pretty damn close.

When that feeling of stress bubbles up within me and my shoulders start to creep closer to my earlobes I remember that at the end of the day it’ll all be okay. Life will go on. Whatever the outcome, I will come out the other side … just fine.

However if I happen to have a glass of wine in hand and am surrounded by good company, that helps too.

Trust me, while the cranky pants fit like a brand new pair of Athleta crops, no one wants to see me sporting them. No one.

TTT

Banana FauxYo with Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk

FullSizeRender-2

Clearly I must work on my photography skills. FauxYo melts, people.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk. 

Beautiful spring weather means a few things to me: More white wine, less Vitamin D supplements and an unattractive amount of visits to the Davis Square FroYo joint.

Until now.

I’ve always been one to choose almond milk over cow dairy, it simply makes my stomach feel better. But, like many, I have an incredibly large sweet tooth. I’ll choose chocolate over chips any day — and if it’s a warm summer night, you best believe I’ll take that stomach ache if I can have some topping-filled FroYo.

In the past I’ve always frozen bananas and turned them into ‘Faux’ soft serve ice cream, but it’s always seemed to be missing something. It was a kick of coconut and creamy ice cream consistency that ultimately made me go weak at the knees.

Enter: Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk. Basically heaven in a container. And when blended with frozen bananas and a hint of vanilla — pure bliss.

Now, if I could just control the sugar-laden toppings that typically overflow my bowl …

Banana FauxYo with Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk

[dairy-free, gluten-free]

Ingredients:

1 Banana, sliced and frozen

1/2 Cup (or less depending on desired thickness) Unsweetened Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk Original

1 Tsp Vanilla extract

 Top with chopped nuts, mixed berries or splurge with a little candy

Directions:

Chop and freeze banana overnight. Once frozen, place in your blender along with your Almondmilk Coconutmilk and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth.

Top with your favorites and enjoy!

Happy almost summer! 
TTT

Why Dating Sucks: Volume One

7b7c91640585cea502c4957d3ede719c

Let me preface this by saying, this post in no way shape or form has to do with fitness, trends, health or nutrition.

At all. 

It has everything to do with how challenging it is to date at the ripe age of 28. Or, for the sake of those reading this and sharing my relationship-less woes, late twenties and beyond.

Now that we’ve got that disclaimer out of the way, let’s set the stage, shall we?

I had my first ‘boyfriend’ in 7th grade. In reality, we didn’t even talk to one another. There were locker meet ups and the occasional hand holding, but beyond that having a BF in middle school mostly meant nerve-racking co-ed dances and awkward conversations.

High school, honestly, I was boring. I played 3 seasons of sports and had a solid group of friends. Boys (and yes, I’m calling them boys) were the least of my concern. I was still asked to Prom and semi-formals, but I was pinning corsages on my best guy friends, not boyfriends.

Then came college — again, boring. Aside from a long distance stint my sophomore year, I kept my focus on three things: Doing well in school, hanging out with my friends, and drinking far too many rum and diets while at happy hour on Fridays.

Then came post-college. Ugh. The challenge of leaving your best friends and finally becoming an adult. Finding a job and paying rent quickly became my concern, leaving dating on the back burner. Side note: Since this era was pre-Tinder, I was not swiping for BFs, but instead serving them, as I was a cocktail waitress when I first moved to Boston.

Relieved I wouldn’t become an old, withering cat lady I finally found someone I could stand for more than one week. We met at work, dated, met each others family and friends and enjoyed a mere one year relationship. And while we ended on good terms, I remember thinking … ‘This dating thing? I’ve got this.’ 

That was 3 years ago. Been single ever since.

I’ve swiped, liked, winked and messaged my way to some very interesting dates over the past few years. But as my friends begin to sign leases and write vows with their significant others, I can’t help but think about my current condition: Single.

In an age where texting overrides phone calls and emojis depict feelings, it’s no wonder dating in 2015 is an absolute cluster f*ck. Interested suitors quickly become pen pals, emailing 20 questions before agreeing to meet for a 12 oz. cup of coffee.

So there it is, 16 years of my dating life funneled into 421 words.

Spark notes version: I am still single, I don’t own any cats, I am not willing to settle and most importantly I’d prefer not to emoji my emotions with anyone of interest over a 3-week texting conversation before we’ve even met.

By the way, this is only Volume One. I’m certain I’ll have many more stories worthy of filling an encyclopedia. Buckle up.

An Ode to 27

What.

A.

Year.IMG_2229

Seriously, I’m not sure anything more could have happened to me in my 27th year. I got a new job, started teaching at a fabulous new cycling/TRX studio, my best friend had a baby, my other best friend got engaged, I went to California, spoke at a conference, got asked to host a few New Balance (Girls Night Out) events, became an Athleta Brand Ambassador.

I’m a little tired thinking about it all.IMG_2281

Honestly though, 27 was a HUGE growing year for me. So here I go, a letter to my 27th year, complete with sap and of course some sass.

Dear 27,

Let me begin by thanking you. Your unwavering patience throughout this year did not go unnoticed. From the stressful career decisions to frustrating dating situations, you had my back. You let me sleep peacefully (admittedly sometimes with ZzzQuill) even if I had not reached a conclusion on my choices.

There were moments of fear and hesitation. There were instances involving epiphanies and overflowing joy. In all, this year felt like a fast moving train. Adult decisions were made even though it seems like just yesterday I was still in college.

Most importantly, 27 taught me to value myself, my worth and to never settle.

So for that, I am thankful.

28 looks exciting  full of possibility and joyous celebrations. So, here’s to another year. And of course, continued appreciation and understanding that what I have to offer is truly and utterly unmatched.

With love,

Caroline  

Healthy Reese’s PB Cup Smoothie with Almond Breeze

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.

Want to know my weakness beyond anything else this time of year?

Reeses-Eggs

Yup. Right there. Chocolate-y, peanut goodness. In a wrapper. Radiating sugar.

So, since I can nosh on these daily as I’d prefer, I’ve decided to come up with something just as delicious. Let me introduce you to Healthy Reese’s PB Cup Smoothie, made with Almond Breeze.

IMG_2224

Ingredients: IMG_2225

– 1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze

– 2 TBSP PB2

– 1 Packet MNS Chocolate Protein Powder

– 1/2 Cup of ice

Directions: 

Mix all ingredients together in a blender.

If your shake is too thick, add water or more Almond Breeze.

Now enjoy the frothy goodness and pretend you just ripped open a Reese’s.

You’re welcome.

- TTT

Body Breakthroughs & Hangin’ at New Balance

IMG_2290Last Wednesday night I was asked to host my 3rd New Balance Girls Night Out (NBGNO) event … and it was incredible.

The topic was ‘Body Breakthroughs’ and the special evening was held at the NB headquarters and was entirely for the famous fitness brands’ staff. Even though I was surrounded by some insanely supportive and talented women, I was still really nervous to share my body breakthrough moment.

Since I was emceeing the event, it was up to me to make the group of ladies feel comfortable, kick back and enjoy the GNO. Fierce Boston instructors Aly Raymer (B/SPOKE) and Kristina Grinovich (CorePower Yoga) led the group in their choice of a yoga flow or indoor cycling class.

IMG_2288

The night was inspiring to say the least … and then came the moment when I had to present my body breakthrough.

It all started last January when I left my full-time job as a personal trainer, fitness instructor and high school fitness coach to work for the online media publication, BostInno. While I was still working within the same realm of topics, the two lives couldn’t have been more different.

From standing, walking and running with clients/classes/students to siting … sitting … and more sitting, I was going stir crazy. It took me 8 months to realize that this desk job (at least full-time) wasn’t right for me. I needed more balance in my life, literally, and it wasn’t happening behind a computer screen.

I pitched a parttime position to my editors and was pleasantly surprised when it was accepted. Soon enough I was able to teach, train and write in a more sustainable fashion. Today I teach 10 fitness classes, train 2 clients and post articles a few days a week.

So, what the heck was my body breakthrough?? Valuing my body, recognizing my worth and not being afraid to take a chance.

My schedule is perfect for me and my body. I am way less stressed than I was before, resulting in better self-care. I am able to take the time necessary to plan and program for my clients and classes while giving myself the TLC it needs through yoga and strength training.

IMG_2335Bottom line: If you’re dealing with something in your life that is less than stellar, change it. It may not be easy, but it certainly will be worth it. The beautiful thing is that you have the power to create a more pleasant environment for yourself.

Take that step forward. Body (as well as professional and personal) breakthroughs occur when you uncover this worthiness. And if you’re wearing bright, shiny NB 811, well than that’s just the cherry on top of a deliciously sweet sundae.

Be on the lookout for the 2015 lineup of NBGNO events in Boston and other cities!!!

-TTT

5 Reasons to Take a Winter Retreat

Okay, let’s be honest here … there are far more than 5 reasons, but for the sake of time and your attention span, I’m limiting it to a handful.

IMG_2229

This past weekend I attended the Food & Fitness Retreat on Martha’s Vineyard. On Friday I packed up my outrageously overstuffed duffle bag, grabbed my yoga mat and headed south to Woods Hole (a little over an hour drive from my house).

Parking my car in the nearby lot was easier than expected. A quick (and free) shuttle ride and I was at the boat, ready to begin my weekend escapades of Namastes and fresh, local foods.

IMG_2255

So, if you’re in need of a little break from the winter, I highly suggest getting away for a weekend retreat. Here’s why:

1. It forces you to meet new (and extremely interesting) people

 

I attended this retreat not knowing a soul. Seriously. I had interviewed the brilliant woman –Emily Phillips, look her up now — running it, but we’d never met face-to-face.

Being in such an intimate environment — nightly dinners together, group workouts and — ahem — wine, allows you to let your guard down and fully get to know these individuals. There were no distractions like TV or internet to shift your focus from conversations.

I can truly say I haven’t felt so listened to for three days straight than I did at this retreat. Because, after all, when you take away your ability to Instagram every moment or Tweet out a thought, it takes away from the moment you’re actually in.

2. You’re taken out of your ‘fitness’ comfort zone

Um … I took Barre Fusion. And liked it. Enough said.

IMG_2238

My insanely comfy bed.

3. It’s a time to unplug

While it wasn’t a requirement to leave your phone in the hotel room or power down, I took full advantage and tried to as much as possible this weekend.

It felt very freeing to walk back to my room at night, gaze up at a sea of stars and not feel inclined to describe what I saw via social media.

4.  You deserve it

For this retreat, I drove and took a ferry. There were no planes or trains to jack up the price. It was also the off-season for the vineyard, so travel/lodging was relatively cheap.

Quite making excuses for reasons you shouldn’t pamper yourself. This is a perfect way to take a mini-vacation and rejuvenate the mind and body.

IMG_2257

Edgartown Lighthouse

5. You stop thinking

From the moment I stepped foot on the ferry, everything was taken care of. My meals, transportation — everything.

Handing over these responsibilities was exhilarating. It allowed me to only need to focus inward, instead of wasting energy on where I was going to park/eat/sleep/dine.

So, are you convinced yet?? This retreat is being offered up again in October … so be on the lookout for further posts giving details. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you in the know :)

-TTT

** I stayed at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown and it was out of this world. My room was incredible, the food was to die for and with stunning views of the harbor, you honestly can’t go wrong!! I highly recommend it!

Dear Sexy Man from Yoga

Dear sexy man from yoga,

IMG_1421I wasn’t expecting to see such an attractive man at 9 a.m. yoga. It’s usually the standard mothers, work-from-home warriors and misfit toys like myself.

Walking in wearing yoga pants, my hair in a top knot, sipping on Spark and makeup-less, I can say without a doubt I wasn’t expecting …  that.

But, however disheveled I looked, you looked divine. Unrolling your mat with such ease and entering each posture with grace.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come a long way in yoga. I’m able to balance on one leg, maintain ‘crow pose’ and hold a deep lunge for long counts of 8 (thank you, spin). However, it is safe to say, I’m no long-legged Gisele.

I digress.

While I admittedly have a challenging time maintaining a clear mind during my practice, you sexy man, were almost like focal point for me. I was able to keep stressful thoughts about work and life outside of my brain for 60-minutes.

So thank you.

I may never see you again, and undoubtedly will never speak to you — as I don’t really go to yoga to be social, it is my personal escape.

But if I do see you downward dogging on the mat next to mine, I will simply smile and know that on a random Tuesday in February you helped me hold my yogi attention.

And for that, I thank you.

Namaste,

TTT

The Results Are In [Photos]

On January 7th I found myself starting my 3rd Advocare 24 Day Challenge.

My goals: Improve my stomach issues, understand was was irritating my GI, gain more energy and well, drop some unnecessary sugar-saturated lb. that I had put on during the holidays.

Back story: I started using Advocare products one year ago. I wanted to switch up the way I was fueling my body and needed a swift kick in the butt to do so. I mean, listen up, I teach a lot of fitness classes a week, the notion of having a cookie (or five) after motivating a room of sweaty people seemed to me like a reward.

And heck, my mindset was that I was burning off all these calories, what does it matter?

Well, it matters … it matters a lot.

I buckled down last January and ended up having incredible results. I’m talking amazing. I could fit into jeans that used to be tight. I had a TON of natural energy — sorry, coffee. And lastly, and in my opinion most importantly, I felt truly confident teaching in front of my classes.

IMG_7354

So what changed this year? I had more fun with the challenge! I was able to recruit some friends to join me on the 24 day excursion — which made saying ‘no’ to wine, chocolate and cheese that much more doable.

But I also became more creative this time around. I cooked more hot meals, I experimented with different ingredients and I ‘treated myself’ to a fantastic food delivery service that drops off perfectly portioned vegan-friendly meals at your doorstep. Thank you Purple Carrot :)

My results: Now, for the juicy stuff.

While I don’t own a scale — ditched that bitch a while ago — I was basing my results off of a few factors: How my stomach felt (GI), how my clothes were fitting and of course, the before and after pictures. [Can’t believe I’m showing y’all this, but, here you go!]

AdvoFrontSo here’s the deal.

Throughout the 24 days my main focus was to improve my willpower and eliminate a few things I knew were causing my stomach some distress.

Coffee, dairy, alcohol and sugar.

In addition to the 24 day goodies you receive when you order, I was supplementing with Catalyst (amino acid supplement).

It’s only been a few days since the challenge ended — and don’t get me wrong with the Patriots winning the Super Bowl, there was quite a bit of indulging going on — I am back into a manageable routine for me.

And that’s why I love Advocare so much. It really allows you to supplement your diet and lifestyle with what works best for you … not a cookie cutter mold of what you ‘should’ be taking.

So, lastly, here’s what I’ve been using post-challenge … and loving!!

  1. Spark: Fruit Punch & Mango Strawberry (gahhhhhhh … I could drink this stuff all day, everyday)
  2. Catalyst: I take this before I teach or workout. As my blend Becky says, “This is lipo in a bottle.” … and she’s correct :)
  3. 02 Gold: I take this before I teach — helps my body through challenging cardio sets.
  4. OmegaPlex: Essential Omega-3 fatty acid supplement. Because, let’s be real, I don’t eat enough fish.

Other fun goodies I’ve tried and really enjoyed:

  • ThermoPlus: helps more effectively use stored fat as energy
  • Clear Mood: Just started using this, juries still out … will keep y’all posted.
  • SLAM: Honestly, one of the best concentrated pre-workouts I’ve ever used. Energy for days without feeling jittery!
  • Carb-Ease Plus: Pasta and beer anyone? Still testing the waters on this one …
  • DigestEase: My stomach is notorious for making loud noises during digestion. This tames that inner beast. But, for real.

Feel free to ask me ANYTHING. Truly, that’s what I’m here for :) Next challenge starts ASAP, so get those orders in if you’re interested!

- TTT

Small Steps, Big Moves

IMG_1786

If you’ve ever changed jobs, moved or left a tainted relationship you’ve taken a step.

It doesn’t matter how large the step is, and honestly, how vital it felt to take it. What matters most is that you took it. See, in life these small steps add up to much larger paths. These small twists and turns become much larger branches on the tree that is our life — too deep? Sorry, I’m feeling it. 

As most of you know, I went to school for Art History. I studied the Italian Renaissance and had every painting, sculpture and photo memorized by date, medium and era. And while I studied abroad my junior year of college, I knew upon graduation that continuing along this path wasn’t for me.

You see, I moved to Boston thinking I wanted to work in a gallery or museum. I tirelessly applied to job listings, perfected my resume and even made phone calls to those I thought could help get me in the door. No luck.

I was unemployed for 4 months.

Cruising through my savings all while trying to not get discouraged, part of me knew this wasn’t the right path. Something was telling me to go forth in another direction. So I did.

I found a indoor cycling position (which I had been certified in since college), worked as a receptionist at the gym and was a cocktail waitress. I persevered because I knew that’s what I had to do — I was not about to wallow in self pity over not finding a job that utilized my degree.

A few years later I became a certified personal trainer, began writing this blog and discovered an entire world I had not yet been privy too.

So what am I saying? Talk that step.

It will undoubtedly be hard. You may even second guess yourself. But, at the end of the day, you’re moving forward.

“Tip toe if you must, but take the step.”

-TTT