Hippie in the City: 5 Ways to Stay Active While Visiting NYC

In a definitive ranking of things I’m most passionate about, the order goes:

  1. New York City
  2. Everything Else

Although my first time actually experiencing the city didn’t happen until a couple years ago, I’ve spent my whole life daydreaming about living there (all you native New Yorkers are probably rolling your eyes right now!).

And, full disclosure: I will live there someday. Once I’ve successfully convinced Amy Poehler that we’re second-cousins-once-removed. Meanwhile though, I’ll settle for weekend visits — against my bank account’s better judgement. But, hey…no regrets!

In fact, I just got back from spending Labor Day in New York, and as per usual, New York did not disappoint. I could write an entire novel about my trip, but rather than a gratuitous “I heart NY” recap, let’s give this post a wellness twist. ‘Cause I’m always on the lookout for healthy tidbits, after all.

So, if you’re planning a Big Apple getaway this fall, include my Top 5 Picks for Figure-Friendly Fun in your travel itinerary:

1. Rent a Citi Bike

Citi Bikes 1

my cycling-obsessed main squeeze!

Citi Bikes 2

Citi Bike central

This cycle-sharing transit system allows you to cruise the Manhattan streets from a two-wheeler vantage point. Simply stop by any docking station (located in various neighborhoods around town), select your payment plan (24-hour or 7-day) from the touchscreen kiosk, pedal away on a Concrete Jungle adventure, then return the bike to another station along your route.  Exercise + Sightseeing = Win-Win Situation.

2. Check out Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market 1

this way to pure happiness

Chelsea Market 2

so many choices!

Chelsea Market 3

Japanese lentil & rice bowl from Takumi Taco

This enclosed food court, flea market and art gallery extravaganza might just be the Meatpacking District’s trendiest attraction. Located inside a brick industrial building, the urban architecture, artsy vibe and tantalizing smells make Chelsea Market a can’t-miss on your NYC agenda. Over 35 restaurant vendors are featured, running the gamut from kale smoothies to imported cheese. I recommend Takumi Taco (a.k.a. Japanese-Mexican-fusion-amazingness).

3. Walk the High Line

The High Line 1

amazing views of the Lower West Side

The High Line 2

historic freight railway

The High Line 3

Hudson River from the High Line

The High Line 4

Empire State Building from the High Line

The High Line 5

selfie with graffiti!

This above-ground walkway meandering through Manhattan’s West Side is actually a refurbished freight line. Ogle at panoramic spectacles including Lady Liberty, the Hudson River, the Empire State Building and other iconic landmarks. Traipse along old railroad tracks, bursting with seasonal foliage and colorful blooms. Even participate in wellness activities such as Meditation or Tai Chi. Because life’s better over street level!

4. Explore the Parks

Central Park

the happy couple in Central Park…

Bryant Park

…in Bryant Park

Washington Square Park

…and in Washington Square Park

These next stopping points on your Big Apple checklist offer a unique juxtaposition of nature surrounded by skyline. From iconic Central to shore-lined Battery, the thriving New York park system provides ample space for hiking, cycling, recharging with fresh air and even relaxing in the shade. Whether you’re uptown or downtown, this sprawling metropolis is also a tree-hugger’s playground.

5. Visit a Green Market 

Green Market 1

all the veggies!

Green Market 2


This urban farmer’s market initiative takes place during the entire week, throughout various city-wide districts. My personal preference is visiting the Union Square location on Saturdays. Sample organic herbal teas, stock up on locally-sourced produce and peruse artisan “foodie” finds. It’s a health-conscious flavor tour that both your waistline and taste buds will appreciate.  ‘Nuff said.

Know any other wellness-centric activities worth adding to the list? (Looking at you, New Yorker peeps…) Sound off in the comments section below! 

The Couple that Sweats Together Stays Together (No Innuendo Intended…!)

After a brief hiatus from posting (thanks to a long-overdue reunion with my boyfriend in the Southern-fried city of Atlanta), the blog is officially up-and-running once again.

I know…I know…

*insert dramatic sigh of relief here*

And just in case you’re a teeny bit curious as to what I’ve been up to this past week…yours truly was kickin’ it back with this handsome devil:

me and Brandon

(The girl’s not so terrible-looking either. Cough. Cough.)

Yeah, okay. So…Blogosphere, meet Brandon. Brandon, meet Blogosphere.

This photo was taken at a wedding reception following the recent Parisian nuptials of Brandon’s older sister. (And the Pinot Grigio I’m pictured with was my one-and-only glass of wine throughout the whole evening).

*insert round of applause here*

But what does this little recap of my ATL trip have to do with Health and Fitness (the 2 pillars of “Health Be a Hippie”‘s entire existence)?

Touche, my friends. That’s a fair question.

Well, Brandon and I are quite the active couple, if we do say so ourselves. Whenever we visit each other, the days are typically spent in motion. Our favorite bonding activity is exploring various surroundings via the old “2 feet” method. It gives us an opportunity to catch up on life during our time apart, as well as keeps our bodies moving for literally hours on-end.

Walking with Brandon through Piedmont Park (Atlanta’s version of Central Park) yesterday, I started thinking about some other physical activities couples could do together, rather than that cliche dinner-and-a-movie date, which – of course – we’ve all experienced but probably wouldn’t care to repeat.

Here’s what I came up with. Feel free to comment with any ideas that you and your significant other have put to the test!

  1. Rock Climbing: Many cities have indoor wall climbing gyms, complete with guided tutorials on how to get started. So, harness up beside your “honey” and compete to see who can reach the ceiling first. Check out Groupon or Living Social for some discounted rates on rock climbing in your area.
  2. Biking: Wipe the garage dust off those “2-wheelers” and take them for a spin around your neighborhood, through the park, by the waterfront, or even on a trail ride. There’s nothing quite like pedaling into the wind and taking in some scenery with that special someone whizzing along next to you.
  3. Hiking: If it’s been too long since either you or your “sweetie-pie” have sported some stylin’ Timberland boots (#NoShame), hit the elements for a rugged tree-lined expedition. Take your camera along, in case a woodsy couple’s photo-op presents itself, and rediscover nature while hand-in-hand.
  4. Tandem Yoga: Check into whether your local yoga studio offers partner classes, then roll out the mats and get your “namaste” on. This practice will improve strength, balance, flexibility, and body exploration. So, get to know your S.O.’s curves and dips by moving through a yoga flow together.
  5. Paddle Boarding: For those, who – like me – live near the surf, book a couple’s SUP (stand-up paddle board) adventure. A tour guide will lead you lovebirds through mangrove brushes and open water. Check out Groupon or Living Social for discounted rates on paddle boarding in your area.

paddleboarding   paddleboarding 2

Brandon and I became skilled in the discipline of SUP when he visited me in Florida last week. And I’m thrilled to report that – despite a painful history of tripping over my own feet – I managed to stay upright. But…by the time we finished, my upper arms looked more like wet noodles than the glisteningly-toned biceps I’d been hoping for. (Right. I’m such a badass!)

My Top Picks for an “I Hate Working Out” Work-Out

You lack the motivation to tell your “Orange Is the New Black” addiction it’s time to explore other (more physical?) activities. The sheer notion of going for a jog or brushing the dust off those 5-pound weights just exhausts you. There are so many scribbles in your Lilly Pulitzer planner you don’t even have 10 spare minutes to sweat. You detest sports bras. And lycra…let’s not even touch that subject. (“No really! I’m doing a service for everybody else at the gym. No one wants to see these rolls!”). You’re notorious for making that same New Year’s Resolution every single January, then losing interest by mid-February.

In short, working out: not your thang.

Sound familiar?

Hey, you’re not alone. After all, exercise often gets a bad rap. It’s painful. It’s boring. It’s tiring. It’s daunting. It’s time consuming. It’s…blah, right? Well, at first it is. But here’s the good news: if you power through the sore muscles, fatigue, and recurring thoughts of “there are about a million other things I’d rather be doing,” you might just make a life-changing discovery. Exercise feels amazing! Invigorating. Empowering. Revitalizing. Suddenly you’ve got enough strength and stamina to run circles around the baddest bitch from “OITNB.” Hell. You’re the freakin’ Energizer Bunny!

But the fact remains that many of us still struggle with finding the willpower to push past temporary discomforts of physical exertion in order to reap long-term benefits. If that sounds suspiciously like the story of your life, then stand by. I’ve been busy scouring the web for some foolproof, fun, fast, and fairly simple work-outs that’ll make getting a sweat on easier than you ever imagined.

Anyone can learn to love the burn. Women, who never played a sport in their lives, can unleash inner-athletes when they dare to try. Those, who argue they just don’t have enough time, can find ways to make physical activity part of their daily routines.

And that means YOU too.

Yup, even you can get up and move (and enjoy it to boot!). Check out my recommendations below, choose the work-out regimen that best suits your lifestyle, and start pumping those muscles. Because, girlfriend, a healthy body is a sexy body!

For Cardio Training:

1. Go for a bike ride. Intensity for your legs and relaxation for your mind, that’s the beauty of a 2-wheeler. Pick a scenic route to distract yourself from the continuous pedaling motion. Start at a leisurely pace for 30 minutes, then gradually increase to vigorous for 1 hour. So, to recap: fresh air, nature, and toned thighs. #Winning.

2. Play some DDR. Movement doesn’t have to be conventional or even choreographed. It can be as simple as jumping around your living room, courtesy of Dance Dance Revolution. Challenge yourself with the “Maniac” mode and see how long you can keep pace before getting booed off the stage. Never has sweating been so fun.

3. Take the plunge. Swimming laps is one of the most effective full-body exercises like…ever. So, “beach babes” and “pool partiers,” take heart: your natural habitat can be part of your fitness plan. For someone of average endurance, a basic routine would include 2 breaststroke laps, 2 freestyles, 2 backstrokes, and 2 butterflies.

For Strength Training:

1. Jump Squat: This move targets both your upper and lower body. Follow these steps to execute a jump squat: (1) lace fingers behind head and stand with feet shoulder-width apart (2) bend knees slightly to gain momentum, then launch straight into the air (3) after landing, lower body down as far as you can with hips and glutes pushed back  (4) hold for 5 counts, then raise yourself back to a standing position (5) repeat 20 times. You should particularly feel the burn in your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes,


(image courtesy of healthfulpage.com)

2. Bicycle Crunch: This move primarily targets your core. Follow these steps to execute a bicycle crunch: (1) lie flat with lower back pressed into the floor (2) lace fingers at the base of neck and contract abdominal muscles (3) raise legs to a 45-degree angle and bend knees (4) move legs in a circular motion as though pedaling a bike (5) lift upper body off the floor and twist from one side to the other, alternately touching one elbow to the opposite knee (6) repeat 30 times on each side. You should particularly feel the burn in your obliques.


(image courtesy of sassyfitgirl.com)

3. Push-Up: This move primarily targets your upper body. Follow these steps to execute a push-up: (1) lower down to a plank position with hands facing forward and spread shoulder-width apart (2) flatten back and push glutes down, creating a straight slant along spine (3) clench glutes and tighten abdominal muscles (4) bend elbows and lower body down, while still maintaining a straight spine (5) hold this position for 2 counts, then raise back up into a plank (5) repeat 40 times. You should particularly feel the burn in your triceps, deltoids, and pectorals.


(image courtesy of fitsugar.com)