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Tuesday
Aug132013

A ‘Blissful’ Staycation at the W Atlanta Downtown: Part II

The Gruyere popover. The heirloom tomato salad. The 8 oz. filet. The mac and cheese. My dinner at BLT Steak (located at the W Atlanta Downtown) left my taste buds tantalized — and my waistline in need of a sweat session.

So when my body woke up raring to go at 6 a.m. on Sunday, it was off to the hotel’s gym, appropriately named “Sweat,” to get my day off to a fit-and-well start.

Now, you know me. I love a good hotel gym. Sweat’s cardio equipment overlooks the Downtown Connector and Midtown. And if the view isn’t enough of a distraction, all of the treadmills, elipticals, etc. are equipped with a TV.

Beyond the cardio machines, there are punching bags, free weights, a cable weight machine, a yoga area with all of the blocks and mats you could want — basically, you name it, they’ve got it. (Except I didn’t see a BOSU, and I do love to have one of those to play with!)

When you feel adequately sweaty, there are cool towels available or nifty little Bliss Spa wipes to wipe your brow. It was a “W”onderful way to start my Sunday. (Complimentary access to this gym is one of the reasons why I continue to get my mani reschellackings!)

I stopped by the lobby to fix myself a complimentary cup of tea, complete with milk and honey (coffee is available too, folks) and headed back to my room to get beautiful for breakfast at BLT Steak.

One of the only gripes of my visit is that I’d called down the afternoon before to the hotel’s Whatever/Whenever number and requested that a Sunday New York Times be delivered to me on Sunday morning. However, a paper never showed up. The woman at the front desk was very helpful when I approached her on my way to breakfast, and she ensured that I received a paper before I checked out. But I was a little surprised that it had been so difficult to get a newspaper. I mean, the Whatever/Whenever service is designed to grant each guest’s every wish...

I had the restaurant all to myself at 9 a.m., and I enjoyed the peace. I was seated by the window that overlooks the valet area, so watching the people who were coming and going at that hour was entertaining.

After the indulgent dinner the night before, I decided to say “negative” to the BLT Popover — another one of those Gruyere soufflesque puffs of bread complimented with spinach, ham, eggs, bacon, béchamel, and hollandaise — that was beckoning me to order it.

Instead, I enjoyed the veggie frittata (pictured), which included Portobello mushrooms, asparagus, goat cheese, and tomatoes. OK, and I got one of the regular popovers on the side. I’m human, people.

Following breakfast, my staycay came to a close. I will absolutely be back to BLT Steak and Bliss. Fit and fit.

Until next Tuesday — stay FWABulous!

Keep up with my FWABulous adventures on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Vine (get the ap at http://vine.co and search for "Amelia Pavlik").


Tuesday
Aug062013

A ‘Blissful’ Staycation at the W Atlanta Downtown: Part I

An infinity pool high above downtown Atlanta. The thump of groovy, soulful bass that follows you everywhere you step — from the elevator to the fitness center with a million dollar view. A hotel room that screams “I’m sexy, and I know it!” And a spa that puts the “ah” in Atlanta. Welcome to the W Atlanta Downtown.

In June, I headed over to the hotel — which happens to be only a few miles from my home — for a one-night staycay. (Stay tuned for an upcoming article this fall in Urban Lux Magazine sharing my spa staycation experiences at three Atlanta hotels.)

Although I’ve visited the Bliss Spa location in the hotel (check out the blog I wrote about my FWABulous experience), I’d never stayed at this W. But in the name of article research, I figured it was time. (Here’s the disclaimer, kids: portions of my visit to the W and Bliss were comped or discounted.)

I arrived at the hotel around noonish on a Saturday and stashed my bags in my sexy room (almost too sexy for me) that featured a peek-a-boo shower and a naughty, dark color scheme — very chic. Thankfully, the sun was out, so I decided to enjoy the pool for a bit before my spa appointments. But I wasn’t alone in this thought, as every lounge chair at the pool was taken.

So, I carved out a little spot in the sun at one of the outdoor lounge tables and was able to catch some rays and enjoy a little lunch, too (try the watermelon punch, folks — it’s excellent).

Around 3 p.m., it was time to head to Bliss. One of the things I love about this spa is all of the perks of getting a treatment. You have access to the pool, the hotel’s gym (stay tuned for next week’s blog that provides the skinny on Sweat), little snacks like cheese, olives, and brownie bites, and a complimentary glass of champagne.

I was greeted with a glass of champs and Ren, the esthetician who performed my Triple Oxygen Facial. For the next 60+ minutes, Ren worked her exfoliation, moisturizing, face-loving magic on me with an assortment of Bliss-brand potions. It was heavenly. (And did I mention that Ren has her own lash extension business. Stay tuned for a future blog…) Sure, this facial isn’t cheap, but I will likely go back to Ren again — even if it’s just once a year.

After wrapping up my facial bliss with Ren, I was introduced to Corinna. Now, I’ve never done anything other than a regular manicure to my fingers. No acryllics, or other artificial nail stuff — my nails are virgins. But I agreed to try the Bliss gel mani — known as a “shellacking."

Y’all, I have to say, once you’ve been shellacked, you’ll never go back! This mani is done almost exactly like a regular one — except after every layer of polish, your nails are put under a UV light to set. When they're finished, your nails don’t feel heavy or thick. And when you’re done, there’s no potential for smudges. You’re good to go. I’m in love. (BTW, I’ve since returned for reshellackings — on my own dime — and have been pleased with the results every time.)

With my face glowing (OK, so it was initially a bit red from all of the love it received — but that’s to be expected with a facial) and my nails ready to rock and roll, I headed back up to my room to get ready for a not-so-fit-and-well steak dinner at BLT Steak.

So far, this staycation was off to a FWABulous start… Stay tuned for next week’s blog to find out how the rest of the staycay went and the deets on the hotel’s fitness center — Sweat. Until next Tuesday — stay FWABulous!

Keep up with my FWABulous adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine (get the ap at http://vine.co and search for "Amelia Pavlik").

Tuesday
Jun252013

You're Never Too Old for a Little Summer Vacay

You know those people who never seem to use their vacation time at work? Well, I'm not one of them. 

I'm a firm believer in taking time off to clear my brain and reenergize. It doesn't matter if it's a weekend staycation or a lengthy trip to an exotic destination — breaks are a necessity for my mental and physical wellness. 

With that said, the Fit and Well Atlanta Belle is taking a break to rejuvenate in July. But come Aug. 6, I'll be back with blogs about the spa at the Intercontinental Buckhead, a summer golf lesson at Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, N.C. (hopefully, it won't rain this time!), and other fitness and wellness finds.

Until then, you can keep up with my FWABulous adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine (get the ap at http://vine.co and search for "Amelia Pavlik"). Until Aug. 6 — stay FWABulous, folks!

Are there any fitness or wellness trends you'd like the belle to write about? Share your thoughts in the blog's "Comment" section.

Tuesday
Jun182013

Don’t Judge the Chuice By Its Color

Chewing is not something I’m used to doing when taking a sip of juice — until I tried Chuice.

So what is this chewy concoction that I speak of? Why it’s a blend of 45 fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, and seeds, that includes everything from kiwi to kale. This fresh, unpasteurized juice comes in two flavors: Forest (which is green in color) and the River of Life (which is red).

I’ve seen this unique beverage around town and decided that it was time to give it a try. So I went to meet with Sujit Sharma from the Chuice team at the company’s base in Midtown. During my visit, I also had a chance to meet Chuice founder Ladell Hill, a personal trainer and wellness consultant.

The foundation of the Chuice recipe stems from information that Ladell’s grandfather shared with him when he was a child about using plants and herbs for healing and wellness. He took this knowledge and found a way to integrate it into his life and the lives of his clients by creating Chuice. According to the company’s website:

“Realizing that his clients were often missing out on the benefits of high-quality nutrition, Ladell made it his goal to create something that could work for them too. He already had a vast array of fruits, vegetables, and herbs he knew would add functionality for a product. By adding nuts and seeds, he achieved two goals: it "rounded out" the nutrition by providing protein and essential fatty acids; and it required chewing, which he felt was necessary to initiate digestion naturally.”

Sujit sent me home with a jug of both the Forest and River of Life flavors (there is a great FAQ section on the website that covers everything from the difference between the two flavors to where you can purchase it). Now for what you’re really wondering — was it a “fit?” Actually, yes. The price is a little steep (a half gallon normally costs around $30, but the ingredients are super fresh). But if you’re in a rush and want the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve had a healthy “meal,” Chuice is perfect.

I thought it tasted sweet and nutty, and it filled me pretty quickly (but there’s only 140 calories in an eight-ounce serving). But beware, have some floss on hand for the Chuice smile that you’ll get from all of the bits and pieces of produce in this bevie!

Until next Tuesday — stay FWABulous!


Tuesday
Jun112013

I Need a Little ‘Chaos’ in My Life

Routine is FWABulous when it comes to things like my breakfast smoothie (who wouldn’t want this yummy berry/banana/spinach combo every morning??) and our Saturday morning jaunt to Starbucks and Trader Joe’s. But I'm not a fan when it comes to my workouts.

Now that I’m no longer teaching my World Gym Smyrna classes (I miss you guys!), I’ve been challenged with keeping my cardio and resistance training interesting. So last week I decided to return to Buckhead’s Chaos Conditioning.

Sound familiar? Well, a few months ago, I visited the studio to experience “Club Chaos” — probably the only workout in Atlanta that blends a nightclub atmosphere with a killer workout. It was an absolute “fit” for this belle! (Read about my experience here.)

So on Monday evening, I tried the Complete Chaos class, which (I hope I’m remembering this correctly) is eight, eight-minute rounds filled with cardio and resistance training exercises that incorporate everything from medicine balls to TRXs. (BTW, water and towels are available at the studio, so you don’t have to worry about bringing your own.)

Everyone is put on a team, which is nice for those who have friends and those who are new to Chaos — you’ve always got someone to cheer you on. This class was taught by owner Jeff Baird, who I enjoy for two reasons: he has awesome energy, and he takes the time to make sure that people are doing the exercises correctly and offers modifications.

For the next hour, my butt was thoroughly kicked with a variety of burpees, BOSU drills, running on self-propelled treadmills, and other exercises that made me use muscles I’d forgotten I had.

And let me tell you, variety is key to this workout. Within each eight-minute round, we rotated through four different exercises (about two minutes at each). It’s like the Baskin-Robbins of workouts — but instead of consuming calories, you’re burning them!

Now, let’s talk about pricing. (Disclaimer, I was invited to try the class for free.) The great news is that your first class is only $10, so you have no excuse not to try this. (And let me know if you do, because I'd love to take the class with you.) From that point on, you pay by the session ($30) or can buy packages that start at eight sessions for $200. It might sound a little pricey, but it's on par with what I've seen other Buckhead studios charge. And if you want my opinion, the energy Jeff brings and the exercises he’ll take you through are worth every penny.

As a matter of fact, I’m going to try to return this week to try the studio’s other class option — Impact Box. Stay tuned for a future blog on how it stacks up to my other "chaotic" experiences...  

Are you an Instagramer? If the answer’s yes, follow FWAB on Instagram for the latest and greatest images from the belle's escapades. Until next week — stay FWABulous!

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