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!

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?