Burn Fat with Sprint Training

sprint-trainingSo I've been sprinting.  One of my new year's fitness resolutions was to begin sprinting, because it burns fat and encourages muscle growth, so it begun.  Do you sprint?  My new trainer, Jarrett Hahn, Owner of M.O.V.E Fitness & Performance in Hoboken, NJ discusses the benefits to sprint training and lays down some ground rules to ensure you're getting the most out of your workout.  After all, we don't have time to waste.

"One of the main benefits of sprinting is that it gets your nervous system fired up, releases endorphins and growth hormone, and activates muscle fibers that would otherwise be dormant," Hahn explained.

Make Sure Your Form is On Point

Form and technique is just as important in sprinting as in any other exercise or movement. Everything from the start phase, to the acceleration phase, to the maximum speed phase.  Turns out, I wasn't sprinting correctly until I was coached.  Here's a video on the proper form.

Use a Heart Rate Monitor

Wearing a heart rate monitor during sprinting, can be very beneficial if you’re looking to  shed excess body fat and widen your aerobic window.  It helps to get your body into an anaerobic state of exercise, which is short duration, high intensity exercise that lasts anywhere seconds up to around two minutes.  (For example, I've been doing a series of 15 second sprints to increase my heart rate, then allowing it to come down to 120 bpm before doing another.)

After two minutes, the body’s aerobic system kicks in. The anaerobic effect happens in the body when we exert ourselves at 84% of our max heart rate and above. The residual effects include: burning more calories at rest, developing strength, an increased VO2 max, a more lean and defined body, and a more efficient use of time.

Take it Easy

I've been doing a sprint training routine for 10-20 minutes per day three days a week. "You want to get right to the edge of that breaking point and call it a day. It is best to start on the more conservative side to avoid injury or overreaching," Hahn warns.

The Truth About Transcendental Meditation

transcendental-meditationIs this just a big mind f*ck?  I'm being mind f*cked right now.  Those were my exact thoughts as I sat through a four day course on transcendental meditation (TM).  Then I realized, maybe just maybe, I'm actually not being mind f*cked and this is for real.  My interest in TM started about a year ago after attending one of Gabby Bernstein's lectures.  She swore by it and promises it leads to a more fulfilled life.  The fact that it can cure migraines didn't hurt either.  Enter the new year.  Learning and practicing TM was one of my goals and now I can say, I'm an expert at it.  So what exactly is it and more importantly, is it working?

Transcendental Meditation (according to the Mayo Clinic) is a form of meditation that allows your body to settle into a state of profound rest and relaxation and your mind to achieve a state of inner peace, without needing to use concentration or effort.  A delve into the unconscious mind.  By practicing TM for 20 minutes twice a day, the benefits – all backed by science – include reduced stress, reduced insomnia, normalized blood pressure, lower risk of a heart attack and stroke, reduced anxiety and depression and overall improvement in brain function and memory.

transcendental-meditation-chartI began practicing meditation at my yoga studio, Integral Yoga Institute New York, about six months ago.  Focusing on the breath or sometimes maybe a candle light, it came easy to me and I found a true appreciation and love for it.  My anxiety has lessened and I have an overall feeling of calmness and peace afterwards.  Plus, it's the ultimate version of "me" time.

After attending an introductory lecture at a TM center in NYC, I realized that if I was going to take the time to meditate, I might as well get the most out of my practice and signed up. Studies prove the benefits, so what did I have to lose?  I eagerly jumped into a four day course (despite the fact that it costs $1,000) and my open mind was 100% on board.

The first meeting, I met privately with an instructor, (instructors become certified after a five month long meditation retreat, working on TM 24/7), and she preformed a ritual in Sanskrit where I gave a offering on an alter of three sweet fruits (in my case all oranges), 12 flowers (I gave yellow tulips) and a new, white handkerchief to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the man who bought the practice of TM to the world.  Then, I was given my mantra (a vehicle for transcendence) and taught the simple, effortless technique.

transcendental-meditation-offeringBright eyed, I went home and practiced what I learned later that afternoon.  The following three days, I met with a class of about 30 people who were in the course that was lead by four teachers. This is where the mind fucking comes in.  We all shared our experiences of how our TM practice was going each day, and no matter what the experiences were, (thoughts, flashing lights, even headaches) they were all positive results of TM.  The answer – they're a result of stress leaving the body.  All of them! As long as you use your mantra and practice two times a day for 20 minutes, you're good!  So did I just pay a grand to learn how to sit still for 20 minutes?  No, it's more than that, but what really got me was the fact that it's completely effortless.  There was no magic spell.

And you know what, after practicing twice a day for a little over a week now, I believe in it.  I believe that my TM experiences allow stress, which is the cause of so many poor health conditions, to leave my mind and body.  I've been happier (living my life by the laws of The Secret, I'm a pretty happy person, but this is a more of a peaceful, blissful state), clarity has improved, I'm more productive and efficient with my time, sleep better and maybe best of all, my anxiety has settled.

Truth is, if everyone practiced TM, our world would vibrate at a higher frequency and there would be no war – within ourselves and others.

Souping, the New Juicing

soupingSouping is the new juicing.  Yes, you read that right.  Some genius health foodies in LA are starting to cash in on the latest trend and it's only a matter of time before the rest of the country (or NYC at least) catches on.

Unlike juices, which often leave one hungry, soups focuses on fiber, fat, protein and the veggies that need to be cooked for maximum nutritional benefits.  I'm a huge fan of drinking green juice in the morning, (healthy green juice recipe), but can definitely appreciate this new souping fad.

Sold separately or as a complete cleanse, there are currently two companies on the cutting edge - Soupier and Soupelina, both in Los Angeles.  Soupure has they're own chef and recipe developer as well as a nutritional specialist and nutritionist on board.  With a large of products, the brand is part your grandmothers elixer part food science part modern health program.  They specialize in both cold and hot versions of soup and even make soup smoothies.  Yum!  Whether you're vegan or not, their bases range from vegetable, chicken and beef broth.  All all-natural, of course.

Kate Upton's Fitness Secret


Deemed People's "Sexiest Woman," Kate Upton seems to have it all.  And while she can thank God for blessing her with those curves, her trainer David Kirsch, is partially responsible for the rest.  So how does the super model tighten and tone?  With platypus walks.  Yep, she walks around like a duck and you can, too.  Here's the how-to.


  1.  Grab a medicine ball with both hands and extend your arms overhead.
  2. Squat in a sitting position with your knees over your toes and your butt sticking back as far as possible.  Yes, stick it out!
  3. Engage your core and walk forward, pushing off through each heel.
  4. Walk back and forth across your room until you can't anymore.

That's it!  It sounds so easy, but if you try it, you'll quickly feel the burn and realize why it works so well for Kate Upton.  Let me know how you do.  Hey, we'll be in bikinis again in no time!

New Year, New Fitness Goals

fitness-goalsI wonder how many of you have new fitness goals for the new year?  I think it's safe to say 99%.  Whether you're making the commitment to join a new fitness studio or just to be healthier in general, this post is for you.  I was inspired to write it after having dinner with my best friends, Michele and Jarrett Hahn, who own M.O.V.E NJ Fitness & Performance in Hoboken.  The day after our double date (and indulging in a few bottles of wine), I was sprinting for the first time in years.  Here are my new fitness goals (effective immediately) that I'm sure will inspire you, too.

Change it up.  It's been one year since I moved to Hoboken, which makes it one year that I've been doing Local Barre classes about five times a week.  While I dabble in trying new fitness classes all over NYC, my main workout is barre.  "In order to cause change to your body composition you must constantly change up your workout regime," stated Jarrett Hahn, trainer and the owner of M.O.V.E NJ Fitness and Performance.  "The body will only adapt to new stimulus, meaning if you keep doing the same thing, your body will remain the same. Changing up your routine every 4-6 weeks would be ideal." I'm going to begin incorporating sprints and more cardio into my routine.  What are you going to do?

Push past your comfort zone.  It seems like common knowledge, but we don't always go for the extra challenge.  If you're doing something that feels somewhat comfortable, push yourself to the next level.  For example, I used to be able to plank for 20 seconds (comfortably).  Now, I'm proud to say that I can hold a proper plank for a minute and 30 seconds and am trying to get stronger each day.

Track your movement.  I've never worn a device that tracks my steps or how much I sleep, but out of curiosity I'm starting to wear the Tom Tom Runner Cardio GPS.  The heart rate monitor will help me stay on track when sprinting and help me keep my overall fitness goals.

Make a new playlist.  Music drives my movements.  How about you?  Creating a new playlist is just as good, if not better than buying new workout gear.  I love NYC DJ and my friend, David Hamburg's, mixes on Spotify.

Forget excuses.  This is my biggest problem!  I don't like to sweat, I like to glisten, which has kept me from cardio for a while.  Also, if I have a blowout... forget about it.  If we want results, there are no excuses.

Now it's your turn to inspire me!  Share your fitness goals for the new year below. 

*This post is sponsored by Tom Tom, but all of my thoughts and actions are true.

with gratitude...

gratitudeHappy Thanksgiving BeautySweetSpot readers!  I love Thanksgiving Day simply because it's another excuse to get together with my family, but to be honest, I think highlighting the celebration of gratitude one day out of the year is BS.  I want to let you know that I'm grateful for all of you, as without you, I wouldn't be blessed with this career.  I encourage you to remember the feeling you have on Thanksgiving and carry it with you daily – practice gratitude, it's a lifestyle.  We all get so caught up in the grind that we often tend to forget about all that we have.  Live for today, in the present and be grateful for each moment, each encounter and each opportunity.  Have a great day!

Indulging on the Quantum of the Seas, Our Way

royal-caribbbean-quantum-of-the-seasDid you see my Instagram pics from last weekend?  I was on a cruise!  That's right, Royal Caribbean launched a new ship, Quantum of the Seas, and invited Joe and I to set sail for two nights to check it out.  Let me tell you, I've been on Royal Caribbean cruises before with my family, but this ship is a game changer – especially for people like us – who like to indulge on vacation sans the calories.  Here's what I mean...

royal-caribbbean-quantum-of-the-seasIt's the first smart ship – ever!  I had wifi the entire time out to sea so I was able to Instagram my journey.  While that's a huge plus, one thing that I always loathe about cruises is the inevitable weight gain.  Twenty-four hour buffets, ice cream bars and bathing suits.  Not my style.  The new Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas however, was a place Joe and I were able to indulge in relaxing and staying fit.

royal-caribbbean-quantum-of-the-seasMorning FlyWheel classes were followed by hours at the spa.  Yes, the ship actually had a FlyWheel studio, which was one of my favorite parts.  Overlooking the ocean, the gym had many fitness classes you could sign up for like TRX and more.  We didn't miss a beat.

royal-caribbbean-quantum-of-the-seasThe Vitality Spa offered everything from Botox to massages.  I indulged in a facial and massage, because with two days at sea, what else is a girl to do?  The massage was wonderful.

royal-caribbbean-quantum-of-the-seasWhen it came to eating, of course being that it was all inclusive, we could have been disgusting.  However, we found a juice bar and really enjoyed the restaurants the cruise had to offer.   One of them, Devinly Decadence, is run by "Biggest Loser" winner and chef, Devin Alexander.  She tailored the menu to ensure nothing is over 500 calories.


Of course, the wine was flowing and deserts were abundant, but a healthy lifestyle didn't have to be sacrificed on this ship.  The Quantum of the Seas is our kind of cruise.

Finding Peace in the City that Never Sleeps

jeannine-morrisWhen I first met Gabby Bernstein back in April, I had no idea my life would be forever changed – for the better.  As a freelance journalist who thrives off of the energy of the hustle and bustle of NYC, I've found the time and interest to begin following a spiritual path.  Through meditation, Hatha yoga and workshops I'm more present and centered than ever before.  And this is only the beginning.

secret_daily_teachings__large Years ago I read The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and began practicing the law of attraction – if you think it and believe it, it will come – and it has.  Little did I know, that this was the first step in my spiritual journey.  When living The Secret, you are taught to retrain your thoughts of negativity and weakness (I'm so broke.) to positive, empowering ones (The check's in the mail.).  The positivity you project through your thoughts starts to become your reality.  Today, I credit The Secret for much of my success in business.

gabby-bernsteinThen, I met Gabby Bernstein.  At a press event for Philosophy, Gabby began talking about her life as a spiritual teacher and educating us on practical ways to meditate in today's world, and I immediately wanted more.  One example of a practice she gave was about taking a "mental shower," in which you practice a breathing exercise during your morning shower to set the tone for your day.  (Breathe in for five seconds, hold for five seconds, release for five seconds.  Repeat.)  I went on to read all of her books, attend her workshops and now, practice meditation at the Integral Yoga Institute in NYC. The same place, she learned to meditate.

"Our mind is like a drunken monkey stung by a scorpion," Jyothi, my meditation teacher explained.

The breathing, chanting and vibration of meditation allows for a togetherness with complete strangers who I have zero attachment to.  I'm addicted.  I feel alive and present when I'm at the IYI and find myself craving the next time I can go back.  While I'm still trying to dedicate myself to meditating twice a day at home, the group meditation really works for me.

Now, not only am I practicing The Secret, but I've enhanced my life with Gabby's spiritual practices as well – to try to always be in the light by trying to bring forth my highest energy and elevate my state of joy.  Through forgiveness and willingness, I'm trying to vibrate at a frequency of positivity and hoping to spread the love in order to make a radical impact on others. With this shift in energy, I am at peace, allowing myself to be present and see the world through eyes of love.

Through my mind and body, I've started to find peace in the city that never sleeps. Interested? Then start reading The Secret and then read Gabby Bernstein's books.  The practices learned lead to living an optimal lifestyle.  And if you think you don't have time to read or try meditation, then ask yourself (in Gabby's words), "Do you have time to feel like shit?"

The Best Fitness Apps


fitness-appsYou can consider all of us here at BeautySweetSpot fitness fanatics. From running, to yoga and barre, we've got it all covered, which is why we rounded up the best fitness apps that’ll inspire you to get up and get moving – all while having fun, of course.


This easy-to-use fitness app is great for experienced runners and newbies alike. It features a GPS map that’ll track your every move and a very nice lady-robot (probably related to Siri) who will tell you helpful things like your pace and how long you’ve been running. Once you complete your workout session, Runkeeper gives you the option of bragging about your time and distance on social media, which is awesome for motivational purposes. Never forget that it doesn’t matter how far you go or how fast, you’re still lapping everyone who’s on the couch.

Yoga Studio

Yoga memberships are expensive. A single class can cost upwards of twenty bucks.  Enter the Yoga Studio app. For less than five bucks you get a plethora of awesome routines that are designed to strengthen your muscles through guided workouts and audio cues. More experienced and actually able to touch your toes already? There are plenty of more advanced workouts available, making this the ideal app for yogis of all levels.


Sometimes the hardest part of working out is just showing up. Pact makes that decision significantly easier by offering rewards and penalties for people who break their workout dates, meaning that every time you skip a workout…you lose real money deducted from your credit card. On the other hand if you meet your goals at the end of the week, then you can actually earn money too! Clever, right? The best part is that Pact can be synced with other fitness apps like your FitBit or even Runkeeper to help hold you accountable without having to do too much extra work like logging in your exercise manually.

Zombies, Run!

If Runkeeper is too boring for you to consider running as a real form of exercise, why don't you give Zombies, Run! a try? Suddenly, running to the corner ahead of you means the difference between you surviving the Zombie apocalypse and you getting totally eaten by a crowd of the walking dead. The app has super creative story lines built in that make you think you're running for your life and running certain distances will unlock gear that'll help you survive another day. Definitely better then your average workout class, right?

Charity Miles

While you're out running from Zombies or challenging your friends to work out twice a week in order to earn five dollars, consider also logging your challenges with Charity Miles. For every mile of exercise that you do, a corporate sponsor will donate to a charity on your behalf. That way, not only are you helping yourself live a healthier lifestyle, but you will be helping the lives of others at the same time.


Exclusive Interview with Ballerina, Misty Copeland

mistycopeland2.jpg“Thank you for your application to our ballet company. Unfortunately, you will not be accepted.  You lack the right feet, achilles tendons, turn out, torso length, and bust.  You have the wrong body for ballet. And at 13, you are too old to be considered.”

Misty Copeland, the woman in the new Under Armour 'I Will What I Want' ad, told me was a list of reasons why she would never succeed as a ballerina.  Today, well look at her.  I was fortunate enough to sit down one-on-one with the first African-American soloist in two decades for the American Theater Ballet Company.  Here's what she had to say...

mistycopelandWhat is it that drew you to ballet?

I was literally pushed into it. I didn’t know anything about [ballet]. So there was no drive or real focal point really. I took my first ballet class at a boys and girls club on a basketball court and I was pushed into taking it. I took it at the late age of 13 and then to achieve being a member of one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world in only four years of training I think just says something about the determination that was so innate that just speaks to the I Will What I Want campaign.

What is it that you love most about ballet?

It’s athletic, artistic, I think it’s an art and a sport. I think we need to come up with a new word for that. We’re more than just an athlete and more than just an artist. And what it takes to be the whole package and be all these things and these very elite small percentage of people that makes it to these top companies it takes a ton of perseverance and determination and dedication.

If you weren’t doing ballet, what is it you think you would doing with your life/career?

I would be athletic. I’d be Fashion. I don’t know. I would be doing something that got me moving. I think that’s what I was meant to do. From the time I was like seven, I had like massive calf muscles and thighs even though I did nothing physical. So I think I was meant to do something physical.

Did you ever play other sports?

I played basketball for fun with my brothers when I was growing up. There was three boys in my family. But I never played in leagues or anything that was structured. I’m really drawn to basketball. I can’t wait to meet Steph Curry who’s now also Under Armour athlete, who plays for the Golden State Warriors. Hopefully I get a one-on-one with him.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

Oooh shoes. When it comes to food though? Cupcakes.

What’s your favorite pair of shoes?

Right now I have a pair of Saint Laurent's that are like hot pink platform. But that’s not my typical. Like I have so many Christian Louboutins. The very classic ones simple nude, black, pointy toe.

Misty Copeland was phenomenal in person and such an inspiration.  Check out her video and I promise you'll be inspired, too.


SLT, The Best 50 Minutes of Exercise, Ever

SLT "This is hard as sh*t," my best friend Adrienne grunted to me as we attempted to pull our knees to our chest in the most twisted plank position while on a reformer. Moving it in and out with our hands up on handle bars, the resistance wasn't all that I loved to hate. Her seventh class, my first.  She did it.  But I on the other hand, realized that while I may appear toned, I'm beyond weak.  Having never been on a reformer machine before, leave it to my BFF to encourage me not only to try it, but to test it out during an SLT class.

SLT = strengthen, lengthen, tone (until you die) is a megaformer workout studio.  Being that I take barre classes about five times a week, the workout seemed right up my alley and I was excited to challenge myself again with something different. Our instructor, Kaitlin, showed me the ropes of the reformer and through cardio, a bit of weight training and body sculpting through Pilates, every single muscle of my body was worked.  I was sweating.  Actually sweating and you know I only like to 'glisten.'

SLT-2There were only six people in our class, but the studio can hold ten.  It's small, but spacious with mirror lined walls and windows looking over the city streets.  The class lasts 50 minutes and costs $40 if you pay individually.  However, they of course have packages that are more cost effective.  Despite the fact that I wasn't able to do everything, there were women in there who could, including my BFF. This is a fitness class that I now need in my lifestyle.

To view a schedule, visit sltnyc.com.

SLT Midtown is located at 41 W. 57th St., NYC and SLT Soho is at 132 Crosby St., NYC

Hidden Beauty Benefits in Your Food

beauty-benefits-in-your-food.jpgDid you know that some of the food you eat can help fight free radicals, moisturize your skin and even keep you trim?  Ah! Now you're paying attention.  Yes, there are hidden beauty benefits in your food.  Through a survey conducted by Simple Skincare, 50%of women claim they strive for a healthy diet. However, they are missing key foods that can do wonders for their beauty health. We talked with Nicole Avena, PhD, author of Why Diets Fail to get the scoop on how these foods can benefit us and some tips on how to incorporate them into your daily routine.

Brussels sprouts are one of the most beneficial foods when it comes to your long-term health. “They can lower cholesterol and help with DNA protection,” Dr. Avena explains. “And they are among the highest content when it comes to glucosinolate, which is a cancer-protective element.”  Avena suggests steaming brussels sprouts for your lunch or dinner veggie.

If you’re looking for a food to increase your mood (and who isn't), walnuts are the food for you. And believe it or not, improving your mood goes hand in hand with improving your skin. Avena explains that they are packed with B-vitamins, which is good for stress and mood management. “B-vitamins, together with Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant, help fight the free radicals induced due to stress. This further delays the ageing process.” And who doesn’t want that, right?

Another food that benefits your skin is wild salmon. It’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which helps keep your skin supple and moisturized. Salmon is also great during summer because it contains selenium, a mineral that protects the skin from UV-exposure.

Looking to maintain a healthy figure?  Avocados will help keep you lean and trim. "They're a great source of both insoluble and soluble fiber," Avena explains. Insoluable fiber keeps you regular, while soluable fiber helps control appetite by making you feel fuller.  This is a favorite of Avena’s. “I’m really liking avocados right now. They are easy to turn into a dip by mashing 1-2 up and adding some spices. Also, they are delicious on their own for a quick healthy snack. I cut them in half and eat then out of the skin with a spoon.”

What's your favorite beauty food?  According the the survey, 68% of women are missing out on Brussels sprouts, 62% on walnuts, 57% on salmon and 56% miss avocados.  Ladies, let's get munching on the right stuff!

Gabby Bernstein's 'Miracles Now' Will Change Your Life

It's ironic that April is Stress Awareness Month, because as a freelancer with a calendar full of deadlines and a wedding in about seven weeks, I've been living almost stress free.  Enter Gabby Bernstein, who I like to call my new life coach.  A the author of "Miracles Now" and self proclaimed "Spirit Junkie,"who I'm telling you, after hearing her speak at a breakfast with Philosophy, changed my life.  I can't stop talking about her, reading her books and practicing what she preaches.  Here's why.

As soon as she began talking about the energy field we each have around us I knew she was my girl.  As a strong believer of "The Secret" and the law of attraction, Gabby enhanced everything I learned from that book and taught actual techniques from the practice of Kundalini, (the yoga of awareness), on how to control your stress and anxiety and add flow to your life.  "When you practice these techniques, fear will melt away, inspiration will spring up and a sense of peace will set in," she says.  Believe.

As a NY Times Best Selling Author, Gabby's new book, "Miracles Now," is the first one I read. (out of four).  By practicing paying attention to my breath and meditating by taking what she calls a "mental shower" I'm a much calmer person.  And let me tell you, my anxiety often tries to get the best of me.  I even start my mornings by listening to her "Super Soul Sunday" playlist on Spotify.

Pick up Gabby's book, "Miracles Now" at Barnes and Noble and you'll see what I mean.

The Tequila Diet

I hate drinking.  It's not that I don't like catching a much need buzz from time to time, but the act of drinking alcohol just doesn't appeal to me.  As a selective vegan (don't put a brownie in front of my face) and someone who's obsessed with staying fit, posioning myself through drinking just doesn't make sense with my lifestyle. However, I'm still human.  Welcome tequila...

Living in NYC and Hoboken now, my work and social life revolves around cocktails. I typically order a glass of wine and nurse it for the night simply so I don't have to hear, "Why aren't you drinking?" over and over again.  When your preferred drink is ice water, you're automatically labeled as no fun.  And then, when everyone around you catches a good buzz, being the only sober person really isn't fun.

Recent research presented at the American Chemical Society this week suggests that agavins, the natural sugar found in the tequila-producing agave plant, can help with weight loss and diabetes.  How?  Because unlike other sugars, agavins aren't absorbed into the body and since they're a source of fiber, they'll make people feel fuller, longer.

This had me thinking.  I actually Googled "benefits of drinking tequila" since I knew that the it was low in calories to begin with and this Forbes article came up.  Since there are about 100 calories in a shot of tequila, and you know the saying: one tequila, two tequila, three tequila... it wouldn't be such a sin.  While agavins aren't on the market yet, I could be a fan of the skinny girl margarita for now.  Sour mix? Ew. Save it for the fatties.

5 Foods That'll Make You More Beautiful

You are what you eat.  Literally.  Giving up milk made me find my collar bone that was there, but now it's predominate thanks to the lack of dairy (see post).  There was literally what I like to call a 'coat of bloat' (hot right?) lying on top.  Just like the way I decided to eliminate food for beauty, there are also foods we should be eating to enhance our beauty.  An old friend of mine, Jolene Hart, a certified beauty and health coach and author of Eat Pretty, filled me in on five essential beauty foods.

1. Lemons. My skin has extra glow ever since I made it a priority to start my day with a simple detox drink: warm lemon water. Lemons are full of collagen-building vitamin C (our collagen production slows as we age, so a collagen boost means more youthful-looking skin), plus they clean out the digestive tract and balance aging acidity in the body.

2. Avocado. Half an avocado will instantly supercharge a smoothie, and it makes a beautifying snack spread on gluten-free bread or sprinkled with a little sea salt and spices. Avocado burns quickly and easily for energy, naturally detoxes the body and supports strong, well-hydrated skin cells.

3. Greens. The greens in my kitchen change with the seasons and my mood; they might be dandelion greens in the spring, watercress in the summer or kale in the winter. With fresh greens at hand, I can whip up a green drink, throw together a salad, or create an instant dinner by steaming them and tossing with a protein-rich grain like quinoa and fresh sauce. Greens have their own unique benefits, but all tend to be high in vitamin A, a beauty nutrient known to smooth skin, renew and repair skin damage and fight acne by regulating sebum production.

4. Cinnamon. Spices are beauty powerhouses and, since I have a major sweet tooth, cinnamon is the spice I reach for most often. When paired with high glycemic foods like sweets, it reduces the aging, blemish-causing blood sugar spike that we experience. It’s a favorite beauty secret to fight wrinkles, breakouts and signs of aging.

5. Ginger Root. In the winter, fresh ginger is a cold-fighter; in the summer, ginger makes a cooling addition to spicy food. Ginger supports healthy digestion and reduces inflammation— two powerful essentials for a calm, even, radiant complexion.

Jolene's book, Eat Pretty, offers plenty more!  Check it out on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.

Sponsored: Gym Bag Essential

How many times a day do you switch bags?  In one day, I typically switch between a gym bag (my new Juicy Couture one that I'm obsessed with pictured above), computer bag (which acts as my office on the go) and cross body bag that's big enough to fit just the essentials.  While I always transfer my wallet, keys and lipgloss, each of them have staples that remain within.  I'm sure you can relate to this madness as a girl has to do what a girl has to do.  One of my gym bag staples are so essential I have to tell you about them.

Daily, I arrive to barre class looking like I'm about to go skiing, peel off my layers and while I don't leave dripping in sweat, I'm sticky and glistening.  Yes, a shower is in order.  However, before I get there, I pile on all of the layers again and typically have a million errands to run before I actually get home.  Therefore, before putting my snowsuit back on, I dig in my bag and freshen up quickly with Ban Total Refresh Cooling Body Cloths.

They give off a cooling effect on contact and are a sneaky way to pretend you showered.  I always feel awake and revived after working out and these are like the icing on the cake. They're available in three scents called Enliven, Restore and Invigorate, which I like the best because it smells the freshest for $3.29 at mass retailers. 

*This is a sponsored post, but my thoughts and actions are true.

How to Make the Healthiest Green Juice

Whether you're a daily green juice drinker or or can't stand the thought of drinking your veggies, you should read this post.  I had the chance to concoct the healthiest green juice with the Founder of Juice Generation, Eric Helms, who's reasons for juicing may make you want to start blending your own.  Here are his tips on how to create the perfect green juice no matter what your palette can handle.

"People have preconceived ideas about juicing being time consuming, expensive and messy, but if you have $20 a week, you can have a green juice ready in five minutes every day that won't taste like your front yard," Helms commented.

You can start slowly with spinach and apple, but as your palette adjusts you're going to want to go more and more green simply because of the way it makes you feel. "Unlike coffee, which gives you a spike in energy and then a crash, the energy you get from green juice is sustained throughout the day."  The greener you go, the more energy you'll get.

Step 1: Gather the Freshest Ingredients

We used 1 cucumber, romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, parsley, 2 celery stalks, a 1/2 an apple and a 1/4 of a lemon.  Depending on how much sugar you want to add, adding apples will help sweeten your juice.  Try adding two if you're starting out.  Lemon helps to cut the taste.  Again, depending on your palette and where you are in your green juice journey, you can add as much as you'd like.  When possible, buy organic because the skin isn't harmed by pesticides.

Step 2: Prep 

Clean all of your produce with cold water and a touch of vinegar to make sure its free of potential chemicals on the skin.  All of the nutrients in the greens are held in the leaves, so rid all of the stems and peel your lemon.  Keep the skin on the rest as it holds the most nutrients.  Don't worry about seeds from apples and lemons though, most juicers have strainers to catch them.

Step 3: Blend

The way you put your produce into your juicer matters.  Add the greens first (spinach, parsley, kale) and then add something that will juice like a cucumber to push it down.  Repeat this process.

Into it?  I thought you would be.  Besides sustained energy, green juice is also good for your skin, hair and nails.  For more recipes and advice check out Helms's new book, "The Juice Generation: 100 Recipes for Fresh Juices & Superfood Smoothies."

Shaking is Key to A Successful Barre Class

My legs were shaking like I was having an orgasm (sorry mom).  That's when I knew I had to write about it.  It's been a month that this has been happening.  Class after class, move after move and it's not stopping thanks to Local Barre.  Turns out, shaking is a good thing!  Taking any type of barre class?  Read this before your next pulse or squeeze.  It'll make you want to shake, too.

"Shaking means your changing your body and doing it right," explains one of my Local Barre instructors, Meghan Grant.  "You're working your body to exhaustion and changing your muscles by making them nice and lean."

As a fitness enthusiast, you know I've been frequently attending CKO classes and have always tried new classes at my former gym, which have all kept me in shape, but nothing ever made me actually shake.  Since ballet inspired barre classes are focused on the core and help to strengthen, lengthen and tone even the tiniest muscles, shaking at times during class is necessary for change.

In order to shake, you need to figure out the technique and check your alignment on every move.  Once that's in check, continue to challenge yourself.  "Always adjust when your body gets comfortable and don't be afraid to ask your instructor questions," Grant remarked.  To achieve the detailed toning you're looking for, kick things up a notch to continue to shake – get higher on the balls of your feet when doing exercises in relevé and try bending down into a lower chair when it's time to work those thighs.  

Local Barre is located in Hoboken, NJ.

6 Ab Exercises, As Demonstrated in GIFs

Even though we were just counting down to the new year, guess what I'm counting again.  To my wedding you think?  Well, but no.  To Memorial Day weekend!  There are 138 days until Memorial Day, which is my bachelorette party in the Hamptons and bikini time for all of us. If a New Year's resolution wasn't enough motivation, my count down to summer may help. Here are six ab exercises (in GIFs!) that'll help you tone up before the clothes come off. 1. Let's start with basics.