Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Open House at Barre Life NH - featuring Lululemon!

Good afternoon lovelies! What a gorgeous day!!! It's definitely one of those days (again, it feels like fall) that makes me want to go for a hike or something. Instead, I forced myself to get into my workout clothes and took a Bikini Barre class at Barre Life NH before work - such is life when you have to work for a living, you can't just go for a hike whenever you feel like it. Highly overrated.

I've been going to Barre Life NH three times a week for about a month now, as my schedule allows and guys, I'm loving it (which is good, since apparently I'm famous - check out my pic on the front page of the Union Leader below). Britni is great and no two classes have been the same, which keeps it fresh and interesting... and painful (in a good way). My legs felt like jello after this morning's 45 minute class, even after a month. Awesome.

Even though Barre Life NH has been open since June, Britni just announced that their GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION will take place on Wednesday, September 3rd from 4-6pm. Lululemon is coming to the event and putting on a trunk show (you can see the fall line AND buy clothing, so bring your plastic ladies!) and there will be tons of giveaways and discounts to Barre Life NH and other local businesses!

Following the trunk show and barre demonstrations, there will be a full class offered at 6pm - space is limited so if you're interested, be sure to sign up on the website (or through the app).

Barre Life NH, LLC
944 Elm St
Manchester NH

Check out Barre Life on Instagram!
Like Barre Life on Facebook!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Whole Foods Market NOW OPEN IN NASHUA NH!

Good morning lovelies! It's a BEAUTIFUL fall day here in New Hampshire. Yes, I said fall. Yes, I realize it's still summer, but I had to wear a sweatshirt to drink my coffee on the deck this morning and well, it feels like fall to me. Thankfully, it will feel like summer again by this afternoon according to my local forecast.

I've got some super exciting news to share with you all! Well, super exciting if you're anything like me and have a thing for local craft beers and cheeses... the very first WHOLE FOODS MARKET in New Hampshire opens this morning on Amherst Street in Nashua! I was fortunate enough to participate in a pre-opening blogger event and got a behind-the-scenes look at the store and what they have to offer! There is a ton of stuff going on for their grand opening celebration today, so if you find yourself in the area, definitely check it out!

I know what you're thinking... Janine, WFM sells way more than local craft beers and cheeses. Well yes, but if you've read this blog for any length of time past a minute or two, you know those are what I'm most excited about. What's more, apparently Whole Foods Market Nashua is pretty excited about those two things too, because where most WFM's have a dedicated culinary demonstration area, WFM Nashua has a pub.

That's right, a 32-tap pub right there in the store. What's pretty cool is that many of the tap offerings are locally sourced within 100 miles of the store - word on the street is, in honor of their grand opening, Maine Beer Company has supplied not one, but TWO KEGS of their damned-near-impossible-to-get-your-hands-on craft brew, LUNCH. Boom.

What's more, the pub is located just around the corner from a huge cheese display, again with tons of local offerings. And guys, I'm pretty sure the only way I could be a bigger cheese-head is if I were from Wisconsin, so take it from me, this is awesome.

Pretty fantastic if you ask me. But I know you're probably interested in what else WFM Nashua has to offer (though I'm content with just the beer & cheese). Well, there's the famed organic produce section, grass-fed meats and a selection of seafood that I would say is the best I've seen outside of a fish market.

There's also their "Whole Body" selection, which boasts natural & organic skin, hair and body care products. Personally, I stick to my Ava Anderson products for the most part, but if I do buy body care products in the store, I look for items ranked between 0-2 from the Environmental Working Group (a non-profit organization that ranks personal care & home cleaning products based on toxicity) to ensure I'm minimizing the amount of toxins I put on my body.

I did notice quite a few items that although are "natural," are not ranked very well on the EWG in this section of the store but they did also have a decent selection of 0-2 items - just be sure to do your research before buying, even at WFM!

One thing that really stood out to me at WFM over some other local grocery stores was the amount of bulk food offerings they had - dried fruit, nuts, grains, flours, candy (of course), you name it. They even had protein powders in bulk - great for smoothies, especially if you have certain dietary restrictions around proteins - if you're into that sort of thing.

If you haven't been to a WFM before (I hadn't), definitely make a point to check the new location out - I don't know that I'd shop there on a regular basis (it's about a 35 min drive for me), but they definitely offer quite a few things that other stores simply don't - and I don't just mean the pub!

Whole Foods Market Nashua
255 Amherst Street
Nashua, NH 03063
Open 8am - 10pm daily. 

*Disclosure: I was invited to a pre-opening blogger event for Whole Foods Market Nashua. I received a goody-bag full of samples, but was not otherwise compensated for this post. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

RACE REPORT: Sandown Olde Home Day 5 Miler

Monday... already? Seriously, where does the weekend go? This weekend was super busy (seems to be our usual these days), jam-packed with friends, family & fun. Friday night we grabbed a bite to eat with Nate & Cait, then watched Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead over some Trader Joe's "Two $3.49 Buck Chuck." Then we were up bright and early to head to Sandown for the Olde Home Day 5 Miler!

The race benefits Sandown Youth Programs and is known for its challenging, hilly course. Growing up in Sandown, I've been hearing about (and successfully avoiding) this race for basically my entire life. Until this year when mom asked me to run it with her. I've been running my fair share of hills in my neighborhood lately, so I figured what the heck. For the $20 registration fee, if nothing else, we would get a nice tech shirt and a run in.

We arrived about 20 minutes prior to the 9:00am start to pick up our bibs at the Sandown Fire House. There were no lines, because apparently the field of runners was tiny this year due to a Grand Prix Race that was taking place on Sunday. I guess all of the local running clubs that usually make an appearance in Sandown were saving their legs for the Grand Prix event, because there were a whopping 58 people who ran the 5 Miler. This was the first year that a 5k was offered (it started at the same time and was an up-and-back along the first part of the 5 mile route), and there were 41 runners in that event - so under 100 total. Yikes.

There was no start mat at this race, so our official times are 'gun time' - we started up the first hill (1 of 13) and quickly settled into a rhythm. It was a nice course, a big loop through some shaded neighborhoods. The shade was a blessing, since the temperatures rose quite a bit between start and finish. I was aiming for around a 10:00/mile pace given the hills and the quantity of cheap wine consumed the previous evening.

Even with a few walking water breaks, we crossed the finish with a 'gun time' of 00:49:30 for the 5 miles, which put mom second in her division and me fourth in my division! Given that we didn't start right at the front of the pack at the gun, I'd estimate our 'net time' around 00:49:18. All in all, a nice course, not nearly as bad as everyone made it out to be in terms of the hills (though my calves are pretty tight today) and definitely one I'd consider doing again next year!

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Sweet Friday Treat!

Happy Friday y'all! It has been one helluva week guys. If I weren't so darned busy this weekend, I'd say I was super glad the week was over! Now, of course this weekend's activities are much more fun than the shit week at work I've had, so I'm still super glad the week is over - I just wish I could relax this weekend.

Instead of sleeping in and then spending the day in my hammock, I'm getting up at the @$$-crack of dawn tomorrow to run an extremely hilly 5 mile race with mom, then off to a family party at my in-laws' house, then a bridal shower on Sunday. And then it's Monday again. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Instead of dwelling on how tired I am/will be, I wanted to share with you some deliciously sweet treat recipes that eMeals sent my way this week! If your remaining summer weekends are as packed as mine are with family gatherings, bbqs and other such food-related activities, take note - these would be awesome to bring to a family reunion!

Organic Coconut Blueberry Popsicle
  • 1 1/2 cup organic coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons organic shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup organic blueberries
In a glass mixing bowl, mix together coconut milk, honey, shredded coconut, and greek yogurt until well combined. Choose your favorite popsicle mold and fill until half inch from the top. Add blueberries into mixture by pushing them down into the mold, spreading them throughout the popsicle. Fill the remainder of the popsicle mold. Freeze overnight.
Mixed Fruit Popsicles
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
  • 1 peach, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 2 cups Vita Coco coconut water (great brand to use because it's sweet)
Combine all fruit in a mixing bowl and place in your favorite popsicle mold. Pour enough coconut water in each mold to just cover the fruit. Freeze overnight.
(Suggestion: taste your coconut water and see if it's sweet enough prior to pouring into mold. If not, in a separate mixing bowl add coconut water and your favorite sweetener to taste. Then add to popsicle mold to cover fruit.
Chocolate Nutella Popsicles
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate milk
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut spread
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix the chocolate milk and hazelnut spread together until well blended. Choose your favorite popsicle mold and fill to the rim and freeze overnight.
Easy peasy and oh-so-yummy! Speaking of easy peasy, I know I've talked about eMeals before on this blog (a super easy meal planning subscription service that provides not only recipes but shopping lists for all the ingredients for the week), so I won't go on and on, but they're offering a back-to-school special of 20% off to my readers on any of their meal planning subscriptions with code 'SCHOOL', so I wanted to share! You can also download their handy 'Back To School Recipe Guide' HERE. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

RACE REPORT: Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler

... aka 'The Race I Didn't Run- I Biked!' Race Report!

This is a bit different than my typical race report in that I didn't run the Newburyport Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler thanks to an untimely injury - instead I brought my bicycle and rode alongside mom while she ran it!

With over 3,000 runners were signed up for the event (between the 5k and the 10 Miler), the starting area (Newburyport High School) was packed. I parked just about a mile away - mostly because I had no idea where the start line was and I'm not familiar with the area so I just parked when I saw runners heading in hordes in one general direction. Mom parked about a quarter of a mile from the school but in the opposite direction, so it was pretty lucky how quickly we found each other in the masses!

The 5k started promptly at 6:00pm with the 10 miler starting at 6:13pm. I biked ahead and waited for mom at roughly the 1.4 mile mark, where the 10 miler turned off to head to the waterfront. Mom was aiming for a 10:00/mi avg pace, but I knew she'd be speedier than that, so I was ready with the camera. Within moments, the front-runners made their appearance - holy heck they're fast!

Shortly thereafter, I spotted mom in all her purple glory! She had a pep in her step and was just cruising along - looking good and strong through the first turn! The crowd hadn't really thinned at that point, so I knew I'd have to cut through a side street to reconnect with her rather than try to avoid a bunch of runners packed onto a small street.

I caught up with mom just after the two-mile mark and was able to ride alongside her for the remainder of the race (well, up til about mile 9 where I left to meet her at the finish). The course was really nice - a big loop that went through some really cute neighborhoods, streets lined with gorgeous old houses. There were tons of spectators along the route cheering, playing music and spraying their garden hoses to cool the passing runners - it was really neat. I think my favorite thing though was the people sitting on their front porches or at the end of their driveways, watching the race while enjoying big goblets of red wine. That's the way to do it!

Between miles 6-7, we made our way along a really scenic street, farmland on both sides. It was just before dusk and I said to mom that I was just waiting to see a deer in the field as we went by - and sure enough we did! It wasn't spooked by the music or the passing runners, just grazing - so pretty! Then it was on past the cows and into the final turn (still a couple of miles out from the finish). It was not a very hilly course, but there were a couple hills strategically placed within the course at intervals that would have made my legs angry - miles 7, 8 and then right before the finish line - just cruel! But mom eats hills for breakfast, so it didn't seem to phase her. Before I knew it, she was speeding into the finish for a PR, and well ahead of her goal pace!

While I'm disappointed that I didn't get to run this one, I will definitely keep it on my list for next year - you can't beat the $25 entry fee (with all race proceeds benefiting 'Eye Research' of Massachusetts through the Newburyport LIONS Club) for such a lengthy race, and the tech tee to the first 1200 runners were actually really nice!

Have you ever been sidelined by an injury and biked a course rather than running?

Monday, July 28, 2014

So much for that 10 Miler...

What a dreary Monday morning... it's one of those days that I just want to stay in bed, curl up next to the kitties and watch crappy TV in between naps. Unfortunately, that's not in the cards for me today - I've got a full schedule of meetings and a house that looks like a hurricane went through it after the weekend away for Jade's bachelorette festivities!

Heather and I arrived in Burlington around 10am on Saturday and met up with the rest of the girls for a few hours of boating on Lake Champlain to celebrate Jade & Chris's impending nuptials. We relaxed on the boat for the afternoon before dinner and drinks out, and then danced the night away on Church Street - it was so much fun! I'd never been to Burlington before, and what a cute little town!

Unfortunately for me though, I wound up injured before we even got on the boat... while running to the car to get my waterproof camera, I landed on a really sharp rock that pierced through my flip-flop, driving into the ball of my foot. It didn't break the skin, but it left one hell of a bruise... a bruise that now has made it's way from the ball of my foot into the arch, and is really painful to walk on. Fricken wonderful timing, since I am slated to run the Newburyport 10 Miler tomorrow with mom.

I figured I'd play it by ear, see how it felt after today, but if this morning's Barre class was any indication, I really shouldn't run. I mean, if I had to modify some of the moves that required going up on my toes for 10 seconds because of the pain, then pounding on pavement for 10 miles certainly isn't in the cards. The good news is that the race coordinator just emailed me back, and I can still keep mom company from the comfort of my bicycle!

Have you ever bruised the bottom of your foot really badly?
How long did it take before it didn't feel awful?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Barre Life | FINALLY - A Barre Studio in Manchester!

Good morning lovelies! How are you doing today?! I'm SO glad that it's Friday, this week has dragged on for what feels like a month. Work's been crazy and with four weddings left to go to this year, my weekends are filled with showers, bachelorette parties - never a dull moment! This weekend I'm off to Burlington VT for a girls' getaway for my friend Jade - sunshine, boating, adult beverages - glorious! Well, glorious except for the potential damage it'll do to my waistline!!!

To combat the beer bulge this weekend, I hit the pavement last night for a sweaty 5k and then was up early this morning to try out the new barre studio downtown. Barre Life, LLC just opened its doors about a month ago, and I was SO excited to find out that it had, because I've been waiting ages for a local studio! Prior to this, the nearest was about a 40 min drive with traffic!

I arrived at Barre Life, LLC for the 8am class and was immediately greeted by owner & instructor Britni Baron - we chatted for a few about what I hoped to get out of the class (I told her I just wanted to fit in my shorts again!) and then we got down to business.

The space was bright and inviting - my cell phone pics don't do it justice! The large picture window overlooking bustling Elm Street let in so much natural light and the open floor definitely made me excited about the workout. Combined with Britni's upbeat musical selections, I was ready to WORK!

And work I did. Holy hell guys, I know I've said it before, but barre workouts are NO JOKE. My legs were shaking about 3 minutes into the 45 minute Barre Burn workout! The moves are seemingly simple but they just destroy me. It's been an hour or so since I left and my legs still feel like jello!

Britni was encouraging and attentive through the class, focusing on proper form to not only prevent injury but attain the best burn possible - I really liked her style of instruction and am already looking forward to my next class! I highly recommend checking out a class yourself - you can check out the schedule and sign up at Drop-in classes are just $12 - buuuuttttttt if it's love at first class, you can sign up for a punch card or a monthly plan which drops the price per class considerably.

As for me, I signed up for the July Special of 1 month of unlimited classes for $70 (usually $90 - you can take advantage of the $20 savings through the end of July, so don't delay!) and am planning to belly up to the barre 3 times a week for the next month (alternating days with my running so that I'm ready for Reach the Beach in September) - I'm pretty sure that will help those shorts to fit again!

 Have you ever tried a barre class? What'd you think?