ClassPass . . .

Image via Sweat By Burnthis
Lately I've really gotten into supplementing my personal workouts with a couple group classes throughout the week. It's a great way to mix things up, plus reserving a spot in a class always keeps you accountable which helps on the motivation front.

So last week when I was catching up on my daily news summary (TheSkimm) and saw a recommendation for ClassPass - I had to click the link. After reading more about it, I'm completely sold on the concept. For $99 a month you get unlimited access to classes all over the city (think: Barry's Boot Camp, Flywheel, ChaiseFitness, and hundreds more). I honestly can't imagine a better deal. If you're a dedicated class attendee that forgoes paying a gym membership for a $30 spin or yoga class 3x a week, ClassPass might the perfect alternative. I signed up for a $10 one-week trial, and can't wait to get started. If I come across any classes that I love, I'll be sure to let you know!

And one more thing, ClassPass is available all over the country, and even in a few international locations. Check out the full list of participating cities HERE

PS. Do you read TheSkimm? It's my favorite news summary - quick, yet comprehensive and well written. It also ends with fun tidbits (this is how I learned about ClassPass), like book suggestions, giveaways, shootouts, etc.


Weekend Wardrobe . . .

Yay, it's Friday! One of my best friends is in town for work this weekend, and I get to steal her away tonight for dinner at The Beatrice Inn - so I'm excited! Nothing like a fun, Friday night dinner to get you digging out those statement pieces from your closet. I'm using tonight's festivities as the perfect excuse to get fancy. 

Shashi Noa Ear Climbers
Nars Roman Holiday Lipstick
Nicholas Exclusive One Shoulder V Crop Top
O'2nd Wrap Crop Pant
Chanel Classic Flab Bag
Dior Addict-It Lash Mascara
Charline De Luca Galatea Zigzag Sandals
Kate Spade New York Paley Watch


Q & A with Dr. Yaghoobzadeh . . .

Good morning! I'm really excited for today's post, I hope you like it...

By now you already know that I have the most amazing cardiologist. If it weren't for Dr. Y's exceptional care and brilliance, I wouldn't be at the point where I am today, feeling strong and healthy. After the TODAY segment, both Dr. Y and I received a ton of followup - not only about my story and gene mutation, but also about general heart health. 

I'm happy to announce a new series on the blog, Questions & Answers with Dr. Yaghoobzadeh. Throughout these posts I'll be asking Dr. Y questions on specific health topics that are not only important for the heart but also for overall well-being. Today's topic of discussion will be diet. Here goes:

Tini: What role does diet play in our overall health? We are always hearing that it's good to eat healthy, but how important is it really?

Dr. Y: What we eat over a lifetime is probably the #1 most important thing that we do which affects our health (not withstanding smoking, excessive alcohol and drugs). Many studies show that healthy eating can have very strong and measurable effects on health. These are usually not effects that one sees within a week or even months. The effects take years to take hold and therefore do not fit into our instant gratification model. Healthy eating should be the foundation of any plan toward a healthy life.

Tini: There are a number of diets people are talking about right now (Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-free, etc). From a health perspective, what diet should we be following? What foods should we be eating and what should we be avoiding? Why?

Individuals are different and therefore no single diet is going to be correct for every person. Studies are done on populations and therefore their results follow the rules of averages which may not shed light on an individual situation. However, I believe several concepts are paramount:

1) Move toward whole foods and away from processing. This means less pre-prepared meals, more home cooking, less food out of boxes and cans. Less packaged cereals and more whole grains, nuts and seeds. Lots of greens, vegetables and some fruits. When choosing foods like breads/cereals/pasta/snacks - look at the total carbohydrate to fiber ratio. The lower the number (definitely less than 10:1) the better.  

2) Move towards proteins derived from plants (beans, nuts, seeds, grains, mushrooms) and away from proteins derived from animals (meat, poultry and dairy) with the exception of fish. Fish is one of the animal proteins which has been repeatedly shown to be essential in diets that prevent heart disease, cancer and inflammatory illnesses. Moving away from animal proteins will accomplish several things:
               a) Plants are higher in fiber and fiber is one of the pillars of good health.
               b) The saturated fats that come with plant proteins are healthier than the saturated fats that come with animal proteins.
              c) Reducing exposure to animal proteins reduces exposure to much of the potentially harmful 'processing' involved with getting the animal protein from the farm to your table (hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, chemicals, etc). This processing has been shown to change the actual composition of the animal product.

3) Listen to your body. A small group of patients do dramatically better when they cut out gluten. Others have significant improvements after they cut out dairy.

4) One can be purely vegan and still be eating very unhealthy if they are depending on processed foods with simple carbohydrates and unvaried sources of protein like soy. Variation in diet increases exposure to the 'good' and diversifies exposure to the 'bad'.

Tini: Have you had any patients whose health has improved after eating this way? Any one story that stands out in particular? 

Dr. Y: I have many patients who have changed their eating habits which have led not only to weight loss but to improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol and reduction in markers of inflammation. They have been able to come off medicines or avoid having to take them all together. I had a very interesting interaction with a patient who happens to be a very successful baker. This middle aged man sent me blood work to check - which showed truly dramatic improvements in his cholesterol profile. Over the phone, I assumed that one of his physicians had started him on cholesterol medications but teased him that "Looks like you have become Vegan!" I heard a gasp over the phone and he exclaimed, "How did you know?" After a chuckle, we both were impressed with how powerful the effect of this dietary change had been.

The same day I interviewed Dr. Y, THIS article was published in the New York Times. Dr. Y sent it to me as a supplement to his answers, writing "Sugar isn't the only villain. The hazards of meat are understated."

Dr. Hooman Yaghoobzadeh, M.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine
Weill Cornell Medical College
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Hope you found our first Q&A helpful. Stay tuned for a new health topic next month.


Upper East Side Find: Seamstress . . .

Image via TastingTable
Not a tailor, but a bar. A speakeasy style cocktail bar. Who knew the Upper East could be so downtown? I mentioned last week that Scott's moving to the UES, and that I couldn't wait to explore his new hood. Well, I've found my first new must-try: Seamstress.

Part cocktail bar, part restaurant, part leather goods shop - this cozy lair of a lounge has it all. Plus the drinks are fantastic. I tried the Mortimer and Mauve because it had chai (yum) and loved it. It was full bodied and a little spicy, perfect for last week's chilly weather. The cocktail list is long and expertly categorized, so I've already made plans to return and try another off the menu this weekend. Upper East Side exploring is already off to a great start! Next time you're in the area, check it out and let me know what you think. 

RT Tip: Make a reservation. Thankfully I reserved before showing up (mostly because I thought it'd be easy OpenTable points) but when I got there I realized that reservations are required. The host turned away three parties while I checked my coat, so be sure to book ahead. 


Beauty Sleep . . .

Image via Pinterest
We all know how important proper sleep is for our health. It helps improve memory and relieve stress, it can also decrease inflammation and heighten focus. I try my best to get around 7 hours a night, and when I don't - I feel it. I also look it. Puffy eyes, dull skin, dark circles, the whole nine. I'm a big believer in beauty sleep, and I know that if I want to wake up bright-eyed and fresh-faced I have to get a full night's rest.

Overnight the cells in our skin and hair recover, which I love to think about. In my mind it feels productive to know that my hair and skin are repairing themselves while I snooze. So to make the most of my zzz's I add an extra boost to that cell regeneration with some of my favorite nighttime beauty products:

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate
After washing up, I massage a few drops of this oil onto my face which works overnight to replenish and restore my skin. It also smells like I just left the spa!

Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment
Next I apply this super rich eye cream, tapping lightly around the orbital bone, instantly moisturizing the area.

Kiehl's Lip Balm #1
I use this product all day long, but I'm always sure to load up before I go to bed. Nothing worse than waking up with chapped lips.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Protector
Whether my hair is damp or dry, I smooth a couple pumps of this product on the ends of my hair and brush through. The next morning it wakes up shiny and frizz-free.

L'Occitane Lavander Pillow Mist
I love to spray this essential oil on my pillow before laying down, it smells lovely plus it promotes clam and restorative sleep.

Last thing before I go to bed, I take my medicines with a tall glass of water - one final boost of hydration before hitting the sheets.

Happy Tuesday, thanks for stopping by!


Pop Quiz / Cheat Sheet . . .

Image via Refinery29
Last night I was browsing for restaurant ideas for a few fun group dinners I have coming up this week, and I stumbled across TimeOut New York's 100 Best Restaurants, plus a test that calculates how many you've eaten at. I have always thought of myself as pretty well versed in the New York restaurant scene. So I figured I'd ace this test no problem. Not so much.

I got a 45 out of 100... that's an F, my first F ever. I was shocked. I took it three times to make sure, and every time it was 45. So needless to say, I was knocked off my foodie high horse last night. But the great news is now I have 55 new restaurants to add to my must-try list!

So how about a little pop quiz this morning to start off your work week? Test yourself HERE and see how many of NYC's 100 best you've eaten at. Or if you're not interested in taking the test, consider this the perfect cheat sheet for the next time you're wondering where to dine in NYC - you can't go wrong choosing an option from this list.

Happy Monday and Good Luck!


Weekend Wardrobe . . .

I don't think I've announced this on the blog yet, but Scotty has officially moved to NYC! I'm going to miss those weekends jetting off to Texas, but I'm so excited and happy to have him here. He's moving to a fun and young area of the Upper East, so I'm really looking forward to exploring a new part of the city. Last night we got a pretty good jump on setting up his new place, but I have a feeling most of the weekend is going to be spent in sweats, unpacking boxes and arranging furniture.

J. Crew Merino Wool Tippi Sweater
Rebecca Minkoff Pyramid Fan Stud Earrings
ATM Terry Sweatpants
FRENDS Layla Headphones
Deux Lux Berry Backpack
Louis Vuitton Fluffy Bag Charm
Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment
Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray
Converse All Star '70s Oxford Sneakers

Happy weekend, enjoy!


Free Macaron Day NYC . . .

Image via Martha Stewart
By now it's no secret how much I love macarons (remember this and this post?). In my opinion, they are the most delicious treat on the planet - I could happily live off vanilla and raspberry for the rest of my life. So each year when Macaron Day comes around, I celebrate. And since it's just around the corner (Friday 3/20), I wanted to make sure and give those of you in NYC all the details. How can you turn down a free sweet treat from some of the city's favorite patisseries? 

Friday 10AM - 5PM bakeries around New York will be offering free macarons to bring awareness to City Harvest, which fights hunger in NYC. Any additional purchases will go towards a donation to the charity. 

Check out participating bakeries, flavors, and an interactive map HERE. And a little word of advice, get there on the early side before flavors run out. I know I'll be visiting some of my go-tos Epicerie Boulud, Macaron Cafe, and Bouchon Bakery. 

See you there! 

PS. If you're reading this from Paris, Friday is also you Jour du Macaron - the original Macaron Day. 


Monday Mix . . .

Image via Pinterest
Good morning! How was your weekend? I'm not going to lie, it was hard saying goodbye to Jumby Bay yesterday. It might have been my most relaxing vacation ever. But it's always nice to come home to NYC, especially feeling refreshed and well rested. So to kickstart the week I made myself a good morning mix. Here's what I'm listening to on the way to work today:

Elastic Heart
(Also loving the Ellie Goulding version!)
Talking Body
Honey, I'm Good.
Love Me Like You Do
Run Run Run
I Lived

Any favorites I should add to my mix? Let me know in the comments below.


Weekend Wardrobe . . .

Yay, the weekend is finally here! Truth be told, it's a little sad because it means my trip is coming to an end, but I'm just not going to think about that part. Instead, I'm going to throw myself into the last few days of vacation and soak up as much sun as I possibly can. And since I'm still in island mode, I'll be flopping around in a bathing suit and sunglasses all weekend. 

Mara Hoffman Reversible Printed Racerback Bikini
Kate Spade New York Gayla Sunglasses
Kiehl's Activated Sun Protector Body SPF 50 Sunscreen
Target Women's Striped Mesh Tote
Spun by Subtle Luxury Four Way Fray Wrap
J. Crew Leather Thong Sandals
March 2015 Issue of Shape Magazine

Have a great one, see you Monday! 


Frappuccino Time . . .

One of the best parts about Jumby Bay is that every few hours the wonderful staff comes around with trays full of treats. 11:30am is savory snacks, 1pm is cocktails and juices, 2:30pm is dessert and fruit, and 4pm is frappucino time! My favorite treat of all. I seriously look forward to it and never skimp out when the tray comes around. It's the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. I love them so much, I had to get the recipe so I can recreate when I'm back in NYC. 

A little disclaimer, they're not the most heart-healthy of drinks. So when I make them at home I'm going to sub some lower fat ingredients to make them more healthful. 

4PM Frappuccinos
1 shot of espresso
1 scoop of ice cream 
(For a heart-healthy option I'll sub vanilla almond milk and a frozen banana. 
Non-fat vanilla frozen yogurt would work well too)
1 scoop of ice
Sugar to taste
Blend together and serve immediately

I'll probably skip the toppings, but if you want to go all out garnish with whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, and mini marshmallows. 

Give them a try, let me know what you think!

By the Beach . . .

 I hinted yesterday that I'm on vacation this week. My family and I took a few days to get away from the city cold for a little R&R by the beach. We're spending the week in Antigua at Jumby Bay, and I have to say, it's pretty blissful. Especially after last week's craziness. For me, there's nothing quite as relaxing as a beach vacation... long mornings, fruit-filled breakfasts, stacks of magazines, ocean dips, poolside drinks, sun-touched skin, sandy toes, sunset cocktails... I'm enjoying every minute here, and wanted share a little of the sunshine with you too! Here are a few pics from the trip so far. 

Happy Wednesday, thanks for stopping by! 


My New Workout Routine . . .

As I mentioned yesterday, exercise is a huge part of staying healthy - especially when it comes to the heart. I find that the best way to keep myself motivated is to make a gym schedule. I recently changed up my workout routine and am really loving it - so I thought I'd share it with you. I am by no means a fitness expert, but thought this might serve as a little inspiration if you're thinking of switching up your own gym regime. It covers a nice variety of exercises and workout times.

Morning spinning (45 minutes)
Light stretching (15 minutes)

Afternoon power yoga (60 minutes)

Morning run (45 minutes)
Ab exercises and stretching (30 minutes)

Afternoon conditioning and circuit training (45 minutes)
Light stretching (15 minutes)

Morning stationary bike with light weights (45 minutes)
Deep stretching (30 minutes)

Morning power yoga or afternoon run (60 minutes)

A day off to rest

Part of having a working routine is sticking to it, even when you're not home. So although I'm on vacation this week (more on that later) I'm making sure to stay active and get in a good workout each morning before hitting the beach. 

What's your fitness routine? I'd love to know!


Thank You . . .

Good morning, I cannot thank you enough for the outpour of support I've gotten! All of your emails, comments, thoughts, and prayers mean so much to me. I am beyond grateful for your kindness. After the segment, my inbox was flooded with questions, reactions, concerns, etc. So I thought I'd take the time to answer them here: 

What's the name of your gene/condition?
My gene mutation and condition have yet to be classified since I'm the only documented case. There is a list of differently ranked candidate genes that researchers are looking at - but cannot say for certain until a match is found in another person with a similar condition.

What symptoms did you feel?
The most common symptoms I'd feel were chest pain (with radiating pain in my throat and sometimes left arm), nausea, and fatigue. The biggest tell tale sign for me was severe chest/throat pain during activity.
*Please note that symptoms are different for everybody. If you suspect anything feels off, consult your doctor immediately. 

How do you stay positive through it all?
The most important thing to me was to make sure that the people around me were weren't sad. I could see the worry in the faces of my family, friends, even doctors sometimes - and I knew that if I stayed strong, calm, and positive it would help them feel better too. So I used that as a tool. A smile goes a long way, and I always make sure to smile as much as possible. Even when I was feeling my worst. And when I couldn't smile anymore, I'd take a nap :)

What do you do to stay healthy now?
I make sure to eat healthful foods, stay away for saturated fats, drink plenty of water, get a full night's sleep, and most important: exercise daily. Physical fitness is key to good heart health. It keeps the muscle strong and can even help your heart build extra capillaries.

Do you have any limitations with your condition?
No, I can live my life exactly as I want.

Why did you start your blog?
There was a time when I did have limitations. I couldn't travel or go to work or even take a jog outside. So I decided to make the most of it and take advantage of being stuck in NYC. I've learned so much about the city along the way, and now I use my blog to chronicle those experiences and share them with others - whether they're long time residents or visiting tourists.

How has your life changed since this all started?
Apart from taking a bunch of medications twice a day and monthly doctor visits, I feel lucky to say that I've been able to resume a normal lifestyle. I will say that I've become much more heath conscious, but I think that's expected. I'm just so thankful to be feeling well.

I hope this helps answer your questions.
If there are others, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

Thank you for reading, happy Monday!

PS. Don't forget to subscribe (at the far right) to the blog if you want to receive updates directly to your email.


Behind the Scenes . . .

Good morning! I'm so happy to announce some exciting news. My health story is going to be featured on NBC's TODAY show as part of a medical mysteries/miracles series with reporter Kate Snow. I'm really, really excited to share my story in the hope that I can help others that are dealing with health issues too, similar to mine or not. And if there is anybody else that has had an episode like mine, then I hope that my experience can provide some answers. In fact, maybe there are even others that have my same gene and don't even know it. It's hard for me to believe that I'm really the only person in the whole world with my specific gene mutation. 

So, to get you all as excited about it as I am, I thought I'd share a few behind the scene pictures from the interview. I hope you can tune in tomorrow, Friday March 6th, to watch the segment. It will air on the TODAY show on NBC between 8am and 9am. If you're not by a TV, you can always catch it on www.today.com.

Thank you as always for following!

PS. If this is your first time reading the blog, check out Here's the Story to read about my heart condition.