Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I Love NY More Than Ever

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I've been trying to get in the zone to write an upbeat, "bubbly" post, but as I always say, ya can't fake the funk.

The past few days have been nothing short of shocking, depressing, and well, depressing. I could not possibly be more grateful that my home and my neighborhood was completely unscathed by Hurricane Sandy, but I know others were not so lucky and my heart truly goes out to them. I can't even imagine how they are coping.

As a New Yorker, I think I will forever relate any disaster to 9/11. The way this city was torn down, and the way we all came together to rebuild. The way strangers were extra nice to you, and the way people genuinely wanted to do everything in their power to help each other. New Yorkers are tough, there's no debate there. It's what gives us our edge, as my mom says. But when the shit hits the fan, that tough exterior melts away and we will throw down for you.

I can't believe that as I look out my window, life looks completely normal. Yesterday we got a shot of sunlight through the clouds and took a walk to see our local Italian pastry shop open and serving their infamous cappuccinos. I never felt more comforted by a little ritual like that. It's the little things amidst the big things that provide feelings of normalcy that we so often take for granted.

But I can't help thinking - why am I okay? Why are other people dealing with such devastation and unfathomable loss? Why did I get spared? I know those thoughts are normal and I know I need to focus that energy in being thankful and helping those who are suffering, and that's exactly what I plan to do. We're going to donate some clothes today and try to look for opportunities to volunteer around our neighborhood.

I don't know where I'm going with this post. I just had to get it out. I have no idea where things stand, no idea when I can go back to work, half our city is underwater and things are far from normal past the clouds outside my little window, but I do know this: I have never, ever been prouder to be a New Yorker. We will get through this. We always do.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Champagne Day!

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via Pinterest



I feel like Global Champagne Day should be the official holiday of The Champagne Diet! Anything that spreads awareness about champagne and reminds us to celebrate ourselves and our lives is alright with me. So pick up a bottle (or two) of your favorite bubbly, break out your favorite flutes, and raise your glass tonight! I'll be tweeting today using #ChampagneDay and drooling over everyone's photos around the world! Join me!

Cheers!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Break it Down, Baby

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Last week, I had the pleasure of doing a book signing at Uplift Studios. I was lucky to sneak in a few minutes before the festivities began to chat with president & co-owner Leanne Shear about my own fitness routines, and get some valuable input from her on how to stick with a program, but not gauge my eyeballs out in the process.

My biggest complaint is "I have no time." Sound familiar? Unless you're a lady of leisure who is home all day with no job or kiddies or responsibility, then 1) I am insanely envious of you and 2) You probably have all the time in the world to hit the gym. Must be nice. But for the bulk of us, working out is just another check on that to-do list that seems to stretch on for miles and miles.

Aside from having no time, I also get bored. The ADD kicks in after about 10 minutes into a workout, and I'm already mentally on to the next thing before I've even completed my second set of lunges. So what's a busy, distracted gal to do? Split 'em up, says Leanne! I had NO idea that you could cram in 20 minutes of working out by banging out 10 minutes in the morning and another 10 minutes at night. Hello? Piece a cake!

via Pinterest


And Leanne isn't alone in her belief that shorter bursts can be more effective. A recent research study published in Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging compared the fat metabolism between a single 30-minute bout of exercise and three 10-minute bouts at the same intensity and found that the repetition of 10 minutes of moderate exercise can contribute to greater fat oxidation. You can get the full scoop on that article here.

So I've been giving this thing a whirl over the past couple of days, and can I just tell you how obsessed I am? I set the stopwatch on my iPhone (the first day I did two 10 minute sessions, and today I'm doing two 15 minute sessions) and I have felt nothing short of fabulous. Not only were my workouts much more doable, but I really put my all into them, kicking up the intensity and pumping it up because I knew there was an end in sight. I also feel like I can actually have a life at night and not spend an hour of my precious down time in a gym. More time for wine and Real Housewives -- er, I mean, snuggling with my husband.

Have you ladies tried breaking up your workout routines? Will you give it a try? Let me know what you think, and don't forget to have a bottle ready to toast yourself afterward for kicking ass!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Patience is a Virtue (and a Little Bitch)

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via pinterest

I am one of those people who cannot stop stepping on the scale. I get on when I wake up, after I pee, after I shower, after my coffee, then again when I get home at night. Well maybe that not much, but you get the point. I think I just pray that something - anything - changes at some point in the day and I magically weigh 10 pounds less. But we all know that obsessing over the scale is truly the worst thing you can do. It's a slow torture that is sure to just piss you off, make you wish you were 21 again, and ultimately steer you off track.

And to add to the fun, I also tend to obsess (just a teensy bit) about how "good" I've been and why I am (or am not) losing weight. Like I've said a million times, I am no stranger to diets, so why have I not realized yet that all this thinking gets me nowhere? It's the doing that gets results. It's the getting up off my ass and going to workout that pays off. It's the healthy eating, cooking, and planning that gets me feeling good. Duh, Cara!

I've also reached a point in my life where I have truly accepted my body. In my book, Sparkle, I talk a lot about this. And I mean it, wholeheartedly. So why am I still getting on that scale 49 times a day and praying for pound meltage? I'll tell you why: because this is going to be a part of my life forever. I will always watch what I eat, and workout, not because I'm a chunky little Italian girl at heart who can't live without her grated parmesan (okay, I am), but because I want to live my best, healthiest life. 

As you probably read a few weeks ago, I am back on The Champagne Diet, as a part of our "Healthy is the New Skinny" campaign with some of my readers and my Champagne Sisters. The first time I followed this diet that I created, I lost 27 pounds. The "diet" was more of a lifestyle, which consists of avoiding processed foods, and indulging in the best of the best: whole, delicious, nutrient-rich foods like fresh veggies, fruits, lean protein such as salmon or lean turkey - and the best part, trading in dessert for a flute or two of champagne at night (wine is allowed as a substitute). I did not count calories, or fat, I just ate (and drank!) good things when I was hungry. Long story short, as I also posted a few weeks ago, I gained some of those 27 pounds back (about 15 to be exact). A happy  marriage with a guy who loves you no matter how large and in charge you may get sounds like a dream, but when you actually put that to the challenge, it can be disastrous. Trust me.

So here I go again, this time older, wiser, and happier. And I am vowing, from this day forward, you, my deliciously dazzling readers as my witness, to stop obsessing over the numbers on the scale. Instead, I vow to just do my absolute best every chance I get. Making a smart decision at each meal, every time my stomach growls, and every time I'm too lazy to pick up a set of weights. No more frantically downloading every fitness app my iPhone can hold, no more flirting with point systems to keep track of what I eat. I did this before the old fashioned way: I just ate sensibly, when I was hungry. I am vowing to be patient and let the pounds come off naturally, as slow as they may be, and remind myself that this time, they're coming off forever.  

Who's with me?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Workout & Wine" at Uplift Studios!

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 Ever have those moments where you're like, "I wish I would have thought of that!" Well that's exactly what came to mind when Leanne Shear first reached out to me last year. She discovered my blog online and the words "Champagne Diet" spoke to her, much like to the words "Workout and Wine" speak to me (can you blame me?). Leanne was intrigued by my blog and invited me to one of her Workout and Wine sessions, which used to take place in the park before she opened Uplift Studios with partners Helena and Katie in April of this year. Though I never made it to the actual class, Leanne and I met up for bubbly one cold winter night and immediately fell in friend-love. Talk about an awesome, down-to-earth, ass-kicking chick!

We always knew we wanted to team up and do an event together, so when Sparkle came out, Leanne and I immediately connected and she and the girls invited me to do a reading and signing after one of her signature Workout and Wine classes at Uplift. As soon as I arrived, I knew exactly why everyone had been buzzing about this place. Not only is it smack dab in the middle of the Flat Iron district on 23rd street (hello? no excuses ladies!), it's gorgeous! Like spotlessly clean, adorably trendy gorgeous. "You are beautiful" is written in marker across the mirrors in the bathroom (come on, how cute is that?), the music is pumpin' and the drinks are flowing. Along with the wine, a spread of healthy snacks like hummus, chick pea salad, veggies and cheese await you after your total body class - which by the way is super intimate and not over crowded at all. Huge plus in my book.



I had the opportunity to meet a group of fabulous women who took part in last night's event, and much like Leanne, Helena and Katie, these ladies rocked. After they worked out, everyone grabbed their snacks and wine (they even had bubbly for us!) and sat around in a circle. I chatted about what inspired The Champagne Diet, and what led me to write Sparkle. I had such a wonderful time connecting with these women, laughing over our stories, and signing their books. 

The environment at Uplift is so friendly and welcoming, something you don't see very often at gyms - especially (sadly) gyms run by women. And come on, a glass of wine WAITING for you after you sweat your ass off, AT your gym? It's perfection. If you're in the New York City area, promise yourself you will try a class (and email me, I'll join you!)

Thanks for having me, ladies. I can't wait to come back!

Cheers,
Cara


Monday, October 15, 2012

Book Signing Recap!

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In case you missed my 748 Instagram photos, or the Facebook album, or the countless tweets, my book signing and launch party was this past Saturday and it was fabulous. I truly could not have asked for a better night. From the support of my family and friends who made me feel like a princess and showered me with champagne, flowers and love, to the amazing generosity of The Bookmark Shoppe, to the deliciously dazzling bubbly from Le Grand Courtage, everything was absolutely perfect.

Here are a few photos from the evening. A huge thank you again to everyone who came out and supported, and to those who supported and clinked in spirit! And special shout out to Cara Loper who flew all the way to NYC to visit and help me with all the last minute details! I am one lucky girl.

French bubbly courtesy of Le Grand Courtage!

Pink cupcakes. Would you expect anything less?

A beautiful sight

Signing books and takin' names

Gorgeous sparkly flowers from my best girlfriends!

My bests!

With Cara Loper of Loose Lid Creative!

We sold out of every book! Imagine that!


And as a very special treat, Le Grand Courtage is offering all my fans a 20% discount on their orders by using the discount code SPARKLE. Cheers to that!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Where's The Party?

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Honestly? How cool is this?
I have dreamed of doing a book signing since I was 8 years old, and now it's here! Aside from trying on 900 outfits in front of the mirror and finding something I can wear without surgically removing my ribs, I am busy planning every last detail of the evening to make sure it is a fabulous night for everyone! Cases upon cases of Le Grand Courtage minis and rose are on the way, and I am contemplating whether or not balloons will be involved. But one thing is for sure - WE ARE GOING TO PARTY.

Details:
Saturday October 13  7-9 PM
The Bookmark Shoppe
8415 Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209

And if you can't make it, I'm signing copies and The Bookmark Shoppe will ship you a copy anywhere in the US for free! Just give them a ring  at 718.833.5115!

Hope to see everyone there!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Smoothie City!

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It wasn't until I married my husband that I developed a sweet tooth. I was always a "fries over ice cream" kinda gal. If you gave me a choice between eating potato chips or a piece of chocolate cake, the chips won - hands down. Usually, an entire bag of them.

But after Ryan rode into my life on a white dirtbike (or, ummm, stallion, get it?) I started getting into sweets. Ryan has to have his ice cream. I'm talking get up in the middle of the night with a craving and go to the bodega type situation. So, naturally, I started getting in on this little Ben and Jerry party from time to time, and before I knew it, I was indulging in a little too much Cherry Garcia. And it was catching up with my ass-ets, big time.

Like I've mentioned before, the first time I embarked on my Champagne Diet lifestyle, I lost 27 pounds. Things like ice cream didn't even pop into my head when I was hungry. I literally craved bananas. But add a happy marriage to the mix and suddenly visions of sugar plums and pints of Chunky Monkey will dance in your head. Trust me.  

But those days are over, kittens! You may have read about how me and my Bubbly Talk Radio hosts launched our "Healthy is the New Skinny" campaign three weeks ago. We're all following The Champagne Diet, and indulging in the best of the best. No more junk, no more processed crap, and definitely no more ice cream. I've lost 6 pounds so far, and as wonderful as I do feel, I'll admit I do sort of crave the sweet stuff. I had to get creative and figure out a nutritious way to indulge that did not involve fudge tracks. So after some playing around with my immersion blender, I came up with this delicious treat that is not only sinfully delicious, but Champagne Diet friendly, as well:

Very Berry Grecian Delight:

7 oz Fage 0% plain greek yogurt (single serving size)
1 handful of frozen blueberries
1 handful of frozen strawberries
1 tablespoon of honey

Blend your little heart out, baby! (feel free to add a dash of water to liquify this, as it may be a bit thick)

Enjoy!

What types of healthy treats do you indulge in to satisfy your sweet tooth?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Happy Weekend!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Foodie Faves

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Figuring out ways to stay on track and eat healthy is definitely a creative endeavor. Especially if you are a foodie like me. I love to eat. Like, love it. There are only so many salads you can chomp down, and grilled chicken gets pretty damn boring if you ask me. So I've been delving into my archives (aka iPhone photos) and looking at all of the yummy and nutritious meals and snacks I've indulged in throughout the years. Yes, I take pictures of my food. Don't we all?

Anyway, this little diddy popped up and I remembered how delicious it is. I stole this idea from Whole Foods after paying $8 for it and realizing I can prepare it on my own. Yes, I am a sucker for gourmet food markets. Whether you have it for breakfast, for a snack, or even for dessert (it is seriously amazeballs with a glass of champagne), cinnamon dusted pineapple is where it's at. Plus, cinnamon aids with digestion and pineapple has been proven to burn fat. Holla!

What are your favorite healthy snacks? I want to know! Let's share in the comments section and trade faves. GO!