Bound 2 Get Fit 4 NYE

Not sure if your family baked you 3 tins full of holiday cookies and marble cakes, but ours did.  We are so over sugared from this past week that a fridge full of carrots seems like a refuge.  Luckily, you don’t need to wait til the new year to strengthen your resolve and boost your healthy habits.  Chicago seems to know we all probably overdid it (in true Midwestern style) and has some limited time hot deals to get you back on track even before you even squeeze into your NYE digs.

Addicted to Glazed and Infused Donuts?

Groupon is offering a limited time only deal of a 3 or 7 day juice cleanse for our fave freshy-fresh juice bar, Peeled.  Info on the efficacy of juicing research is mixed but proponents say it clears toxins from the body, delivers vitamins instantly and eliminates cravings.  We haven’t tried the cleanse but love their made-to-order smoothies, juices and raw foods.  Try the Bright Pink juice, with dazzling pear, pineapple and ginger, for a first taste.  Must haves: Motivation to say goodbye to solid foods!

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Peeled Juice “Bright Pink”

Are you a Challenge Hound?

Bar Method may look like a dance in the park but we have seen our male friends quiver in the class.  If you have never stepped up to the Barre, you can join the Bar-lution Challenge.  Take 21 classes in 30 days from January 6th through February 4th to win!  Prizes during last year’s competition included Bar Method socks, tanks, DVDs and a membership for one faithful attendee.  Beyond the goodies, your body will look fantastic.  We lost inches, gained flexibility and strength during our challenge foray last year.  Must haves: grippy socks, knee length pants and a steely determination.  Hot tip: The Wicker Park Bar Method has free parking for you driving folks.

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Looking to Beat the Treadmill Blahs?

Consistently voted as one of the best gyms in Chicago, i.d. gym has a small personalized environment and a schedule chock full of original exercise classes.  Ever flown in the air in a hammock during yoga?  How about pushing a tire around to get a pre industrial revolution physique?  Classes like Fly Yoga and the Caveman Workout may renew your fitness fire.  I.d. gym is running a membership special until the end of December so hurry up and lunge in to the deal.

For those who want to get back in touch with their naughty side now that Christmas is over, Flirty Girl Fitness, an all women’s gym with a focus on bringing sexy back, has class packs on sale as well that could mix up the boring basics of gym rat life.  Getting a mani pedi with your package ain’t half bad either!

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i.d. gym fly yoga

Overwhelmed by Health and Fitness info?

Personal training may be a way to wade through the mass of fitness trends out there.  Score a deal on a free consultation with our North side trainer extraordinaire, Sabri Xhaferi, to get the feel for it or jump right in with a package deal.

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Sabri Xhaferi, certified personal trainer

With all this sweating, what about a swell new workout outfit to make you feel footloose at the gym!?  We just discovered a cut and affordable spot for just such a task, vfish.  What else do we wanna try in 2014?  TRX, HIIT, Bollywood Groove, Pure Barre, Cheerobix and more to test out just for you!

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vfish designs gripsocks!

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A Holly Jolly Holiday Gift Guide

A Chi Organic Girls Holiday Gift Guide

Is it just us or did the holiday season creep up on us like those giant spiders in the new Hobbit movie?  We’ve been feeling the adrenaline of the season, hitting the streets in our snow boots and clicking away with our mouses in a fury of gift giving.  OMGS Christmas is only 4 days a way!  The biggest dilemma we’ve been facing: How to find that one of a kind perfect gift for the foodie, fit fanatic or Chicago adventurer.  Holiday gift guide to the rescue!!

Do you have an artist in your life?  How about Grizzclay by Chuck Borchers, a Deaf artist who has been experimenting with clay for several years now at Lillstreet Art Center.  These one-of-a-kind bowls can make a great centerpiece for a new home or a fancy fruit bowl to liven up a blah kitchen.

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Grizzclay by Chuck Borchers

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Grizzclay by Chuck Borchers

Something for your highly caffeinated friends?  We recommend Bowtruss Coffee Roasters, located in River North and Lakeview.  One of Chicago’s bustling micro-roasters, their bean blends offer complex flavor profiles like cherry or apple undertones.  Read more about our experience at Bowtruss here.

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For foodies, check out recommendations of Chicago food experts (including ours) in the Chicago Food Bloggers Holiday Gift Guide.  For example, We love Vosges Haut-Chocolat, with boutiques located in downtown, Lincoln Park and of all places, O’Hare Airport.  Pick up a custom box of regional truffles (think Mexican coco dusted in chili) or an exotic chocolate bar, like the newly released Coconut Ash and Banana Dark chocolate bar.  For your veggie and vegan peeps, try Chicago Diner with a gift card for a tasty “I can’t believe it’s vegan” shake or have your friends rep their veg style with a Chicago Diner t-shirt.  Click here for more food gift ideas.

Fit Fanatics: For a yoga lover or to help someone get off their asana (haha) and get fit, gift them one week of unlimited classes at  Zen Yoga Garage (plus first-timers automatically get one week free pass with a coupon).  Learn more about this 2013 new hotspot here.

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Zen Yoga Garage

And for a more one-on-one fitness focus, how about some serious calorie crushing sessions with our fave certified personal trainer, Sabri Xhaferi, NASM CPT.  Sabri offers nutritional counseling, myofascial (muscular relaxation) techniques, and one-on-one highly individualized personal training with flexible payment arrangements.  Email sabriCPT@gmail.com and find more background info here.  You can also grab some healthy tips on his Facebook page.

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Sabri Xhaferi, CPT
Photo courtesy Ela Miszczyszyn

Oh and for fun fun fun person in your life: The Chicago donut scene has been rolling (like a rolling pin, get it?) this year.  For the fun chasing type, how about tickets to the first ever batter-y, deep-fried Donut Fest in Chicago on Jan 26th!  Tickets are on sale Monday, Dec 23rd at noon.  For more info  http://donutfest.com

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Glazed & Infused Donuts and Firecakes Donuts

Whew!  It’s time to break our the tape, scissors, and wrapping paper and get these gifts in the sleigh!

What are your recs for Chicago’s best gifts?  Where do you eat, sweat and play?

Meatless Monday: Roasted Broccoli Sammiches

Bored of boiled broccoli, all soggy and bland?  How about some roasted broccoli with flavor!  We’ve been hooked on oven roasted veggies this year and have no intention of ever looking back. We made two versions of roasted broccoli that can be eaten alone or even added into a sandwich (think cheesy melty panini).

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Baked Broccoli Cheese Sandwich

Modified from here.

Serving 2 people.

Ingredients

  • 1 small sized head of broccoli
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • whole black pepper, grounded to taste
  • Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread
  • 4 whole wheat bread
  • Smoked gruyere cheese (also available at Aldi)

Directions

  • Preheat oven 400 degrees.
  • Cut broccoli.  Put into a round tupperware.  Add seasonings and oil and mix it.

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  • Spread out on a baking tray.  Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Spread lightly Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread on 4 whole wheat breads.
  • Add 1 sliced smoked gruyere cheese on top of coconut spread on each of two sandwiches.
  • Add the roasted broccoli to each of two sandwiches.

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  • Put in a panini maker or grill on stove.

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For a more spicier flavor as a snack or side dish.

  • Same as above plus
  • 1/4 tsp garlic
  • red chili pepper flakes, to taste
  • cayenne pepper or chile arbol ground, to taste

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Bake in the oven for 10 minutes and it’s ready to eat!  Now excuse us because its dinner time.  Broccoli ahoy!!

All we want for Xmas is Pilates bodies!

We have to confess…it’s been almost a week since our last workout and our abs still hurt!  Last Saturday, we kicked another Chi style birthday off right with our next Lululemon “12 Days of OM” event at Superior Pilates.  Before we got started, we shared a nervous conversation with a fellow classmate about the reformers and their semi torturous facades.  Our fears were soon assuaged by Kristen Wolf, our teacher, owner and founder of Superior Pilates as she explained that we wouldn’t tackle the machines until we had the basics down.

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Finally, we snuggled into the mats and tightened our tummies in anticipation.

So what’s the hype about this workout?  Pilates (pronounced puh-LAH-teez) helps build flexibilitymuscle strength, and body awareness and involves the legsabdomenarmships, buttocks and lower back.  This workout strengthens and stretches bulky muscles as well as tones and balances the smaller muscle groups.   Need more info?  Click here on Wikipedia.

During our 1 hour class, Kristen worked out every part of the body.  We tried our hand at the more traditional moves like “the hundred” exercise and adventured into some new territory with the use of spring-and-pulley apparatus that pushed our triceps and calves to the sculpting limits.

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The small class size allowed Kristen to give personal attention to each student.  After we had exhausted every muscle fiber, we chatted it up with Kristen about her journey into pilates.  Kristen suffered whiplash from a car accident and began pilates as a tool for rehabilitation.  She ended up loving it so much that she followed up with professional pilates training and eventually purchased the cozy and sunny studio space.

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At the end of our class, Molly from Lululemon raffled off a sweet black tank with watercolor style flowers…and guess who won?  The bday girl!!

Hurry up and get in on the holiday fun at the next 12 Days of OM or take the Pilates Plunge with Kristen at Superior Pilates.

Giveaway! Sassy City Chicks in Chicago

Shopping, cocktails, beauty services…for free!
Doesn’t it sound like the PERFECT girls day out?
Sassy City Chicks is coming back to Chicago for their holiday show on Sunday, December 15th, from 12-5PM at the Double Tree Magnificent Mile!  The event will feature top local designers and boutiques with INSANE discounts, so you can get that last minute shopping in. And of course, you can’t leave without a little pampering for yourself. There will also be complimentary hair styling, threading, and more in their exclusive spa lounge.  And maaaybe you’ll win the Kate Spade leather bag they are giving away at the event!
We are giving our Chi Girl readers FREE VIP tickets, but there is a catch….only 30 tickets are available.  Type in Promotional Code: chigirls at the ticket checkout  http://sassycitychick.com/event/details/sassy-city-chicks-chicago-2/
Join us for a Sassy Chi Sunday Funday with Sassy City Chicks and tweet, instagram and fb @chiorganicgirls with hashtag #SassyCityChicks and #chiorganicgirls so we can share in the fun!!
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My Om My! Free Holiday Yoga with Lululemon Chicago

Admit it.  You deserve a break from the holidays already and those snowman cookies you’ve gorging on lately certainly aren’t relieving any stress.  Well, real holiday relief is on the way!  In the spirit of the season, Lululemon on Rush & Walton has wrapped up the gift of free yoga classes, ceremoniously titled “12 Days of OM”,  at a diverse set of Chicago based studios for all of us in need of a good Shavasana.  We did a test run last night for the 2nd day of OM at Yoga Fuzion.  Nestled in River North, Yoga Fuzion’s studio space has all the accouterments you would expect from the posh neighborhood.  It boasts infrared heating technology, free towel and mat rental, and a special cushy moisture reducing floor.  During our 1 hour yoga journey with Rachel, we delighted in some much needed detoxing twists (goodbye pumpkin pie!) and a toasty heated temp which was a surprise perk given the 20 degree freeze yesterday.

We sweated it up and still somehow looked glowy at the end.  Ok, so maybe we snuck a brush in our gym bags and tussled our hair a bit before the “op”.

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Yoga Fuzion in River North

Following practice, we chatted it up with Jonna from Lululemon and indulged in mango lemonade, cucumber mint water and fresh veggies.  She explained that class sign-ups are released each Friday and pointed us to the sign up link for “12 Days of OM” on Eventbrite.  Jonna presented us a special gift in the #nohumbug Lululemon tradition, a cute coral colored sweat wicking pink stripe tank for Monica!  ‘Tis the season for you to jump on the free yoga sleigh ride as well.  Check out the “12 Days of Om” schedule below, back away from the cookies and throw those capri and tank in your gym bag!  Next classes include Power Vinyasa Flow at Yoga Loft and Mat Pilates at Lateral Fitness.

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Meatless Monday: Cranberry Spiced Butternut Squash

Are you suffering from a lingering Thanksgiving coma?  Are you currently looking at a squash that your aunt brought you over the holiday with a perplexion on how to use it.  Squash is one of those winter foods that we didn’t know what to do with during our early cooking days. Now we know there is a multitude of squash available: all that can be turned into awesome veggie meals

Recognize any of these variety of squash???

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Pumpkin, Spaghetti and Carnvial Squash (bottom left to right)
Butternut, Acorn and Buttercup Squash (top left to right)

Here’s a starter recipe for the puzzling squash. This week’s Meatless Monday dish features yummy natural cranberry sauce and a winter superstar, Butternut Squash.  If you’re feeling extra lazy, which we’re guessing you still are as we noticed your Santa pajama pants, you can grab pre-cut and peeled butternut squash from the grocery store instead of machete-ing that sucker. If you’re more adventurous, cut open the squash length wise, scoop out the seeds, peel and cut into 1 inch cubes in preparation.

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Cranberry Spiced Butternut Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 cups butternut squash, chopped in 1 inch cubes, peeled
  • 1 cup natural cranberry sauce (no jiggly cran jelly people!)
  • 1/2 cup no salt sunflower seeds (no husks)
  • Maple syrup to taste

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If you’re feeling spicy, you could add 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Vietnamese cinnamon is our favorite).

Directions

  • Fill a medium sized pot with water and bring the water to a boil
  • Boil squash until tender
  • Drain water
  • Mix all the ingredients while squash is still warm
  • Add maple syrup until desired sweetness

Easy peasey butternut squash can  be transformed into other various hearty dishes. You can puree it with veggie stock and spices for a delicious savory soup, mix it with arugula and feta, or, for a sweeter treat, try roasting it with cinnamon and butter. Now put on some real clothes and go attack that squash!