Fitness Magazine Meet & Tweet Event

Last week, I had the opportunity to head into the city and be a part of Fitness Magazine’s Meet & Tweet blogger event! I remember reading a lot about it last year and wishing I had been a part of the fun, so when I heard that they were looking for bloggers to sign up for the event I made sure to get my name in, assuming I wouldn’t be one of the chosen bloggers out of the hundreds that applied. So you can imagine my excitement when I learned that I had been selected to attend!

The event was held at The Mercedes Club, an upscale gym on West 54th Street in midtown Manhattan. Since it started at 9am, I had to take a 6:30ish train into the city to make sure I was there with plenty of time to meet up with some other bloggers and head over from Penn Station. Originally I was dreading the idea of getting up so early and taking NJ Transit during rush hour, but it was a completely uneventful morning – just the way I like it! A few days before the event I connected with Brianna, Toni, and Jen on Twitter and Facebook, and since they were coming either from Long Island or Upstate New York, we decided to meet in Penn Station and head over to the gym together. It’s funny to think how “meeting people on the Internet” was SO dangerous and somewhat taboo only a few years ago, and while it still can be (very) dangerous, I’ve met so many wonderful people and made great connections thanks to the Internet and social media in the last few years!

Once I met up with Brianna, Jen, and Toni, we decided to walk from Penn Station to the gym rather than take the subway since it was a beautiful (albiet a little humid) morning. We made a quick pit-stop at Cafe Olé across the street where a few other bloggers were meeting, and then went right into the event!


Picture courtesy of Brooklyn Active Mama!

As soon as I walked into the Mercedes Club I couldn’t help but be just a bit envious of the gym’s beauty. To be fair, I only belong to a $20/month gym that’s barebones, but it sure would be nice to workout at a location with an awesome facility and beautiful views! But anyway, we checked in, received our schedule for the day, and our name tags that made me feel oh-so-official.

Too legit to quit.
Too legit to quit.

We were able to grab some breakfast (muffins, eggs, Elixir juice), and headed outside to await the event’s speakers. There were a bunch of different speakers, ranging from Sara Lucero, a make-up artist to the stars, to Dr. Jennifer Ashton, to trainer Brett Hoebel, to a pannel of bloggers including the first food blogger I started reading (Smitten Kitchen!), and Rocco DiSpirito.

Posessionista, Smitten Kitchen, Jill Hanner, and Fit Bottomed Girls!
Posessionista, Smitten Kitchen, Jill Hanner, and Fit Bottomed Girls!

It was really great to listen to the speakers talk about different topics (health and wellness, beauty, food, blogging, etc.), and I loved that we got to sit outside and enjoy the day while listening. I must admit I was a little sad to hear both Dr. Ashton and Rocco talk about limiting carbs, but as a runner I know I need them. Plus, let’s be honest – bagels are delicious (so delicious, in fact, that I had three in the last 4 days). But other than that, I really appreciated the honest and genuine talks each person (or persons) participated in!

He's pretty dreamy.
He’s pretty dreamy.

After the awesome speakers, we were given the opportunity to grab some lunch, and check out the vendors. Of course I made a beeline to the Saucony booth, and was thrilled to find out we’d be getting our own pair of Kinvara 4’s! I’d been eyeing these sneakers for awhile, mostly because of their bright and awesome colors, but also because it seemed like everyone who tried them loved them. But I wasn’t in the market for a new pair of running sneakers, so I couldn’t justify buying them… so thanks to Saucony I didn’t have to!

There's magic in there!
There’s magic in there!

I enjoyed stopping by the Reebok booth as well, because I got a chance to look at their sneakers, enter a raffle, and take a sweet picture. I’ve been eyeing the Reebok sneakers for cross-training for what feels like years, but never bit the bullet and bought a pair. Most of the time I do my cross-training in my living room sans-shoes, so I just didn’t see the need for them. I was obviously thrilled when I found out we’d also be receiving a pair of their sneakers! We were encouraged to write something fun on a whiteboard and take a picture, so naturally I went with something about food (cupcakes specifically).


My final stop was another favorite – Smart Balance! My parents have been buying their butter for years, and I’ve tried their peanut butter and love it. So when I saw they had chocolate peanut butter balls, you better believe I snatched one right up (of course as soon as someone started talking to me… so classy). We were given a free jar of peanut butter if we balanced on a bosu ball at their booth. Everyone was doing fun poses, and I was trying to come up with something neat – and then I got on the ball. I could barely stand, let alone maneuver to strike a pose! So after catching my balance, I just stood there and smiled. Better than nothing, right?

Sweet outfit, bro.
Sweet outfit, bro.

While I didn’t take pictures of the other booths, they were equally entertaining. I really loved the Marmot table, since Paige, a professional climber, was there telling us about her year long, world-wide climbing adventure! While I’ve never climbed before, her trip sounded amazing and an once in a lifetime opportunity, all while raising money for a good cause. Really inspiring!

The day finished up with group exercise – either a run with Saucony, a cardio dance class with Athleta, or yoga with Reebok. While I was tempted to sign up for the yoga, I ultimately went for the run, and had a blast running with Dorothy of Mile-Posts and other runner-focused bloggers. I didn’t talk much on the run because I was too busy taking in running on the West Side Highway (city running is my absolute favorite), but I enjoyed it!

After the run I was nice and sweaty, so Brianna and I tried to cool off, and then headed back to Penn Station with our giant goodie bags. As you can imagine, walking through the city with all this stuff wasn’t easy, but it was worth it! After a nice and cool train ride home (I’m pretty sure I smelled, oops), I met up with my dad at his office who was able to drop me off at home, where I unloaded all of my goodies.

So. Much. Swag!
So. Much. Swag!

I’ve already dug into a lot of the swag, and am slowly making my way through the rest. I’ll likely have some reviews in the future for stuff that I really loved (i.e. I would absolutely buy it myself), since a lot of the stuff is from new-to-me companies… and awesome.

It was such a great day – nothing like heading into the city, hanging out with a bunch of people that have the same interests and passions as you, and connecting with brands and people you love! This event just made me wish I lived closer to (or in) the city… it’s where all the fun stuff happens! Thanks again to Fitness Magazine for the amazing opportunity!

More Mexican – Ole!

Sometimes I think I’m living in the wrong part of the country. Or, maybe just the wrong country in general. In case you haven’t picked up yet from this blog, I am in love with Mexican food. Clearly to the point where I’ll eat it all day, every day. Yes, today I had my left-over Eggplant Enchiladas, and then made more Mexican inspired food for dinner. What were those two things, you may ask? Southwest Chicken Soup and Tijuana Tortas!

I actually found the soup recipe on Kitchen Monki, and the torta recipe on Fitness Magazine’s website. I figured I’d put the two together, since neither really seemed to be a meal in itself. Since my fiancé and I thought ahead and had a rotisserie chicken for dinner on Sunday night, we were able to use the left-over chicken from that in the soup. We also always have black beans, salsa, Mexican spices, and jalapeños on hand, so getting the rest of the ingredients was simple.

One might think that making a soup could potentially be difficult and or labor intensive. Not this guy! I literally threw the ingredients in to the pot, put it on medium heat, and went about my business. Now that’s the kind of week night cooking I’m looking for!

The sandwich was actually a little more difficult, only because it involved mashing the black beans and avocado. After struggling by just using a spoon, I realized a few quick pulses in the blender would have made much more sense. At least there’s always next time.

As always, I was nervous how the two dishes would come out, and then even more nervous for how they’d work together. Thankfully, they both came out really well. I would absolutely make either of these dishes again in a heart beat. They’re quick, easy, and really flavorful.

Check out both of the recipes below, and get cookin’!

Tijuana Torta

1 15-ounce can black beans, or pinto beans, rinsed
3 tablespoons prepared salsa
1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeño
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ripe avocado, pitted
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 16- to 20-inch-long baguette, preferably whole-grain
1 1/3 cups shredded green cabbage

1. Mash beans, salsa, jalapeño and cumin in a small bowl. Mash avocado, onion and lime juice in another small bowl.
2. Cut baguette into 4 equal lengths. Split each piece in half horizontally. Pull out most of the soft bread from the center so you’re left with mostly crust. Divide the bean paste, avocado mixture and cabbage evenly among the sandwiches. Cut each in half and serve.

Southwestern Style Chicken Soup

1 Rotisserie Chicken or 3 cups, shredded or cubed
3 cups Chicken Stock
1 can Canned White Cannellini Beans, rinsed and drained
12 ounces Salsa Verde
1 Ground Cumin, to taste
1⁄2 cup Sour Cream, optional
2 Green Onions, optional
2 cups Cheese, shredded
1 bag Corn Tortilla Chips

1. Simmer chicken, chicken stock, beans, salsa verde and cumin till hot and combined
2. Add tortilla chips to bowl, spoon soup
3. Top with sour cream, and cheese

Happy south of the border nomzing!

I Won a Cookbook!

Earlier last month, one of the blogs I follow, Eat to Blog, had a cook book contest. They simply said, post your favorite vegearian dish, and you have the chance to win “The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat,” by Tal Ronnen.

Now, I NEVER win contests; ever. Any fundraiser that has a raffle, any time I re-Tweet something, etc. I lose without fail. But, this time I won!!

As you know, I’m not vegan or vegetarian. I consider myself more of a halfaterian. I eat meat sparingly, and really enjoy vegetarian dishes, but I do still eat meat on occassion. I have a ton of vegetarian recipies, though, because when I wasn’t eating meat at all, I tried to stockpile as much as I could. So, this made my decision of a favorite recipe a daunting task. It took me a few days, but eventually I settled on a recipe from Fitness Magazine, Buddah Stir-fry.

I haven’t made any of the recipes yet because I just received the book this past Monday. I’ll definitely need to make a trip to Trader Joe’s to get myself some of the necessary ingredients, but I’m going to try to make something maybe next weekend. They are definitely more intricate and time consuming than most of the meals I make (I try to make them a half hour or less; hello Rachael Ray!), but I’m willing to give it a try.

Here’s the recipe I posted that won me the book. Give it a try; it’s super easy, really affordable (about $3.04 a serving) and delicious!

Buddah Stiry-Fry

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 3/4 cup water
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Asian chili sauce, or to taste
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1/2 pound green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 14-ounce packages firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup snow peas

Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of the water. Stir in the remaining water, soy sauce, and chili sauce; set aside. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, 15 seconds. Add the green beans and red pepper and stir-fry 2 minutes; push them to the perimeter of the skillet. Add the tofu and cook, stirring once or twice, 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Stir the sauce and pour it into the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the carrots and snow peas; cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender.

Happy nomzing!