Vinyasa with a View with the American Cancer Society

There’s something about yoga that always makes me feel good. Since I started practicing regularly almost two years ago, I’ve taken advantage of the thriving yoga community in Boston by attending classes and yoga events. So when I was approached by the American Cancer Society to be a guest at their inaugural yoga fundraising event, Vinyasa With a View, I graciously accepted.

Vinyasa…with a view

Held at the distinctive 9OFS, a rooftop event space in Boston’s financial district, Vinyasa With a View was an evening rooftop yoga event with heart-warming cause behind it. The venue promised amazing views of the city of Boston and, despite the cold and rainy weather, did not disappoint. Due the weather however, the planned outdoor class was moved indoors.

vinyasa with a view american cancer society boston

Photo by Iam Nash NYC

Izzy VanHall, one of Boston’s most talented and spirited yoga and acroyoga instructors, led the practice. I had taken Izzy’s classes at YogaWorks Back Bay (fka Back Bay Yoga) and love her style of warm, relateable, and humorous style of teaching. Since this was a fundraising event, for many of the participants, it was their first time placing their feet on a yoga mat. Izzy led a practice geared toward beginners with sufficient room for more advanced poses, which I greatly appreciated.

The hour-long practice ended with a short mindful meditation and prizes for the top fundraisers. More than 85 participants raised over $8800 to benefit the American Cancer Society. Following the practice, we were treated to delicious pizza from Otto Portland, Freshii salads, Beacon Blend organic juice, Upstate Distilling vodka, and snacks from various vendors.

vinyasa with a view american cancer society boston

Participants all left with an Athleta reusable goodie bag filled with drinks, snacks, local discounts, and beautiful Hollis Hayes bracelets.

vinyasa with a view goodie bag

hollis hayes bracelets

Vinyasa with a View was a wonderful event and I encourage any philanthropic yogi to sign up next year. Congratulations to the American Cancer Society for a fun and successful fundraiser and thank you for letting me be a part of this amazing cause.

Note: I attended this event for free in exchange for media coverage but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Valentine’s Day Events in Boston

Valentine’s Day is this weekend and if you’re like most people, you’re scrambling to find something to do with your signifiant other or group of friends. It’s easy to find a restaurant with an expensive prix fixe menu but that’s boring and overdone. Here are 7 things to do in Boston with your friends or significant other that are more fun than dressing up and going out to dinner.

Valentine’s Day Drinking Events

Boston Wine Expoboston wine expo

The ultimate Valentine’s or Galentine’s Day event, the Boston Wine Expo is February 13th and 14th at the Seaport World Trade Center. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the BWE is the perfect way to celebrate with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or group of friends.

I attended the BWE with my boyfriend last year and we can’t wait to go back. Read my Boston Wine Expo 2015 review to see how much fun we had. Tickets start at $99 a person, including tastings, and for a limited time, Sunday tickets are $10 off so buy your Boston Wine Expo tickets here.

Valentine’s Gras Pub Crawl

For those seeking something less refined, there’s a Valentine’s Day/Mardi Gras themed pub crawl hosted by Pub Crawlers of Boston on February 13th. Tickets are $23—get more info and buy your tickets here.

Valentine’s Day Couples Events

Muse Paintbar Couples’ Nightsmuse paintbar couples night

The newest in paint-and-drink nights, Muse Paintbar is offering Couples’ Nights from Friday February 12 through Sunday February 14, 2016.

Muse offers multiple sessions throughout the day and evening and all evening sessions on Saturday, February 13th include a glass of Prosecco. Tickets are $35-$55 – check out the calendar and paintings at Muse Paintbar here.

Alice’s Table Flower Arrangement Classflower arranging class boston

Don’t buy a bouquet of flowers for your love; make one together! Alice’s Table is offering pop-up flower arrangement classes at The Street at Chestnut Hill.

The innovative company is partnering with Shake Shack for the perfect couple-friendly event with burgers, beer, flowers on February 13th. Tickets are $75 and include a bouquet you make and take home – buy your Alice’s Table Valentine’s Day tickets here.

Valentine’s Day Exercise Events in Boston

YogaWorks Back Bay Acro Yoga Workshop

Formerly known as Back Bay Yoga, YogaWorks Back Bay is under new ownership and amping up their workshops. The studio is offering an Acro Yoga workshop on Valentine’s Day. Come with a loved one or friend to this partner yoga workout. Don’t have someone to drag along? Come anyway and YogaWorks will pair you up with someone! All levels welcome and tickets are $40—get a FREE week at YogaWorks Back Bay and sign up for YogaWorks Valentine’s Day Acro Yoga here.

Cyc Fitness Valentine’s Rides

Boston’s newest indoor cycling studio, Cyc Fitness is a great full-body workout for you and your girlfriends. Located in the swanky David Barton Gym on Arlington Street, Cyc Fitness is hosting both love and heartbreak themed rides all this week. Also, Cyc Fitness has teamed up with the Challenged Athletes Foundation. The studio will donate $1 every time you ride until the end of February as part of their Calories for a Cause campaign. Classes are $27—check out the schedule and sign up for a Cyc Fitness Boston class here.

Xtend Barre Newbury Streetvalentines day xtend barre newbury class

Looking to be healthy for Valentine’s Day? Sign up and bring your sweetie for free on February 11th at 7:45pm. Unlike other barre classes, Xtend Barre is very man-friendly so your Y-chromosomed paramour won’t feel out of place. Classes cost $30 each without a membership—a great deal for 2 people! Don’t miss this awesome workout—sign up for this  Xtend Barre Valentine’s class here.

Do you know of a great Valentine’s Day event that isn’t included in this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Boston Yoga Mala

This weekend I did something insanely awesome – I went to a Yoga Mala. The first annual Boston Yoga Mala at the Boston Button Factory.

boston yoga mala

For those unfamiliar, a yoga mala is something crazy people do 108 sun salutations performed in a group. Yoga malas are done all over the world, often coinciding with the changing of the seasons. This yoga mala was for the Spring Equinox. While most normal people were getting their Easter baskets ready, I spent a casual 3 hours doing back bends, downward dogs, and yogi push ups. No biggie.

sun salutation a and b


Until a few months ago, I had never heard of a yoga mala. As far as I’m aware, Boston has never had a yoga mala before – at least not one independent from a yoga studio. Carrie Bresnick, a Boston area native, set out to change that.

Having spent a few years in hippy crunchy Los Angeles where she participated in yoga malas, Bresnick had a vision to host a yoga mala back in her hometown. An idea quickly turned into a Facebook page with invitations sent to friends, family, and anyone in town who had posted a selfie on a yoga mat on Facebook. Obviously, an invitation to the Boston Yoga Mala Facebook Page showed up in my notifications.

Likely caught after an inspiring yoga class or on a caffeine high, I signed up, blissfully ignorant to how strenuous yet transformative a yoga mala could be. Someone who puts 108% of herself into everything, I took the idea of a yoga mala in stride, assuming at best it would be awesome and at worst I’d get a good workout. So…how was it?

The Boston Yoga Mala was great! Despite the fact that my arms are so sore that I’m struggling to type, I would do it again. Set in the awesomely historic Boston Button Factory, Bresnick’s first hosted yoga mala was a success. The turnout was good for an inaugural event – about 20 participants.

boston yoga mala

Upon entering the Boston Button Factory, Bresnick greeted everyone with a warm smile, a bottle of water, and a small towel. The mala was co-led by Bresnick and Paula Passanisi, a forest yoga instructor from the The Yoga Joy Studio, in Gloucester. The 108 sun salutations were a mix of versions A and B, making the flow interesting and challenging.

Broken into 12 sets of 9 rounds of salutations, Bresnick and Passanisi gave participants an intention for each set. Intentions give you something to focus on during your practice – a friendly reminder of why you’re on your mat, what brought you to it, and what you hope to get out of the practice.

After almost 3 hours, we had completed 108 sun salutations at the Boston Yoga Mala and welcomed in the Spring…or at least the balmy 30 degree weather known as Spring in Boston. Although I’m sore, it was an amazing experience that I’m looking forward to doing again. Bresnick has plans to  host more yoga malas in the future – likely once a season. If you’re into yoga and challenging yourself, keep an eye out for events.


Yoga: the New Year’s Eve Party Alternative

This year I spent New Year’s Eve doing something that wasn’t going to leave me hungover in the morning. Instead of wrapping myself in cleavage-bearing sequins, overpaying for a cover at a nightclub, and throwing elbows through a crowd to get a drink, I rang in the New Year on my yoga mat.

Ok, so I was lying about not showing any cleavage (thanks, Lululemon). But this year, like last year, I counted down to midnight calm and relaxed…at a yoga studio. I attended the New Year’s Eve Yoga Party at South Boston Yoga. The 10pm to midnight party is taught by David Vendetti and Todd Skoglund, the co-owners of South Boston Yoga, and for the past two years, has been my chosen way of celebrating New Year’s Eve.

According to David, the legend of the New Year’s Even Yoga Party started around 10 years ago when he was teaching at Back Bay Yoga. Long before he was named as the Best of Boston yoga instructor, Vendetti pitched the yoga party idea to BBY founder Lynne Begier. As many geniuses often hear, Begier reportedly told Vendetti that he was crazy, but to go for it. And he did. Vendetti hosted the first of his New Year’s Eve Yoga parties that year and the fun hasn’t stopped since.

Why New Year’s Eve Yoga?

Aside from the obvious answer, “Why not?” New Year’s Eve yoga is a great alternative to other parties. New Year’s Eve can be a difficult night. For those seeking to start or continue living a healthy holistic lifestyle, a party of heavy drinking and food isn’t the right fit. For those in recovery, a night of debauchery with drunk friends can be wrought with discomfort and temptation. For those seeking to forget and move on from the previous year, or simply have a low-key night, movies and pizza at home is decidedly anticlimactic.

New Year’s Eve Yoga is the perfect alternative to going out in the typical New Year’s fashion. Since Vendetti’s inception of it in Boston, other local studios have caught onto the idea, including North End Yoga and JP Centre Yoga. But Boston isn’t alone in these parties – from New York to Philadelphia to Denver, yogis around the country are celebrating New Year’s Eve in savasana.

What about South Boston Yoga?

In short, Vendetti’s class is amazing. I’ve taken his class only twice – once last New Year’s Eve (photo at right) and then again this year. I cannot speak to his regular classes, but I have no doubt that they’re equally amazing.

Vendetti’s love of teaching and helping others shines through in his instruction. But his sense of humor – a must in yoga practice – and killer playlist make the New Year’s Yoga Party fabulous. From his telling of the Legend of New Year’s Yoga Party (that may or may not be 100% true) and the disco ball (it is a party, after all) to rising out of savasana with gentle group singing accompanied by his miniature piano, Vendetti’s class is unforgettable. And for just $30 ($35 at the door), New Year’s Eve at South Boston Yoga is one Boston’s least expensive New Year’s Eve parties around.

What’s the big deal?

This was my second year at Vendetti’s New Year’s Yoga class and the one-year anniversary of my love of yoga. Coincidence? I think not.

What started as an alternative New Year’s Eve idea thrown out by a friend, turned into one of the best decisions in my life. For real. In case you’re wondering, the other best decisions I ever made were to file for divorce, move to Boston, stop dying my hair, and change my career. That’s how much yoga has changed me, but I digress…

Although awesome, it wasn’t Vendetti’s class so much as my decision to do something different for New Year’s Eve, that made New Year’s Yoga such a great event in my life. Two hours of yoga at the end of 2013 spurred a year of personal growth and development for me. When the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2014, I had already accomplished something in the new year. How many other New Year’s Eve celebrations can provide that?

I woke up that morning well rested and calm. Two days later I was sore but happy. So I tried another class, this time at Back Bay Yoga, then another and another. I quit the florescent lit meat market of a gym and joined a yoga studio. A self-described balls-to-the-wall type of person, I accepted the label of yogi, and resigned myself to being the butt of patchouli jokes from friends.

What I found in yoga was much more than I had envisioned. My days and weeks, and later my body and mind, were shaped by hour and a half sweat sessions of strength and power. I learned to bring mindfulness not only to my mat, but also to my life and relationships. Yoga brought a self awareness that I didn’t think possible. I guess that’s what happens when you have to remind yourself to breathe.

And so it seemed natural to celebrate the end of 2014 the way it began, alone on the mat, ready to begin a new year with clarity. Happy New Year and Namaste.

march obsessions

It’s officially Spring and almost the end of March already–woohoo!  Bring on the warm weather!  In celebration of the melting of treacherous black ice that has caused me to fall on my ass on more than one occasion this winter, I’ve complied a list of the things that have been getting me through these past few weeks.  As you can probably tell, this winter has been rough for me.  It’s the little things in life that keep me sane, and happy, but mostly sane.
My secret to be happy are looking good and feeling good, as illustrated by the fancypants picture below.
march obsessions
Awesome Blazer:  I attended a blogger shopping event at the Loft in February with Elissa from Style Wire and Georgina from Notes on Lifestyle by Georgina where I picked up this adorable blazer.  It’s a dark heather grey with a black and white striped liner.  It’s cotton and so comfy, which is important for someone like me who spends her downtime wrapped in a Snuggie.  A blazer like this is the perfect way to look adorable but feel like you’re in pajamas and is my total cheat to looking put together.

Chiffon Blouse: I love blouses that can go from day to night, are long enough to wear with leggings, but sexy enough to wear on a date.  Enter this perfect chiffon blouse that I picked up from H&M last week.  I got it in white because rose isn’t a good color on me.  I’ve already worn it twice in the past week.

Body Butter: The end of winter did horrible things to my skin so I switched from my regular moisturizer to this almond body butter from The Body Shop.  Even though the winter is over, I’m still slathering this yummy stuff on from head to toe–ok not toes, as I quickly learned that walking on wood floor with body buttered feet is a dangerous idea!

Sparkling Water: Ever since the Blog and Tweet Boston Steakapalooza at DelFrisco’s where we were offered either still or sparkling water, I’ve been on a sparkling water kick.  I forgot how much I love fizzy water and I’ve been stocking up my fridge anytime I’m out with a friend who has a car.  It’s just too much work to carry bottles of water 6 blocks home from Trader Joe’s.

Athleta Yoga Pants: In case you haven’t noticed from my recent posts, I’ve become quite the yogi.  I joined a new yoga studio and have been going to classes between 3 and 5 times a week.  Accordingly, I’ve been outfitting myself with yoga clothes.  After a brief love affair with the Lululemon Wunderunder crops, I found the Althleta Chaturunga capris that I like even better (gasp!) and they come in fun colors!  I picked up these blue bad boys several weeks ago and their Catalina green cousin last weekend.

Do you have any March Obsessions that have been getting you through the last few weeks of winter?