Spin, Babies, Rocksbox

Hey hey! Wow, look at me posting twice in a week’s time! 🙂 I loved the comments from some of you guys who have been reading for a long time and it made me feel more connected again. I’ve had a few friendships blossom from the blog and it’s really special. Thanks for still reading!

Backing up to last week and last weekend, my best friend Brenda taught her first spin class so of course I had to be there! She came to my first one almost 2 years ago and the experience of taking your friends fitness classes are just so fun. Or maybe we are just huge fitness dorks. Our friend Mandy came too and we screamed our heads off the whole class. We ran into our friend Dante there too and it’s because the gym is our love language. Friends who sweat together, stay together right?

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I even made it to a BODYPUMP class last Friday morning! I know you probably don’t believe me because it’s been like a year since I strength trained but I took a picture for proof.

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I used crazy light weights on the bar for all of class and I was still sore for about 4 days after. Trying to go 1-2 times a week from here on out!

The Pope was here last week but no, I did not see him. I don’t love crowds and figured my chances of seeing him were slim. Turns out, basically anyone who was near 5th Avenue got to see him! I should have went. I’m not super religious but I do believe, and this Pope seems like such a good person. My grandma would have loved him.

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Last Saturday, after I worked all day, we met up with Brenda and her husband and Ruby for Brenda’s birthday. Funny how our idea of fun for a birthday is now a maximum of 3 hours of socializing and bed by 9 PM. We hung out at Central Park and let Ruby experience all that is ‘nature’ in New York City (aka not much).

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Followed by delicious thai food and a mango cake that we had to keep Ruby’s hands out of. Poor thing is teething and she devours her hands or really anyone’s hands the first chance she gets.

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Sunday morning I taught 2 killer spin classes at Simply Cycle Astoria. We thought it would be funny to take a picture and show the world that I killed them during class. It got dramatic.

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And lastly, I need to tell you guys about a super cool monthly ‘box’ that I finally fell in love with. Honestly, I’m approached by a lot of companies about putting their products on the blog and that’s why you rarely see any from me. I only will write about what I have interest in, and if you know me then you know fashion is a huge part of my life. Rocksbox is an awesome monthly box that costs $19 per month and you receive 3 amazing pieces that are selected by a stylist based off your profile that you fill out. You can make a wish list and at least one of the items from your wishlist will be in your monthly box! You can keep the items as long as you want, ship them back to receive new items, or buy the items at a discounted price. Pretty sweet options if you ask me.

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Honestly, I forgot to take a picture of the 3rd item that came in the box because I wasn’t impressed with it at all. Which is fine, because the other 2 items were TOTALLY me! Let’s start with this necklace that I haven’t taken off in 2 weeks. I have worn it with everything from a plain nude sweater to plaids and it truly goes with everything.

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This is called the ‘Olivia Necklace’ by Perry Street. I am so obsessed. Rocksbox will occasionally slip in some ‘shine spend’ which is a credit towards purchasing the jewelry. I have $10 in my account right now and am still debating between this necklace or the awesome Loren Hope earrings I also received in my box.

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Hard choice! I of course want both but I’m trying to be good! 😉

You can get a free month of Rocksbox with my code artificiallybalancedxoxo 🙂 If you love jewelry and are wanting to try new pieces without committing to buying them, or you need a special piece for an upcoming event, I can’t recommend Rocksbox enough. I am sending back the 3rd piece that I didn’t like and either the earrings or the necklace tomorrow to receive my next box! Rocksbox has generously gifted me 3 months of the service to try in exchange for promoting it to you guys! Let me know if you end up using my code and of course if you do, show me what you get! As soon as I receive my next box, I will post what I get.

What’s your favorite type of jewelry- necklace, earrings, bracelets or rings? Mine is a tie between necklaces and amazing rings! However, I have HUGE fingers (I wear between a 9-10 size) so nothing ever fits me haha

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Hi!

Hey guys! Jeesh, cannot believe it’s been 4 months almost since I posted. I really enjoyed this summer (except not enough trips to the beach) and didn’t think about writing here often, but now that it’s my favorite season (FALL!) I’m a little more motivated to write. I am teaching Spin/Cycling again and want to get back to posting playlists, workouts, etc and just generally start blogging again. I miss you guys!

I’m not going to do a big recap of the last 4 months because we would be here all night, but I will do a few highlights.

My mom got married in July! She now lives in Rochester, NY and so we spent the weekend there. It was an absolute blast. For rehearsal dinner we were at a family member’s house and ate great food, drank a lot and laughed our asses off.

My brother and I!
My brother and I!

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It was incredibly hot that day and the house we got ready at had no A/C (death) but somehow our hair still turned out great.

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The food at the wedding was amazing, and we danced all night long.

Johnny and I!
Johnny and I!
John and my mom dancing!
John and my mom dancing!
My brother and our 2 new siblings!
My brother and our 2 new siblings!

 

 

So much fun
So much fun

I’m having the time of my life being an Auntie to my best friend Brenda’s baby. Completely obsessed with Ruby.

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John and I just celebrated 1 year of being engaged this week!

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We were upstate visiting family last weekend so to celebrate we went and got pumpkin pancakes because we are basic bitches.

Yep, fully aware of how annoying this picture is. I DONT CARE.
Yep, fully aware of how annoying this picture is. I DONT CARE.

My mom and stepdad and I went crazy in Target purchasing everything and anything pumpkin flavored. My favorite? Very surprising because I hate normal peeps, but these guys were amazing.

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We finally set a wedding date (July 16 2016) so we are well into our plans now! It’s going well so far and only seems mildly stressful. We went to a bridal show while upstate and ate so many samples of cake we were all grossly sick. That’s the way to do it right? Have I mentioned I need to lose 15-20 pounds before my wedding? Help.

My matron of honor and flower girl. My favorite humans!
My matron of honor and flower girl. My favorite humans!

It felt very weird to be wearing a ‘bride’ name tag. I was gagging! 🙂

I started teaching Spin again. Like, a lot, again. I can never ease into anything in life… I took 4 months off and within 24 hours I had taught 3 classes. I am still teaching for 24 Hour Fitness (NYC clubs) but I also got hired at 2 new awesome places. I am teaching Sunday mornings at a small cycling studio called Simply Cycle Astoria (located in Astoria, Queens) and it is absolutely fabulous. I am also teaching for New York Sports Club now! This is huge. I have wanted to audition for them for so long. They have so many locations it’s crazy. I’ve been working for them for about 3 weeks now and I’ve already subbed 9 classes at almost all different locations. I am going to have 2 set classes starting next week but the subbing opportunities are plentiful.

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Remember when I used to run a lot? Ha. I miss those days. Well, Brenda and I put off half marathon training for way too long (she like, pushed a baby out of her body and all and I was suffering from horrible anxiety for many many months) and when we started it was AWFUL. We got up to about 6 very slow miles and decided that now is just not the time to try to get in shape for a half marathon that was less than a month away. So right now my goal is running once a week. Literally. It’s the best that I can do given my spin schedule and the fact that I need to factor in sleep. Sleep is absolutely critical for me to not feel like my anxiety is drowning me (which at times it still is…) so at least a few mornings a week I have to choose sleep over getting up early for a workout. And for now, that’s okay. I’m not getting any younger so sleep in general is just an important thing to make sure I’m getting!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to in a nutshell. I am hoping to write here a few times a week (I know I know, I’ve said that a million times!) but my attitude I’ve basically had to adopt since dealing with anxiety is what happens, happens. 

What have you been up?! Fill me in on your lives! ❤

Memorial Day Weekend

Hey guys! How was your Memorial Day weekend? It’s SO crazy to think that I’ve already been at my ‘new‘ job for a year now, and that this is my second Memorial Day weekend actually NOT working and getting to enjoy 3 days off.. still SO thankful for leaving retail 🙂

Friday night I was so exhausted for kind of no reason, so John and I went to dinner right after work and then fell asleep pretty early watching Louie C.K. Wild party animals. Saturday morning started with breakfast at the diner then we spent the day with Brenda and the baby! John went to a concert Saturday night so I had a wild night on the couch with some cheese-less Domino’s and a marathon of one of my all-time favorite series, Weeds. I am beyond obsessed with Mary Louise Parker and LOVE Andy! Any other Weeds fans? And no- I do not smoke pot! Just love the whole feel of the show.

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Sunday morning I made my awesome breakfast bagels for John and I. I cook pretty dang good eggs and bacon if I do say so myself. Even John loves them, which is saying a lot. Mine was a whole wheat everything bagel with a jalapeno egg white omelet folded up, bacon, and a runny egg. PERFECT!

IMG_8544Followed by a healthier lunch of a super green juice with chia seeds. This had all organic kale, chard, spinach, ginger, green apple, cucumber and then topped with chia seeds. My seasonal allergies are absolutely horrible this year and the worst part is that they completely exhaust me. I constantly feel like I just ran a marathon this time of the year.. it’s awful. So trying to add more greens in hopes of feeling a little more alive.

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After walking around Central Park we ended up downtown having dinner at this awesome BBQ joint- Mighty Quinn’s. Absolutely deeeelicious and perfect for a holiday weekend when we have nowhere to cook out (boo, NYC).

Pulled pork, coleslaw, sweet potato casserole <3
Pulled pork, coleslaw, sweet potato casserole ❤

Yesterday morning I slept in, enjoyed some oatmeal and coffee then headed off to a super intense CYC class. So it’s a 45 minute class and I burn between 375 (slacking off) and close to 500. Keep in mind that 4 songs worth are spent barely peddling and using weights for arms- so it’s a REALLY good burn and even though the weights are light (range from 1-5 lbs) my arms are always sore.

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After class I headed to Brenda’s to kick it with my favorite little gals. I love this baby sooo much!

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And ended the holiday weekend with a little bit of froyo, a lot of cookie dough pieces. YOLO.

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What did you enjoy this weekend?

 

Ruby is here! (+some other updates)

Hey there! It’s been a little while again but I’m still here! The biggest/best thing that has gone on since I wrote last is that my best friend Brenda (ya’ll know her on here by now!) finally had her baby a week ago today!! I got to be there for the whole time she was in labor (about 17-18 hours) and now her gorgeous little babe is here in our world. Of course we made our time at the hospital a blast…

Obviously she had her Spinning water bottle with her.. homegirl took a spin class the day before this! My hero.
Obviously she had her Spinning water bottle with her.. homegirl took a spin class the day before this! My hero.
Obviously we watched Broad City all night long <3
Obviously we watched Broad City all night long ❤

And finally at 9:25 AM, Ruby came into the world!

Ruby and Daddy!
Ruby and Daddy!
I am finally an Aunt!! :)
I am finally an Aunt!! 🙂

She is absolutely perfect and I am so excited to start my journey as an Aunt! I also fell even more in love with Brenda watching her become a mommy. One of the most special moments of my entire life!

And on to other stuff…

I don’t want to go on about too much right now but lets just say I’m still dealing with anxiety. I am learning how to manage it/accept it/live with it more than I was. It’s a really hard, AWFUL process but I focus on each hour and just getting through it. I know this won’t last forever but it certainly feels like it is going on forever.

So while I am still on a hiatus from teaching Spin, I have been going to CYC at least 3 times a week and running here and there. Running is SO hard after taking basically all winter off and not being at all consistent. Here’s what my running is looking like right now (in the spirit of keeping it real)

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I’m doing some run/walk intervals but nothing set- just running until my lungs feel like they are going to explode (thanks, allergies) and then walking a bit. Getting past 2 miles right now feels sooooo hard. A good friend said the other day to me that training for the first 3 miles is always the hardest when getting back into running and she is so right. Once I can consistantly/easily run 3 miles again, I’ll start training for longer runs. I don’t have a half marathon or any race at all right now planned until October, but I may try for a 5 miler at the end of next month. CYC is so amazing and hands down the best spin classes I’ve ever taken! They are so motivating and SO fun, plus super challenging but I can feel myself getting stronger. If you are in the NYC area, let me know if you want to try a class with me!

Natalies class from this past Saturday!
Natalies class from this past Saturday!

This past weekend was an absolute blast. John’s mom came to visit us and we took her to most of our favorite spots- of course you need at least a full week with us for us to take you to alllll of the best spots 😉 Friday night started with Patsy’s pizza and a walk down 8th avenue from 23rd to 14th St to show all the fun gay culture through Chelsea- she loved it!

Saturday morning we headed to brunch at Le Grainne Cafe, our absolute favorite place for french toast and delicious coffee. This is hands down the best french toast in the city.

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We strolled through Chelsea Market and Union Sq, then I took a quick class at CYC and met back up with them in Soho at Harney & Son’s tea. From there we walked through Soho to a few other stores, then took the 6 uptown to show her Grand Central. I always forget how magical Grand Central is until I’m seeing it through someone else’s eyes!

It started raining so we cancelled our initial plan of walking from Grand Central to Times Square and just headed to dinner. We had to of course take her to our favorite, 5 Napkin Burger, as we take pretty much everyone who visits us!

Sunday morning we headed to one of our favorite bagel places, Absolute Bagel, on the Upper West Side. This is right near the gigantic cathedral on 110th st that we wanted to see. We’ve been past it a million times but never actually went in until Sunday! It is so huge. Definitely a must see here.

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We walked all through Central Park and took the train down to the West Village to get Big Gay Ice Cream…obviously 🙂 We were pretty exhausted so we ended the trip by heading back uptown to Trader Joe’s and last but not least, Shake Shack. If you can’t eat red meat or cheese like me, they have chicken sausage dogs that are incredible!

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According to my FitBit we walked about 10-11 miles total for the weekend!

Fill me in on your lives!! What’s new?! 🙂

 

 

27th Birthday + Brenda’s Wedding + Baby Shower :)

First off, thank you so much for the love and support on my last post. You guys are SO awesome and supportive, and it’s even more awesome to receive that kind of support from people you have never even met before. That is very special and I appreciate it so much. ❤

Besides my birthday last weekend, I also want to post about my best friend’s wedding and baby shower that have happened in the last few months since I’ve been MIA! She is one of the most important people in my life so she is going to take up most of this post 😉

Back tracking to my birthday celebration last weekend, I had a fabulous Saturday and Sunday ringing in my 27th year. 3 weeks ago I had no hope of feeling up for celebrating my birthday… time can be an amazing thing. Saturday during the day John took me to get bagels at our favorite spot, Brooklyn Bagel, then shopping and other girly crap 🙂 I utilized my first blowout that came with my CYC package I posted about to get all done up for our nice dinner. The girl did such an amazing job and this was the express package where you go to them with dry hair and they just use dry shampoo and a curling iron. I am still so bummed that I wasn’t blessed with the art of how to do hair!

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John took me to one of my favorite spots for dinner, a place I’ve only been to once for a work function but I’ve been thinking about it daily since! It’s a brazilian steakhouse called Texas de Brazil and you have to be prepared to eat until you are ready to die. This isn’t for portion controllers, ya’ll. They have 2 options- obviously the main option is to have the meat and the salad bar and then they have just the salad bar where they don’t serve you the meat. When I say salad bar I don’t mean like a grocery stores salad bar, I mean it’s basically a 4 course meal around a circle. I went without the meat because I can’t eat most of it anyways and went HAM on the salad bar.

round 1 of 97
round 1 of 97

So of course they have salad, but they also have shrimp, sushi, raw tuna, smoked salmon, all kinds of delicious herb-y olives and vegetables, potato salads, fruit, and the best lobster bisque and bread EVER. It’s all so fresh and delicious. Favorite place on earth. John ate so much meat and I ate so much salad+ that we were plotting how to leave the restaurant. Like an actual plot on how to move our bodies because we just couldn’t. Success.

Sunday morning started with taking a CYC class with Brenda and we both had such a good class. Afterwards, we met up with our other friends for a super fun birthday brunch at The DL which offers a $30 brunch with unlimited mimosas.

My ladies!
My ladies!
Brenda and her HUSBAND- oh yeah. And me and John :)
Brenda and her HUSBAND- oh yeah. And me and John 🙂
BRENDAS BABY IS DUE IN 1 MONTH!!
BRENDAS BABY IS DUE IN 1 MONTH!!

It was so much fun and my friend Sharde is so great for throwing me yet another awesome birthday celebration!

Speaking of back-tracking; in the last few months that I have been off the blog world, my best friend who I have written about 2,000 times got MARRIED in January!! I’m sure I mentioned last year that she is PREGNANT with my baby niece 🙂 If I didn’t, now ya know. I am sosososo excited to be an aunt in just about a month!! Her wedding was amazing and you’d never know we planned it in less than 2 weeks. It was Friday January 30th at City Hall and absolutely perfect.

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BEAUTIFUL
BEAUTIFUL

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WALDORF ASTORIA BALLLLINNNN
WALDORF ASTORIA BALLLLINNNN
Part of the amazing suite at the Waldorf Astoria!
Part of the amazing suite at the Waldorf Astoria!

Best wedding ever, no frills style!

We also had Brenda’s baby shower about a month ago as well for baby RUBY! 🙂 Brenda’s other close friend Mandy and I planned the shower together and thank goodness for her creativity and artistic abilities because I have none! We had it at Sprinkles Cupcakes which has an awesome party room where you can decorate dozens of cupcakes- perfect for this kind of occasion or a kid’s birthday party!

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Johnny the photographer :)
Johnny the photographer 🙂
Brenda and her twin brother Brion!
Brenda and her twin brother Brion!
The soon to be parents!! :)
The soon to be parents!! 🙂

Her due date is May 8th and I cannot wait to be an Auntie!! 🙂

Any babies in your life or recent weddings?

Where to even begin? The last 4+ months have been living hell for me and I sort of don’t want to go down memory lane explaining how awful it’s been. But here we go- a quick recap of this shit so I can get into the positive stuff! 

Anxiety is not just being anxious about something. Everyone experiences anxiety almost daily- if it weren’t present, we’d have no reason to hussle getting to work on time, or to go to the gym, or take care of our families. Anxiety fuels us to do things. It can sometimes come at times that are not needed though and out of nowhere.  In fact, my life was going utterly perfect when this hit me. Ultimately through my 2 therapists (one in-person and one through TalkSpace which is an amazing service) and my pyschiatrist, we have concluded 2 things- I have bipolar depression (so was not expecting this) and the ‘mania’ I experience is crippling anxiety in a very high state, and that the culmination of everything that happened to me the last 3 years family-wise, personal life-wise and job-wise that I tried to bury and not deal with exploded out of me. Basically out of nowhere, but could have been triggered through the high levels of anxiety I had during the flights to and from Mexico and all the stress from teaching so many spin classes daily. When I heard the diagnosis, I cried so hard. I felt completely hopeless and terrified. I have been blessed with a very caring pyschiatrist who doesn’t care what it takes to get you feeling better, he will do it and help you. He saw me at the bottom of my depression a little over 2 years ago, helped me get to the amazing place I was in last year, and was very shocked when I took a nosedive in November. It took us over 4 months to get to this diagnosis, and we did it together. I discontinued the medicine I used for 2+ years and started a new one 2 weeks ago and there’s been a big difference. I won’t lie and say things are anywhere near awesome and that I am scared every day of things going south again, but somehow I dug myself out of the hole I’ve been trapped in and started living again. I gave up teaching Spin in early February and it was heart breaking to say the least. I’m not sure how I kept teaching during the highest states of my anxiety- pure will power I guess. It was making me feel worse so I finally had to stop. As my best friend Brenda reminded me 1000 times, teaching Spin will always be there- for now, it’s time to take care of myself and just keep working my full-time job where my bosses were nothing but supportive and helpful through this. It’s been 4 months of pure hell and terror and I would never have made it through if it weren’t for my wonderful John. Every single night he has let me do whatever I needed to survive- usually just crying myself to sleep- but he pushed me to go running a few times, helped me make food when I could barely get out of bed, texted me hourly to make sure I knew how much he loves me, and his undying support and letting me know that I would indeed get through this and he would be by my side. I have no way to ever repay him, but he is truly the best person in my life. 
So, I only really have to catch you up on the last 2 weeks of my life where I have actually been LIVING again! One of the best things I’ve done for myself was sign up for a 10 week challenge through the most amazing cycling studio in NY- CYC Fitness. I have been basically doing nothing since mid-February exercise-wise so it was time to get back in it. Brenda is obsessed with CYC and I tried a class out last July 4th and it kicked my ass even while I was in great shape! It’s just SO much fun for 45 minutes and includes 4-5 songs where the resistance is up almost all the way and you use 1-2 lb sandbags for a few arm routines. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Like I said, even last year when I was in great shape the arm portion killed me. I am not stupid enough to think 2 lb weights will tone my arms up since I have fat to lose on them since I was basically sedentary for a few months, but let’s just say I am REAL sore after class in the triceps! The challenge includes 40 classes (4 classes/week) that you complete by May 31st, and the package also included a bottle of VitaFusion gummy vitamins, and 10 blowouts courtesy of Glam and Go which is a blowout station INSIDE the locker room. How freaking genius right? I took my 4 classes last Wednesday morning, Thursday night, Friday morning and Sunday morning with Brenda for my birthday!
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Blow out #1! LOVED it!
I am super excited for week 2 of the CYC 10-week challenge and to also be teaching for the first time in almost 2 months this week! I’ll continue my birthday post tomorrow and hopefully actually write a few times a week now!
I’ve missed you guys so much. Who out there is still reading?! 🙂

Happy (yes, HAPPY.) 2015.

Even though I am currently still in the throes of terrible anxiety, I am not giving up hope that 2015 will be great. I actually can’t really think of the future too much right now because I have to take things hour by hour and don’t have the energy to think of the future, but my big thing for this year is learning to accept myself. I never thought I’d be able to accept my body and over the last year I did, whether I’m right where I want to be or 10 pounds heavier, I learned to love and accept my body and stop trashing it. Why can’t I learn to accept that with my anxiety issues, I need to slow down and be okay with it? A jam-packed schedule is not something I can handle right now. Maybe one day I can do it again, but for my mental health right now I most certainly can not. I wish I could go back to being the girl who could work 45 hours a week plus teach 15 spin classes, but I can’t. Turns out- that girl was running from some deep-seeded issues that decided to explode out of me 6.5 weeks ago, out of nowhere. Anxiety has a way of coming out of (what we think is) nowhere and leaves us having to piece the puzzle back together. 2014 was SO AMAZING for me and I think it was too hard for me to accept that I deserved all of that happiness. Something inside me sabotaged it subconsciously and now I am left trying to figure out what to do. This isn’t just attacks I’m experiencing, it’s 24 hours a day of anxiety. Just chillin’. I’ve become a huge hypochondriac (anyone else out there feel me?) and every part of my day is a challenge. Teaching Spin has gone from my biggest passion in life, to my biggest fear. Intense workouts makes my anxiety worse, and even teaching off the bike gets my adrenaline going when it’s already high. I’ve cut way back on my classes and while it sucks for not just me and my wallet, I know my clients miss me but I also know they would want me to take care of myself. And right now and for however long I need to, that is what I am doing. I am trying to keep 3-5 classes a week (ha, kind of sad that I consider that cutting back! Hindsight…) as long as I can. Running helps me the slightest bit, but they have been few and far between as usually all I can muster up is sleeping. While my faith of this getting better has definitely been tested, reading this post today made me cry and reevaluate. By nature I am a bit of a negative person when it comes to myself, and I know that I need to change this to see progress. It is SO not easy to do, but all you can do is try. I need to learn how to live more fearlessly which seems incredibly hard for me right now. Positivity is the name of 2015!

 

What do you envision for 2015?