Stories by: Sara

Boston, Fitness & HealthPlank Yoga Mat

Care to add a little fun and pizazz to your yoga or pilates practice? Check out Plank, a Boston-based company specializing in fun yet functional yoga mats and accessories. Plank’s yoga mats are not only eco-friendly, made from 90% natural rubber and 10% recycled rubber, but are printed with “whimsical, lighthearted digital images” ensuring you’ll have the most unique yoga mat in class! I was recently gifted with the Plank version of their photo series, with a strategically placed half-eaten muffin pictured in the corner of my mat, symbolizing you don’t have to give up carbs and other indulgences to lead a healthy lifestyle- a motto which I personally live by! The thickness, cushion, and sticky feel is far superior than any mat I have as of late. Plank offers other versions of their yoga mats, as well as additional yoga accessories. As a Bostonian with a passion for a health and fitness, I’m thrilled to be able to support a local company that supports my personal interests which yoga, pilates and a green-friendly lifestyle.

Plank mats retail for $95 and can be found on their website and various yoga and lifestyle stores nationwide.

BooksTableTopics Cubes

Hosting dinner parties with the company of good friends, delicious food, and plentiful amounts of wine is by far one of my favorite ways to spend a Friday or Saturday evening. While our conversation and spontaneous dance parties are surely enough fun to last well into the wee hours of the morning, I thought it would be fun to add another dimension to my friendly gatherings. Enter TableTopics Cubes, which I’d been eying for a while at a fabulous Beacon Hill boutique, Flat of The Hill. TableTopics Cubes are available in a variety of topics, including Family Gathering, Girls Night Out, and even Book Club edition. Each card is printed with a question that’s meant to inspire, make you think, or even make you embarrassed! I opted for the “not your mom’s dinner party” theme, which I thought would be versatile enough to use for all sorts of get-togethers. Even political questions like “should we have a national healthcare system?” are interspersed with less mature, more personal ones like “what alcohol can you never drink again?” (My answer? Raspberry Stoli.)

TableTopics Cubes are the ideal game to play with family and friends; easy to transport, basically no rules, and literally anyone can play! Retailing at $25, they aren’t the cheapest game you can buy, but will provide hours of priceless entertainment for you and your friends.

I look forward to adding another TableTopics Cube to my collection of games. Next? The Gourmet Edition! TableTopics Cubes are available on their website, as well as Amazon and local stores near you.

Eco & Organic, MakeupLip Smacker 100% Natural

As someone who has at least three lip glosses in my pocket or handbag at any given time, I’m always on the lookout for new, tasty lip products. Yesterday I was at my local drugstore and stumbled upon Lip Smacker 100% Natural, the first-ever 100% natural Lip Smacker product! Thinking it would be fun to indulge in the grown-up version of my favorite childhood gloss line, I choose the acai berry flavor, made with olive oil, beeswax, aloe, vitamin E, and pure fruit essence. Even the packaging is printed on recycled paper using soy based ink! The gloss is dye-free and left my with a slight shine, tasting just as deliciously sweet and feeling soft as the original varieties. Lip Smacker 100% Natural comes in other natural-inspired flavors, such as honeydew melon, pink guava, and vanilla bean. Be a kid again and indulge in this affordable, green-friendly, and fun beauty product!

Bath & Body, Eco & Organic, SkincareDr. Bronner’s Magic Pure Castille Soap

I recently received a bath and body recommendation from a very strange source for a very non-trendy, no frills product. In this specific case, a man. Yes, I am writing about my new favorite body wash, which was introduced to me by my manly friend who has an interest in all-natural bath and body products. Even more surprisingly, this particular product, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Pure Castille Soap has been in existence since 1948, has a very unique product history, and literally has 17 uses other than a liquid body wash!

The soap comes in a variety of scents, but I was most intrigued by the almond variety, which smells deliciously like almond extract. This particular product is made completely from free trade ingredients including organic extra virgin coconut oil, olive oil, hemp oil, and vitamin E, and are certified under the USDA Natural Organic Program. Many natural bath products lack the “foaming” quality mainstream products offer, but just a small squirt of this soap on an exfoliating loofah will lathing unlike any other natural bodywash I’ve used. Plus, it doesn’t hurt (but may expand my waistline) that the almond scent has me running to the kitchen baking almond cookies after my showers!

Dr. Bronner’s has a huge selection of bath and body products I’m itching to try, as soon as I go through my stash of existing soaps, lotions, and balms. I purchased my soap from the terrific Whole Foods Body store down the street for $10, but is also available at Vitamin Shoppe and local natural product stores nationwide.

Fitness & Healthbarre3

In attempt to immerse myself in as much of “Portland life” as possible during my most recent visit to the City of Roses, I attended a class at barre3, an exercise studio in Portland’s Pearl District. Through a combination of  ballet, pilates, and yoga, barre3 focuses on improving physical balance, strength, and flexibility during intimate 60-minute training sessions utilizing the ballet barre as well as pilates belts and balls. I am not a dancer by nature, nor do I typically practice pilates and yoga, but after reading about barre3 in various Portland publications, I was intrigued!

I soon learned that barre3 is much more intense practice of yoga or pilates than I’ve ever taken. The integration of balance, flexibility, and tiny movements made my muscles ache more than any form of exercise I’ve participated in in a while. What was great is that the class attendance is limited, so everyone’s form was corrected, ensuring an optimal workout. I’d also never practiced yoga with music before, but really enjoyed the musical aspect of the lesson. By the end of the class, I was sweaty, incredibly limber, and within ten minutes, super sore.

I encourage all Portlandites who are interested in yoga, pilates, dance, or just staying fit to give barre3 a try. They offer single session passes, as well as a variety of packages, from single session to monthly unlimited. There are two locations, one in the Pearl District, another in Portland Southeast.

Boston, Eco & Organic, Fitness & HealthYoga for Runners at OMBE

While I’m a big fan of The Sports Club/LA and the luxuries and amenities that come with such a great (expensive!) gym membership, there’s something to be said for small, independent studios that large chain gyms don’t offer. Continuing my attempt to combine pilates and yoga in my existing exercise routine, I was presented the opportunity to visit OMBE Integrative Health Center in Boston’s Back Bay. OMBE (One-Mind-Body-Earth) offers a full range of integrated services catered towards creating a “better you”, including yoga, pilates, nutritional counseling, acupuncture, and massage. Since I’ve also taken a more recent interest in running, I thought it would be fitting to check out OMBE’s Yoga for Runners class! READ MORE

FoodCrazy Camel Dessert Hummus

We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but too often, breakfast is ignored because “I’m not hungry” or “I’m going to eat a big dinner tonight and need to save my calories.” I’m always looking for new products to make breakfasts more fun, healthy, and give my body a morning kick-start with energy and nutrients it craves, so when I discovered Crazy Camel Dessert Hummus at a local market, I sampled, died, came back to live, and bought every single flavor they make! So when I tell you this product is one of the best things I’ve eaten in a long, long time, you’re reading the advice of a true dessert-hummus expert!

Crazy Camel comes in six different flavors, including: Caramel Apple, Chocolate Mousse, Maple Walnut, Peanut Butter, Pumpkin Pie, and Toasted Almond. These products have roughly half the fat of regular hummus with just as much healthy fat, protein, and fiber of the traditional variety! Every single flavor I tried was absolutely delicious, but seeing I’m a big pumpkin and almond fan, the Pumpkin Pie and Toasted Almond were my absolute favorites! I experimented and tried all sorts of breakfast-related recipes with the hummus, including adding it to my oatmeal or yogurt, using it as an ingredient in no-bake breakfast cookies, and simply using it as a topping for my toast or bagel. The options are endless!

Crazy Camel is available at select stores in the Northeast, but my suggestion is to order off their website and freeze what you don’t use. My suggestion is the “You Pick it Six Pack” for $25. The hummus is free of artificial preservatives, so it will stay fresh in your refrigerator for three weeks. Otherwise, you can freeze them for up to six months. But honestly, you’ll be lucky if they last that long.

FashionRushing Ruffles

Meet the newest addition to my wardrobe: the Rushing Ruffles Dress by Bailey 44, purchased from Anthropologie over the past weekend. This is the second Bailey 44 dress I’ve bought and let me tell you, these are the most comfortable and versatile articles of clothing I own. This dress will make you feel like you’re wearing your pajamas, while looking like a rockstar at the same time (if that’s even possible!). While playing off the nautical trend of the spring, it’s also a great staple piece in one’s wardrobe. Also, the fit of this particular dress is incredibly flattering, with roushing and detailing in all the perfect places.

Wear it on its own, or pair it with this Spilling Ruffles Cartigan in gray. With this weekend’s temperature approaching 80 degrees in Boston, this will be the perfect outfit to transition from Easter dinner to a night on the town for Opening Day!

Bath & Body, Beauty, SkincareJosie Maran Bear Naked Wipes

I’m one of those people who hates washing their face out of the shower. Getting water all over the bathroom sink, in my hair, and all over my clothes isn’t particularly appealing, especially at nighttime before heading to bed. After complaining to my mom that I should take better care of my skin at nighttime, she gifted a package of Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes. Problem solved!

I’ve used other face wipes in the past, but never re-buy them because I’m simply not happy with them; sure, they remove makeup and allegedly do all sorts of things to make my skin look and feel better, but more often than not, leave my sensitive face stinging and unhappy. What’s great about the Break Naked Wipes is that they’re gentle. After inspecting the package, I learn they’re fragrance free, toxin free, cruelty free, natural, and biodegradable, which left me wondering “so, what DO they have in them?!” This product is proof that natural ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, argan oil, cucumber, and vitamin E can work wonders in cleaning the skin and removing makeup. Even better, a portion of the sales go towards protecting polar bears, endangered animals whose lives have been dramatically affected by global warming.

Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes are available on the Josie Maran Cosmetics website or at Sephora for $12 (package of 30 wipes).

Denim & Jeans, Fashion7 For All Mankind’s Gwenevere Pant

On a recent trip to New York City, my two-month search for versatile, tailored black pants finally came to an end with my purchase of  7 For All Mankind’s Gwenevere pant.

While these pants aren’t cheap (about $185),  their versatility and yogapant-like feel is sure to decrease their “cost per wear”seeing I’ll be living in these pants! For the winter months, they’re great tucked into riding boots, while in the fall and spring, they’ll pair perfectly with my Tory Burch flats! Comfort, fashion, and versatility; the perfect combination!

Find them at Neimanmarcus.com or wherever Sevens are sold.

The Daily Obsession draws from the expertise of a coast-to-coast editorial team offering dedicated readers reports of the most luxurious products and trends. We provide sophisticated and relevant angles on the latest fashion trends, must-have beauty products, insider interviews, travel destinations and of course, our current obsessions.

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