Relax with Reflexology

When you feel an ache or pain, what’s the first thing you do?  Pop a pill, see a doctor?  Modern medicine helps but is it the only option?

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Alternative therapies, although rich in history, are not really the typical “American way”.  But what we don’t know could be hurting us.  Your low back pain, knee, thigh or hip issues, depression, digestion or reproductive health concerns could be relieved by reflexology.

Recently, we attended an Intro to Reflexology class hosted by Jane G. Doyle (President of YouHealYou and author of Expect Your Miracle) and taught by Sarah Preusker (board certified reflexologist).  Ms. Doyle actually started You Health You based on her own experiences with chronic pain and her journey to heal herself without the crutch of never ending pills.  When we settled into the class, we realized that we would literally be doing “hands on” foot work.

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So what is reflexology? It is a thumb and finger finger pressure technique on the feet, hands and ears which purportedly has an affect on every part of the body, inside and out.

During the workshop,  people were partnered up so we braved each other’s lack of pedicures, brushed off the toe fuzz and got down to business.   We began with exploring of the bones  in the feet. It was intriguing to feel how each toe has different joints and each bone travels into the base if the foot.  After thoroughly wiggling our partner’s toes and meandering around the joints (we had a continual flow of quizzical looks on our faces while doing this), it was time for foot art!

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Sarah led us through which parts of the foot connected to parts of the body.  As we followed along, we shaded washable marker diagrams on each other’s tootsies to signify different systems: digestion, reproduction, heart, and more.

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We had to skedaddle a little early for work so we didn’t get to stay for more technique assistance and deeper instruction on which parts of the foot could be pressed to relieve issues.

So why attend?  The class was easy to follow, definitely enjoyable and Sarah was a nurturing practitioner.  She made rounds throughout the class and offered assistance to each group.  It was also relaxing (for those of you who don’t have foot aversions) to use/have pressure on the feet.  Sarah noted once you learned the proper pressure for reflexology, you could enlist your partner, foot friendly friend or family member to put the vice grip on you.

So the question is: does Reflexology work to reduce pain, anxiety or illness?  Kate had been having sinus problems and the matching foot area was tender and responsive.  Coincidence?  The ped-jury is still out.  Various studies show mixed results so proceed with caution and look for a reputable practitioner.

As we got lost in the toe-ment (hahahah pun!), we were beginning to think it was time to change careers to become reflexologists…but then we realized we were more just touchy squeezy foot amateurs.

So what about you?  Would you like to have an alternate means to improve your health?  Check out the next You Heal You Reflexology event at Tribe Healing Arts on Sunday, June 22nd!

 

 

Thanks to Christina Giordano for the invitation!

Gluten Free Goodies: The Real McCoy

How many times have you spent hours in the grocery store looking for a treat and trying to avoid gluten, GMOs, corn syrup, MSG, yellow number everything (the list goes on and on)?  Dang, you know it’s hard out there for a snacker!

Well we are on a quest to fulfill your inner healthy snack urges!

Recently, we were given the opportunity to entertain our taste buds with some samples from Christi Communications.    (We weren’t paid in cash but instead in gluten free goodies!).

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Our favorite bites were Real McCoy’s Rice Chips and Rice Puffs.  We both eyed the Baked Vermont White Cheddar Rice Puffs first and gave each other an intense stare down as the bag rested in the middle of the table.  When we finally compromised to share them, we loved the airy crispy puffs with a dusting of light cheddar flavor. For more spice, try the Jalapeno Cheddar or Hatch Chile Rice Puffs.

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The Salt and Pepper crisps we tried were heartier and held up well when dipped in salsa and guac.  Monica liked Real McCoy’s so much she went and snagged her own bag of Worchester & Chives Rice Crisps.

Real McCoy’s other offerings include Sweet & Spicy Rice Chips or try the Wheatberry (not gluten-free) Chips.

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Real McCoy’s is available at many natural grocery stores and continue to expand (even at Burlington Coat Factory or Home Goods) and is even sold on Amazon.  And yes, they are GMO, gluten and guilt free :).

Like their Facebook page here for more updates.  Want to more gluten free goodies? Check out the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo in Schaumburg, IL next weekend!

 

 

Snacks ahoy!!

Grab this Giveaway! Jillian Michaels’ Maximize Your Life

 

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One of world’s leading health and wellness expert is coming to town and maybe she won’t make you do squats while you listen to her story…or maybe she will.  We have always been big fit fans of good ol’ Mz. Michaels.   She may have started on “The Biggest Loser” but has since moved on to develop her own health and fitness empire.  Sure, you could find her on Youtube or reruns, but wouldn’t it be awesome to hear her words of wisdom for real change in your life? Jillian Michaels’ “Maximize Your Life” Tour will be stopping by the Rialto Square Theatre on April 9th at Joliet, IL so mark you calendar!   During the show, you will “learn how to harness your potential, kick-start your goals and live an exceptional life – sharing her keys to health, success and happiness.  No hype, no false promises: Just results.  And if Jillian is known for anything, it’s results.  Dang, have ya’ll tried her “yoga” (aka yoga disguised as strength training)?

You can buy tickets here starting @ $25 bucks!

 

OR you could WIN them just by commenting on our blog with your favorite Jillian Michaels’ quote. We love “It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort” during those really tough days.

The winner will get a pair of tickets waiting for them at will call.

So what’ll be? Are you tough enough to comment?

 

 

Brunch Bunch at Public House Chicago

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Sigh…there is nothing better than a weekend brunch.  That’s only 1 reason (although a compelling one) why we gleefully accepted an invite from Chicago Food Bloggers to network at Public House, a spot we’ve been clamoring to check out.  We rushed out, delayed as always, to River North to meet blogger pals and try the new morning grub.

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Public House did not disappoint.  The space had rich wood undertones and felt roomy.  Our group was treated to a buffet style breakfast where we could snag whatever breakfast treats we liked.  It was slightly meat and sweets heavy, but the manager gladly accommodated a request for a savory veggie option, a modified meatless breakfast sammich with arugula, scrambled eggs, tomatoes and shaved red onions on a toasted sourdough boulet.

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The presentation of the sweet breakfast options made us drool.  The healthier option, a parfait pint (we got pint sized version of the pint) was layered with fresh berries, greek yogurt and crunchy granola.  The doughnut french toast also featured berries but we found it a little too deep fried for our tastes.  Our top contender, however, was a warm gooey sticky bun with the perfect balance of a soft bun, drizzled vanilla icing and nuts.  Our waitress was kind enough to sneak us another one after the buffet had been ravaged.

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We were happy to stuff our mouths full of sticky bun and listen contently while  our energetic table mates debated about the next hot foodie trends.

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Thanks to Public House for hosting us!  Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes our next on our Public House hit list :).

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Eye Spy Some Fab Peepers at Chicago Lashes

Chicago winter and beauty aren’t usually synonymous.  When your constantly bundled up in 12 layers and your razor is gathering dust, it doesn’t seem like there’s a need to primp too much.  But what about your face!?  People are still seeing your ruddy cheeks as you walk down the icy streets.  So what better way to perk yourself up from never ending winter than a beauty treatment for your frozen facade?

If there is one thing that can immediately add drama to your face, it’s luscious lashes.  We snooped out Chicago Lashes recently at their 1950s themed customer appreciation party to get the story on lash extensions.  This cute boutique lash studio is decorated with pin up style Rita Hayworth photos and has several private beauty rooms.

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If there is one sure thing, it’s that Chicago Lashes knows how to party.  Guests were treated to snacks including some traditional Filipino egg rolls and desserts.  A roaming Elvis impersonator loved Monica tender and gave her a yellow silky scarf which refused to take it back.  We were mesmerized by Mister Danny, the magician, with his multiplying foam bunnies that appeared and disappeared in your hand. (You know how bunnies are in winter…wink).

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Ooo and the lashes…

Chicago Lashes founder, Jennifer sported a feathery pair with red accents that we were coveting.  She explained that she opened Chicago Lashes in 2009 with the idea that there are so many salons that do it all, so why not specialize in providing glamorous lashes at prices more affordable to the average woman.  We’ve never gotten eyelash extensions done professionally so we definitely needed some tips.  Lash extensions are supposed to last 6-8 weeks.  Once you get them done, you should attempt to keep them dry (no Ryan Gosling movie fests, ladies) and you can use an eyelash brush to separate them and keep them purty.

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As we were some of the first ladies to arrive, we both got a coupon for a free set of flare lashes.  Always lucky Monica also won personal training session with JLM Women’s Fitness and a full set of eyelash extensions.  Lash reviews and plenty of lashful selfies are coming your way as soon as it warms up enough for us to want to go back outside to redeem our winnings!!  Do any of you have a go to lash studio in Chicago?  Lash extensions..love them, hate them?  Tell us what you think!

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Riding Spinners and They Don’t Stop: Our First Spinning Class

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Equinox cycling class

Mid February, right around V-day, we spent a little time giving love to ourselves by trying a new workout.  Kate has always been a little hesitant about indoor cycling, a.k.a spinning, while Monica was fascinated with this high-energy fitness style. We picked the perfect opportunity to jump in and test the spin cycle when Cheeky Chicago planned a Valentine’s studio cycling event with Equinox Lincoln Park.  We made it to class just in time to get on our bikes and chose the back row to avoid the front row spotlight.

Big tip: If it’s your first time, flag the instructor down to help you adjust your bike and show you the how to work the darn thing.  Bike seats and handles are adjustable and move up/down, forward/back….very helpful for the vertically gifted or challenged.  Kate’s bike seat was not quite locked and took a dip midway through cycling which was very unexpected and uncomfortable  indeed.  

The tools that you use throughout your ride include a red knob to up or lower the resistance of your bike and increase intensity in addition to a screen to track your rpm and mileage.  And the one thing we were wondering throughout about cycling…is it possible to get a more comfy plushy seat?

The instructor started us off with a warm up of moderate pedaling and then led the class in an interval format as bubbly pop music played in the background.  She was unashamed to throw Beiber and Usher in the mix to get us moving.  After we were slightly sweaty, the resistance was added and we worked in a hill format.  We both popped up off the bike seats and pedaled while standing, making it a killer quad and glute experience.

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After pedaling full steam ahead for 45 minutes, we were treated to KIND bars and Juice Rx Gingerade (lemon, ginger and Vermont maple syrup) as other guests learned foam rolling tips from Equinox trainers. We also scored one week passes to Equinox for ourselves and our readers. Comment below to receive a one week pass!

Lincoln Park Equinox has creative variations of Studio Cycling, Barre classes, Tabata and not to be missed Yoga with Allison English!  For the March schedule, click here.

Feel like spinning your wheels a little more for a good cause?

Get your spin on to help stop violence in Chicago. Ride Spin to Break the Cycle on March 8th at the House of Blues for 1, 2, or 3 hours!

 

LUNA FEST Recap

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At LUNAFEST in Chicago

Thursday night, we mosied on over to check out 13th Annual LUNAFEST, benefiting the Step Up Woman’s Network and the Breast Cancer Fund, at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in the heart of River North. Surprisingly, we found parking right next to Glazed and Infused (darn it was closed) and ran in a little late to find food lines off the chain!  Our trusty friend, Melissa gave us the run down.  Apparently, LYFE Kitchen had the best veggie goods but their table was all out of food.  Sadness.

We squeezed our way over to the RA Sushi table and managed to grab a small plate of garlic chili edamame and then stood in the cheese line which ended with…no cheese.  The lights flickered and we made our way over to prep for the films and finally scarfed down the SkinnyPop popcorn provided on our seats (yay food!!).  After a couple of amazing speeches from leaders in the Step Up Women’s Network, the short films began!

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Although all of them were unique and inspiring in their own way, we certainly had our VIP picks.

Kate:  I adored “Flying Anne“.  We are often encouraged to celebrate differences but are not always sure how to put this into practice.  The main character of this short film has Tourette Syndrome and is learning how to manage in the sometimes unforgiving world of elementary school.  Touching and inspiring, it’s a reminder that girls are so much more than their labels.

Monica:  “Running Dry” made me smile brightly despite the harsh life circumstances such as the economic crises in Athens, Greece.  The lead actress struggled financially and still gave her few precious euros to meet other people’s needs as she walked through the city.  At the end, even though she had no more cash, she was full of grins and gratification.

After the show ended, we managed to grab tiny chocolate raspberry chia parfaits from LYFE Kitchen and then were treated with the pick of the litter of a 3 pack of LUNA Bars.  Perhaps we dug a little for the Chocolate Dipped Coconut…perhaps.

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Missed LUNAFEST?  You can still catch the tour in several cities and archived LUNAFEST films are available here.

Luna Fest Ticket Giveaway: Celebrate Womanhood with your Lady Friends and Luna Bar

Now that Valentine’s Day has passed in all it’s choco heart shaped romance filled blaze of glory, we think it’s about time you show a little non-stereotypical love to your lady friends.  How do you do this, you ask?  Take them to LUNA Fest (coming to Chicago on Thursday, February 27th), the perfect opportunity to grab your gals for a night out that you can feel good about.

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Luna Fest gives 100% of ticket proceeds back to the community.

  • 85% of proceeds will be provided to Step Up Women’s Network, a Chicago based organization that promotes success for young women from often ignored communities.
  • 15% of proceeds will be provided to the Breast Cancer Fund, a national organization that seeks to identify and eliminate environmental contributors to breast cancer.

So what will you be doing at this awesome event?

LUNA Bar and Style Chicago will be your hosts for the Chicago premiere of LUNAFEST and kick it off with a cocktail reception featuring wines from Clif Family Winery, PERONI beer, specialty LUNAFEST cocktails and local foods from LYFE Kitchen, RA Sushi and Tesori.  Oh and we know from experience there will be tons of Luna Bars there to sample!  We can’t wait to snag the chocolate dipped coconut ones.

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The fest highlights nine inspiring short films by women filmmakers, for women, which may cause the following reactions as you may possibly be…a woman:

  • Raucous laughter
  • Intense conversation and serious debate
  • Extra huggy behavior from your friends
  • Tears (bring some tissue)

Or maybe a more meaningful symptom such as:

  • A call to community action

To win a ticket for you and a friend, either comment on our Facebook page or this blog post about the friend you would bring to LUNAFEST and what makes her Luna-worthy.  The winner must provide names of both guests and email addresses for ticket confirmation.  The giveaway ends February 20th at 5 p.m.

What if you don’t win?  Well, you can still come!

LUNAFEST Chicago takes place, Thursday, February 27, 2014 at the Museum of Broadcast Communications – 360 N. State St., Chicago

Cocktail Reception: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Showtime: 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Tickets: $25

5 dolla dolla bills off when using the code: LUNA5.  Tickets must be purchased in advance here.

Happy commenting and may lady luck shine upon you!

Come out of Chi-bernation for these Winter Food Finds

Oh winter…devilishly evil Chicago winter.  You haven’t been able to keep us down…especially with all these events and restaurant openings popping up.  What about you, dear readers?  Have you wound your scarf around you and strapped those snow boots on to take the chill out of winter?  Here are some spots that may make you wanna brave the great white Midwest.

Remember that ol’ Lasalle Power company dance club you used to troll to pick up your future v-day date?  Well now it’s been converted into a brand new Gino’s East.  Chicago’s legendary pizza spot just got classy at its River North location.  Three floors of expansive rustic cozy hangout space will eliminate your wait with your out of town guests as you get your “mangia” on with artichoke pizza, pickle-y sliders and fat stuffed cheese sticks with spinach.  The restaurant proclaims to be  including a brewery opening in several months as well…just in time for Spring!!

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Our next pick is a neighbor to the north, Pizzeria Serio, a  hidden addition to the food scene on Belmont avenue in Lakeview.  WGN’s Chicago Best honored Pizzeria Serio as one of Chicago’s fave pizza.  Check out the video here.  We hopped over snow mounds to meet with the Chicago Food Bloggers and Pizzeria Serio was gracious enough to host our group.  We sampled several tasty starters like a Spinach Salad (baby spinach leaves, red onion, mandarin oranges, goat cheese and walnuts in homemade citrus dressing) and the more traditional Caprese.   For veggie lovers and goat cheese lovers (eww says one of us..the goat cheese hater) try the spinach specialty pizza (EVOO, sea salt, black pepper, fresh garlic, tomatoes, spinach, ricotta and goat cheese sans sauce).  For the more purist pizza crowd, try the wood burned crusty Eat Your Veggies (onions, green peppers, mushrooms and black olives)  and get your 5 a day veg serving…a good excuse to eat mas pizza if we do say so…and we do.

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In a whole other country (this is what it feels like to Chicago residents) is Farmhouse in Evanston.  This tavern makes their own burgers, condiments and soda from scratch with ingredients plucked straight from Midwestern farms.  Even their beverage selection is pulled only from Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan.  The majority of interior pieces are reclaimed woods and salvaged materials.  At the kick off to North Shore Restaurant month, going on now, we gobbled down hot beer battered Wisconsin cheese curds with crispy warm centers and fresh Tavern-cut peppery potato chips with homemade ranch-like dipping sauce.  On demand for our next visit is the Old World Grains Burger with Forest Mushroom and Poblano Pepper.  For those of you who don’t venture that far out of our city, there’s also a sister location in River North with a slightly different menu and a two floor space.  Don’t all these pics of yummy food make you wanna trek through your alley to the El?

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Relishing the Pro Chef Life: Fresh Meal Delivery Service from Relished Foods

Ooo we are so sick of winter in Chiberia and we’ve had too many days of stir crazy all day pajama pants wearing.  This weather sure hasn’t made it easy to get out to grocery shop, let alone put on any real semblance of clothes.  Enter Relished Foods to conquer any reason to brave the cold white landscape we now call home.

Relished, is a fledgling Chicago area company that delivers fresh ingredients with clear visual instructions to cook healthy delicious meals like a pro.  Each order includes three meals for one week.  Recipes rotate weekly.

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Now to the good food stuff!

We received 3 recipes:

  • Farfalle Pasta with Shrimp
  • Arugula and Fennel Salad with Chicken
  • Naan Pizza

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We were hesitant about the Farfalle Pasta recipe which seemed too simple and possibly bland but once we noticed the fresh prepped ingredients and easy instructions our curiosity got us….  Farfalle Pasta sans Shrimp recipe included fresh baby spinach, basil, plump juicy cherry tomatoes, garlic and asiago cheese.  This is how manageable the recipes are.  We washed the vegetables, sliced the cherry tomatoes, basil and garlic.  Lastly, we added EVOO, sea salt and grounded whole black pepper…so taxing (wink)!

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Once we took a bite of this dish, we were pleasantly surprised by the flavors.  Although simple, the dish was satisfying and complex.

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With the arugula, we got to experience some ingredients we don’t usually utilize like fennel, and even champagne vinegar (you fancy, huh).  The chicken was lean and still juicy.  Relished packaging made it manageable to have one vegetarian and one omnivore eating the same meals as the meats were packaged separately from the veggies.

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The naan pizza made us giggle in delight because we love artichokes, roasted red peppers and onions.  All you had to do was plop the toppings on and bake.  The recipe made two 8 inch pizzas.

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What we learned about getting Relished pro chef meals sent to our house:

  1. All meals take 30 minutes or less and require minimal cooking skills.
  2. Recipe cards were visually stimulating, well articulated and can be used again!
  3. Food came in a space aged cooler box and ingredients stayed fresh until we were ready to cook.
  4. Meals cost around $10 a serving.

We really appreciated that all meals were veggie heavy, creative and delicious.  Relished is only about 6 months in and they have also indicated that they are exploring only veggie/vegan meal options to expand their dietary offerings.  Now if only they would send us some hot cocoa to warm things up for us, we be all about staying in for another week or so.

Thanks to Relished for inviting us to try such yummy and vegetastic meals!!