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Sunday
Nov242013

Hydration Rituals and Raw Oysters in San Antonio: Part I

Experiencing a Moroccanoil hydration ritual and my first raw oyster — just a few of the memories I brought home from a long weekend in San Antonio.

To celebrate the big 3-2, I decided to blend work with pleasure and make a trip to SAT. (I’m working on an article about the Texas town for a winter issue of Points North Magazine.) So, my sweet Mark and I headed off to the Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa, which is located about 30 minutes away from downtown SAT. (Disclaimer, folks, the majority of my visit to the resort was comped.)

For me, the Windflower Spa was the main draw for this resort. (I’d discovered it during a media trip to San Antonio last April when the group made a brief stop at the resort.) This resort is perfect for families looking for a vacation spot (it’s right next to Sea World and has a phenomenal on-property water park with a lazy river). Golfers would also love it, as it’s home to a beautiful golf course where I enjoyed a lesson.  

The spa is located in a restored barn — think country chic — which is home to its own private outdoor pool, sauna and steam rooms, and plenty of spots both inside and out on the porch to snuggle up with a good book. And don’t miss the snacks, hot tea, and fruit infused waters — the pecan cookies are not to be missed!

During my visit, I experienced the 90-minute Moroccanoil ritual, the 50-minute Windflower pedi, and a 60-minute vitamin C facial. Out of the three, the ritual was probably the best “fit.” I mean, who doesn’t like a good body exfoliation and a hot stone rubdown, right? The pedi and facial were also fabulous. All of the technicians were professional and friendly. And the room for pedis and manis was amazing — I loved my private little pedi throne!

The barn environment was charming, but I did notice that it was easy to hear the conversation going on next door during my treatments. I have the feeling that this is just a fact of life in an old barn with thin walls.

I should also mention that there was a bit of confusion when I first arrived at the spa for my appointment — it wasn’t in the system. The original plan was for me to enjoy the Windflower Meadows package, which included four hours of treatments. But there was some miscommunication between the spa staff and the media relations person I was working with to set up my itinerary, and the reservation didn’t get into the system.  

That sucked. But I have to say that the spa staff did its best to remedy the situation. I was scheduled in for the three treatments I mentioned above, since the Windflower Meadows package wasn’t currently available due to some work that was being done to the hydro tub, which is part of the experience. Everyone was very apologetic, and I ended up having a FWABulous time. (Just in case you’re curious about costs, the Moroccanoil ritual would have been $190, the pedi $75, and the facial about $140.)

With all that said, the spa was a definite “fit,” but if I return to SAT, I would probably check out a hotel that is closer to downtown and the popular River Walk area. Mark and I found ourselves wanting to go into town a few times — and the cab fare is not cheap (think $50 one way).

Now about those oysters… Stay tuned for next week’s blog to find out about Ostra at the Mokara Hotel & Spa.

Until next Tuesday — stay FWABulous! And keep up with my FWABulous adventures on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. 

Monday
Nov182013

Challenge Accepted: CrossCore at Cre8fit

It looks so innocent dangling there from the ceiling. But don’t let the CrossCore fool you.

I discovered this type of suspension training during a visit to my new favorite sweat spot in Vinings, Cre8fit. (Read on for my exciting announcement that involves Cre8fit!)

Those of you who are familiar with suspension training (which typically involves using some contraption hanging from a high point to do resistance training that uses your body weight as the resistance) have probably heard of the TRX. Now, I've always thought the TRX was fabulous, but the CrossCore is like the TRX’s sexier little sister — thanks to the pulley system that it operates on.

The balance challenge of dealing with this pulley system challenges your core in a way that the TRX just can’t. And you’re able to rotate your body through exercises in a way that isn’t possible with the fixed straps of a TRX. (Come take the Cre8fit class, and you'll see what I mean.)

A few Saturdays ago, I popped into the gym to take a RealRyder cycling class and decided to stick around to see what CrossCore was all about. For the next 45 minutes, the instructor — and owner — Corey, took us through a full-body resistance workout.

We did each movement for a set period of time (think 30 seconds to one minute), and then we’d do two more sets. Corey would show us modifications to make the exercise easier or more challenging, which allowed folks to work at their own pace. I especially appreciated having the easier modification when it came time to put my feet in the handles and do a suspended plank!

By the end of the workout, I knew that my muscles were going to “talk” to me the next few days, since the movements engage muscles that you don't use when you are standing still lifting free weights. CrossCore is a definite “fit” that I’d recommend to anyone looking to try a new resistance training tool.

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So, BIG news time… I’ve finally found a new teaching gig! I’ll be teaching the 6 p.m. Wednesday RealRyder cycling class at Cre8fit beginning in December. Let me know if you’d like to come and check it out, and we’ll make your first class a free one!

Until next Tuesday — stay FWABulous! And keep up with my FWABulous adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tuesday
Nov122013

Some Sweets for Your Skin: The Four Season's Milk and Honey Treatment

The sensation of honey exfoliating and replenishing your skin. A much-needed massage using coconut, ginger, and other oils to alleviate any lingering stress. All topped off with a taste of warm ginger tea. Welcome to the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta’s Milk and Honey Body Treatment.

This month, The Spa at this Midtown relaxation spot is offering the unique treatment, which I was invited to come and try out. (Disclaimer, the spa did comp me the service, however, I’ve long been a fan of this spot and have spent plenty of my own dollars here.) And FYI, valet parking is free with validation from The Spa.

Although I didn’t have much time on this particular evening, one of my favorite parts of visiting this spa is enjoying the amenities including the indoor pool and hot tub, sauna, steam room, and a cozy relaxation room stocked with hot tea and snacks (think yogurt-covered pretzels and nuts).

My therapist, Eunice, met me in the spa’s relaxation room (which still has the best snuggly blankets!) and whisked me away to the treatment room — where I got to select the type of music playing in the room. (I chose jazz over the new-age spa tunes.)

Eunice did an excellent job of talking me through the steps of the treatment, which uses honey from the hotel’s own beehives. I was rubbed, wrapped, and exfoliated for the next 80 minutes — much of which was a relaxing blur. I even received a moisturizing face mask (and got to take home the leftovers to use later, which made me happy). I left the treatment room feeling deliciously relaxed.

The treatment that I received usually costs $235. If that’s a bit pricey for you, never fear. The Spa offers a “happy hour” deal Monday through Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. You can choose two 25-minute treatments from this menu — and get a glass of prosecco — for $99. For more about the spa, click here.

So if you’re looking for a way to relax, I recommend giving this “fit” a try. You might even run into me enjoying a happy hour that doesn’t come with calories! Until next Tuesday — stay FWABulous!

Keep up with my FWABulous adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tuesday
Nov052013

Taking a Spin at Cre8fit: RealRyder Cycling

Handlebars that move. Who knew that something so simple could rock my spin class world so much?

This is what makes RealRyder indoor cycling bikes so unique — the handlebars turn left and right, which equals a core challenge plus killer cardio. I was lucky enough to take my first rides on this contraption at this year’s SCW Mania in Atlanta with actual master trainers for RealRyder: Douglas Brooks and Adam Reid. I. Was. Hooked.

I soon learned that it turns out that one of the few gyms in the state to offer this format is located right in Vinings. Cre8fit is a boutique fit spot that debuted this spring and offers several 45-minute RealRyder classes each week (along with a slew of other cool class formats).

So with an invitation to try a free class from owner, Corey Cutter, I headed to Cre8fit to give it a shot. (Disclaimer, even before taking the class, this gym was already pretty decent in my book, since a few of the instructors I used to teach with at World Gym Smyrna — who I respect — now teach here.)

The studio space is intimate, and I loved the clean and modern décor. Corey, who was my instructor that evening, did a great job of setting me up on the bike and answering any questions I had.

What I really love about the RealRyder is that it spices things up. Let’s face it — cycling in place can get a little boring. But by adding turns, I was forced to pay closer attention to what Corey was telling us to do. For example, imagine doing a hill where you’re already peddling against resistance — and then add having to turn your torso to the left or right and hold for a moment. Whew.

My only complaint is that I probably would have turned the music up a bit louder — and I probably would have had less rock, more hip hop/dance on my playlist. (Of course, those are my own personal tunes preferences.) Regardless, I left feeling well worked and ready to return to Cre8fit to try the CrossCore or BOSU Burn classes. “Fit!”

Until next Tuesday — stay FWABulous!

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READ THE BLOG AND LIVE IN ATLANTA? Roc House Fitness Spa in Buckhead has approached me about hosting an event for me and my followers that might include a fitness class, small bites, a glass of wine, and mini spa treatments. I’m trying to figure out how many people would be interested in attending. If you are, please respond to the following questions in the Comment section for this blog ASAP:


  • Would a Sunday afternoon work? If not, would a weeknight work better?

  • Would you be willing to pay $10-15 to have a few more goodies included (if it’s free there probably wouldn’t be any mini spa services or a glass of vino), or would you rather the event be free?

Monday
Oct282013

Prepped Meals that Make my Mouth Happy: Edesia Meals

As the chipotle mayo and chili verde sauce from my pork taco dripped down my fingers, I knew I was going to enjoy my “research” for this blog.

Welcome to my Edesia Meals experience, which was filled with gourmet, prepped dishes including grass-fed beef and veal-stuffed portabello mushrooms, coconut pumpkin chowder, and a paleo brownie (which was freaking amazing and is pictured below).

When I came across Edesia a few months ago, I knew it was a must-try for the blog. So, I reached out to the owner — and head chef — Veronica Case, who offered to let me try a sampling of her meals on the house.

Much of what Chef V dishes up is considered to be paleo (meaning that the food doesn’t contain things like grains, dairy, and refined sugars) — so that amazing brownie that I ate was actually pretty healthy. However, she does make exceptions for those who aren’t following the diet. For example, I received flour tortillas to package my pork taco fillings.

The goal of Edesia is to provide high-quality, prepped meals to folks who don’t have a lot of time to fix their own. People can place an order for the week (you pick and choose the dishes you want) on the Edesia website. Then, early the following week, you can pick your food up at a number of locations across Atlanta.  

So what did I think? This is hands down a “fit “ for me — so much so that I will likely order Chef V’s food in the future on my own dime. I think you’ve already figured this out, but my two favorite dishes were the tacos and the brownie. Amazing. (For more about Edesia, other prepped meal services in Atlanta, and the paleo way of life, check out this article I wrote for the September issue of JEZEBEL Magazine.)

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READ THE BLOG AND LIVE IN ATLANTA? Roc House Fitness Spa in Buckhead has approached me about hosting an event for me and my followers that might include a fitness class, small bites, a glass of wine, and mini spa treatments. I’m trying to figure out how many people would be interested in attending. If you are, please respond to the following questions in the Comment section for this blog ASAP: 

  • Would a Sunday afternoon work? If not, would a weeknight work better?
  • Would you be willing to pay $10-15 to have a few more goodies included (if it’s free there probably wouldn’t be any mini spa services or a glass of vino), or would you rather the event be free?