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An edgy, ultra-hip "beauty shop" specializing in unique fashion accessories, cosmetics, and beauty supplies, Ricky's NYC has been a part of New York's urban chic culture for nearly two decades. You can find an amazing variety of products here. When you see a product advertised in a magazine and don't know where to get it, try Ricky's. These stores and online promotions are always up on the latest.

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Confidence in mat work is important for both yoga and Pilates moves. I love my GAIAM mat because it doesn't slip and it is crafted from healthy materials. Plus, the colors are great. This brand also makes home products and fitness gear.

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I buy a lot of books as a grad student.  Now that Barnes & Noble runs the Columbia University bookstore I have a wide variety of products close by. also offers online ordering. Check it out to find everything from textbooks to greeting cards to school supplies to cosy sweatshirts.

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Looking LUCKY

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Being active is easier when you wear the right workout wear. For me, LUCY is LUCKY because I know my clothes won't get in the way of my exercise. In fact, LUCY activewear helps me exercise. I can make sure I can see my form in yoga and Pilates moves when my pants and tops are form-fitting. LUCY makes great moisture wicking and flattering garments for runners, too. 

Brew Your Own Serenity

A cup of tea is a wonderful stress reliever. From the ritual of brewing the tea, to waiting with patience for it to steep, to savoring the first steamy sips - tea is a good way to enjoy the moment. I love Mighty Leaf tea. It's good for a study break or a respite from museum explorations. 

Limber Legacy

Our ability to move is a legacy from our nimble ancestors. Read more at my e.K. Clothing  post.
Baby Skeletons: Chimpanzee and Human 
on display at the American Museum of Natural History

Forming Your Image

I am often asked by my students for recommendations on attire for working out since, let’s be honest, I basically live in my workout clothes. Over the years, as both a consumer wanting clothes to workout in to being an instructor and needing clothes for teaching I have collected what works and doesn’t work for me. While every body is different and what works for one person’s shape may not work for another – there are some underlying principles that I think could be useful that can be taken from my experience. Since it is the start of the new year and that means many people are venturing on their resolutions of a healthier year – now is the time to introduce these principles.

Comfort: You want to workout in clothes that are comfortable to move in. Look at the fabrics and cut. Make sure you can move freely in them and they aren’t too tight that you’re loosing circulation or too loose that you are lost in your clothes.

Awareness: I strongly believe in the principle of being aware of your body. Everyone is beautiful and should love their bodies and not hide them. Now, I’m not saying that an obese person should go out in booty shorts with a skimpy bra to workout but that they should wear clothes that go with their form. For resistance training (with weights whether free weights or machines), for Pilates, for yoga etc. it is really important to maintain proper alignment. To be able to see your body allows you to monitor your form – you are the best judge of what hurts or not.

For example, Range of Motion is different for everyone. If you are bending over trying to touch your toes you don’t want to force yourself down which could cause an injury – rather you want to increase your flexibility. Fat could be obstructing your reach, or you could have tight joints, or poor form. For one such stretch you want your knees straight, not locked, but not bent. So if you wear form fitted pants then your instructor and you can see if you start losing your form when you try to reach further, thus reducing your quality of the stretch because of the incorrect form.

Functionality: Is the item something that will help you? Is the fabric breathable, moisture-wicking, heat-reducing? These will help you during your workout.

Looks: I think this is so important. It is not vapid. You should care how you look. The majority of people who workout do it to maintain or improve their health and are concerned with their appearance on some level (whether to get rid of a beer gut or work towards abs of steel). While you work on your appearance (which can’t happen overnight) you should look good doing it. If your clothes are cute, then that can help motivate you to want to put them on and use them!

No excuses

I often hear that people have a hard time finding a routine that works for them with maintaining physical activity. The gym changes its schedule, work gets in the way, you’re exhausted after a long day…the list goes on. These are valid reasons that should be considered when planning your fitness regime. 

If your gym keeps changing class times then try out buying some DVDs that you can do at home. If you are too exhausted to workout after a long day try starting your day with a workout. You’ll find it will give you energy to keep going throughout your day. If your work doesn’t give you time to workout because you are either chained to your desk or asleep try adjusting your work environment. Could you make your desk a working desk with a treadmill? What is it that ties you to your desk? Do you need to be able to answer calls and that’s why you cannot get away? Try going to a gym and using an elliptical or treadmill and walk with your phone forwarding any important calls. 

If you can figure out how to create a workout schedule that fits with your lifestyle without any major adjustments then it will not feel like a burden. That will allow you the flexibility to begin a routine that could be more manageable. Even if you start small with only 10-20 minutes of movement every day, that will make a difference. So if you’re daunted by the recommendations of exercise at least 3x a week for an hour at moderate intensity don’t be afraid to adjust it so that you feel not just comfortable but confident approaching it. Break it down to 5x a week for 30 min, 7x a week for 10 minutes of vigorous exercise – the point is that you find a way to incorporate it into your schedule so that you look forward to it as your breather from your day. 

My Fitness Pal: Recording my New Year

One of the easiest ways to monitor your weight and what you eat is by keeping a food journal. However, with an on the go lifestyle, carrying around a journal is unrealistic, as is attempting to keep one on your computer. Let’s face it, are you really going to write down everything at the end of the day on your computer? That handful of cookies could become only 1 if you’re recollecting your entire day. 

I’m currently trying out MyFitnessPal so that my sweet teeth will stay in check. It’s a website, and an iPhone app. I appreciate having a phone app so that I will always be able to record after a meal when it is still fresh in my mind. This one will calculate how many calories you should be eating in a day and will tell you after every entry of food how many calories you have remaining. So if you need your chocolate fix, you know how much of a splurge room you have that day. It syncs automatically with the website so that it is easy to sit down once a week and monitor your progress. 

We’ll see if I still find it handy and useful in a few months – I love trying these but I tend to get bored and forget about using them after a while. This year I will be attempting to practice what I preach to my clients. Here’s to hoping that this is the app that I have been waiting for – one that will motivate me to use it. At least this one allows me to set reminders for entering my meals so perhaps it’ll become a habit.

Embodily Defined

Express your spirit to embody wellness!

em·bod·ily Adverb

1. Express or give a tangible or visible form to (an idea, quality, or feeling).

2. Provide (a spirit) with a physical form.