A Wellness Lesson with LATHER and SoulCycle + Giveaway

Injury recovery can make you feel less than ideal both inside and out.  The road to building strength and stamina usually isn’t pretty or inspiring.  For me, this particular round of recovery has been much slower than I’d like. The itch to get back to some fast paced activity has been overwhelmingly strong so when I received an invitation to an event at SoulCycle Pasadena by the beauty brand LATHER, I thought that the universe was giving me a sign that I was up for a challenge.

LATHER, skin care, live a radiant life, migraine, soul cycle, indoor cyclingIt isn’t easy to admit that the last few fitness events I’ve attended have been difficult physically, mentally and emotionally.  I’ve been in some desperate need for some overall motivation lately and I saw some in the combination of the words “soul” with “cycle” and with LATHER‘s mission message about “living a more radiant life”.

I was familiar with the LATHER brand because a friend had given me a set of Bamboo Lemongrass Foaming Body Scrub and Almond, Milk & Honey Body Butter as a birthday gift…in February.  I was “saving” them for some unknown time until I recently had a particularly bad day and decided to treat myself.


I fell in love with the spongy, clean smelling scrub and the very soothing body butter immediately.  The Body Butter is now part of my nightly routine!  The fact that LATHER uses natural ingredients, (many of them vegan), does no animal testing and partners with a number of organizations that promote better and more healthful living, makes me more interested in learning a bit more about their anti-aging and relaxation lines in the future.

I’ve had a long time love (and hate) affair with indoor cycling.  Fast paced exertion to great music with someone coaching you to meet a challenge is my favorite kind of workout (but my back doesn’t necessarily feel the same way).  I’ve been to many different indoor cycling studios but never to SoulCycle.  When I lived in New York, I could never get into a conveniently timed class so this was a fun opportunity to check out the mega fitness brand and test my new level of fitness post-injury.

SoulCycle Front Desk, spinning, indoor cycling, fitness

SoulCycle is clean, bright and modern.  This high-end boutique fitness studio offers all of the spa-like amenities you want (but don’t know that you need) like Purell, hair ties, gum (and even earplugs!), lockers and shower facilities.  Even spinning shoes are free for your first class ($3 to rent thereafter).   Don’t let the slick look intimidate you, the staff at SoulCycle Pasadena were more than friendly and accommodating.

SoulCycle Height Chart

I barely made the cut (I’m 5′ 1″).

Chris, our instructor, for our class gave the group instructions for proper set up, explained the 3 different cycling positions and got us riding quickly.  Chris was great about encouraging everyone to motivate each other without being dictatorial.  I was modified my positions (as discussed with my Physical Therapist) and worked very hard at not pushing myself too hard or too fast.

However, 5 months off the bike made for a very humbling experience.  Even Beyonce and Britney couldn’t distract me from the nauseated feeling I had about 30 minutes into the 50 minute ride.  I had to back off a bit (and cut the weight section short) in order to prevent reaching The Puke Point.    I felt weak, sad and dejected but I did not give up.  I slowed down but never got off the bike and finished the class with the group.

After SoulCycle, fitness

Post Ride – I’m smiling through the nausea. Jessica is gorgeous even when she’s sweaty.

The blow to my fitness ego was fierce but I saw an underlying lesson to be learned – Strength and stamina are not equal entities in wellness.

Strength is multilayered – it can come from mental, physical and emotional places.  Stamina, on the other hand, is singular, and without sustained effort it withers and dies.  Stamina can be regained over time but strength can be resurrected and displayed (almost at will) from places well beyond the body.

I’m thankful to LATHER and SoulCycle for helping me learn that I have more strength than I realized but have some ground to cover before I get my stamina back to my desired place of wellness.  Thanks also for the gift bag – it eased the pain just a little bit.

To celebrate my newfound piece of knowledge (and my bounty),

I’m giving away one LATHER and SoulCycle gift bag!

LATHER, giftbag, giveaway, soulcycle

which includes the following products:

LATHER Muscle Ease Gel

LATHER Bamboo Lemongrass Body Wash

LATHER Cucumber Ginseng Facial Mist


SoulCycle Tote Bag, silver

SoulCycle Tank Top, red (one size)

LATHER, SoulCycle, wellness, giftbag

To enter the giveaway (entries accepted until 11:59pm PST 5/25/15) and for more details::

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure:  I was given a complimentary class at SoulCycle and gift bag for myself and one to giveaway from LATHER.  I was under no obligation to write about this experience.  All opinions are clearly my own.

What is Wanderlust 108?

Even for fitness enthusiasts, a triathlon is a pretty big deal – the execution of 3 sports (usually a swim, bike and run) to complete one event is more than a little daunting.  When news that the World’s Kindest/Mindful Triathlon, Wanderlust 108, was coming to Los Angeles, I was both intimidated and intrigued by what this unique event promoting mindfulness.  Athlete or not, mindfulness is beneficial to everyone.  Wanderlust was kind enough to allow me to attend their event and I’m thrilled to share the experience of my first triathlon!

Wanderlust 108


So what is Wanderlust 108 – A Mindful Triathlon?

Wanderlust 108, Run.Yoga.Meditation, The Kind Triathlon, Mindful Triathlon

Wanderlust are producers of the largest lifestyle events in the world and their mission is to produce transformational experiences while building a community of mindful living with Yoga Festivals, Teacher Training and Studios

Wanderlust 108 is special day-long outdoor triathlon of mindfulness featuring: 

a 5K run/walk

Wanderlust 108, run

a 60 minute yoga session

Wanderlust Yoga,


a 30 minute meditation/lecture.  

Wanderlust Meditation


What is the significance of the number 108?

The number “108” is well revered in yoga as representing the wholeness of existence – it has been said that the average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 times their respective diameters.    There are 108 beads on a mala (0r prayer bracelet) and there are supposedly 108 sacred sites on the body and throughout the country of India.

The significance of the Wanderlust 108 is simpler and translated as:

1 = unity, 0 = stillness/calmness and 8 = infinite possibility.


Who should attend Wanderlust 108?

Anyone interested in health, wellness and a sense of adventure.

You don’t need to be an athlete or yogi to enjoy Wanderlust 108.

Truth be told, about 98% of attendees are women.  The vibe surrounding the event is wellness of mind, body and spirit.  There’s no competitive spirit or need to compare yourself to anyone else, it’s just a day of goodness.

I was lucky enough to have two lovely ladies join me in Los Angeles –  Julie@JulieGoesHealthy and Carrie@FamilyFitnessFood to make my day out an even more special one.  Wanderlust 108 is a great excuse for a Girls Day Out.

Wanderlust, FamilyFitnessFood, JulieGoesHealthy

Me with Julie and Carrie.


What can you expect at Wanderlust 108?

Wanderlust 108 schedule

It’s an all day affair for the Wanderlust 108 event.

Check In & Bag Check

The long lines at check-in moved quickly and efficiently.  Check-in allows you to confirm your schedule (Run then Yoga or Yoga then Run; everyone does meditation together), get running bib number (a sticker – I’ve never seen that before) and a small gift from Wanderlust (a very cute orange and white kerchief that can be worn many ways) and a gorgeous Journal.

Wanderlust Journal


Since it’s advised that you bring your own yoga mat, sunscreen, reusable water bottle, jacket/wrap and snacks, you’ll likely have a bag with you.  The bag check area was monitored by staff during the entire event so there’s no need to worry about what you’ll do with your stuff during the run.

Browse Kula Market

If you have time between check in and your first event, you can check out the sponsor tents of the Kula Market.

You can check out clothing by Spiritual Gangster and Athleta (they had cool flash tattoos as well), admire or buy some new jewelry, try some healthy food from Luvo or Kashi, up your yoga accessories game with Manduka (they were giving mini yoga pose consultations – they helped me with some core strengthening ones for my back injury) and/or check out the Wanderlust booth (for books, accessories and clothing).



Wanderlust is all about being green – they even had a station to refill water bottles (which I thought was brilliant).  I do wish that they had more food for purchase though (samples weren’t enough).

Wanderlust 108, water station

Activity Structure: Run or Yoga – Break – Yoga or Run – Break – Meditation:

Our first event was the 5K on the beach.  Yes, on the sand.  It was an out and back run (or walk) with water offered at the turnaround point.  Don’t expect fan fare or a medal at the finish – there wasn’t even defined finish line (which didn’t bother me but it was a little anticlimactic).  One half of the attendees participate in the 5K while the other half go to their yoga session.

Wanderlust 108, Run, Yoga, Meditation

Break #1:  If you’re walking the 5K, you might not have a long break in between your first and second event.  Even though there were many food vendors at the Santa Monica Pier, there wasn’t really enough time to stand on line, make a purchase and eat/drink.  The samples offered by vendors weren’t really enough to sustain post 5K/pre-yoga session.  Tip:  Bring food.

Next, was the 90 minute yoga session started by MC Yogi and completed by Tiffany Cruikshank.  An outdoor yoga session with a large group of people on a beautiful day overlooking the ocean is hard to beat.  It was a gorgeous day – sunny with a bit of a breeze but there was definitely the air of camaraderie and community that makes yoga wonderful.  Yoga outdoors is transcendent.

MC Yogi started the session with some call and response “What do we want?” “World Peace” and it set the mood.  MC Yogi won me over not only with his smooth voice that eased everyone into a slow flow but when he played a version Spandau Ballet’s “True” and asked the crowd if they remembered that song, I’m certain he was talking to me.

The yoga flow was then taken over by well known yoga teacher, Tiffany Cruikshank.  While Tiffany did challenge the attendees with one pretty difficult pose, the rest of the sequence was easily accessible for even the most beginner of yogis.

Break #2: Relaxation:  There wasn’t really enough time to go and get something to eat so we refilled water bottles, ate a few snacks (that we brought) and enjoyed the outdoor breeze.

Wanderlust 108 mat

Meditation:  The 30 minute meditation session was led by Noah Levine of the Against The Stream Buddhist Meditation Society in Los Angeles.  For some reason, this was the section of the day that I found it hard to hear the speaker (the amusement rides seemed louder and the tourists checking out the event via the perimeter were more plentiful than at other points in the day).  However, it was great to feel the wind, the sun and just be.  Taking the time to be mindful and enjoy some “not busy” time was a blissful way to end the day.


How do I find out more about Wanderlust events including Wanderlust 108?

Wanderlust produces weekend long Festivals and day long 108 events all over the US, Canada and Australia this year.  You can find out details about Wanderlust Festivals and Wanderlust 108 here.

Wanderlust also has 3 yoga studios (Squaw Valley, CA, Montreal, Canada and Austin, TX) but they are opening Wanderlust Hollywood (California) in Summer 2015:

Wanderlust Hollywood, Yoga, California

I enjoyed this day long event tremendously and I’m really looking forward to the opening of Wanderlust Hollywood!  If you have a Festival or a 108 event happening near you, I highly recommend it!

Disclosure:  I was so intrigued by this event that I reached out to Wanderlust and offered my services as a health and wellness blogger.  I was given a complimentary registration to the Wanderlust 108 Los Angeles but all opinions expressed here are absolutely my own.

Review of CEP Compression Socks and Calf Sleeves

If you’re a runner, you’ve at least seen or heard about compression socks.  Compression wear claims to support and stabilize your muscles and joints and promote efficient blood flow before, during and after a race and they’re also pretty stylish to boot!  There are many brands of compression wear out there but if CEP Compression is good enough for the amazing Meb Keflezigi, then they were certainly good enough for me for me to try!

CEP Compression, CEP Run Sock 2.0, running gear

CEP sent me some of their products to try sometime ago but it’s taken me longer than expected to share this review due to my injury.  Any runner would agree that few things are more depressing than writing about running when you can’t actually run.

CEP Compression socks, Josie, Josie's Ordinary World, Hard Rock Cafe

Wendy, Josie and Me in my CEP Run Sock 2.0’s at the Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K 2014.

Since I’m back on the mend (and there are a few races in my future), now seems like a great time to share my thoughts on CEP compression socks and calf sleeves.

When it comes to running, it doesn’t matter whether you’re fast (I’m not) or run long distances (I can’t), runners (all runners) like accessories.  I have a ton of accessories (hats, glasses, fuel belts, my Duran Duran Momentum Foot Notes on my sneakers) but none that are really specifically geared to help the muscles and joint of my legs (other than shoes, of course).

As a petite girl with large calves, it was fabulous to find out that CEP Compression Run Socks and Sleeves products are not one size fits all – they’re based on gender and then calf size.

To measure your calf and choose the correct CEP Compression product:

Take a string – or a shoelace – around the widest circumference of your calf, mark your circumference on the string and then lay the string alongside a ruler to get your calf measurement.

To choose your appropriate size, see Size Chart under Choose Size here on the CEP Website.

I needed CEP Women’s Progressive+ 2.0 Run Socks* Size III

CEP Compression Socks, compression socks, Run Sock 2.0


CEP Women’s Progressive+ 2.0 Calf Sleeves* Size III

CEP Compression Calf Sleeve, running gear

I like black so it was a no-brainer when I chose the color for my socks and sleeves but for those of you that like a little flair, they come in white, black, red, blue and pink.  The socks and sleeves feel a little bit like a very thick version of the men’s dress socks my father used to wear.  They’re made of 79% polyamide, 21% spandex but are antibacterial, breathable, have odor reducing silver ions within the fabric (my father’s socks definitely had none of these very cool properties).

What I liked best about the socks is that they had an “L” or “R” to designate which foot belonged in what sock/sleeve.  This is important because compression socks take a lot of energy to put on correctly – you do not want to put these socks on and take them off to switch feet!

CEP Compression,

ALERT:  Putting on compression socks is almost a workout in itself!  

You must scrunch the sock down, place the toes of the correct foot into the sock and then and slowly inch the sock up the calf toward the knee.

If you’re female and remember the dance you might have done to put super tight jeans on back in the day, the experience of putting on compression socks might bring you back to that very special time….but it’s worth it.  Remember what it was like when you finally got those jeans on?  You felt great, right?  From the waist down, you felt and looked fabulous – Well, that’s exactly how your legs will feel when you put on a pair of compression socks.

CEP Compression Socks

Believe it or not, there are CEP Compression socks under these nice fitting jeans so I feel doubly fabulous.

Compression socks are a lot of sock.  It took a little getting used to running in them.  Living in California with the mild temperatures, I definitely don’t need something quite so thick.  I’ve worn the full compression socks for a race or two during the colder weather but I find that I like them best when I’m flying on a plane or for recovery.  I’ve worn my Progressive + Run Sock 2.0 for two cross country round trip flights (one after my Reach The Beach experience) and I do feel it helped my body feel closer to normal after a long time of sitting and promoted some recovery after my run.

For the mild weather running that I’ll often do in Southern California, I will definitely utilize the Calf Sleeves 2.0!  You get all of the benefit of compression gear without any sort of sock interference.  If you’re someone who is very loyal to your sock brand (many runners are), with calf sleeves you get to keep your feet happy with the socks they know and love protection but give those hard working legs, a gift they’ll thank you for in the future!

CEP Calf Sleeves

Because I’m a recreational runner who doesn’t really run fast, long or often (these days), I never believed that I would be someone who would benefit from compression wear accessories but I was wrong.  I think because I am a recreational runner who is still working on strength and stamina building that compression socks and sleeves might be just what I need (in addition to a stronger core, good shoes and safe running gait) to get me back in the game and remain strong.  I’m not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination but I’m also loving the idea of having more running gear to buy too!

CEP Compression has socks, sleeves, recovery, apparel and orthopedic products geared for more than just running.  To learn more about CEP Compression, see their website or connect with them via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Disclosure:  I was provided a complimentary pair of Run Sock 2.0 socks and a pair of Calf Sleeves 2.0 by CEP Compression but all opinions expressed here are absolutely my own.  This post contains Amazon Affiliate links designated by “*”.

The Tuesday Tune Up – RockSweat Fitness Review

Welcome to The Tuesday Tune Up – because Mondays suck!

Welcome to the beginning of the blog week with a weekly focus on fitness and music.

This week it’s the coolest group fitness class to hit Los Angeles:

RockSweatFitness, RockSweat, Roxy Theatre

When I received an invitation to RockSweat, a music-intensive group fitness experience that claimed to “elevate fitness freaks to rockstar status”, I thought that my people had finally found me:

Music + Fitness + The (legendary) Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip =


RockSweat is the production of two transplanted New Yorkers living in LA (just like me) who love music and fitness. Evan Harrison was one of the creators of the iHeartRadio platform and his wife, Diane Harrison, is an AFAA Group Exercise instructor.

Evan Harrison, Diane Harrison, RockSweat, music, fitness, The Roxy

Evan and Diane Harrison – Aren’t they cute?

RockSweat isn’t just a workout in a concert venue, it’s a full-on experience.  We’re talking club lighting, videos and a DJ with a sound system that accompanies a sweat session.  This is not your general run-of-the-mill playlist from an iPhone kind of workout.

It’s not every day that you get to do burpees on the floor where legendary artists like everyone from Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Prince and even Duran Duran have been.  Once I found out that Duran had played The Roxy, I decided to wear my Duran Duran tank top to RockSweat (like I needed an excuse).

RockSweat, Stephanie Radkay, Actio926,

Albina (of RockSweat), Stephanie@Actio926 and me.


Evan’s DJ playlist is varied and he peppers his set with tidbits of music history. If you’re a freak about your love of music on social media, Evan might even incorporate one of your favorite songs into his playlist (Thanks a bunch for “Save A Prayer”).

Diane is sweet while she leads you through a 45 minute full body workout (with components of HIIT, cardio, core work and Pilates with 6 minutes of vinyasa yoga led by a second guest instructor) but don’t think that you’ll get off easy because you will most certainly SWEAT!

RockSweat, fitness, LA, The Roxy, music

Diane and Guest Instructor, Albina catching air.


RockSweat is a workout for all levels.  I modified all of the high impact moves because my back was achy and I absolutely worked my core big time!


RockSweat, Core Work, workout, LA



RockSweat has had just 4 sessions to date and it seems to be attracting some high profile attention.  Alexis Bellino, of The Real Housewives of Orange County, made an appearance at the last RockSweat session and Tweeted the following:


  • Side note: The Real Housewives has gotten me through some rough times (like every single bumpy plane ride because I convince myself that planes do NOT crash during Bravo shows.   I’m really not kidding).

It doesn’t matter if you’re famous because everyone who attends RockSweat gets a little part(y)ing gift!  When I attended I received a RockSweat sweatband and some Foxy Organic Broccoleaf (which was quite a delight to this Registered Dietitian).  I’d never had Broccoleaf but it was delicious in my post workout smoothie!:

RockSweat, Foxy Organic

A sweatband from RockSweat and Broccoleaf from Foxy Organic. Wild Boy has adopted the stuffed fox.


The one thing that I’ve embraced since moving from New York is the LA music scene.  I never thought I’d be able to top going to the Troubadour to see Billy Idol in the afternoon but I think a RockSweat 9am workout at The Roxy might come close.

To find out more or to join me at The Roxy for the next session of RockSweat on 2/21/15 at 9am:

Disclosure:  I was given a complimentary admission to RockSweat but (as always) all opinions expressed here are my own.

Helping Is Easy – Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K for My Friend’s Place

The blog is still technically on hiatus but I couldn’t forego sharing a recap of the very special

2014 Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K to benefit My Friend’s Place

Run Hard Rock Cafe, runner bling, 5K, running medal

The 2014 Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K medal.

“Helping is easy” is an expression we’ve used in my household since Wild Boy was a toddler.  I’m a helper by nature.  I’m easily “called to action” and even went into the helping profession of dietetics nutrition to serve my dual interests in health and helping others.  However after tweaking my back in spin class recently, I haven’t felt motivated to do much of anything but I definitely wanted to give my all to the Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K in Hollywood.  The run was such a blast last year and I very much wanted to do my part to help the small but mighty organization, My Friend’s Place, in their support of helping homeless youth in Los Angeles.

I was excited at the prospect of being among friends during this race.

Some friends that I didn’t see were Jen@FindingMyInnerBombshell, Stephanie@Acti0926, and Jaclyn@JaclynMullenMedia.

Some friends that I did see at the crack of dawn included:

Sam Bangs (one of the first Friday’s Featured Females) from Fleet Feet Burbank and LifeIsBangin’:

Sam Bangs, Life Is Bangin, Fleet Feet Sports


My music and run buddy, Josie (the goddess who brought me to the Billy Idol Sirius XM show) and her friend, Wendy.  Aren’t the shirts she made for the race adorable (Bring The Funk/Bass/Beat)?

Josie, Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K,

Some local mom-friends, Jessica, Lynn and Wendy:

Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K 2014

and the very fabulous Anne@AnneHogan (her recap is here):

Anne Hogan, 1st 5K, HRC 5K

Me with Anne


But I had no idea that helping would go to the next level when my neighbor Andrea told me that she had never run a 5K before.  Getting the chance to help my friend through her first 5K (and LA Metro ride) made this a race to remember for me.

This year’s race was after Daylight Savings began so even though we missed the sunrise over the famed Hollywood sign (one of my favorite parts of last year’s race), Andrea and I got a chance to see Hollywood Boulevard in a way only few people ever have before.  It was great venue to run a first 5K and Andrea really gave it her all.


Andrea running like the wind down Hollywood Boulevard.


Along the short out and back course, it was great to get a little boost from the homemade signs of encouragement and thanks on display at My Friend’s Place:

My Friend's Place, Run Hard Rock Cafe


Andrea and I finished in 33:46 (10:53 per mile) which is absolutely respectable for a first (or a 1 millionth) 5K.  We were both proud and happy to run and to be able to help the LA community.


Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K 2014

Before and After Run Hard Rock Cafe 5K 2014


The race may be over but the need for help hasn’t ended for My Friend’s Place.  

This small organization needs a steady influx of money or in-kind donations to serve the homeless youth of Los Angeles.

My Friend's Place, Open House, Homeless Youth, Los Angeles

On November 20th from 6-8pm, My Friend’s Place is holding an Open House in Los Angeles

(click link for details).

If you’re local to Los Angeles and want to understand and experience the center where homeless youth receive services that help them to lead independent lives, click the link above to RSVP.  If you can’t make the Open House but still want to donate, you can give money or find out the items are on the In-Kind Wish List,

If you’re not local to Los Angeles, there are organizations around the country (and the world) that would love your help.  As the season of giving arrives, think about what you can do to help in a way that is meaningful to you.  It will be mean more than you can imagine to the recipients.

Run Hard Rock Cafe, My Friends Place

In a gesture of thanks for your continued support of thevalentineRD.com,

I’m hosting a Momentum Jewelry Foot Notes Holiday Giveaway for just you!

See Rafflecopter Box below for entry details.

Momentum Jewelry, Designs that move you

New Balance Shoes, Reach The Beach Relay, Momentum Jewelry, Foot Notes

My Momentum Foot Notes say Duranie Forever and always make me smile.

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