Brooklyn Mom

Nina Rutsch's Soul Cycle Gym Bag

Love Life and Lollipops- Nina Rutsch

I know I gush and ahh over my friends, but I have to say, I pick them carefully.  They're pretty awesome people!  Moving is stressful.  Nina and her class make me happy.  Nuff said.

I told you guys about Nina a while back.  She's not only a rockstar Soul Cycle teacher, but also one of the most stylish gals I know.  She was gracious enough to show me up on the "what's in my gym bag" post, so here she is, showing us what's what in the world of looking good while we're working to feel good:

  • Deepa Gurnani decorative headbands- a quick fashionista look to cover up frizz & fly-aways- a great way to "dress up" sweaty hair
  •  Trader Joes- individual packs of raw almonds, the perfect snack on the go: protien, energy, filling and easy to keep in the pocket of my lululemon tote
  • lululemon "OM" tote bag- It has a computer protective bag pocket.  I use the front pocket for my spin shoes so they can air out, inside divider pockets are perfect for phone, almonds, metro card everything at arms reach complete with full zip to keep my stuff safe on the subway as I was pickpocketed days after returning to NYC after being "LA- "om"ed out and not paying attention on the train !!!!!!
  • NARS  larger than life lipgloss this stays on for hours and does not feel sticky and stays on through class
  • Emergen-C packs- These are my godsend I will throw one in my SmartWater at SoulCycle and it gives me a quick boost during class and I like to think the vitamin C wards off any germs
  • COCONUT WATER- ANY KIND that's natural.  I drink at least 2 a day.... It is my CURE ALL, is my "windex" (referencing MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING movie joke) ......LOLimage via,r:0,s:100,i:4
  • Altoids
  • SOULCYCLE  bandanas!!! cannot.teach.without.
  • Cabots cocoa butter- I use this for everything! It works great as a hand/body lotion also comes in a lip balm its all natural cheap and smells amazing
  • lucky charms :) ... no not the cereal ( NO SUGAR CEREAL!! )- I carry my zen amulet necklace given to my by my "spin family before I left LA" designed by Suzanne Wilson and numerous lucky pennies found on the street and a heart shaped crystal given to me by my nephew :), and other notes and sentimental items as mini- every day reminders to be grateful to those around me.  Can you tell I am superstitious?
  •  yes to cucumber towelettes- for a quick face wash on the go
  • soulcycle bathrooms are well equipped with bobby pins and black hair elastics so its quite easy to put together quick hair fix in a rush!
  • MAC studio fix undereye concealer ... enough said
  • WESC headphones ... always "music-ing" thats what we do

Music Monday

We're finally out of our apartment (tres sad!) and into my parents house while we ready our new digs.  Feels like our lives are entirely put on hold and up in the air.  That said, it's a good time to spend the holidays with family.  My sister was here this past weekend and was beyond helpful with the kids and such a comfort to spend some time with.  We celebrated Channukah, nursed some major colds (Richie and my dad both contracted whatever has been floating around my kids), did some spin, latkah frying, a long walk around the hood, and lots of handing around the house. Maddie knew I was having a tough time with all this change and fast movement, so she sent me this fabulous piece of the internet to cheer me up.  I have to say it did.  Serious laughs lightened my mood.  Hope they put a smile on your faces this Monday morning!:

Catch up and Music Monday

Hi guys.  Sorry it's been so quiet around here.  This pending move has got my head spinning.  Packing boxes, picking bathroom fixtures, teacher conferences, nutrition clients, a sick baby, mortgage paperwork, moving insurance...I can't keep up. Been listening to The Lumineers a bunch.  It's calm and happy music and it's been lifting me up and putting a smile on my face.  Thought I'd share:)

Kabocha Squash Soup and Cinnamon Raisin Mochi

Love Life and Lollipops- Kabocha Squash Soup with Cinnamon Raisin Mochi

Last week, in one of my usual fridge trolling sessions, trying to figure out what would be worth cooking as opposed to ordering Wild Ginger (maybe the world's best vegan Chinese food), I came across a lone brick of cinnamon raisin mochi.  It's one of those things I oooh and aaaah over in the supermarket, buy, and bring home, and it sits there forever cause I never go in the fridge to find dessert and feel like it's too "sweet" to use for dinner.

That said, it was the perfect garnish for this supersimple, grounding, healing soup that needed a little umph that could stand up to it's inherent healthy deliciousness.

Here's how I did it:


  • 1 large kabocha squash, large chopped
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons of saute oil (a combination of coconut, olive, and sesame oils)
  • sea salt to taste
  • 4-6 cups of water (depending on how thick you like your soup)
  • cinnamon raisin mochi cut into 1" squares
  1. In a large soup pot saute the onions in apx 4 tablespoons of the  oil.
  2. Sprinkle with the salt.
  3. Add the squash and water and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce to a rolling simmer and cook for 45min-1hr until the squash starts to disintegrate.
  5. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to your desired consistency.  I like mine a little chunky, but it's up to you how pureed you want it.
  6. Once the soup is ready, in a separate pan (cast iron preferably), heat 1-2 tablespoons of the oil.
  7. Once the oil is hot, add the mochi filling the pan, but not letting them touch.
  8. Cover the pan and let it cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottoms are just browned.
  9. Flip the squares and cook, covered, for another 2-3min until the flip side is browned and they start to melt a bit in the center.
  10. Serve immediately on top of the soup.
  11. Enjoy wholeheartedly:)

This Week, Whadda Week!

Love Life and Lollipops- A scoot with Avi's boyfriend Jonah

Sorry y'all for the lack of posting this week.  We had a birthday (for Avital), an election day, a few of us sick in this house including our poor babysitter, a big birthday for my father-in-law and a nor'easter.  I had my hands full! That said, a trip to the natural foods store in Park Slope yielded a fabulous new find: Flax Milk!  Bar is loving it. We also visited the Big Apple Circus on Avi's Birthday which was superfun and guilt-free seeing as they're notoriously good to their animals!  So it wasn't all overwhelming craziness...

Here are some tid bits from our week:

In the wake...

Love Life and Lollipops- Hurricane Sandy

We finally got home late Thursday night and are so glad to be here with our kiddies.  We lucked out big time and are relatively untouched.  Williamsburg is a bit of an oasis.  There was little to no effect on my neighborhood which is a huge blessing, but it feels strange.

So many of our Brooklyn and Manhattan neighbors have been devastated and displaced. My heart goes out to all of you!

Yesterday, I went through our apartment and donated bags and bags of toys and clothes and diapers and anything I could part with for the Red Hook Sandy Relief Initiative.  There are tons of donation drop offs all across my hood and many online options for any of you interested in helping out.  The cafe on my corner (Sweet Leaf, for those of you who know it, is accepting donations today and tomorrow for the 84, 110, and 34 in my hood are all accepting donations too).  I know a few friends were organizing clean up crews for Queens families to help clean out peoples' basements.  Another friend was collecting things for a family of six (with 10 month old triplets!) in Oceanside who lost everything!

The silver lining here is how amazing New Yorkers can be in the wake of such a disaster.  Hearts and hands reaching out and it's truly inspiring!

Nina Rutsch is so damn cute and one of my new favorite people

Love Life and Lollipops

I thought I was in love after I did two days in a row, over a weekend, of Nina Rutsch's Soul Cycle class, but after a night of drinks and noodles with her, I'm pretty damn sure it's true love.  She's cute and sassy and dresses almost perfectly.  We chatted for hours and became fast friends.  Her class rocks the house and her cool and relatable attitude are the icing on the cake.

Here's a little bit straight from her: 1. So you're new to Soul?? And already superfabulous! Tell me a bit about your journey to becoming an instructor. I was living in NYC for years acting on stage with several theatre companys and working regularly on One Life to Live and As The World Turns. On the many "off" hours as an actress I worked in a clothing boutique LIANA on the upper west side where I developed a side business of personal shopping and wardrobe organizing.I walked by SOULCYCLE everyday, but never tried it because of the old wives tale  that cycling bulks up your legs (FALSE!!!) I have not been this size since I was 14 years old...being the girl with the booty my entire life, I did not want to add anything more into my jeans...I was WRONG! A friend of mine was moving to L.A. and I had always wanted to live there, I knew I could pursue acting and styling there in the sun!  so I jumped at the chance and off we went! I love Los Angeles, it is the community of people who are a jack of all trades. I was a runner and had recently completed the NYC marathon, but going to the gym was a drag, I decided to try yoga and was "scared" into trying a spin class, I was immediately hooked... I left class and was clear headed, I pushed myself further than imaginable and I became hooked, my anxiety was gone, my a.d.d. was gone, I had never felt so confident. In my first year I took over 400 cycling classes... yep doubles daily. The girl who wouldnt leave the house without hair blown out heels and makeup or miss a party was now showing up to work in flip flops and wet hair from the gym, and staying in on friday nights to make sure to get my bike bright and early on saturday... I decided to become spin certified and started teaching right away. I would teach once a day for my students and when my class was finished I would GO to class for ME. Every time I went to visit family in NYC I would take class at SC and it felt like home. I knew that were coming to LA and I applied to work at lululemon so I could practice yoga daily and cycle. I auditioned for Soul in LA and in the interim I was back in NYC near the holidays and was offered to do my training and teach in NYC, so I jumped at the chance. I knew it would take a dream man or dream job to get me to move back to NYC...and dream job came first ;) 2. Your class is honestly, perfect for me (everyone has their own preferences and styles of course).  It's the perfect combination of speed and resistance (read: not sooo much resistance that I can't get through it, but enough that my buns are burning after taking two of your classes this past weekend;)).  How do you come up with your class plan?  What inspires you? I love analogy's ... so I like to look at a soul cycle class like a recipe... it's always a delicious meal with your major food groups represented, but the ingredients and flavors change. Other teachers classes inspire me, everyone has their own "flavor"...thats what I love about SC you can switch it up depending on what you are in the mood for that day!... no excuse to miss class! My class plan/ playlist is usually inspired by how I wake up in the morning, a mood, rock , hip hop, dance...a song stuck in my head from something on t.v. like alex claire's song too close from the microsoft commercial , the weather: annie lennox: here comes the rain again is my favorite opener on a rainy day, current events: this summer it was fun to pull songs that were used during the olympic ceremony's, 3. Each teacher has their style (fierce, funny, intense, sexy, bitchy even) and you are supercute up there!  I love how you get the job done without yelling at anyone or threatening.  That said, I pushed myself really hard in your class, do you find killing it with kindness works better?  How do your riders respond to your different energies? To me cycling is a killer workout, if you are really working and not "posing" on the bike, dont just go through the motions...get will control how far you go and what kind of workout you get. I like to get into your mind and encourage you to turn it up by believing in yourself and building the urge to go further every class. Form is key, if you have your form right and your resistance right, it will be challenging, threatening does not work for me, encouragement and support works for me, so I put out what I want to get back. For me its the challenge of changing mind, going further each day... the body just follows. I find my riders appreciate seeing me work with them on the bike, so it tends to keep them working hard to reach the finish line together 4. I know (and love) that you love to talk Soul!  So...what advice do you have for new Soul riders (/addicts;))?  Any advice for advanced riders?? I am seriously ALWAYS talking...but yes mostly about soul :) advice for new riders is how I got through being a newbie my teacher used to say "just show up" ... LISTEN to your instructor cue your form and follow their legs get the cadence, get on the beat... the rest will fall into place. Advice for advanced riders would be to listen to your own body, don't get comfortable... set challenges for yourself, do a double, turn it up ahead of time add a turn of resistance to challenge yourself before class begins!, try heavier weights, move your seat setting back one notch to get into your core, move your handle bars down a notch to get a full extension in those push ups...WERK!!!

Music Monday: Bob Marley Stop That Train

Stop that train cause I'm leavin'!  Well at least for a few days.  On Wednesday we're headed to Jamaica for the wedding of some of our favorite people, Justin Brunwasser and Erika Chernomorets.  We actually sent them to the Rock House in Negril since we loved it so much and they wound up getting engaged there!  And now we're going back to watch them get married.  We're so happy for them and can't wait to slow down, sleep, hear some true deep reggae, sun, and eat some of the best food on the planet (we love love looooove Ital and all things Rastafarai). So, here's a taste of the island and their cultural idol and music god:

Sunday Night Supper: "Pasta" with "Sausage" and Squash

Love Life and Lollipops- Pasta with "Sausage" and Squash

Sunday night was the end of a long, active weekend.  We were hungry, early, too lazy to go out and either eat or buy groceries.  So it was up to me to concoct a dinner out of what we had around the house.  So...hungry lead to pasta and garlic bread, but what to put in the pasta?  I had some Field Roast apple and sage sausage in the fridge, gluten-free pasta in the cabinet, some butternut squash left over from that soup the other day, some frozen, organic lima beans, a loaf of whole wheat sourdough from the Union Square Farmer's Market, and some top notch olive oil.  So, poof, it was dinner.

Richie was really skeptic about the squash and pasta thing, but was pleasantly surprised.  So pleasantly that he had 5 helpings.  I kid you not!

Here's how I did it:

  1. In a deep pot I boil enough water and a good helping of salt for the pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large cast iron pan I browned 2 "sausages" in 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  (Instead of cutting the sausage I like to break it up with my hands.  It gives it a more textured, "ragu" feel.)
  3. With the sausage I added some chopped onion to caramelize.
  4. As that cooked I chopped then added the butternut squash.  I cut it small enough to cook through pretty quickly.  Maybe apx. 1/4" cubes.
  5. I add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and mix.
  6. As that cooks together, I cook the pasta along with the lima beans (you can also use green peas here) according to the package instructions.
  7. Once the pasta and beans are cooked I strain them and add it all to the sausage mixture.
  8. Cook together on medium heat until combined.  Depending on how you like your pasta, at this point I'd add a bit more olive oil and sea salt.
  9. Serve with some garlic bread.