Falling back into a routine of fitness and health

After the laid-back demeanor of summer, most of us are ready to get back into a end-of-year routine. Kids have been back at school for a month or two and Summer Fridays are long over. The weather in our area is still a little wishy-washy, but we know Halloween is around the corner, making the grand entrance for the other fall and winter holidays that follow suit.

selective focus photography of vegetable shake on brown wood board

Photo by Alisha Mishra on Pexels.com

For many of us, fall relates to detoxing. It’s almost  like we want to do a quick cleanse before we start the overindulging once again in a few weeks. Cleansing can be a great way to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle, but they’re not healthy for more than a week or two and people are left wondering what else to do. My advise is that if you choose to do a short program like a juice cleanse, have a plan for what you will do once it’s over.

Find some healthy crock pot recipes, experiment with new in-season veggies, or find some healthy local take-out options for the inevitable busy days. These are much better alternatives than trying to constantly restrict yourself and risk falling short on your health and fitness goals.

I just sent an email out to my newsletter subscribers talking about some of the things I would like to focus on this fall. Some are simple, like investing in a few new pieces for my wardrobe, others are a bit more complicated (for me), like updating my home décor (I’m so indecisive with that stuff!) and working on my online services.

The truth is that it’s a great time of year to reestablish your goals and look at your progress. There’s no need to wait until the New Year to start doing this. Take a look at what you accomplished up until now, see where you’re falling short, and work towards what you can still improve.

A few other tips I’d love to share with you are:

  1. Walk more! Explore your neighborhood or local park.
  2. Try a new workout class.
  3. Meal prep for healthier lunches.
  4. Replace one of your glasses of wine with seltzer.
two woman lifting dumbbells

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

So, what will you choose as the leaves and temperatures drop? Will you look for opportunities to take care of yourself, mind, body and spirit? Or will you sleep in every day and skip your workouts, eat all the foods and hibernate until January?

Comment and let me know if you use any of my tips!

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5 mistakes I see small business owners make on social media

As an entrepreneur a previous data analytics and marketing maven, I tend to pay close attention to social media posts from other small business owners I follow online.

This post is by no means meant to criticize! My intent is to share some of the lessons I’ve learned from my education and experience and hope that it helps someone else.

These are the 5 most common mistakes I see entrepreneurs make with their online marketing:

social media mistakes photo

5 mistakes small business owners make on social media

  1. You constantly post about your products and services.  While this is definitely okay to do, it’s important to look back and see where you also added value or entertained your followers. For example, people usually go on Facebook to be entertained and don’t necessarily like being sold to. I know, I am in network marketing (even though I still am involved, I’m not as active in that business anymore because I chose to focus on other areas of my brand) and was taught to post several times a day about my business. Eek! I look back now and I cringe a little bit. Although I was successful for the first 6 months or so, that technique was draining and it eventually led to me feeling burned out. My advise is that even if you have a page or group that is exclusively for your business, it’s important to deliver value. Have a few posts where you educate or entertain and then have one with a call to action.
  2. You are not on social media. Almost everyone can benefit from a social media account, whether you sell a product or you provide a service. Your potential customers will try to search for you online and it makes it harder to stay ahead of your competition if you are nowhere to be found. You need to be where your people hang out so make sure that you are on the pages that are most relevant to your business and niche.
  3. You don’t engage with your followers. Perhaps you have a social media page but you never comment or like on your followers pages, or you never reply back to  comments people leave on your posts. Not only is it important to interact with people who interact with you so that they can trust you and want to do business with you, but the more interaction your posts get, the better the Facebook algorithm will like what you share and it will show it to more people. And make sure you’re not just responding with one-word answers!
  4. Your visual content is not very attractive. I’m not saying you need to use filters for everything, although depending on your type of business and what you share, that may help. On a platform such as Instagram where people go to see pretty pictures, it’s important to make sure you’re sharing good looking, high resolution images. You can also occasionally use stock photos from sites such as Unsplash or Ivory Mix.
  5. You have no clear marketing plan and don’t understand the analytics. It’s important to have a content calendar, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be perfect. Sometimes it’s about trying different things and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. It’s also important to understand your metrics and know who is following you on which platforms so that you can use that information to better target your advertising.

Which mistakes do you find yourself making with your business? Pick one and try to improve on it over the next month.

Understanding the analytics and metrics is time consuming, but it can be time well-spent or you can always delegate that work to someone else so that you can focus on running your business.

Feel free to reach out if you have any qestions on the items listed above!

Have a great day!

Julia

How I planned my wedding 4 years ago

Since today marks my 4th wedding anniversary, I thought I’d write about my experience planning my wedding.

Rachel Miranda Photography

Photo by my friend Rachel of Rachel Miranda Photography

Frank and I were on the same page from the start about having either an early summer or early fall wedding, to avoid extreme hot or cold temperatures while enjoying beautifully bloomed flowers. We luckily got a date for June 21, 2014- 9 days before my 30th birthday and on the longest day of the year, Summer Solstice.

One of the first things I did was buy my wedding dress and shoes. My shoes were gold Christian Louboutin sandals that I bought on sale online before I got engaged. After the engagement, I decided to save them for my big day.

I had been looking at wedding dresses (and engagement rings) pretty much ever since I met Frank 😆 I saved photos of dresses I loved on my laptop and knew I wanted either a Vera Wang or Monique Lhuiller trumpet style dress. When I decided to start shopping for my dress, I did a lot of research on where to go to try and find a sample sale, as I did not want to spend $6000 -$8000 (which is the price range of the dresses I loved). I considered going to Kleinfeld’s sale but I don’t like the large, crazy crowd that it would probably attract and I also knew that I would probably not find a small size.

That’s when I stumbled upon the website Preowned Wedding Dresses. I loved the fact that they sell brand new dresses as well. I searched for a few months and saved a few dresses on my account. Then one day I logged back in and noticed that one of the Monique dresses I loved was for sale in my exact size, brand new, and in Hoboken, where I was working at the time. I exchanged a few messages with the girl selling it and then decided to meet her to try it on. To my luck, the bride had had buyers remorse and found another dress (so it wasn’t an “unlucky” divorce dress or anything). I took my mom and my cousin Patricia to go try it on. No fancy salon could’ve topped all the feelings I had when I put it on. It was my dress. Even though my mom was paying for my dress and told me not to worry about price, I felt great saving her thousands of dollars!

My mom added a custom belt to the dress which gave it a little bit of bling.

Having a ceremony at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the church my family attends, was a priority, so that helped us narrow down a possible reception location.

Rachel Miranda Photography
Photo by Rachel of Rachel Miranda Photography

I wanted something glam but with some antique touches like big chandeliers and gold-lacquered mirrors. I also wanted a little rustic feel like big barn doors. I envisioned a tent decorated with lights where people could dress up as much as they wanted or keep it simple if they chose to.

After touring a few locations, we chose The Park Avenue Club in Florham Park. A former dairy barn built by the Saint Elizabeth School Sisters across the street, I was charmed by the history and the small details, like a private small silo in an upstairs part of the building, where I could have some privacy as the bride.

The cocktail hour was held in the main area which featured beautiful antique chandeliers, fireplaces and a brick walls. The reception was held in an attached tent which was more like a stunning, large glass room, offering views of the beautiful gardens and a little bridge over a small koi pond. I got the location I had always dreamed of.

Our reception package included a 12-month membership to their members-only dining club. They’re now just finishing up a big renovation, and from photos on their website, my wedding tent looks very different- more luxurious than the rustic-glam feel I went for. I’m sure weddings they host going forward will be as beautiful and special as mine was for me four years ago.

My wedding coordinator recommended a local florist who designed my bouquet, the wedding party flowers and other floral arrangements. I wanted peach colored flowers and ended up selecting Juliet roses and peonies among other flowers. I also wanted a lot of green leaves in the bouquet to go with the rustic feel.

For music, we chose The Bachelor Boys after hearing them play at another wedding. We also hired a Paraguayan harpist who played during the cocktail hour as well as during dinner. My cousin, Nicole, also played a few songs on her harp.

My hair was done by my long-time hairstylist, Laura Gray of Bellizima Blowout Bar. She did a beautiful job of bringing my vision to life. I wanted a glamorous updo that could easily be brought down right before the reception to portray another look.

My makeup artist was Jenny from Illustrated Beauty in Somerville. She gave me a natural look with pale pink lips and some eyeliner and lashes. I put on a reddish-fuschia Chanel lip color right before the reception, again, to change up my look a bit.

My photographer was Andres Calle who captured beautiful moments of me getting ready at The Westin Governor Morris Hotel, the ceremony and the party.

I chose to also have a video of the ceremony and reception. Husband and wife, Of Ditty Photography. I wanted to be able to send my family in Paraguay a copy of the video so they could see my wedding.

My tips for brides currently planning their wedding is to give yourselves plenty of time. Don’t worry about the small stuff. Notice will notice it but you. If someone offers to help, accept it or give them a specific job (like doing the seating chart…that was one I disliked!).

At the end of the day, your wedding is going just a big party to celebrate the union of you and your new husband. Enjoy the whole process of getting there and enjoy the party even more!

Cheers,

Julia

How I came to appreciate biomechanical assessments

Muscle and joint pain is an increasingly common problem experienced by athletes, both novice and professionals. I’ve had my share of injuries in the past decade, although luckily nothing too serious. I had some foot pain a few years ago when I was training for a half marathon and had to take about 2 weeks off from running and pretty much “self-healed.”

Then, I suffered from iliotiobial band syndrome (ITB) while training for the New York marathon in 2014 and took several days off and went to see a physical therapist for some relief. Looking back, bad shoes and a weak right ankle led to these issues and I’ve since learned so much more to help me in the long run…
When I met Dr Santiago last Fall, I learned that he was one of the first chiropractors to be chosen as a member of the US Olympic Team Medical Staff for the Games of the XXV Olympiad in Barcelona, Spain, and he was an All American collegiate and professional soccer player, so I knew that helping athletes would be of high importance to me when joining his practice.

Biomechanics Evaluation

Performing an assessment on Santiago Chiropractic Associates’ patient, Valerie Goldberg.

That being said, I wanted to set myself apart from other fitness professionals so that we could offer the best care to the patients at his office.
I’ve always been the type of person who likes to focus on the fundamentals. When I was a CrossFit trainer, I would always tell my athletes that I cared more about their form than how fast they finished a workout or how heavy they lifted. I would make sure they spent enough time working on their mobility and that they understood why we were doing certain movements. Similary, now that I’m a biomechanist with a focus on functional and corrective exercise, I remind my clients that mobility and simple exercises are essential to helping them move better and remain as pain free as possible.
Gait analysis is a data-driven way of assessing performance and physical condition of athletes.

The proper system should be able to identify any muscular deficiencies and measure tolerance to various workloads, help in developing customized training and rehabilitation based on the test results, and create a database so that re-assessments can be done to periodically check the athlete’s progress.

What we use at Santiago Chiropractic is OptoGait and OptoJump, both systems by Microgate, an Italian company.
I love being able to help local athletes  (especially runners) detect mechanical inefficiencies and asymmetries between both legs, therefore helping them prevent injuries or assisting them in an injury recovery plan.
You may wonder what the benefits of these assessments are.
Biomechanical evaluations help understand how we move and identify any imbalances in the body like leg length discrepancies, muscle imbalances, joint dysfunctions, pelvic asymmetries, core dysfunctions etc that may be causing or contributing to symptoms.

We are all unique and asymmetrical and that is ok to an extent.

However, we may have learned postural bad habits and thus developed compensations that can be injuries waiting to happen!
Combining science with experience I’m able to help my clients understand their whole kinetic chain and assist them on a journey towards  pain free movement and better enjoyment of their sport.


In the past few months, I’ve dedicated myself more to my own balance and mobility and that has greatly shown up in my running. I was able to get an awesome marathon PR last September (3:44), a half marathon PR in October (1:41), and just this past Saturday, I got a PR in my local St Paddy’s 5K as well (21:39).

I have better awareness that my right side is my weaker side and I take the time to work more on strengthening it.
As you can see, it’s very important to be aware of potential issues before you get sidelined by an injury. Perhaps you’re an athlete yourself or have a child who is.

If you are local to the Lake Hiawatha are, I’d love to have a brief chat with you to answer any questions and see if my services could be beneficial to you.

First Post-Baby Race

On Sunday, I did a half marathon relay with Frank right here in our town. I’ve been doing the full, half marathon for a few years now but this year I wasn’t ready for the 13.1 yet. 

Our friend here has run 70 marathons! Including one in every state 😱


It was a bit cool in the morning, but the sun was out- thank God, because later in the day it got cloudy and very windy!

I ran the shorter distance of roughly 5.4 and Frank did the remaining 7.7 miles. There were lots of rolling hills in the portion that I ran and man, I was feeling them! My average pace was 8:15 and I was ok with that. It’s what I’ve been doing 3 miles in lately. As you can see in the image below, we placed 14th out of 108 and were in the top 87% overall! It gave me just the motivation I needed to keep going, keep running. Even if the treadmill gets boriiing.


I’m feeling stronger and slowly getting closer to old Olympic lifting maxes again. It’s funny how things are- I really thought I’d be in running shape faster than CrossFit shape…but I did stop running lonnnng before I stopped WODing ☺️

To all busy ladies (and gents too), keep doing what you’re doing. Stay safe but stay active! 
Xoxo