Five Things I’m Loving Lately — April

Healthier alternatives to not so healthy dishes.

Now that summer is coming, I’m trying to be a tiny bit more aware of what I’m eating. Unfortunately, I’m still left craving some of my high calorie favs. Thankfully, it’s 2016 and bloggers and recipe inventors have been busy trying to tone down our favorite dishes to make them less caloric but still tasty! Right now I’m loving buffalo cauliflower (an alternative to buffalo wings) and buffalo chicken stuffed spaghetti squash (to replace buffalo chicken dip). Both are amazingly delicious! (Although the pizza and wine isn’t necessarily hungry, here’s a pic of the yummy cauliflower I had this weekend at Mohawk Bend in Silverlake)

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Curling my hair with a straightener.

I have naturally curly, frizzy, and unruly hair so when I finally mastered the art of straightening during my junior year of college, I thought I was set for life. That is until the trend turned from straight locks to casual curls. I went out to TJ Maxx and got a curling iron and tried time and time again to become a pro. It usually involved me and my curling iron and flat iron and ended an hour later with some burnt finger tips and crazy looking hair. Fail! I stumbled upon this video while reading some new blogs and knew I had to try this technique. After three trials, I can finally say that it is easy and creates gorgeous curls with my Chi!

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Spending more time outside.

I have a 9-5 full time job that keeps me inside ALL DAY LONG. Coming from teaching in an elementary school where I rarely sat down and was able to get out during recess, this has been very challenging. Since the time change means more light in the evening, I have been hungering for time outside. In the past few weeks I’ve hiked, run, and taken walks all after work gets out. Just a PSA though, Runyon is temporarily closed until July.

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Snapchat.

I thought I was already addicted to social media but I’ve become even more obsessed—it’s about to turn unhealthy! I love Snapchat because it gives insight into what really happens behind the scenes. While Instagram shows one perfectly crafted pic, Snapchat uncovers a bigger story. It’s also funny to see people do goofy things like singing along to their radio! Add me: sweatandrepeat.

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Barry’s Bootcamp.

I go through a lot of Pilates funks where I take so many reformer classes each week that I never spend time getting unusually sweaty. Barry’s used to intimate me but now that I’ve become more confident in class, I’ve realized how beneficial it is for my body. I spend so much time lifting three-pound weights most of the week, but it’s the heavy lifting that actually changes my body. The cardio component is also so important and I walk out feeling so accomplished every time!

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Running to a New Beat with TomTom Spark

It may surprise you that I used to get my workouts in primarily by running outside. I moved to LA from Memphis, Tennessee almost two years ago. My neighborhood there was right on the Mississippi River—it was safe, affordable, and (most importantly to me), flat.

Since we didn’t have a lot of fitness studios in Memphis, my regular source of exercise came from either visits to my local gym or running along the river. When the weather was just right, I used these outdoor runs as a time to mentally check out from my daily stresses from my elementary teaching job that was always throwing unexpected curve balls. Running was the best escape.

Moving to Los Angeles brought with it completely new experiences, and a wide range of fitness classes were now at my fingertips. Although I went for runs every now and then, having to dodge the traffic on Sunset Blvd scared me to death. So slowly but surely, my workouts moved off the streets and indoors.

Sometimes all we need is a new gadget to get back in the game. I recently received the new TomTom Spark Cardio + Music and decided to let it reignite my love for running and sweating outside.

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Using this watch has reintroduced me to running as a form of therapy. This fitness watch is unique because not only does it do the obvious and monitor your heart rate and track your activity, but it also holds up to 500 songs and connects via Bluetooth to wireless headphones. That means you no longer need to carry your phone everywhere you go and can finally unplug while you run! I’ve always hated bulky phone arm straps and cramped hands from squeezing my phone too hard, so this is huge for me. It finally pulled me away from social media, allowing me to separate from sounds notifying me of a new text, phone call, or email—those things can wait until I’m done.

Having an all-inclusive fitness tracker also allows me to keep track of my stats and improve. TomTom MySports Connect opens right when you plug the watch into your computer and is easy to use. It breaks up each workout into heart rate zones (a form of data that I’m familiar—and obsessed—with because of Orangetheory Fitness classes), shows a map of the workout, average heart rate, elevation, and more. Check out the details from my Hollywood hike below.

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A lot of my exercising is still done in group-fitness settings, but the watch allows me to switch between modes of exercise including run, bike, swim, gym, and treadmill.

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While sweating in silence is some people’s jam, I’m all about getting pumped up through music, and find that I run fastest to a heavy beat. If you’re looking for a playlist that will get you in the mood to PR your next run, download this playlist of favorites from LA’s hottest fitness instructors!

Blake Raymond from Speedplay LA – “Tonight Belongs to U” by Jeremih

Wes Ferguson from Sweat Garage – “Fix This” by the Chain Smokers Remix

Lindsey Duggan from AIR – “Be Right There” – by Diplo and Sleepy Tom

Jake DuPree from CompleteBURN – “Work ft Drake” by Rihanna

Taylor Gainor from LIT Method – “Open Wide” by Calvin Harris

Andrew Nunez from Vie2 – “Lean On” by Major Lazer

Rush Kemp from Reebok Crossfit Lab – “Secrets – Diplo Remix” by Tiesto

Shannon Decker from Aura Cycle – “I don’t get Tired #IDGT” by Kevin Gates

Edwina Cheer from Training Mate – “Cheap Thrills” by Sia

Paris Alexa from Solocicla – “Faded” by Zhu


You can keep up with my TomTom Spark Cardio + Music journey on Snapchat (sweatandrepeat) and Instagram.

This post is sponsored by TomTom, but all opinions are my own.

Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash

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As I sit here enjoying my third round of leftovers, I know that I must share this recipe with you all!

On Tuesday I found myself sitting in the parking lot at Ralph’s, starving, and for the first time, maybe ever, in the mood to cook. Nothing crazy, of course, but I’m getting a little tired of my favorite takeout places.

One of my specialties is spaghetti squash. I love how, with minimal work, it turns into a spaghetti like noodle and you can almost trick your brain into thinking that it’s the real thing. I’ve made spaghetti squash enchiladas and kept it simple mixing the squash with butter and parmesan, but this time I wanted to go all out.

I googled “easy spaghetti squash recipes” and was flooded with hits. When I say easy, I’m thinking like five steps and up to five ingredients. Any sautéing or multiple pots and pans and I’m out.

Thankfully, I stumbled upon a recipe on the blog Peas and Crayons for Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash Bowls. I was SOLD and headed into the grocery store eager to gather the ingredients.

You can find the original recipe here but below is my personal experience with making it!

What You’ll Need

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2 spaghetti squash (Jenn suggests medium but the ones I used were very large)

2 cups+ shredded chicken (I used prepared chicken breast from Ralph’s)

1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 cup hot wing sauce (or more if you like a lot of flavor/spice)

1/2 cup Fage 2% plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons of melted butter

1/3 cup green onion

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Microwave each squash individually for four minutes then cut in half and scoop out the seeds.
  3. Put some olive oil on the cut side of the squash to prevent sticking and place cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet.
  4. Place squash in the oven for 40 minutes.
  5. While squash is cooking, mix together shredded chicken, cheddar cheese, hot sauce, melted butter, yogurt, and most of the green onions in a large bowl.
  6. Once oven timer goes off, scrape the squash to create the “noodle” strands and mix 1/4 of the buffalo chicken mixture into each squash half.
  7. Top with extra cheese and place back in the oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Add some of the remaining green onions as a garnish and enjoy!

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This recipe was approved by my three coworkers and my husband so I know you’ll love it! It’s going to be a staple in our home—finally something I can cook that also tastes delicious!

Check out @peasandcrayons for other drool worthy concoctions.

Behind the Brand interview with @fitoutfit

The best part about creating a presence on social media has without a doubt been the people I have met and interacted with online and IRL.

One person that I’ve been able to get to know a bit in the last few months is Jerilyn, the woman behind the blog and Instagram, FITOutfit. She reposts flat lay style pictures of gorgeous outfits that people wear when they get sweaty.

Jerilyn recently reached out and asked if I would be interested in being a part of her Behind the Brand series where she interviews people behind the scenes of fitness blogs and brands. I, of course, said yes!

See below for snippets of the interview and read it all here!

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WHAT IS SWEAT AND REPEAT AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR BLOG?

Sweat and Repeat is a blog that gives honest reviews about fitness studios and events throughout Los Angeles. I started it after attending my first Flywheel class. I remember researching the studio online and reading all of the Yelp comments. Would there be water available? Did they have shoes for rent? What was the parking situation? I wanted one place where I could get all this information, so I created it!


WHAT’S TYPICAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU AT SWEAT AND REPEAT?

I have a full time job in nonprofit so keeping up with Sweat and Repeat can be exhausting! After work I head straight to a fitness class. Once class is over, I immediately jot down notes about the studio, instructor, and how it went so I can later sit in front of my computer and type it all out. I’m always snapping pics after each workout, hike, and meal to make sure I can keep up with my Instagram account. Most of my pictures are taken seconds before they are posted so I’m constantly coming up with captions and good hashtags in my head so I can be ready!


HOW HAVE YOU MANAGED TO GROW SWEAT AND REPEAT WHILE HAVING A FULL-TIME JOB?

It definitely requires a lot of late nights and weekend work. I post on my blog twice a week and if I’m feeling inspired that week I’ll occasionally reach out to a friend who has a fitness related story to tell. These posts go beyond the simple studio reviews are always fun for readers. Having a full time job sometimes hinders me from attending fun events around LA because many of them are during the workday, but I love my full time job and can’t see myself leaving even if blogging became something that I made money from. It’s also nice knowing that I don’t have to try to live off of blogging because I have a salary coming in.

Find out what advice I would give people wanting to become a brand ambassador and more in the full interview here!

Express Cycle at The Sweat Shoppe

At a Glance:

Website: http://thesweatshoppe.com
Address: 10620 Riverside Dr, North Hollywood, CA 91602
Length: 45 minutes
Price: first class $10, one class/$22, 10 classes/$200, month unlimited/$300 (first month/$149)
Sweat scale: high
Energy level: high

Although The Sweat Shoppe got off ClassPass a while ago, it’s one of the few studios that I still see pop up on my Instagram feed. Yep, people love this place so much that they’re willing to pay out of pocket to get sweaty here. Obviously I had to find out for myself what the hype is about.

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BeatCycle at Vie2 Cycling

At a Glance:

Website: http://vie2cycling.com
Address: 1708 19th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404
Length: 45 minutes
Price: first class free, first two weeks unlimited/$49, first one month unlimited/$99, one class/$25, 10 classes/$210, month unlimited/$159
Sweat scale: high
Energy level: high

As you can probably guess, I’m running low on new studios in my neighborhood so every once in a while I love to venture west and seek out a new place to sweat a bit closer to the ocean. I love when I hit the jackpot and this time I did!

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How ClassPass Helped Me Through Unemployment

Written by contributor Angela M

Highs and lows – you can’t have one without the other. Sometimes life can throw us curveballs and lead us in directions that we hadn’t planned for. This is how my 2016 started when I found myself laid off from my tech startup job in Santa Monica.

While I was sad to leave my position and company behind, a part of me was eager to see what this next chapter had in store. Selfishly, I was also excited about all the ClassPass classes I was going to be able to take advantage of while I was looking and interviewing for a new position.

I am excited to announce that I have recently accepted a new position, but while I was thinking back through my time of unemployment (roughly two months) I’m not sure I would have been able to get through it without ClassPass.

At the time, some of my friends were surprised and asked, “Well, since you’re unemployed, are you still going to keep ClassPass?”

During times of the unknown and “crisis” it’s completely normal and most of the time necessary to cut costs wherever you can. For the majority, group fitness classes are probably not a necessity. For me, this was a no brainer. I knew I would be experiencing a good chunk of down time and wanted to have an outlet to help me get through this transition – not only physically but also mentally. And boy was I right!

Thankfully in Los Angeles it’s not strange for people to have unique schedules – rather not your normal Monday through Friday, 9-5 sorta gig. With that being said, there were so many classes at my disposal during the day. When I wasn’t applying for jobs or taking part in interviews, I was excited to browse through and see what was available.

I’m not going to lie – some days were tough. Whether it was receiving a rejection or patiently waiting to hear back from an interview, I needed to get my mind off things. Going to classes was a huge help for me mentally, as I would step into a studio, begin class and immediately forget about everything else going on in the outside world.

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The social aspect was key as well. When you are not going into an office everyday, it’s nice to socialize and be around people. Through ClassPass I have been able to meet (and network) with so many friendly and motivational class goers, not mention the incredible instructors. If I was feeling down, hearing, “Angela! So excited to see you and have you in class!” from one of my favorite instructors really got me in a positive mindset when everything else seemed like chaos. While I’m an avid spinner, it was also a great time for me to check out yoga to work on my “namaste” and help center or calm my thoughts before or after interviews.

Sometimes things were fun! This was a time where I had the flexibility to try new classes or participate in others that I enjoy (like dance!) that I might not have had the time to do previously. Since I talk about ClassPass all the time with friends, I had converted a lot of them to the service. With some of them having unique schedules, I was able to coordinate a lot of catch-ups with them via classes and stay connected/social without having to go out and spend money on meals or drinks all the time.

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Lastly, how could I forget the actual physicality of it all – the sweat! Leaving classes sweaty made me feel so accomplished. Which at the time was a welcomed feeling. My health and fitness journey has been a crazy ride. While that might be another story for another post, I was grateful to have the time to work towards my health and fitness goals.

As I’m about to start this new chapter, I am very appreciative to have had ClassPass to help get me through it. It would have been easy to just sit around on the couch, go through the motions of job searching, etc, but ClassPass was able to keep active and motivated. Thank you ClassPass!

Here are some of the studios that I loved during my time off and I encourage you to check out:

  • Training Mate
  • Hot Pilates
  • Playlist Yoga
  • Moore Dancing – PlyoJam
  • Air Aerial Fitness

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About the contributor: Angela is originally from Upstate NY but has called West Hollywood home for the past five years. When she isn’t keeping up with pop culture and social media trends, you can most likely find her at spin class or having a glass of Pinot Grigio at The Den on Sunset. While Angela’s passion and career is in HR/Recruiting, she is also the co-creator of the blog I’m Moving to Los Angeles.

Currently Crushing on: Peanut Butter Perfect Bars

I have been swooning over these bars for the last few weeks and I must share my obsession!

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I’ve tried so many protein bars with no success in finding one that I actually enjoy eating. So many taste like chemicals, have weird flavors that just don’t mesh with my taste buds, or have an awful protein to sugar ratio.

I’m not a dietitian, but there are two main things I look at when I’m choosing what bar to buy: protein and ingredients. These bars have 17g of protein, more than my go-to pre/post workout snack, Greek yogurt. Most importantly though, I CAN READ and understand every single ingredient in the Perfect bar!

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While it tastes EXACTLY like peanut butter fudge, it’s packed with 20+ super foods including dried whole food powder of spinach, kale, carrot, and tomato (the list goes on). The texture isn’t chalky like I usually find in bars. My ONLY qualm is that I wish there was a bit less sugar, however the sugar does come from natural ingredients like honey.

You can tell that it’s legit just by the fact that these are the only bars stored in the refrigerated section at the grocery store to preserve the ingredients. Perfect Bars come in a variety of flavors including almond butter, cranberry crunch, and almond coconut, but I’ve found that peanut butter always stays my favorite and, in my opinion, has the best protein bang for you buck.

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I’ve found them at Ralph’s near the healthy juice/kombucha/cold brew and at 7-11 but you can see where they sell them near you here. They also sell a sample box for $19.99 at Costco that comes with 12 bars—four pb, four almond butter, and four cranberry crunch. Otherwise, they’re around $2.99 individually at the store.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, I really do feel strongly about how much I love these bars and wanted to share. I am neither a dietician nor an expert and these opinions are my own.

Feeling the BURN

The popular and effective Eagle Rock workout, completeBURN, is finally moving west and setting up shop at the swanky Mondrian hotel on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood.

I had a chance to attend the media preview on Tuesday and have had trouble walking ever since. CompleteBURN, created by Leah Purcell, is a high intensity interval-training program that uses bodyweight, kettlebells, and a stability step with resistance band to torch calories and skyrocket your heart rate.

Photo by Josh Reiss ( http://JoshReiss.com )

Photos by Josh Reiss ( http://JoshReiss.com )

Although we were going through a shortened class, I was dripping sweat about two minutes in and it never slowed down. Our class sampled each of the three classes that will be offered: power bodyweight, power weighted, and core.

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