The latest edition of my newsletter includes a resource guide for setting up a home gym plus my favorite fitness apps, streaming services, and accessories. I’m also sharing a travel guide for Philadelphia.
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TO DO LIST
Frontier Follies: Adventures in Marriage and Motherhood in the Middle of Nowhere by Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond: I enjoyed this collection of short stories. I also recommend visiting Pawhuska on a long layover in Tulsa. Ree opened The Mercantile in 2016. It includes a general store, restaurant, hotel, and bakery.
Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner is a thrilling mystery with complex characters and gripping writing. What appears to be a budding friendship between two moms-to-be brings more than its fair share of unpleasant surprises in this debut psychological thriller. It’s the perfect book to curl up with this winter.
Southern Ground by Jennifer Lapidus. In her book, Lapidus, the founder of Carolina Ground Flour in Asheville, North Carolina, shares recipes like porridge bread from Owl Bakery in Asheville, scones from Levee Baking Co. in New Orleans, and galettes from Sunflower Oven in Jackson, Mississippi. My favorite recipe so far is the Banana Bread with walnuts, cardamom, and cacao bites. It’s not a gluten-free cookbook, but most of the recipes can be adjusted. Here’s the recipe for the gluten-free walnut brownies. Check out Jennifer’s recipes on her blog.
“The White Lotus” (HBO Max): A multitude of intersecting dramas play out between the guests and employees at a Hawaiian resort.
LSU Dance Team Finals Routine (YouTube): The LSU Tiger’s dance team took home the 2022 Hip Hop National Championship.
Emily in Paris Soundtrack (Spotify)
Passion 2022 playlist “To the Ends of the Earth” (Spotify)
David Crowder “Milk & Honey” (YouTube)
Extreme Health Radio Podcast Dr. Marisol Teijeiro “The Mystic Medicine of Castor Oil” (Podcast) This modernized ancient gut healing ritual enhances the absorption of your food, supplements, and any other health practices you are already doing, helping them work better and faster. Cleopatra is said to have used it in her hair and to brighten the whites of her eyes.
Wikipedia Around You (App): This app allows you to search your location for articles about places, events, and points of interest in your surrounding area.
Gjelina is one of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles. The vegetable dishes are amazing!
Gjusta is the sister property of Gjelina. It’s a deli, bakery, café, market, and a great spot to pick up to-go items or enjoy the outdoor patio with a cup of coffee and a pastry. If you buy one thing, I recommend the Olive Oil. Here’s the recipe for Gjelina's famous Kabocha, Olive Oil, and Bittersweet Chocolate Cake.
Rochester, New York
Living Roots Wine is an urban winery and tasting room.
Skin By Tatum is an organic spa in Miami Beach. She stocks my favorite skincare lines, Osmosis Beauty and DNA Skin Institute.
Providence, Rhode Island
Plant City is a plant-based food hall & marketplace. *V *GF
Home Gym and Hotel Room Workouts
Below is a list of my favorite workout apps and streaming services, equipment, and products.
Apps & Streaming Services:
Spier Pilates ($29/month): My favorite Pilates streaming service for the reformer.
Pilates on Fifth ( $12.99/month): The on-demand service gives you access to various classes, including the reformer. Subscribe to this one if you like to use props.
KICHGO (FREE): Kit leads classes that combine cardio and Pilates-inspired sequences on her YouTube channel.
Eastwood Fit ($18/class): Monique Eastwood’s classes combine pilates and high intensity interval training. I like this workout. Monique trains Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci. P.S. Have you seen his biceps? To get a feel for Eastwood's method, check out the workout she hosted on IGTV.
Melissa Wood Health ($9/month) She offers several pilates and yoga classes that don’t require weights, so you can do them anywhere and can be downloaded offline.
Nike Run Club: If you've been looking for a running partner that allows you to go at your own pace, tracks your progress, offers personalized coaching, this one is for you. The app is popular for a reason and is a great place to log your jog or train for a more intensive run this year. If it’s available to you, running with local run clubs can be fun and a way to make friends in a new community.
Gunnar Made ($99 Six Week Transformation Program): Gunnar Moldrik is Madison LeCroy’s personal trainer. I like his strength training program.
Tracy Anderson ($90/month): The Tracy Anderson Online Studio is a streaming workout service featuring weekly workouts led by Tracy Anderson or one of her trainers. The method aims to target and strengthen the small accessory muscles to achieve a long and lean body. The workouts focus on repetitive movements, reps, and light weights. I did this workout for a few years when the price was much lower. I also ordered her DVDs before she launched her online streaming platform. The Mat Workout ($19) has a killer arm series. Metamorphosis Hipcentric ($59) is a 4 DVD set that I purchased.
The Class ($40/month): Taryn Toomey's workout combines yoga, dance, HIIT, meditation, and psychological discovery all rolled into one.
Glo ($24/month): The online classes, taught by some of the country's best yoga instructors, will guide you through their physically challenging but very doable yoga, pilates, and meditation classes.
The Pilates Class ($29/month): This is ideal if you do not want to use props.
Obé ($19/month): Designed with all levels in mind, Obé's 28-minute classes will help you sweat, define, and flow with over a hundred live classes at your disposal each week. Obé also has 10-minute express classes.
The Sweat App ($120/year): Kayla Itsines' BBG (Bikini Body Guide) program consists of high-intensity, 28-minute workouts.
Carve It Fitness ($17.95/month): All classes incorporate rebounding aka jumping/training on mini-trampolines. Rebounding provides unique health benefits and a tremendously fun and effective way to train the whole body.
AK! ($19.99/month or purchase videos individually): AK! was launched by former Obé instructors Megan Roup and Amanda Kloots. Each follows a similar formula of dance cardio with easy-to-follow choreography, strength classes, and jump rope.
Kemtai ($29/month): The Kemtai app uses A.I. to analyze your movements and provide real-time feedback about improving your form. As you exercise, Kemtai works as a virtual fitness trainer that ensures your form is in tip-top shape. It offers a wide range of workouts, from HIIT to Pilates to strength training, and all you have to do is stand in front of your laptop to let the app register your position. You then follow the moment-by-moment instructions to get your sweat on. Try a sample workout.
Fit52 ($1/week): Carrie Underwood’s workout app was developed with her personal trainer Eve Overland. The majority of the workouts last about 30 minutes and include a mix of 52 exercises. You can choose between beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.
Peleton ($12.99/month): The Peloton app includes full-body workouts, stretching, yoga, running, and more classes you can stream. You do not need a bike or treadmill to use the app.
Ladder ($30 to $45/month) Ladder is about as close as you can get to a personal trainer at home. After taking a quiz, it sets you up with a workout plan and even 1:1 coaching.
Apple Fitness Plus ($9.99/month per month $79.99/year) The workout categories include Treadmill Walk, Treadmill Run, HIIT, Rowing, Dance, Cycling, Yoga, Core, Strength, Pilates, Mindful Cooldown, and Guided Meditation. Here’s a guide on using the platform with your Apple devices.
Most of the streaming services and apps offer free trials.
Peleton Bike ($1,495): Peloton's indoor bicycle lets you take spinning classes at home. Peleton has world class instructors. My favorite instructor is Matt Wilpers. Peloton also partners with hotels across the U.S.
Frame Reformer ($2,999, on pre-sale now for $2,249) is a home Pilates reformer with a screen attached so you can follow along to instructor-led classes. The monthly subscription is $45/month. I have a Pilates IQ Reformer.
Ergatta ($2,199) is a rowing machine that aims to keep you engaged with gaming-inspired workouts and races that are personalized to you, based on your fitness level.
CLMBR ($2,799) is a superior full-body resistance strength and high intensity cardio machine with connected technology in a thoughtfully crafted, space-saving design.
Fightcamp ($1,219) offers boxing, with on-demand workouts and a responsive punching bag.
The Mirror ($1,495) offers a wide variety of classes, like dance, boxing, and chair-based workouts.
Tempo Move ($395) offers real-time feedback and turns your living space into a home gym. Requires a TV and select iPhones.
BELLICON REBOUNDER Mini-Trampolin: Rebounding provides unique health benefits and a tremendously fun and effective way to train the whole body.
You can find used fitness equipment on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Craigslist, and Next-door Free Finds.
My Favorite Trainers on Instagram for Free Workout Videos:
My Favorite Workout Essentials:
IKEA MIRRR: The best bang for your buck when it comes to a large mirror that costs $150.
REJUVENATION SHELVES: My favorite shelves to keep everything organized.
BASKETS: I store my running shoes and fitness gear in baskets.
EXTRA THICK YOGA MAT: I prefer a thick yoga mat for pilates and yoga workouts. I purchased mine in 2016, and it still looks great. It’s also not expensive.
LULULEMON’S 7 MM YOGA MAT: This Mat has ample padding and a more durable side for strength classes.
BALA BANGLES: Bala Bangles are light weights that can be worn on wrists or ankles.
OURA RING: Oura’s smart ring is a fitness tracker you wear on a finger. The third-generation Oura ring adds SpO2 blood oxygenation readings. These are taken through the night, not during the day. If you are looking to improve your sleep habits, this is a great tool. It also is an activity tracker.
APPLE WATCH: I use the Apple Watch for running.
BEATS FIT PRO: These are specifically designed for running and working out, and feature remarkable listening performance, an innovative wingtip design and, most importantly, a comfortable fit. I like the pink design.
P BALL: It features an inflated ball to target the inner thighs, abs, glutes and pelvic floor muscles, designed to an exact diameter to fit between the thighs for the best results possible.
YBELLS: These are a 4-in-1 piece of exercise equipment that can be used in place of dumbbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls.
TOWELMATE TOWEL: I love this gym towel. It features a zippered pocket to store my keys, iPhone, and earphones.
SONOS SPEAKERS: Sonos speakers work seamlessly with your favorite streaming services. The Sonos One is the perfect starter speaker for most people. It’s reasonably priced and can be moved from one room to another with ease. It’s easy to set-up using the Sonos Controller app on my iPhone. The sound quality is amazing.
IPHONE ARM BAND: A must-have item for cardio if you do not have an Apple or Garmin watch.
VORNADO FAN: This fan is so great I don’t need an air conditioner.
CLIP ON FAN: I use this miniature fan on my Peleton bike. Just be sure to charge it after every use.
ZOJIRUSHI STAINLESS STEAL 16-OUNCE MUG MATTE GOLD: This mug does not spill! The locking mechanism allows me to throw it in my tote or gym bag without the fear of it leaking. It also keeps my coffee hot for hours. I also love the color. Other colors are available.
RESISTANCE BOOTY: These fabric bands stay in place.
RENPHO BODY FAT ANALYSIS SCALE: The RENPHO Bluetooth Smart Scales measures your body composition by sending a low electrical current up through one foot and reading the current with a sensor beneath the other foot. The current passes through body fat more slowly and therefore the scale calculates the amount of resistance to come back up with the body composition.
CORE SLIDERS: Core sliders are designed to be placed underneath feet or hands. They add a layer of difficulty to your existing bodyweight exercises.
SWEET SWEAT WAIST TRIMMER: This velcro-fastened belt helps you sweat more and promotes the loss of water weight. Madison LeCroy, Kylie Jenner and others use one.
ASICS GEL CRAZE TR2: The perfect shoe for fitness classes and cross training. Asics are my preferred brand of workout shoes. I love the support and overall fit of Asics.
LULULEMON FLEECE RUNNING TIGHTS: This pair from Lululemon is not only warm but comfortable.
LULULEMON EVERYWHERE BELT BAG: These are great to use to stow your hotel room key, phone, and earphones on the way to the gym or for a walk.
APL SNEAKERS: The most comfortable and stylish sneakers.
LULULEMON ALIGN PANTS 25″: These lightweight, high-rise pants are the most comfortable workout pants I have ever worn. They are soft and stretch when you move. Lululemon products are expensive, but the fabric holds up for a long time.
ANITA SPORTS BRA: The Anita Light and Firm Sports Bra is the best sports bra EVER! It is a super-light wireless bra designed to offer great support and total comfort. The smooth, seamless cups provide firm support, even in larger sizes.
ASICS GT-1000 RUNNING SHOE: I like the extra support and comfort of Asics.
REI HEADBAND EAR WARMER: This headband keeps my ears warm on cold-weather runs and hikes and holds my Airpods in snug.
THE LAUNDRESS SPORTS WASH: I use this detergent to wash my workout clothes.
SMART WOOL SOCKS: Smart wool socks are worth the extra money. The cushy feeling in my socks makes every pair of my shoes feel even better.
BALEGA SOCKS: These socks feel so good on my feet. Even if you are not a runner, you will love wearing them.
SPLIT 59 ASHBY RIBBED TANKS: My favorite workout top is the super comfy Ashby Ribbed tanks available in several colors. I prefer long tanks to cover my leggings plus it looks more fashionable to wear a long top with workout pants.
BULLETPROOF CHOCOLATE DIPPED COLLAGEN BARS: These bars taste so good. They are also keto friendly.
ICE ROLLER: I keep my ice roller in the freezer and use it in the morning to help de-puff my skin. It is also helpful to relieve dark circles.
THERAGUN MINI: TheraGun is a unique handheld device applied to the skin's surface to boost healing and recovery. I use it after exercising and at night before I go to sleep.
TRIGGER POINT GRID FOAM ROLLER: The Trigger Point Travel GRID foam roller makes a massive difference after a workout. Use the GRID for a self-massage and roll through the tight muscles, knots, and kinks that prevent feeling good and moving well.
SAUNA SPACE: My favorite sauna for gentle, effective detoxification.
Be sure to comment below with your favorite workout streaming service and personal trainers on Instagram or YouTube. I’ll share your favorites in an upcoming newsletter.
These Cauliflower Nachos are great for a game day appetizer.
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Sister Pie's buttered rum shortbread cookies.
Shirley Corriher’s roasted pecan chocolate chip cookies.
Bravetart's triple oatmeal cookies.
80’s tangy lemon icebox cookies from Gourmet magazine.
A collection of gluten-free dessert recipes.
How to make roux like a pro.
Philadelphia Travel Notes
Philadelphia is famous for the Liberty Bell, Rocky Balboa, and Cheesesteaks. The City of Brotherly Love is also the birthplace of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Philadelphia is home to many national treasures, a thriving culinary scene, beautiful parks, hip shopping, and a bustling sports scene. My Philadelphia travel guide includes the top must-do things to plan your next visit.
Zahav is a modern Israeli restaurant bringing the flavors of Israel to the table. It is my favorite restaurant in Philadelphia. Reservations should be booked in advance. Named the best restaurant in the country by the James Beard Foundation. *V *GF
Suraya is a Lebanese restaurant in Fish town. It's fantastic.
P.S. & Co. is Philly's only gluten-free and vegan cafe. The pastries are the best! *V *GF
Goldie's is modeled after Israeli-style falafel shops. Don't miss the Tehina shakes (Turkish coffee, chocolate, and coconut). There's also falafel in a pita sandwich or a salad and french fries with various spice options on the menu. *GF *V
Pizzeria Beddia was named the Best Pizza in America in 2015.
Royal Sushi & Izakaya is a moodily lit Japanese pub with drink-friendly fare & a chefs' sushi counter in the back.
Dizengoff is home to the best hummus ever! *V
Federal Donuts is famous for the donuts and fried chicken.
Green Eggs Cafe is a top pick for brunch. The mouth-watering menu features crème brûlée French toast, red velvet pancakes, and chicken and waffles.
Vegan Commissary offers a gluten-free menu. The food is fresh and not boring. I recommend the beet lemonade. *V *GF
Osteria is a highly acclaimed Italian restaurant.
Vetri is an upscale Italian restaurant.
Sam's Morning Glory Diner offers traditional breakfast fare. Diners love the homemade ketchup.
Vernick is a fancy little restaurant in an old brownstone. The chef has earned accolades from Food & Wine, Bon Appetite, James Beard Foundation, StarChefs, and more.
Sabrina's Cafe is a cozy café for brunch. *GF
White Dog Cafe is a quirky restaurant with a large farm-to-table menu to please any appetite.
Pizza Brain is a unique little spot to grab a whole pie or huge slices.
The Corner Foolery is a rustic sandwich shop and a popular spot for viewing sporting events on television.
Loco Pez serves LA-style Mexican street food.
Tacconelli's Pizza is a famous pizza parlor featured in many travel magazines and television shows.
Parc is a great spot to dine on the patio.
Giuseppe & Sons bring a fresh twist to Italian American classics
Friday Saturday Sunday is a charming gem in an old brownstone.
Rye Bread is a sandwich shop specializing in fresh ingredients.
Cafe La Maude is a hidden gem serving a French-Lebanese-inspired menu. Great for brunch.
Bitar's serves Middle Eastern cuisine.
Le Viet is a modern Vietnamese restaurant in South Philly. Try the green tea ice cream for dessert.
Kanela is the best authentic Greek food in the city.
Little Nonna's serves traditional Italian dishes delivered in a homey trattoria setting with an open kitchen and a garden.
Pho 75 is a no-frills spot for Vietnamese soup. The coffee with condensed milk is excellent.
Head House Farmer's Market is every Sunday morning near the Italian District.
Rittenhouse Farmer's Market is at the picturesque Rittenhouse Square Park every Saturday morning.
DiBruno Brothers is an Italian market with locations in Center City, Old City, and the Italian District. A great option for take-out food.
Night Market is a great way to sample the city's best street food. Check the schedule for the dates.
9th Street Italian Market is home to gourmet grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries, and cheese shops.
Whipped Bakeshop is the best cupcake shop in Philadelphia. Martha Stewart listed the bakery as one of her favorites.
Sweet Box Cupcakes are also good cupcakes. Try the Pink Champagne.
The Franklin Fountain is an adorably themed old-time ice cream shop. *V *GF
Bassett's Ice Cream serves old fashion style ice cream.
Federal Donuts is gourmet style donuts. Popular menu items include the Sea Salt Chocolate, Blueberry Mascarpone, and Cherry Pie.
Four World's Bakery is an artisan bread bakery.
Manakeesh is a Lebanese bakery.
Lore's Chocolate is an old fashion candy shop.
Lil Pop Shop is a nationally recognized gourmet popsicle shop. Popular flavors include goat cheese with cherries and honey and Vietnamese ice coffee. *V *GF
Shane Confectionary is a vintage style chocolate shop.
Ultimo is one of the top coffee shops in Philly with multiple locations.
Two Person Coffee is my favorite coffee shop in Philly.
The Wellness Refinery is an infrared sauna studio and a tonic bar serving adaptogenic smoothies, herbal lattes, and juices.
The Rook is a great dive bar with amazing wings.
Siddiq's Water & Ice is known for vivid ices steeped in natural fruits for flavors like the strawberry daiquiri and mango-berry.
Rouge is a fancy cocktail bar.
Menagerie is another good coffee shop.
Walnut Theater is America's oldest theater. Check the schedule for Broadway shows.
Don't forget to pack an extra bag for shopping. All clothing and shoe purchases are tax-free.
Fante's Kitchen Shop sells every gadget imaginable for your kitchen.
Good Buy Supply is a sustainable general store. I purchased a nut milk bag and cast iron cleaner.
Cuttalossa is a vintage boutique in old city.
Anthropologie is headquartered in Philadelphia. The flagship store is located in a beautiful mansion.
Third Street Habitat is an upscale women's boutique in Old City.
Nice Things Handmade is an Etsy style boutique.
Hob Nob Design is a home decor store.
Verde is an adorable boutique with pretty jewelry and gifts.
Open House is a great gift store.
Mode Modern is a modern home decor store.
Moon and Arrow is a darling handmade and vintage boutique.
Vix Emporium is a local artisan boutique.
Joseph Fox Bookshop is an independent bookstore. The staff is very knowledgeable.
Omoi Zakka Shop is a quirky gift store.
Avril 50 is a stationery and gift shop.
AIA Bookstore and Design Center not only stocks books but great gifts for souvenirs.
Cornerstone Bed and Breakfast is a cozy Victorian style bed and breakfast.
Sofitel is a luxury hotel in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood.
City Hall Observation Deck is the best view of the city open to the public.
Liberty Bell is a great photo-op. Arrive early to avoid long lines in the summer.
Independence Hall is my favorite historical tour. I recommend booking a reservation online to avoid long lines.
Museum of the American Revolution tells the story of the American Revolution and its legacy.
Faith and Liberty Discovery Center: Designed to guide the visitor in a personal exploration of the relationship between faith and liberty in the American experience by illuminating the influence of the Bible on individuals in key historical and personal moments.
The Mutter Museum (pronounced "mooter") features weird body parts in jars.
Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the best art museums in the country.
Barnes Foundation is home to a stunning collection of paintings. A limited number of tickets are available each day. Stop by on Friday evenings for live music and special events, or visit the first Sunday of every month for free.
Philadelphia Magic Garden is a great photo-op.
Barren's Gardens is one of Philly's best-kept secrets.
Please Touch Museum is for the little ones.
Eastern State Penitentiary features grand architecture and colorful history.
Philadelphia Zoo is a 42-acre Victorian garden home to more than 1300 animals.
Sports Center is home to the Phillies, Eagles, 76ers, concerts, and spectacular city views.
Mural Arts are all over the city. Great photo-op.
The Wellness Refinery is an infrared sauna studio and a tonic bar serving adaptogenic smoothies, herbal lattes, and juices.
Mia Cumbia is my favorite nail salon. All of the products are organic.
Advanced Skin Care is an excellent spa with very affordable prices.
The Rocky Steps are a must-do activity. Don't forget to take a photo of the Rocky statue.
Schuylkill River Trail is an excellent place for a run.
Race Street Pier is an ideal place to exercise or sit and relax with a good book. Ice skating starts in late November.
Schuylkill Banks boardwalk recently opened. This is my favorite place to run, walk or bike in the city. You can also enjoy a picnic, kayak, or a riverboat tour.
Fairmount Park is a 9,200 park with amazing views of the city.
Plash runs May-December and weekend service only September - December. The fare is $2, and the bus stops at 20 popular tourist spots.
30th Street Station is the main train station in Philadelphia.
What are some of your favorite places to visit in Philly? Leave your responses in the comment section.
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