Exhale Spa Evanston Studio Opening

Ready to transform your trouble zones in the new year?  One of our most beloved boutique fitness spots, exhale spa, is expanding from Chicago to a new location in Evanston.  It’s only a hop, skip and a jump from Northwestern University, … Continue reading

5 Easy Tips for Mental Wellness

Ok, so does anyone feel like they just took off their NYE party hats and watched January fly by? February is coming up in a few days and one of the themes of the month is heart health (Ya know, Valentine’s day and all that).  Apart from the physical care of your heart through healthy foods and exercise, another lesser thought of factor is caring for your emotions (stress, loneliness, depression and the like).  We so often focus on the physical and often ignore our mental health needs!  Our friends at the Rooted Center are guest posting this week to share ways we can minimize stress, check in with our emotions and improve our mental well being to make this February full of self care.


Guest Contributors
Shruti Sekhri of Rooted Center
Dr. Katie Ray, DC
Heather Fraelick, LMT

When it comes to all over well being it seems as if a lot of us are focused on working out or improving our diet.  When we gain weight or get sick, we turn to medicine or again to focus on our physical health.  What if taking the time to nurture our mental health and well being could help prevent weight gain and other health issues?  Mental wellness is just as important as exercise and nutrition, because when we are stressed, our cortisol levels spike which causes a slew of health issues.  When we are stressed, we may not get enough sleep, we turn to emotional eating, and we simply don’t feel well.  Here is how we can help lower stress and improve our allover well being with mental wellness tips!

1) What is the importance of mental wellness?

Mental wellness is pervasive and impacts our physical health, intellectual capacity and our relationships.  When our emotional life is out of balance, it can manifest into physical ailments (we’ve all heard about stress caused illnesses), it can drive us to make reactive decisions that are driven from hidden emotions rather than clarity, and it can cause us to have unhealthy relationship interactions.  By practicing mental self-care, we can reverse these undesired results and instead gain self-confidence, self-worth, and greatly improve our quality of life.

2) How can we become more aware of how we feel?

The first thing that we have to do is set the intention to become more aware.  Once we have that, then we have to give ourselves permission to allow any feeling to be OK – in other words, we have to let ourselves know that we don’t have to judge if we are good or bad for feeling the way that we do.  This creates the safe space for us to start feeling what we feel.

Once we have the safe space, we can have some tools to dig in: 1) put an alarm on your phone twice a day and ask yourself – how am I feeling?  Where do I feel it in my body?  How is my breathing 2) do some stream of conscious journaling – that means just write anything that comes to mind even if it makes no sense 3) Try to just grab a set of pastels and start doodling on some paper and see where it leads you.


3) What are some ways to cope and deal with stress?

Stress is pervasive and it can actually even be stressful to try not be stressed.  The first thing to do when you’re feeling stressed is to stop what you’re doing and take a deep breath.  Then, see if you can go for a 10 minute walk.  If that’s not an option, start doodling or journaling to find what is creating your stress.  A lot of times, when we know what is creating stress and anxiety for us, the knowledge itself starts to release us from it.

4) What holistic health practices also help maintain a mind body balance that can help with mental wellness?

Some key practices that help our mind and body stay connected and drive towards mental wellness include acupuncture, reiki, chiropractic care, massage therapy, aroma and essential oil therapy, yoga, nutritional balancing, and certainly talk-, equine-, or art- therapy.

5) What are 5 things we can do daily to maintain a healthy mental state?

1)    Schedule time for ourselves – even if it’s 10 minutes (you don’t have to stress about how much or if it’s enough)

2)   Set alarms on your phone to check in with how you are feeling

3)   Notice how you are breathing and see if you can extend your breath once in a while

4)   Spend time talking to someone who gives you empathy rather than advice. Advice is good, but to feel understood is paramount.  In fact, see if you can find an accountability buddy and just text each other one thing that you did for yourself that day

5)   Take a moment to find something you’re grateful for every day

Oh and treat yourself sometimes!  Rooted Center is hosting “Be Your Own Valentine”  on February 7th from 4-7 pm to give you a chance to Love Yo’ Self with mini spa treatments, expressive art sessions and more.  The $25 dollar suggested donation goes to NoStigmas.org.  NoStigmas is a global non-profit movement utilizing Peer-2-Peer connections to promote mental wellness and prevent suicide.  Their individual approach provides education, support systems and access to mental health resources at no cost. 


Your Fittest Week Ever

Don’t give up on those resolutions yet!  Chicago land is popping this week with low cost and free fitness workshops, health and nutrition seminars and fun events.  Oh and it’s nice-ish outside so you could attempt to brave the outdoors…so, take that winter!

Wednesday Jan 21

Speaking of running, isn’t it more fun with a pack?  Join other lady runners at Fleet Feet Lincoln Square for Chick’s Night.  Runners and walkers are welcome and routes range between 3 and 6 miles.  Can’t do a Wednesday?  Run clubs are also available on other weeknights through Fleet Feet.

Thursday Jan 22

“Shake and pop. Shake and pop.”  Do you ever imagine you’re dancing at a club during your cardio classes?  Your dream is now a reality!  Join Flirty Girl Fitness, live DJs, 3 different dance instructors, back up dancers, lights, sound, and fellow cardio heads at the first ever Club Cardio Concert at Sound Bar.  Tickets are only $15*, cheaper than the usual drop in, and drinks are available for purchase.  This is for the grown and sexy so 21+ only allowed.

Are you trying to explore food allergies or gluten free living?  Bountiful Eatery is hosting a gluten free meetup from 7-9 pm on Thursday.  Holistic Health Coach, Joy Duginske, and Gluten Free Mom, Tiffany Hinton, will share tips and thoughts on gluten free lifestyles.  Attendance is free!  RSVP here.

Friday Jan 23

Do you ever tip toe around your living room pretending to be the Black Swan?  Ok, maybe that’s just us.  Aspiring adult ballerinas and hip hop heads can take free classes at the Joffrey Ballet (GASP! So exciting) at Free First Friday.

Free First Friday

Joffrey Ballet, 10 East Randolph

12:00-1:00 pm Keep Fit Ballet with Kim Sagami
1:15-2:15 pm Pilates with Zineb Chraibi
6:30-8:00 pm Intermediate Ballet with Lynne Alberding
6:30-7:30 pm BeMoved with Jennifer Edgcomb
7:00-8:00 pm Hip Hop with Dantriell Houston

Saturday Jan 24

Whew!  You made it to the weekend.  Now chill and enjoy the fine art of meditation at 9 am with Hamsa Ayurveda and Yoga founder, Monica Yearwood.  No need to register!  Just show up and experience the brain changing power of meditation.

Free Meditation Group
Saturdays, 9 am (open and ongoing). Hamsa Center, 3807 N. Lincoln Avenue.

And then hype yourself back up with free and intense cardio from CrossTown Fitness at the South Loop Lululemon store.  Join Kailee Martin at 3 pm at the Roosevelt Collection.  You must register online to attend.

Photo courtesy of Cross Town Fitness

Sunday Jan 25

2015 is a year for dancing!  Learn some Latin moves for free and heat up your winter at the South Shore Cultural Center with Chicago’s Winter Dance.

Winter Dance, South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr.

  • 2-3pm – Lisa “La Boriqua” Latin Street Dancing (salsa lesson)
  • 3-5pm – Viva! Marc Anthony Tribute Project (live salsa band performing two 50-minute sets)

New Year’s Mind, Body and Soul Detox Workshops

Did the holidays leave you dazed, not dazzled?  Do you need a little help forming what 2015 will look like this year?  Lisa Payne, celebrity trainer and fitness writer, and Sarah Baker, Chicago based health and wellness consultant, are teaming … Continue reading

Pure Barre Lincoln Park: Fit Review



10 brave women made it out in the cold after a appetizer, sides, and pie holiday to get their fitness on this past Sunday at our first ever private Chiorganic Girls class at Pure Barre Lincoln Park, an admirable feet given the tendency to want to sleep off the lingering food coma.  We were grateful for our motivation to attend as we got a kick a*@ workout that toned and tightened to reset the good habits and prepare us for the back to work grind.


Lincoln Park Pure Barre is a brand new workout hot spot that just opened November 4th.  Ashley Gertz, owner of the newly opened Pure Barre in Lincoln Park, opened the location because of her personal love of barre classes and keen business sense.  She welcomed our group with a tour and an overview of what Pure Barre has to offer.  Ashley, a former marathoner and avid runner, found that cardio didn’t promote toning and strength so she joined the River North Pure Barre and was hooked.


Marguerite, our teacher, gave us the overview of common moves of Pure Barre and then we got cracking with an immediate plank set (WHYYY??).  Bubbly pop music as well as giggles from class participants offset the strenuousness of the miniscule muscle movements.  We rolled through abs, arms, legs and ended with (sigh*) more abs and a bridge set to tense up the tush.


After class, we took our shaky legs to the lobby area for complimentary Kashi and Luna snack bars as well as raffle for 2 lucky participants.


And now, we are sore…very pleasantly “can’t walk up the stairs so well” sore, evidence of a real workout.  Wanna check it out?  Pure Barre Lincoln Park offers new students a very affordable unlimited month of classes for $99.  If you join now, you can also compete in the Jingle Tuck challenge (15 classes in 30 days) for prizes and the ultimate win, a retreat at a spa in Arizona.



#Run10Feed10 First 10k Run Recap!

This past Sunday, I ran my first 10k with Run 10 Feed 10 and Women’s Health…and boy are my gams tired!  I did it!  And next time, I’m dragging Monica to run with me.  My popular co-blogger had yet another wedding to attend that day.


And what did I learn from the fab event?  For those of you moving from 5ks to the next step up, know that it is possible to be ready in 4 weeks!  This is coming from someone who used to hate running.

Amateur 10K tips:

1) Don’t stress!  There was plenty of people walking and taking breaks.  Your first 10k should be enjoyable and don’t feel guilty if you have to pause to catch your breath.

2) Get enough sleep.

Ya’ll know Halloween is coming, yeah?  So I had a lil pumpkin carving party the Saturday eve before and maaaybe stayed up a bit too late.  You need your full body strength to be at optimal performance so go to bed on time!

3) But not too much sleep.

Ok, so rookie mistake.  My anxiety got away with me and while I woke up at 5:30 am, I went back to sleep until 7:30 and then had to pull a Ferris Beuller’s day off and ramp myself into my workout clothes and on to the highway to get to the start line 5 minutes after the race started.

4) Take in the scenery

Running outside in Chicago is a treat (no tricks here).  Other than dodging goose poo in a small section, the race jaunted along the picturesque Chicago lakefront.  The continually varied foliage and fauna…oh and the Grub Hub running team with their hotdogs and turkey shaped hats…is way more interesting than staring at the wall while on the treadmill.

5) Revel in your results (and the after party)!

My time wasn’t super fast but I have gained about 2 minutes of speed since I first started running.  Women’s Health put together a sweet after event with a post race yoga, free post race fuel (Nestle Choco Milk, Bagels and fruit), athletic massages and beauty touch ups from Panasonic.  I was surprised to see Allison Sweeney of Biggest Loser there as well.  She gave out the post race awards, none of which I won.  Maybe some day!

Thanks to Women’s Health for allowing me to contribute to this spectacular event.


#RUN10FEED10: Help End Hunger AND Shape Your Booty

It’s not hard to love such a beautiful city like Chicago in fall.  The leaves are changing and the weather is cooling. Not everyone gets to stay cozy warm, however.  The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless estimates there was about 138,575 Chicagoans who were homeless in August of this year. It can be overwhelming to figure out how we can best help people who are in need. One way, however, is very simple! Stretch your legs and run to provide meals to people who are hungry.  Join Kate as she tests her speed at the RUN10, FEED10 race on October 19th, 2014.


Women’s Health and FEED are partnering for the RUN10 FEED10 10K race series to motivate consumers nationwide to help fight domestic hunger. RUN10 FEED10 has raised over 2.5 million meals to support the cause, and in 2014 the bar is set even higher. The concept behind RUN10 FEED10 is simple: run a 10K and feed 10 hungry people in your community. Timed 10K races will take place in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Those living in Boston, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, Atlanta, Houston, Minneapolis, and Washington D.C. can participate in one of the Women’s Health “Fun Runs,” and if runners don’t live in one of the RUN10 FEED10 host cities, they can still participate by registering at RUN10FEED10.com to run a 10K in their hometown.

The series kicked off in New York City on September 21, 2014 with thousands of participants running down the West Side Highway for the timed race ending at Pier 84 at Hudson River Park. In the Chi, we will jaunt down Belmont harbor along our gorgeous lakefront and be greeted at the end with a post-race wellness festival. This post race celebration will feature yoga sessions, nutrition, beauty consultations and great giveaways from sponsors.

Feeling intimidated?  Kate has only run 2 5Ks before so she googled to figure out if she could make it through the entire race without yelling uncle and lying down on the pavement.  Self.com has an awesome 4 week training plan to get your booty in gear or you can sign up for training plans with Women’s Health and Run10 Feed10.  Doing a 10k will also flex those glute muscles and burn an odd 600+ calories (about 9 snack size Halloween packs of M&Ms, yup!). Good prep to don that sexy Pumpkin Spice Latte costume (or sexy wizard or sexy sexy…whatevs your wearing).

Not ready to run? You can still help by donating or even shopping at popular retailers like Nike and Gap from the comfort of your sexy couch.

Ready to join Kate and register or share your cash?

Sign up today at www.run10feed10.com!


Image from Run 10 Feed 10 Website

Image from Run10 Feed10 Website

Relax with an UpLIFTing Retreat!


As the weather grows chillier and your work load picks up, it becomes essential to practice self-care.  We love opportunities where we can treat ourselves and retreat from the overstimulation of life WHILE helping others.  Next weekend you can do just that!

Experience an upLIFTing yoga session and contribute to children in need.   LIFT (Leading India’s Future Today), founded in 2004 in Chicago, opens a world of possibility for its students.  LIFT supports a holistic learning and leadership development program for boys and girls in Tamil Nadu, India.  LIFT educates children, creates leaders and transforms communities of highly motivated, underpriveledged students.  Learn more about LIFT at www.liftusa.org

The event will feature a ohm-some yoga class with mini Luna bar snacks to refresh yourself after your workout.  Strap on those ultra comfy yoga pants and get ready to relax on the mat! http://lift-foundation.org/uplifting-retreat-2014/



Be Healthful Retreat: A Holistic Health and Wellness Retreat

The Healthful Guide Presents:

The Be Healthful Retreat: A Holistic Health and Wellness Retreat

Event: Be Healthful: A Health & Wellness One Day Retreat

Hosted By: The Healthful Guide and In Good Taste Magazine


Oh DANG! Workout classes all day, mini spa treatments, juicy samples

#BeHealthful will partner with In Good Taste Magazine, Whole Foods, Karyn’s Raw, and other health and wellness leaders in Chicago for an all ­day wellness retreat and holistic health industry event at Moonlight Studios.  Get ready to be educated, entertained, and inspired!

Be Healthful will offer a series of pop­ up fitness classes, workshops given by wellness professionals, healthy eats, and over 20 health conscious vendors.  The retreat will provide an oasis for guests to recharge and reset for the week ahead.  All will leave pampered and energized.

Thirty percent of ticket sales will be donated to the official charity beneficiary of the event, Charity4LIFE.

The one day retreat is an “open ­house” meaning guests can come and go throughout the day and can build their own itinerary. Upon registration, guests can reserve their spot in what workshops/yoga classes they want to attend, and also the times that they want to visit each vendor for their spa services and wellness consultations.

What is included in the registration fee ($39.00) and $10 OFF code: CHIORGANICGIRLS

  • ­ 10 yoga and pilates classes (you can take as many as you like throughout the day) Moksha Yoga, Exhale Spa, Pilates Pro Works, Abigail Simon of Joffrey Ballet, Yoga Six, Tru Body Yoga, Yoga Loft, Flex Pilates, and more.
  • ­ 7 workshops including Ayurvedic detoxes, reflexology workshops, nutrition and motivational talks, cooking demos, and more.
  • ­ Spa services including: full body spray tans, facials, oxygen treatments, light therapy sessions, scalp and shoulder massages; mini makeovers including makeup consultations and hair styling, and more.
  • ­ Wellness consultations including: detoxing consults, posture examinations, tongue examinations, mind and body consultations, and more.
  • ­ Food and Beverage tastings including juices, a variety of plant ­based cuisine, vegan and paleo baked goods, artisan teas, and herbed popcorn. (guests have the option to purchase goods from vendors at guests discretion)

Oh DANG! Workout classes all day, mini spa treatments, juicy samples…what are you waiting for?  Come join us because we all need a chance to recharge and pamper ourselves.

About The Healthful Guide:

The Healthful Guide is a plant based dining and healthy living directory for the city of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Healthful is dedicated to bringing more awareness to living a nourishing and holistic lifestyle. Their core belief? That life is all about being Healthful. To learn more visit http://eathealthful.com

Chicago Passport to Healthy Skin

Chicagoan, need a healthy glow after the harsh winter?  Well, this is your opportunity to learn simple solution to healthy skin and more at this FREE event!

Date:  Saturday, June 7th  Location:  Millenium Park North Promenade, Chicago, IL  Time:  11:00am-3:00pm

One survey showed 75% of Chicago women are aware that what they eat impacts their skin’s health, but 52% don’t feel they can call themselves healthy eaters.  So tell your girlfriends and come check out this FREE event which includes the following….

  • Yoga workout sessions
  • Stress-relieving massages
  • Healthy treats and detoxifying teas
  • Skin-loving beauty samples
  • . . . Plus, get first-hand tips from our POPSUGAR editors and the Simple® Advisory Board
  • and FREE goodies!!

RSVP here and you will be showing off your luminous skin just in time for the summer!