Imagine a dark, hot room, lit with dozens of fragrant candles and filled with fitness enthusiasts pedaling furiously to nowhere atop a fleet of sleek, stationary bikes. An instructor with ravishing, rock-star appeal is offering up words of inspiration as customized soundtracks (think cool, newfangled top 40 remixes) fill the room — clearly this is no ordinary spin class. Welcome to SoulCycle, the wildly popular indoor cycling “experience” that’s achieved fitness-world domination in recent years.
Each Monday at noon, self-proclaimed “cyclepaths” — including this writer — take to their keyboards to book online — it takes lightning-fast fingers to secure a coveted spot with a favorite instructor. A typical class starts with sprightly “jogs” (sustained cycling to a brisk beat), building to “hill climbing,” which involves pedaling through heavy resistance and ending with an electrifying sprint out of the saddle. In addition to straight cycling, there is a weight section and choreographed dance moves performed while on the bike, which are specifically designed to tone your upper body (and all this, packed into just 45 minutes).
Master instructor Danny Kopel elaborates, “Our arms series, which includes high reps with light weights, was essentially designed with a strapless gown in mind!” In addition to a consistently explosive sensory experience and a killer body-blasting workout, a celebrity following of laundry-list-proportions (including Kelly Ripa, Katie Holmes and Brooke Shields) adds to the allure.
Along with the physical benefits come the mental perks. Says instructor extraordinaire Lauren Bruker, “The wedding-planning process can be highly stressful and SoulCycle is a great way to let loose and ease those pre-marital jitters. All you need to do is show up and the instructor will take care of the rest.” There is also something unifying and euphoric about the group fitness experience (or as SoulCyclists commonly refer to as “riding as a pack.”) “When you ride in a group, moving in tandem, you are able to feed off each other’s energy and push one another to go above and beyond,” Bruker adds.
Part physical workout, part spiritual experience, it’s the strong sense of community that forms the heart of this beloved regime. “SoulCycle emphasizes the connection between mind and body, attaching deep purpose to the physical work. That’s how we can all tap into great transformative energy on the bike,” says Kopel...and the path to fitness enlightenment is easy when you find something you love...
All photos courtesy of SoulCycle
For the fair lady, bold bat-worthy lashes make the ultimate beauty statement. A wash of shimmering shadow on the lids and a swipe of crimson color on the lips will finesse this sultry look.
1. MAC False Lashes #7.
2. Dolce & Gabbana Lipstick in Italian Monica.
3. IMAN Luxury Eyeshadow in Pewter.
4. Lancôme Color Design shadow in All that Glitters.
5. Laura Mercier Cheek Mélange Sensual Reflect Blush.
Tip: When applying falsies, fit the strip to the shape and size of your eye before adhering to lid.
Pretty in Pink
You’ll be coming up roses with a satiny blush-hued shadow that is sure to make those eyes pop. A vivid coral on the cheeks and a dose of glistening gloss on the lips is the perfect finish to this look.
1. NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in Light 3.
2. Sephora Waterproof 16hr Velvet Eyeshadow in Pink Feather.
3. Jane Iredale Multicolored Cheek Powder in Peach Bouquet.
4. Lorac Lip Lustre Gloss in Rose Lustre.
5. Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream Shadow in Pink Beige.
Tip: Due to its high pigmentation, a cream shadow will generate a smoother finish.
Sometimes less is more. A wash of sheer foundation and a subtle hint of berry on the cheeks and lips will add just enough color to create that ever-desired blushing bride look.
1. Estée Lauder Pure Color Intense Kajal Eyeliner in Blackened Black.
2. Laura Mercier Lip Glacé in Rose.
3. Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15 in Sienna.
4. Tarte Airblush in Shimmering Pink.
5. CoverGirl Shadow Pot in 355.
6. Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Baked.
Tip: Smooth a dewy foundation over the face to impart a luminous glow to your complexion.
Sparkle and shine with a radiant rosy hue on the cheeks and a glistening tint on the lips. Amplify your gaze by emphasizing those arches with the flick of a pencil.
1. Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Nectar.
2. Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil in Dark Brown.
3. Estée Lauder Lip Lacquer in Peach Glass.
4. Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy Lipstick in Androgino.
5. YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat Foundation in Beige Dore 50.
Tip: Select a pencil that is half a shade lighter than your brows so as to not overpower your look.
Plus, check out the 25 Biggest Makeup Mistakes Brides Make ►
Let your beauty blossom with these pretty-in-pink hues.
Photo Credit: Eddie Collins (model); Courtesy of designers (products)
1. Apply Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Color in Opal Fantasy to your lids to make those eyes pop.
2. Spring forward and reach for a blush brush, then dab Clinique Cheek Pop in Plum Pop on your cheeks.
3. Give your lashes some pizzazz with Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara.
4. Add Revlon Colorburst Lip Balm Stain in Sweetheart to your lips for a wow-worthy smile.
An ultra-glam big-day look can be yours with a gilded palette.
1. Sweep Topshop Eye Duo in Woodland Walk along your lids for a touch of sheen.
2. Dust Mark Touch & Glow Shimmer Cream Cubes Face Palette along your cheekbones — accentuating your gorgeous bone structure.
3. Glide Sephora Rouge Infusion Lip Ink in Beige Extract over lips for a glistening pucker.
4. Smoothing Sonia Kashuk Perfecting Translucent Illuminator on cheeks will create a dewy complexion.
Tip: Blend illuminator on your cheeks and down the bridge of your nose for a slimming effect.
Vintage beauty touches can look surprisingly au courant.
1. Opt for a rosy hue on the cheeks — we love BECCA Creme Blush in Turkish Rose.
2. Capture that coquettish charm with Urban Decay False Lashes in Sly.
3. Add Sephora Outrageous Volume Waterproof Mascara to blend lashes and elevate this flirty look to new heights.
4. Opt for a crimson pout with MAC Viva Glam Rihanna Lipstick.
5. Line the lid with a swipe of Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Pen for a sultry cat eye.
Tip: When applying false lashes, cut the strip to better fit the length and shape of your eye.
If "less is more" is your makeup mantra, you’ll love this elegant big-day look.
1. A dusty rose blush like Smashbox Blush Rush in Chiffon will create that essential bridal radiance.
2. Apply Laura Mercier Faux Lash Mascara to your lashes for an alluring gaze.
3. To create a picture-perfect smile, reach for Bobbi Brown Uber Pink Lipstick in Pink Kiss.
4. Then, go for a soft shimmery finish with Josie Maran Argan Beautiful Eyes in Beautiful Nude.
Tip: Ensure that your eye shadow will withstand the test of time by first applying a primer to lock in pigment.
Plus, check out the 25 Biggest Makeup Mistakes Brides Make ►
Photo courtesy of Como Hotels and Resorts
The Ranch at Live Oak 4.0, Los Angeles
When Alex and Sue Glasscock began the Ranch at Live Oak, an intimate wellness retreat in the hills of Malibu, they immediately became the toast of all fitness-loving Type-As from Hollywood to Wall Street. The only snag in the formula—a.m.-guided hikes; afternoon gym classes; restorative and energizing yoga sessions; and a strict 1,400 calorie diet—was that many people weren’t able to do a full-week program.
Photo courtesy of The Ranch at Live Oak/Malibu
Enter the Ranch 4.0, a condensed version based at the Four Seasons Westlake Village. The concept is the same and there are still daily in-room massages for every guest.
Note: Participants are encouraged to go caffeine-, alcohol-, sugar-, gluten-, meat- and dairy-free before arriving, as per the program’s protocol (rates are $3,800 per person for the four-day program and are all-inclusive; theranchmalibu.com).
Photo courtesy of The Ranch at Live Oak/Malibu
Parrot Cay by Como, Turks & Caicos
Total wellness is the mantra at this Caribbean enclave. Guests are encouraged to recharge on the white sand beach as much as in the yoga, fitness and Pilates studios. Daily activities include the aforementioned in addition to biking excursions, snorkeling and pool time. Individual training is also available. The spa is a celebration of Asian healing therapies, including Ayurvedic treatments.
Bachelorette bonus: No guests under the age of 16 are welcome. Looking for a closer option? Check out the newly launched sister property in Miami (room rates start at $500 a night and include breakfast; comohotels.com).
Photo courtesy of Como Hotels and Resorts
Canyon Ranch, Lenox
Canyon Ranch is a spa legend with a philosophy that’s self-reliant and self-directed. It’s great for groups, especially of different generations, since you can devise your daily schedule. Workout classes range from yoga and Pilates to swimming and tennis lessons, hikes of various levels and indoor cycling. And there are lectures and experiences on metaphysics, qi gong, African drumming and more. Meals are taken in a Berkshires summer cottage from the Gilded Age and all menu items have the nutritional info clearly indicated. There’s no need to feel as if you are doing without—dessert and coffee are available.
Tip: The best coffee is the French press served at Tasso, the café. Evenings are spent by the fire in the library, getting a tarot reading or reposing in the wet rooms at the spa (room rates start at $420 for a three-night stay and are all-inclusive; canyonranch.com).
Photo courtesy of Canyon Ranch
You worked so hard to look your absolute best for the wedding, and chances are you’d like to appear just as beautiful/hot/stunning in your honeymoon photos. But unless you’re used to walking down the red carpet you most likely won’t be traveling with your big-day glam squad. And let’s face it, traveling with an enormous arsenal of products simply isn’t practical. Here are some no-fail, on-the-road beauty tips that I’ve picked up over the years.
At press time the carry-on limits for gels, liquids and aerosols are three ounces in a one-quart sized plastic bag per passenger. Skip packing your products in your suitcase. You’ll avoid spills and stains caused by those darn nonclosable pumps — trust me.
In my plastic Ziploc bag, I have put double packs of sunscreen (one is a powder formula by Colorscience), deodorant, toothpaste and travel-size contact solution. I also toss in some insect repellent, Band-Aids, Advil, my arsenal of vitamins and Emergen-C, along with extra-powerful shea butter body moisturizer by L’Occitane, Ted Gibson Hair Sheets, Burt’s Bees facial wipes, a leg-shine stick and a few makeup multi-taskers. I generally use the shampoo and conditioner at hotels. And, if they have it, I slather on their moisturizer too, so I don’t have to deplete my stash.
Embrace the Beach Hair
One of my closest friends, a beauty editor, says her hair never looks as good in real life as it does on vacation. She loves the texture, waves and ease of not having to blow-dry every day. That’s where my hair sheets come in. They smooth over flyaways and have a bit of conditioner to combat dryness.
If your hair is too salted to tame, gather it into a topknot or wrap it up. I keep a couple of colorful vintage scarves in my suitcase that I use as headbands. They look chic on the beach, touring city sights or even at a dinner out.
Do Double Duty
I’m a pretty natural girl when it comes to makeup. So it isn’t that difficult for me to pare down my products. I limit myself to five that can be used across my face and body. If you follow me on Twitter (@srajennamahoney) you know my devotion to Rosebud Salve. I keep a tin in my carryon and another in my purse, and use it to hydrate my lips and cuticles. It can also alleviate skin irritations and little cuts that seem to pop up on my hands when I’m handling all my travel paperwork. My latest use — taming brows — makes them look a little more Cara Delevingne.
The leg shine (I prefer the stick by Michael Kors) camouflages any funky sun marks on legs and arms and can be used to bronze my cheeks in a pinch. I also pack a facial shimmer stick by Nars or Tarte (depending on the season of my destination) to highlight my eyes and cheeks. And a tinted moisturizer with SPF can be used as a concealer.
have a mascara on hand too. But lately, during the day, I’ve just used my Shu Uemura eyelash curler. That ensures no messy rings when I get out of the pool or return from an afternoon of snorkeling. For evening, I use Benefit Cosmetics BadGal Waterproof Mascara. It makes my lashes look so glam with zero smudging.
Take a Prep Step
I never get on a plane without having a mani/pedi. That way, I don’t have to tote nail polish et al and no one screams at the sight of my feet when I remove my shoes at TSA. If I’m going to a wedding or other major event like a resort opening, I often get a blowout the day of departure, so I’ll arrive with party-pretty hair. Personally, I think my hair is like pizza — it’s better the day after.
Hit Duty Free
Even pros sometimes forget to pack some very important items. If you do, eschew the resort gift shop in favor of a duty-free outpost. The stores, which are exempt from charging tax, specialize in prestige brands and are located in international airports.
Note: Make sure you purchase at your last point of embarkation. Even if you’ve got a sealed bag, international security regulations strictly prohibit carrying on large sizes of liquids, gels and aerosols.
Photo Credit: Kip Meyer
Talk about a following! With over 300,000 members on their website, ToneItUp.com, 19 million YouTube views and over 600 Twitter mentions per hour — along with their new reality series on Bravo — fitness and nutrition gurus Karena and Katrina speak to a huge community of women, many of them (drumroll, please) brides-to-be. Here, highlights from a recent conversation.
Photo Credit: Nicole Hill
BG: So many brides ask: What is a realistic timeline for dropping 10 pounds before the wedding?
Karena: It’s healthiest to aim to lose one to two pounds per week, tops. So give yourself a minimum of one-and-a-half to three months.
BG: Getting (and staying motivated) is tough. Katrina, as a recent bride, can you share any secrets?
Katrina: I'd remind myself what working out does for me physically and mentally. It helps me de-stress, boosts my energy, gives me confidence and makes me happy. Knowing how I wanted to feel on my wedding day was a huge inspiration in itself. And of course, I kept thinking about my dress and my honeymoon bikini. I wanted to look and feel beautiful.
Photo Credit: John Segesta
BG: Karena, as maid of honor, how did you pitch in?
Karena: I would always check in with Kat to make sure she was getting her workout in or ask her to join me for a beach run and yoga. We’re longtime BFFs and workout buddies but I still made sure to put in the extra effort.
BG: Katrina, did your gown determine how you worked out?
Katrina: Since I wore a fitted gown I focused on a balanced workout. I added more yoga into my routine for relaxation, upperbody strength — and shapely arms and shoulders. At the gym, I hit the stairmill for blasting calories and sculpting the booty.
Photo Credit: Jana Williams
Karena: You may want to spot-sculpt certain areas: waist and shoulders for a ballgown; booty, back and triceps for a fit-and-flare dress; hips and abs for a close-fitting column shape. Find the best workout for your wedding gown here ►
BG: What are some of the specific fitness regimes you recommend to your brides in training?
Katrina: We have so many brides in our community that we created a wedding-specific bridal program focusing on fitness and nutrition. A signature component of the Tone It Up regime is that we challenge our TIU brides to complete 200 miles by their wedding, starting 14 weeks before the big day. This means an average of 2.2 miles per day. You can walk, jog, run, use the stairmill, elliptical or even swim. If you cycle or take a spinning class, divide your total miles by three — meaning if you cycled 12 miles, you should log 4 miles toward your 200-mile goal. Having a program already clearly laid out really helped me stay focused for my own wedding.
BG: What’s the best approach — to try something new or stick with the tried and true?
Karena: We’ve always been big believers in trying something new to keep your workouts fun and exciting. Find something you love and look forward to. Changing it up helps keep you stoked. There are so many ways to mix it up these days: consider HIIT (high-intensity interval training), kettlebell, barre or bootcamp classes, hip-hop or Zumba — along with classic standbys like running, Pilates, swimming and weight training.
Photo Credit: John Segesta
BG: What are some good ways to stay on track, food and snack-wise, while dress-shopping, cake-tasting, etc.?
Karena: When we were running around on errands like dress shopping or checking out venues I always made sure to have my bag stocked with healthy snacks like almonds and fresh juice. Sometimes the bride can be so focused on the mission at hand she ends up running on pure excitement. If I saw that Kat’s energy seemed to be flagging, I just dug into my purse!
BG: What are advantages to working out alone vs. in a group situation like a class?
Katrina: We’re big on the buddy system. It can be the extra motivation you need to try a new class. Plus, when you don’t feel like getting that solo workout in, your partner is there to motivate you. Asking a bridesmaid, friend or even your husband-to-be to join you for workouts will help you stay accountable. And anyone who has caught some of our goofball antics on TV can see that having a workout buddy is fun!
The guest list. The venue. The dress. The catering. The endless to-dos and logistics. Without a doubt, wedding planning ratchets up your inner stress-o-meter. Which in turn causes your levels of the hormones cortisol and adrenaline to surge, putting you at risk for anxiety, sleep problems, depression, digestive problems, and, oh yes: weight gain.
Ironically, we often reach for foods that actually raise our anxiety levels. Coffee or other caffeinated beverages can seem appealing when you feel low. Sugary, processed foods or simple carbohydrates become our "comfort" foods.
So, what’s the solution? Aim to minimize stress as best you can: exercise is one way; mindful eating is another. Here are a few foods that have been proven to lower stress levels.
The high potency of antioxidants in these berries counteracts the production of cortisol, a hormone that increases blood sugar levels. High levels of cortisol are linked to increased (and stubborn) belly fat.
The potassium in peaches helps lower blood pressure. As well, the fruit contains beta-carotene and antioxidants, which can help reduce certain cancer risks. A great choice when you’re craving something sweet.
3. Acai Berries
This super berry is packed with phytonutrients that have been shown to enhance your mood. They have additional health benefits such as helping keep blood sugar levels even, which in turn can reduce sugar craving.
4. Cacao (aka Cocoa)
Cacao is the ingredient found in chocolate. It is high in flavonoids. Flavonoids are potent with relaxation properties. Cacao also contains phenethylamine, a chemical that enhances mood. You can add cacao powder to smoothies, cookies and brownies or you can get the nutrients by eating a dark chocolate bar. The darker the chocolate, the better (look for bars with at least 70 percent cacao). Or try cacao nibs, which are bits of roasted, dried and crushed cocoa bean — chocolate without the added sugar.
Available as a powder made from a Peruvian root, maca contains a phytonutrient that has been shown to help ward off anxiety and depression. It’s also a natural energizer and is said to help balance hormones. Try adding one-half teaspoon of maca powder to a smoothie.
It’s high in magnesium, improves your body’s overall response to stress and stops your blood pressure from spiking.
7. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds contain generous levels of folate, which helps your body produce the feel-good brain chemical dopamine.
Studies have shown that eating at least one ounce of walnuts a day can help keep blood pressure from rising and keep anxiety levels in check, so toss some nuts into your next salad.
Super Food Brownies Recipe:
- 2½ cups medjool dates, pitted, soaked in warm water for 5 minutes
- 2 cups raw walnuts
- ½ cup unsweetened cacao powder
- ½ cup unsweetened cacao nibs (optional, but highly recommended)
- 1 cup raw almonds, chopped and soaked overnight
- 2 table spoons chia seeds
- Pinch sea salt
- In a food processor, blend walnuts into a fine grind.
- Add cacao powder and salt to the processor bowl and pulse to combine, then add dates one by one until the mixture becomes crumbly.
- In a square pan, use a wooden spoon to press the walnut/cacao mixture down firmly, pressing the almonds, chia seeds and cacao nibs into the mixture as you go.
- Chill or freeze until firm, then cut into squares. Enjoy!
Hayley Hobson is the author of Hayley Hobson’s Hip Guide to Creating Your Sexy & Abundant Life. She trained as a Health Coach with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York and received her J.D. from Rutgers School of Law. For more info, see HayleyHobson.com.