DEALING WITH AN INJURY, PART I

It's ironic that I sit here writing this post while being sidelined for the SECOND time this year due to injury. I broke my ankle on Monday night and spent all of Tuesday in the "BITTER" stage of grief. Hold up, just Googled it... "Bitter" isn't technically a stage, but it should be, because I was one HELL of a Bitter Betty. All I could keep thinking about was that I was laid up in a ton of pain because of one person's action... or mis-action. If the member who'd spilled her water bottle on the stairs had only stopped to clean it up... I wouldn't be in this mess. I wondered if she even knew that her careless attitude had such consequences. (Yes, I know it was a female. No, I don't know who it was. And yes, if I did know who it was, I'd want her to know what happened because why wouldn't I?! Maybe it was the same girl who slid a couple of unused plates ON MY BAR IN THE MIDDLE OF MY SET. Yes, that actually happened. You wouldn't believe some of the shit I see in the gym. I'm surprised people don't get injured more often, honestly.)

I digress.

Relaxing in Greece on our honeymoon. My back pain hadn't started yet, but I was already plenty bloated from lots of gluten. (bikini top, bikini bottom, sunnies)

The next few days brought a little more clarity in a "Shit Happens" kind of way. Following my accident last week, I had a couple of really frustrating conversations with people I shall not name... people whom I am certain had good intentions with poor delivery. I was told, "Don't be frustrated," and, "So you have to stay out of the gym for a few weeks. So what? You're young." I repeated these trite statements in a whiny voice to my dad, and he made the following (very valid) points:

· Most people don't know how bad my back injury was because I didn't complain or talk about it all that much. This is very true. I didn't take any time off work and I mentioned it to people quickly and vaguely because I didn't want to dwell on it. This was a mistake, because when I finally opened up, I realized that talking about it was actually really helpful and reassuring.

· Not everyone can empathize or sympathize with someone who is miserable at the thought of staying home from work and the gym to relax for a week or two. To some, the forced break may not sound that bad or maybe even somewhat enticing. For me, it's hell. I love what I do and not being able to work - or workout - is inexplicably frustrating for me.

So here's the story. Back in August, Ben and I went to Greece for our honeymoon. I have dreamed of going to Greece my whole life, and I was so, so excited. On the second day of the trip, I woke up early and went to the hotel gym. I felt a little off during my workout, but I ignored it and pressed on. Later that day, Ben and I were in a sandal shop and as I sat down on a low stool to try one on, I feel a sharp pain somewhere between my back and my hip. The pain only got worse as time went on, eventually reducing me to tears. I did everything I could think of... I got a massage in the resort spa, tried massaging it myself, took lots of Greek ibuprofen... nothing helped. The worst part was that I couldn't really relay how bad the pain was to Ben a) because Ben's been fortunate enough to never know any great physical pain in his life and b) because I didn't want to ruin our honeymoon with my discomfort.

But unfortunately, in so many ways, it really put a damper on our vacation. Being sick in a foreign place is terrifying. I had no idea what was wrong with me, but the sharp pain stayed with me for the remainder of the trip. Ben and I were planning on an active honeymoon, and I felt so limited. I didn't want to disappoint Ben so I did as much as I could. We embarked on the 3-hour hike we'd planned, but had to stop halfway through to call a cab because I was in such excruciating pain. We took a snorkeling cruise. We climbed the Acropolis ruins to the top. I smiled through all of it. But I was miserable. 

Climbing the ancient ruins was not easy or fun, but it was worth it.

I went to a sports medicine doctor as soon as we got home and she told me I'd bulged a disc and it was likely due to all the travel, sitting, etc. I've had back problems in the past (I have mild scoliosis) so it wasn't shocking. My doctor put my on a high dosage of anti-inflammatory steroids, and the pain was gone within a few days (and I haven't felt pain in that spot since, thank God). I did a few weeks of physical therapy and took six weeks off of working out with the exception of the elliptical machine and some corrective exercises. When I was ready to start lifting again, I talked to one of the most respected trainers on staff and she helped me design a program for myself. I spent October and November hitting the gym hard. In a lot of ways I felt like I was starting from scratch. I was focused, determined and felt stronger than ever.

Until Monday.

I know that in another six weeks or so I'll have vastly broader, differing opinions on this topic. But for now, here's what I want you to know:

· If you're in pain but not quite sure why or what's causing it, don't be a hero. GO TO THE DOCTOR. Get help. Ignoring or "dealing" with your pain doesn't make you tough, it makes you foolish. Seek a solution.

· Don't stop at the doctor. Do your homework. Research literature on the internet. Talk to other fitness, health and medical professionals. Educate yourself and fill your brain with as much information on the subject as you possibly can.

· Physical injuries don't just affect your body; they can create a real mental hurdle as well. I 100% slipped back into my depression when I got back from Greece and couldn't work out. I was so down. Elle Woods taught us all that working out gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy. Life without those endorphins - when you're used to them - is not nearly as fun. My injury was incredibly isolating. I felt alone; I felt lost and I cried a lot. I felt like a failure. I've been dealing with a lot of those same feelings over the past seven days, but this time around I feel slightly better equipped to fight these mental battles.

· Create a plan of attack. Do you have to take time off? If so, how much? When you can return, what will you do? I sought the advice of a seasoned trainer at our gym who I respect the hell out of. She was so helpful and I'm really happy I asked her for assistance. Her guidance and encouragement has made a huge difference in my recovery.

· Don't think about getting 'back' (no pun intended) to where you were. Concentrate only on moving forward. Period!

One of the scarier thoughts I've had over and over again in the past week is that all of the progress I made in the past few months is down the drain because I'm now forced to take another six weeks off from working out. But the truth is that I've worked really hard and even though it may feel all for naught right now, I wouldn't take it back. It SUCKS to be sidelined again, but I have to look at this obstacle as a stepping stone. I have always loved a challenge, and this will be no different. I've learned a lot about the human body, about my abilities and vulnerabilities and my capacity to adapt and grow. The only place to go from here is onward and upward.

Stay tuned.

P.S. Talking helps. It really, really does. Email me anytime. I mean it.

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS...

...Pray they are lulu. (JK. Not really.)

Today I was planning to write a post about bouncing back from injury. I haven't really shared much about the past few months on here - bulging a disc on on our honeymoon and all that entailed - and I found in the weeks that followed that talking to others about my experience really helped. Guys, talking is everything. The driving force that started my blog in the first place all those years ago - other than my desperation for a creative outlet - stemmed from my desire to connect with, and hopefully relate to, others.

Wearing 4 of my absolute favorites: hat, jacket, burgundy high-waist leggings, sneaks

Anyway, I've been meaning to put together this post for awhile now in hopes it helps at least one of you. I wanted to tell you how the experience affected me, how I retaliated, and that I came out of it and into a routine that had me feeling stronger than ever. Well... until yesterday, that is. Because - and how's this for irony?

I broke my ankle last night.

I was descending the stairs after my last client and all of the sudden, I slipped on something and my feet went out from under me. I fell and think I probably blacked out for a second because it seemed like all of these people came out of nowhere as I got myself back up. I was so confused and kept shooing away all of these kind folks trying to help me. My instinct is always to put on a "No, no, I'm fine!" act no matter what - and I really thought I was. I'm very stubborn and I hate appearing weak. I later learned there was water on the stairs and someone was on their way to clean it up - but I guess I got there before they did. How's that for bad timing?

This is my first broken bone in almost 32 years of life. And if I'm being honest with you - which I always am - I'm wavering between, "Thank God this isn't worse," and "WHY???" Pity party for one, right here. I feel like I only JUST made a "comeback" of sorts from my back injury. To have another setback, now? To have all that progress go right down the toilet? I'm frustrated. I'm gobsmacked. I'm MAD. 

Ben and I were in a legit state of shock last night in the ER when the doctor came in and said, "Bad news; it's broken." When she said, "You can't run for the next six weeks," he and I locked eyes and I started to sob. I'm not even a "runner" but good God. No one wants to hear that. I have to say that almost everyone we came in contact with in the ER was wonderful. (And they all ask, "Have you been here before?" Like, "Hey cutie, come here often?" Um, no. First timer.) The doctor who diagnosed me was my least favorite because she was very manic, vague and offered us no level of comfort, but I've since come to understand this is typical of the ER. Understandably so. I would've appreciated a kinder bedside manner, but I get it. Not her song and dance.

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Irrelevant athleisure continued... vest, cowl neck top, leggingssunniesbag, sneaks

I guess the one upside here is that I'm forced to sit still for a bit and will have more time to write as a result. I've been wanting to post more but I get so easily overwhelmed with my schedule. My dad called me early this morning and said, "I hope you're blogging." He gets it. Talking (writing) about it always helps!

In general, I've always counted myself pretty lucky health-wise. Yes, I've battled clinical depression and have hit bumps in the road, as we all have. But I've always felt my immune system is pretty good to me. This theory was magnified about 4 years ago, when I got the flu in early 2013. It was the first time I got really sick since turning my life around. No one likes being sick, of course, but in the past few years I've learned that feeling weak terrifies me in a way it never did before I really took control of my health. Being sick SCARES me!

To make a long story long, I still owe you all my original story of how I "bounced back"... and now I'll have another version of it, too. Right now I'm laid up on our couch and so frustrated I could scream... but I will figure this out. I will turn lemons into lemonade. And I will redefine "stronger than ever." Again.

Stay tuned.

WHAT I ATE IN A DAY

It's a good thing I'm not really a blogger, because I suck at this! In truth, it's been a really tough couple of months and I haven't felt much like sharing. Writing our anniversary post last month was such a lovely reminder how much I truly enjoy hearing from and connecting with so many of you fantastic folks. I want to write a separate post on why the past few months have been so challenging (read: I bulged a disc) and how I rebounded from that setback. I felt so isolated and I can only imagine others have had to deal with those types of mental hurdles as well. I think it's all of our duties to share our experiences with others. If nothing else, it helps us feel less alone!

Today, though, I thought I'd ease back into this whole bloggin' thang with a series we all know and love: WHAT I ATE IN A DAY!

A few not-really-disclaimers, first: a) yes, I know I eat A LOT. b) I work out 6 days a week and train anywhere from 2 to 8 clients in a given day in addition to training myself (yesterday I trained 6 other people). I take one day off a week from training clients and my own workouts, and that day is Sunday. c) I was SO hard on myself in the weeks following my injury, that you'll see I'm not being quite as strict with food as I have been in the past. d) TMI, but I eat more when I'm on my period. And I am.

We good?

Oooookay! Yesterday's alarm rang at 5:05am, though my body clock more often than not beats that little bugger to the punch and I turn it off before it disturbs Ben. My 6am client is notoriously early, so I don't like to keep her waiting. We start our session at 5:50am. Starbucks run right after for a latte, which I sip happily in the quiet front-of-the-gym lounge. That little bit of peaceful time is so imperative to the introvert in me! I head back upstairs, spot Ben on the gym floor and we chat for a bit before my next client.

Home for a few hours between clients. I love to start the day with lots of protein and nutrients. It sets me off on the right foot. These days my go-to smoothie contains Califia Farms almond milk, a frozen banana, a big handful of spinach or kale, a scoop of Bob's Red Mill pea protein, almond butter, ground flax seed and a little bit of organic honey.

I look at my own workouts as part of my job, so I schedule them in my calendar like meetings. Yesterday I knew the best time for me to workout was going to be in between my 11am client and our 1:30pm monthly personal trainer forum. Knowing my body and knowing that I'd want/need more carbs before my workout, I ate two Nature's Path gluten free waffles with agave right before my 11am client.

As soon as I finished with my client, I ran to the bathroom to change clothes and got my workout started. I did back squats, lat pull downs, Romanian deadlifts, overhead presses, and three rounds on the Concept2 rowing machine. It was a great workout and I had just enough time to grab water and change before our PT forum. I have to say I am so happy with the way my workouts are going. It's a nice feeling.

Whenever possible I like to time my workouts before a meal - usually lunch - so that I don't feel the need to build an extra post-workout recovery mealtime into my day. This worked out perfectly because trainers get lunch catered one day a month, and that day is PT forum day! It's the once-a-month, all-hands-on-deck type of meeting where we get to hear which trainers are performing well, what's happening at the rest of the gym, etc. They serve us Dig Inn and I don't always know exactly what I am putting on my plate, but I've learned two things: a) beggars cannot be choosers and b) when you're in a room with 55 hungry trainers, half of whom have just finished their workout, you better fill your damn plate (quickly) and run.

Still not sure what was in that meatball. RIP.

I chowed down while I listened to the usual monthly announcements. They also acknowledge who's celebrating their work anniversary that month, and guess what? I've been at Equinox for a year. Everyone clapped.

I just want to let that sink in for a moment. Me: the girl who cried during PE as a kid, who would hide behind the bushes while everyone else was running the mile, the girl who never played any team sports, the girl who hated to sweat and pant and feel uncomfortable... Me. The girl who refused to exercise, who suffered through clinical depression and all sorts of unhappiness with weight and food and body image. Me. Somehow I've become a personal trainer at a flagship location at one of the best gyms in the world. This job has been incredibly taxing and demanding, but it's the most rewarding, wonderful work I've ever done in my life and I am damn proud of myself for making it this far. I only wish my mom were here to see it.

Humble brag over.

Post-meeting, I ran home to do a little bit of work on the computer and throw together a tupperware for dinner. I had four evening clients scheduled so I wanted to be able to eat during my last break. I also whipped up this little snack of Greek yogurt and Kind granola to tide me over during the next three clients. 

Dinner was diced chicken breast, roasted brussels sprouts and dried cranberries tossed with a little bit of balsamic. It was a smaller portion than a typical dinner I'd have, but it was all we had left from what I'd meal prepped on Sunday. I ate it in the grungy, grody employee lounge/locker room, which is in the dark, dingy, double basement of the gym. Can't you tell I love it in there? NOT. It's so gross and grimy. How many "g" words can I come up with to describe this place? The world will never know. But in order to not come home from work hangry at 8:40pm, I sucked it up and chowed down.

Joke was on me because when I went upstairs to grab my last client of the evening, she wasn't there. So I chatted with the front desk folks as the clock ticked... until the phone rang and it was for me... she was stuck at work and wasn't going to make it. So home I went! Ironically I was still hungry, so I had a mug of cereal and almond milk while Ben and I caught up on This Is Us. I am LOVING that show. 

And that's all, folks. There you have it. Lots of protein, lots of veggies, and yes... lots of grains. That's what my body wanted yesterday, so that's what I had. Some days are completely grain-free, and other days look like this. It all depends on what's going on around me and within me. 

One more thing I want to mention is that at the beginning of this year I wrote down that I wanted to host a nutrition workshop of some sort. I hear from lots of you with questions about nutrition, but because we don't all live close to one another I can't gather you all into a building and so I'm thinking of doing a virtual workshop, probably via podcast or YouTube. If you have any questions regarding nutrition, please leave a comment or email me... I'd love to answer the most frequently asked questions in one place!

Have a great day. Thank you for reading!

ONE YEAR LATER

I cried twice on our wedding day. The first time was when I got into my dress and it hit me like a ton of bricks that my mom wasn't there to zip it up. I actually began to fall forward and caught myself just before I completely wiped out. I think I had been mentally preparing for that exact moment since the night at the hospital that the doctor told us she wasn't going to make it. 

The second time I cried was when I did a first look with my dad. I was in my bridal suite, surrounded by my bridesmaids, and our photographer brought my dad in. We looked at one another and he said, "You look amazing!" We held it together for about .043249372 seconds. Then he held me and we both lost it. And I'm pretty sure all of the girls lost it, too.

Ben and I were married by my childhood cantor from Temple Beth Am - the same cantor who Bat Mitzvahed me. She talked about my connection to Judaism, my mom, and she even read aloud separate letters Ben and I had written to her about our love for one another. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house. Except for me and Ben. (And Perri is a loud cryer, but even hearing her, I still held it together.)

I didn't cry at our first look, down the aisle, under the chuppah, or after the ceremony. I was simply too giddy, too busy grinning like an idiot. October 10, 2015 was the best day of my life. 

Ben, "I live for loving you," in the words of Gloria Estefan. Thank you for creating a life with me that makes me want to smile all the time. I cannot imagine the joy and adventure this year (and all the others) will bring.

Other favorite memories:

Brunch with my bridesmaids. We went around the table and each girl told me what I meant to her, and then I told each girl what they meant to me. (The first part was their idea and they totally sprung it on me; I'd planned to do my part all along.) We shared memories, funny stories, and by the end we were all caught between fits of laughter and sobbing. It was so beautiful, and I'm SO grateful I reserved that block of time on Friday just for US.

Breakfast with my dad and Nana the morning of the wedding. I opted to stay by myself the night before the wedding, knowing that I'm a bad sleeper and also that I really needed the time by myself. I woke up at 6:15, texted my dad, and we met in Nana's room. We went to Starbucks, and then the three of us went down to the hotel restaurant and I ate a GIANT omelet. (I was not one of those brides who was too nervous to eat, by the way. HELL no.) Ben's brother stopped by our table to say good morning, and he said, "This is really cool, to have three generations at one table like this. You guys are really lucky." That stuck with me. Those few hours with just my father and my grandmother were the calmest hours I had all weekend, and I'm so grateful for that time.

Walking down the aisle. The single best moment of my life. I always imagined walking down the aisle to Canon in D Major by Pachelbel, but once we got engaged I couldn't listen to it without crying. So I decided I'd have my bridal party walk down to it, and after our sister and brother walked down the aisle the door would be shut and the song would change. When we were all lining up to walk down, I yelled, "BEN! THE SONG IS GOING TO CHANGE BEFORE I COME IN! PAY ATTENTION TO THE MUSIC!" I knew it would be an overwhelming moment but I didn't want him to miss it. I walked down the aisle holding my dad's hand while our musicians played this version of "Human Nature," one of Ben's favorite songs. It was perfect and I wish I'd asked someone to tape it.

Our alone time post-ceremony. We were ushered into a room and left alone immediately after walking up the aisle. We were both shaking and giggling with excitement. When Ben broke the glass just before the "MAZEL TOV" a piece of the glass got stuck in his shoe, so we carefully removed that before clinking glasses, having a little something to eat and enjoying the quiet before we were taken into the cocktail hour.

Dancing into the reception to "Oh What A Night" by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Little known fact: I am OBSESSED with Frankie Valli. I chose our entrance song, and Ben chose our first dance song. Originally we wanted to do something by the Beach Boys (we LOVE them), but we couldn't agree on a song. I was really pulling for "Forever" because it describes exactly how I feel about Ben. ("If every word I said could make you laugh, I'd talk forever...") It's kind of a tough song to dance to, though. I suggested "God Only Knows" but Ben said he couldn't listen to it without thinking of Six Feet Under (thanks a lot, HBO). So when he came to me with "I Only Have Eyes For You" by The Flamingoes, I agreed almost immediately. I first heard the song years ago on my favorite show, The Wonder Years.

Perri's speech.

My dad's speech.

Dancing to "The Wind Beneath My Wings" with my dad.

Dancing to "Remember The Time" with Ben.

Endless hugs and tequila.

I'm sharing my speech below. Heads up, I curse at the end (in case you are watching this on a public computer). 

Thank you to EVERYONE who helped make 10/10/15 the best day of our lives! I love you ALL!

Ben, I love you the most.

Our original wedding post here.

5 WAYS TO SUPPORT NATIONAL BREAST CANCER MONTH

Happy October! As many of you know, it's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this year, I've teamed up with The Breast Treatment Task Force to bring some awareness and support to the cause. BTTF facilitates free breast screening, diagnostics, and treatment for uninsured patients in NYC. As some of you know I have volunteered with various organizations over the years. (I worked closely with BCRF for quite some time, and I also served on the board at The Pink Agenda.) When BTTF reached out to me recently, I wanted to help spread the word any way I could. I love how they're passionate about educating people in a real, relatable way... hence this adorable graphic below (that could actually save your life).

Want to get involved? Here's how you can help:

Get your hair done. Yes, for real! NYC ladies, make an appointment for a service at Butterfly Salon on Sunday, October 23: 100% of the proceeds that day will be donated to BTTF.

Drink to your health. Altamarea Group has crafted two pink cocktails in support of BTTF. Order the Royal Blush at Ristorante Morini on the Upper East Side or Ai Fiori in Midtown, or the Lady Brett Ashley at Vaucluse on the Upper East Side, and a portion of the proceeds will go towards BTTF programs.

Sweat for the cause. Swerve Fitness will donate the proceeds from their 6:30pm classes on Fridays. Pick up a Pink Skinny Smoothie afterward, as those proceeds will also go to BTTF!

Treat Yourself. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental will be donating 10% of the proceeds from all Inner Strength treatments. Be sure to visit their complimentary yoga classes on October 15th and 29th at 10AM and make a donation to BTTF. (I'll be there October 15th!)

Make a donation. Click here to make a donation of any denomination. Donors receive 4:1, 5:1, and 20:1 returns on investment for BTTF screening, diagnostic and treatment programs, respectively. Any amount truly helps!

Wishing a wonderful Wednesday to you all, and a SWEET New Year to all those celebrating!

MONDAY MOTIVATION: FINDING YOUR FITNESS

There are lots of good excuses to avoid exercise and I would know because I used to be the queen of ‘em! I can’t tell you how many mornings I’d set my alarm a little early with the intentions of “hitting the gym before work” back in my early- and mid-twenties. Guess how many times I made it? Zero. Zilch. Seriously. Not once. If I made it there at all, it was after work where I’d do some half-assed spin class and I’d walk to Pinkberry immediately after to reward myself. What a joker!*

It wasn’t until I made my health a priority that I actually started rising and shining, beginning my day with a workout. Back in my SoulCycle “rooster” days, I remember how I’d walk out of the studio at 7:30am, freshly showered and amazed each time how incredible it felt to have such a jump start on my day.

I can only imagine some of you are where I once was – wanting to make a change but struggling to find the motivation to do so – so I thought I’d provide a little inspiration to finding your fitness.

I co-taught a workshop on chops and lifts to the new hires at our Equinox location a few weeks ago, and trainers introduced themself at the beginning. I was amazed at the sheer range of experience: bodybuilders, ex-competitive and college athletes, and one guy is even planning to go out for the 2020 Olympics! It was such a good reminder that there is something for everyone. There are so many ways to get in shape!

A few ideas for finding your fitness:

-       I think it goes without saying, but if you’re feeling stuck and have the resources to do so, HIRE A PERSONAL TRAINER! A good trainer will challenge you, change you, hold you accountable and keep you motivated.

-       Start small. Walking is great cardio. I also love reading my iPad on a machine at the gym. There are no fussy pages to deal with, and I feel like I’m killing two birds with one stone.

-       Staying at home? I like these workout videos by Andrea Orbeck.

-       Try something new. Check out these 2016 fitness trends.

My two non-negotiable rules:

1.     Your workout should leave you feeling both challenged and victorious.

2.     You have to enjoy it. Otherwise you won’t do it. Plain and simple.

How do you find your fitness?

*There is absolutely nothing wrong with working out after work, of course. I prefer mornings, but as long as you’re getting it done, that’s all that matters! I should also mention that I’m certain I still ate a full dinner – and probably another dessert – AFTER my post-gym Pinkberry snack. Lolz. Hot mess express.

P.S. Wearing some of my favorites in the photo above... Avocado tee, lululemon Free to Be bra, Beyond Yoga capris, Nike sneakers (less than $70) and MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote.

WHAT I DID/ATE IN A DAY AND THE BEST BOOKS I'VE READ THIS SUMMER

SPOILER ALERT: Finally, the moment we've all been waiting for! And by "we all" I definitely mean Perri. Okay and myself too. But I can't believe Nick Viall is The Bachelor. As a loyal Reality Steve reader, I actually can't believe it. Definitely didn't see it coming, but I'm psyched!

Anywhoodles. Yesterday started with a 5:30 wakeup call. I filled up my water bottle at home. I had four clients in the morning with two 15 minute breaks before and after my 3rd. I had a smoothie with plant protein for breakfast during the first break and answered a few emails during the second.

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After my last client of the morning, I stopped into my friend Nancy's office for a chat. She's a Membership Advisor (Equinox members, those are the people who work in the pretty little glass-walled offices) and she's my best friend at work. I also call her my Work Wife because she's just my Ride Or Die, whatever the hell that means. She's it. We sort of have a debrief of life everyday (or, at least every day that we're both in the club, which is most days...). I'm not currently in therapy but this is the closest thing. There's just no veils with her and I and I'm so grateful to have someone at work I can be brutally honest and 1000% myself with. While we were in there a new member popped in to say how grateful she was to have joined. She's going through a really tough time and in the midst of trying to change her life. I assured her she was in the right place and she cried a little. It was a really heart-warming moment. 

Afterward, I had a block of free time and decided to grab coffee and a manicure. I walked in, sat down and chose a color... and then I looked on the wall and saw a NexGen poster. I have been looking for a place to dip powder in NYC for months! So I went for it and I love it. (I got S22 - Maryland.) I'm excited to see how long it lasts...

It took longer than I expected and I had to be back at the club at 2, so I ran home to make lunch around 1. I was expecting to eat leftovers, but I walked in the door and realized that Ben was working from home... and had already eaten 'em! Luckily I keep a base chopped salad in the fridge that I can just add some protein to at any point during the work week, so I chopped up some sliced Applegate ham and a hard boiled egg white. 

I also had a Garden Lites veggie muffin (I love these) with a tablespoon of strawberry jam.

After lunch, I headed back to the club to make some phone calls to prospective clients in the manager's office, but it was crazy busy in there so I decided to go back later this week instead. I head to my Physical Therapy appointment and did a strength workout with my PT after he checked out my back and said it's looking better. (Thank God.) On my walk from PT back to the club, I stopped at Juice Generation for a vegan pumpkin protein muffin. Yea, two muffins in one day. Weird. But this is so delicious with decent macros. I ate half on my walk to Equinox.

I bought a new book on my iPad, (The Perfect Neighbors - I love Sarah Pekkanen's books) and hopped on an elliptical. Ben showed up and got on the machine next to me. We talked a bit and I read a bit for 30 minutes. I walked home, ate the other half of the muffin, and showered before heading back to the club for my last session of the day. I also roasted a bunch of sugar snap peas for dinner. On weekdays when I have evening sessions, Ben and I divide and conquer dinner. I'll usually prep or start something and he'll do the rest before I get home for the night.

Dinner was chicken burgers with Sir Kensington's ketchup, roasted sugar snap peas and sauteed broccoli. 

Dessert was the remainder of my vanilla bean Halo Top with rainbow sprinkles while watching Bachelor in Paradise.

I've read quite a bit of books this summer and thought it'd be fun to share my favorites!

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer: My favorite book and a must-read. I have been following Amy Schumer's career since I saw her roast Charlie Sheen in 2011, and when I met Ben in 2012, I made him stop on her Comedy Central special "Mostly Sex Stuff" when he was flipping the channels one night early in our relationship. This was back when she was still doing smaller shows, and he got us tickets to see her live in September 2012. We saw Trainwreck the day it came out, and we're seeing her live again next month. We love her lots.

Elligible by Curtis Sittenfeld: This ties for first (with Amy's book, of course) for my favorite read this summer. I've been waiting YEARS for Curtis Sittenfeld to write another book after falling head over heels for both Prep and American Wife. This modern retelling of Pride & Prejudice was 1000% worth the wait!

The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger: I read this in Greece and loved it. Perfect vacation read.

The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf: A great breakdown of the Paleo lifestyle for those of you interested in getting started.

And while I wasn't one of the best I've read, I do want to state for the record that I read Andi Dorfman's book and I believe everything she wrote about Josh Murray. Watching this season of Bach in Paradise, he seems SO different than I remember him being in Andi's season of The Bachelorette. He seemed like a total player, yes, but also cute and sweet. Now he comes across as disingenuous, bad-tempered and just gross, honestly. VIVA LA VIALL!