Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Retro Fitness takes on the Midwest

Retro Fitness in Carol Stream, Illinois held its Grand Opening April 26 with plenty of music, food, and of course fitness.

I particpated in (and lost) a fitness challenge. Thirty seconds of crunches followed by 30 seconds of step ups. Whoever racked up the most won a 3 month membership! I forgot my individual totals, but my score was 46 overall.

The Retro On Demand feature is now available. My camera didn't pick up the image very well, but individuals or groups can choose a workout and a guided program with an instructor leads your workout.

I spoke with Retro Fitness CEO Eric Casuburi. What a nice guy! I watched his episode of Undercover Boss - so it was neato to meet him in person. What an inspirational entrepreneurial story. Eric shared some of the exciting techinical updates coming to their treadmills - integration with fitness trackers like the Nike+ fuelband. Disreagard my hair, it deflated after the fitness challenge.

Retro Fitness has grown from a few gyms in the Northeast to now over 100 with plans to open more locations in suburban Chicago as well as expand into the St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri areas. If you're nearby, drop in the Carol Stream location to check it out for yourself!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

May events: craft workshop, art fair & race

May will be an exciting month! First, I'm hosting another crafting workshop at Local Goods Chicago. Sign up here! Next, my first craft fair is May 17 in Oak Park, Illinois. What's Blooming on Harrison is a juried fair - meaning a group of people decide who can particapte based on submissions of their work. I'm so happy my submission was accepted! I'm working like crazy to make some fun, new jewelry.

Then, May 22 I'm running the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Chicago. All runners must be part of a corporate team to participate in the 3.5 mile race. This is the first year my company has participated, and our entry fees are comped- score! Can't wait to experience this race!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dry brushing for sensitive skin + sweet orange body butter recipe

The thought of running brush bristles across your skin sounds a little painful, right? Yet, this perfectly describes the popular practice of dry brushing. A friend recently introduced me to the concept and from her explanation I imagined it might feel something like running a rake over my body. I was a little skeptical of the idea. She on the other hand had nothing but good things to say about the process and sent me this article which does a great job of breaking down the benefits including:

• Increasing circulation to the skin.
• Helping to shed dead skin cells, encourage new cell renewal, and prevent ingrown hairs.
• Rejuvenating the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings.

There are also claims that dry brushing reduces the appearance of cellulite by helping with fat distribution. Fingers crossed! These are the basic rules of dry brushing:

• Dry brush dry skin before your morning shower.
• Start at your ankles and gently brush in circular, upward motions, using long strokes toward your heart.
• Once you reach your neck, back and arms, brush downward toward your heart.
• Be cautious of softer and sensitive skin around the chest and never brush inflamed skin.
• After dry brushing, shower to wash away dead skin cells and impurities.
• Post shower, liberally apply a moisturizer.

I was concerned about trying dry brushing because I have sensitive skin. Because of this, I modified my routine to accommodate my skin’s tolerance. I've been dry brushing now for a little over a month. These are my added tips for dry brushing sensitive skin and my recipe for a post-shower moisturizer, sweet orange body butter:

• Use a quality, long-handle natural bristle brush. You can find these hanging around a grocery store like Whole Foods.
• Dry brush every other day. For the first few days, I dry brushed every morning and I just felt like I was being too abrasive. My skin agrees with alternating days.
• Skip the chest area. I avoid below the clavicle and above the belly button all together. My skin is much too thin there to be agitating.
• Seal in the moisture. I created my own concoction that’s yummy, inexpensive and works great:

o 1 part Shea butter
o ½ part coconut oil
o 3-4 drops sweet orange essential oil

In a container warm the Shea butter and coconut oil together in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add a few drops of sweet orange essential oil (or your favorite scent) and whip together with a spoon. That’s it!

After a month of practicing dry brushing, it has become a regular part of my morning routine. It’s a great morning wake-me-up and start to the day.
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