Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fairmont Southampton: Diet Buster of Fitness Enabler?

If you stay on the gold floor of a Fairmont hotel (about a $100 premium, and totally worth it if you are traveling with a family) you have access to a special lounge with a concierge. There is breakfast, tea with wonderful scones, an appetizer hour and a dessert hour.

This could wreak havoc on your diet. Luckily, the Fairmont in Southampton, Bermuda, also has a great gym, free if you join the free President’s Club

The fitness center, entered through the spa, has an extensive selection of free weights, stability balls, bosu balls (2!) and cardio equipment with individual screens overlooking the pool.

There are weight machines, weight benches, steps and ample stretching areas and yoga mats. Everything was pristine, and you could hydrate with chilled water or lemon water, and grab a piece of fruit after your workout. The fitness center could be a boutique gym in NYC.

There are also headphones if you forgot, soft towels, and showers, hair gel and hair spray in the changing rooms. This is ideal if you are traveling with your family and don’t want to fight over the one shower before dinner.

Note: I stayed at the Fairmont Southampton as a guest of the Bermuda Department of Tourism. Opinions are my own.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bermuda Rails to Trails

On Earth Day, creative reuse is on my mind. I love the High Line, in New York City which turned an abandoned rail trail into an elevated park.

And last weekend, I ran on the Bermuda Railway Trail, a walking, running and occasional biking path in Bermuda.

Bermuda’s short-lived railway cut through the heart of the island, and from the trail, you can see parts of Bermuda that are off the tourist track. I peeked into gardens and backyards and saw a lot of chickens and crazy wild nasturtiums. The leaves of some of those nasturtiums were bigger than my hand.

The Railway Trail is a work in progress; on parts, you have to watch out for cars, and if you are biking, you might have to carry your bicycle over trestles or up stairs. For a few miles around Hamilton, Bermuda’s main town, the railway abruptly ends.

But I was staying at the Fairmont Southampton, which has a railway entrance on its property.
Be sure to bring water; there are no facilities on the trail. 

On my 50 minute run, I encountered true solitude (except for the chickens). Most the section I ran was inaccessible to cars, and on the section that allowed cars, only one passed me. I saw no people.

Note: I was a guest of the Bermuda Department of Tourism.

Earth Day Eyelashes

In honor of Earth Day, I began my trial of a natural growth serum, Fysiko Eyelash Serum, for my aging eyelashes.

When men age, the effect on their hair is readily apparent; a receding hairline and/or bald spot. For women, the effect is more subtle. Hair may grow coarser, and a bit thinner, and formerly lush eyebrows become brittle and sparse.

I have been correcting this irritating problem with my eyelashes with ever-increasing globs of mascara, but this can give more a raccoon appearance. Fysiko Eyelash Serum is designed to enhance eyelashes and decrease your dependence on mascara.

The serum contains healthy ingredients like grape seed extract, ginseng root and chamomile, along with vitamin E, olive oil, thyme and soy protein. But it is not approved for pregnant women or nursing mothers, or girls under age 16.

I was able to wear my contact lens after applying the serum – I just waited about 10 minutes, until my eyelashes were dry. You can also apply the serum a second time at bedtime, after washing your face.

Although Fysiko Eyelash Growth Serum is expensive, the $139 tube lasts for 6-8 months. And think of the money you will save on mascara.

Check out more testimonials.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fitness Challenge: Disney

Getting in your exercise is easy at Disney, as long as your exercise is walking. If you use a pedometer, or an app to measure your steps, you may be surprised at how much you walked (over 7 miles, on a recent family trip).

But if you crave more strenuous exercise –and not the Disney Princess Half Marathon, most Disney hotels offer fitness centers and other ways to stay in shape.

At Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, you can swim, play tennis or rent a surrey bike at The Boardwalk (1/2 mile walk each way, too – or take the free boat ride).

I made use of the excellent fitness center, adjacent to the spa. The well-equipped fitness center had a variety of stability balls, a bosu balls, mats for stretching and a barre.

There were also ample free weights, treadmills and ellipticals with individual televisions, and headphones in case, like me, you forgot your own. Or you could listen to good tunes playing throughout at a reasonable level.

For strength training, there were a few new well-maintained weight machines, plus weight benches. And mirrors throughout the fitness room let you watch your form (or your biceps pop).

If you have a late flight, you can swim or work out, and shower. The locker room had nice towels, shower gel, shave cream and razors and self-locks. And everything  at the gym was very clean, without smelling like chemicals.

Note: I was a guest of Disney at the TravelingMom retreat.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Growlers in Park Slope

It is no secret that I love a bitter IPA. Bitter NYers like bitter craft beers. And in NYC, there is no shortage of artisan food shops, brewers and gourmet markets where you can fill a reusable 60 oz growler with some fresh suds.

Even Duane Reade on the Upper West Side has growler refills!

But what no one talks about is the dark underbelly of fresh beer – cabinet storage. In New York, even the largest kitchen has storage issues and one giant growler means eliminating a kitchen appliance. Rice cooker?

I have 4 growlers.

It wasn’t always thus.

First to come was a growler from my neighborhood gourmet market, Grab. The place has since been renamed The Ploughman, and they have a rotating selection of about 10 taps.

Best of all, you get a 10% discount when you bring the growler back in for a refill.

Then someone brought me a growler from Beer Table, also in Park Slope (with a larger offshoot in Grand Central).

We also picked up a plastic half growler from Zito’s, a local restaurant with Brooklyn’s own Sixpoint beer on tap. This half growler is great for picnics.

Our mistake was the glass half growler from Whole Foods. Brooklyn does not yet have a Whole Foods, but I was at one of the Manhattan stores and fell for an organic IPA. I paid my $5 deposit (plus beer) and when I tried to return the growler, I was told that they are not returnable.

On the plus side, my recycling bin stays empty.