My Favorite Things: September

My Favorite Things: SeptemberLike many of you, I spent yesterday morning watching the news with a heavy, broken heart. Deep sadness for the victims and their loved ones, frustration that these horrific acts of violence continuously occur—there’s a swelling of emotion surrounding events like this that make hitting the publish button on a “my favorite things” blog post seem trivial and even inappropriate.

And in a way, I’m glad I feel uncomfortable posting regularly scheduled content. I hope the day never comes that I/we are so desensitized to this type of brutality that we simply go about business as usual without any thought. There’s no “right” way to respond to something that is so wrong, but I think responding in some way (privately or publicly) is important.

Sharing kind words, prayers or a favorite quote on social media are certainly sweet and unifying gestures. If you’re like me and want to put action behind those words from afar, donating what you can to the Las Vegas Victims Fund is a small way in which to help. Of course there are larger national issues at play which contribute to the frequency and occurrence of these events, and working to make the changes necessary to prevent these tragedies in the future is the most significant way in which we as a country can take action.

I certainly don’t mean to imply an hierarchy of tragedy by taking the time to talk about Las Vegas today while responding in private to other recent natural disasters and acts of violence. Moving forward, I’ll share links to the charitable organizations to which I donate if you guys would find that helpful in getting involved. 100% of the proceeds from Unidos Por Puerto Rico go to hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, while we’re on the topic.

Sending lots of love to all those affected by these tragedies.

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My Favorite Things: September

Favorite Products + Services

Hubway

I believe it was Maya Angelou who once said, “The best gifts for others are those which you actually buy for your own selfish benefit.”

So for Joe’s birthday this past summer, I bought him an annual Hubway membership so that he could ride to and from his office (our old apartment was just a little too far for him to comfortably walk). Welp, we ended up moving literally right around the corner from his office, so I took the Hubway pass back from him and now use it myself to get to Btone in the morning. Best gift ever or what?!?!

Ok so maybe I owe him another birthday gift, but jokes aside, Hubway is making my life so much easier. I don’t feel safe riding bikes in the city during busy times, so I only use it at 5:30AM when I need to get to the studio to teach, but it’s still a GAME CHANGER.

Thrive

I’m late in hopping on the Thrive train, but love the service now. Basically you pay a yearly membership fee ($59.95) and can then shop healthy foods and natural products at 25-50% off retail prices. It’s great for pantry bulk items and snacks, but I actually use it most for household and skincare/beauty products.

I was so excited to see they offer Aura Cacia essential oils, and that alone makes the Thrive membership fee worth it for me right now. With my aromatherapy certification, I was given small vials of all the essential oils I’d need, but as I progress through the course and want to experiment with more blends, I find myself purchasing a lot of oils.

As a bonus to Thrive, when you join, you are also sponsoring a free membership for a low-income family. Love that! You can get an additional 25% off your first order and free shipping if you sign up using my affiliate link.

Ionic Clay Mask from Botanics

I was gifted a few Botanics products and am a big fan of this Shine Away Ionic Clay Mask. I have naturally oily skin and like to do a clay mask once or even twice a week.

Favorite Eats

Lantana Sriracha Carrot Hummus

This might sound a little odd but OMG is it good! Lantana has a bunch of fun hummus blends (I also really like their Edamame Hummus), but Sriracha Carrot is topping my list of favorites right now.

Fudgy Chai Blender Muffins

These fudgy chai blender muffins are vegan and gluten-free. Make them with or without a vanilla glaze.

Obsessed with the fudgy chai blender muffin recipe I shared here a couple weeks ago! If you haven’t made them yet, get on it. 🙂

Favorite Things I…

Watched

  • The SinnerThis is an 8-part mini series on USA with Jessica Beil that everyone seems to be talking about, and if you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend it as your next binge. I couldn’t stop watching, but was a bit disappointed with the ending—anyone else?! I don’t want to give any spoilers so I won’t go into detail on my opinions but the ending left me feeling like, “Wait, what. That’s what happened?! Meh.”
  • The Vietnam War | This 10-part series by Ken Burns on PBS is so good! Joe and I love any sort of historical documentary, but his dad actually fought in Vietnam so this era is always of particular interest.
  • Foo Fighters: Back and ForthI don’t even particularly love Foo Fighters music, but found this Netflix documentary on the band super interesting. I’m always blown away by how talented some musicians are. For Dave Grohl (<–I originally published this accidentally writing “Anthony Kiedis,” who is incredibly talented as well but is definitely not in the Foo Fighters lol) to play drums in Nirvana and then switch to singing and guitar in Foo Fighters—maybe it’s just because I’m personally tone deaf but that diversity of musical talent always just blows my mind. Speaking of talented musicians, the Lady Gaga documentary on Netflix was good, too, but not what I expected. Takeaways from Five Foot Two: Lady Gaga is extremely talented; she’s extremely driven to work as hard as she does despite the pain she’s in; and she smokes a sh*t ton of weed. 😉

Listened to

  • Casefile True Crime Podcast – Jonestown Episodes | I’m new to this podcast and have only listened to their most recent three-part series on Jonestown so far, but loved it. I knew the general story of the Jonestown mass suicide/murder, but this went deep into the background, showing the evolution (devolution is more like it) of Jim Jones from childhood till the end. Fascinating and horrifying.
  • The Morning Breath PodcastThe Morning Breath is Claudia Oshry (the girl behind the @girlwithnojob Instagram meme account) and her sister Jackie talking about the “fast five” entertainment news stories of the day. It’s a guilty pleasure for sure (lots of reality TV talk) but I find it hilarious. Some episodes I literally laugh out loud while walking down the street.
  • Tom Petty | I couldn’t love Tom Petty’s music more and was so sad to hear of his passing. Spotify has a tribute playlist of all his music that you can listen to here. It’s hard to pick favorites because he has so many legendary songs, but Mary Jane’s Last Dance will always top my list. Reminds me of summers on the Vineyard growing up, driving around with the windows down. RIP TP.

Favorite Moments

Tone It Up Tour & Meeting Jillian Michaels

I had so much fun at the Tone It Up Tour event in Boston early this month. So fun getting to meet Katrina & Karena and Jillian Michaels, and after three 30-minute workouts (CorePower Yoga, Jillian, TIU) celebrated with some rosé and hair braiding. Yes, that makes it sound like a Basic Bitch Convention but whatever, I love that shit. 😉 #basicandproud

Sublime with Rome & The Offspring Concert


Joe and I went to see Sublime with Rome and The Offspring at The Blue Hills Bank Pavilion and talk about a throwback for this 90’s kid! Brought me right back to my childhood. So much fun!

Favorite Follow

  • @rogermathewsnj | Big shoutout to Ashley for turning me on to the hilarity that is JWoww’s husband on Instagram. If you’re easily offended, he may not be for you, but otherwise, drop what you’re doing and follow him. It’s a lot of poking fun at himself, married life, raising kids.

If you guys have other recommendations for hilarious and borderline inappropriate people to follow on Instagram, please share. I’m at my max capacity of inspirational quotes, I need more funny in my feed!

My monthly favorites posts are never sponsored, however they typically contain a few affiliate links. I get sent a lot of free products, and the first section of this post might highlight a couple of my favorites. I’m never required to or being paid to feature these freebies and only share the ones I truly love and think my readers will enjoy as well.

Life Update & September Wellness Events in Boston

It’s been forever since I’ve posted to the blog and I just wanted to stop by good ol’ Pumps to say hello and assure you all that I haven’t been abducted or suddenly decided to quit blogging. In fact, things will be back to normal around here starting next week!

I had way too much going on between the blog, teaching, my aromatherapy course and moving into a new apartment and I quite frankly just couldn’t maintain everything. The aromatherapy course is self-paced, but needs to be completed within a year’s time and I was *extremely* behind. I’d spot my textbooks on the shelf above my desk each day and a wave of anxiety would rise up in my chest. Tomorrow. I’ll dedicate all of tomorrow to studying. But then something would come up with the blog or teaching and I’d put it off yet another day.

That constant nagging stress of being behind on my studies finally led me to take these last couple weeks off from blogging to just focus on the course. I work best when I’m not dividing my time and instead focused solely on one task, so it was the best decision I could have made. I’m now pretty much caught up and absolutely loving learning about essential oils and aromatherapy. I can’t wait to share my new knowledge with you all once I’m certified! You can look forward to lots of blog posts sharing blend recipes for specific issues, moods and ailments; general info on how to incorporate essential oils into your every day life; and anything else on the topic that might interest you. I’m also thinking of offering private consultations to create blends personally crafted for an individual’s needs.

As for the move, it went as well as moving on September 1st in Boston could go. In other words, it was a complete shitshow but hey, we survived! This move was unexpected, which added to the stress, but I could not be happier with our new apartment—it’s wonderful! If you follow me on Instagram you got a pretty good idea of how weird our old building was. It was extremely loud (still haven’t confirmed what in the hell our upstairs neighbors did every day but our best theory was bowling while wearing tap dancing shoes and dragging dead bodies across the floor). It was also extremely sketchy. The basement storage units looked like a scene from that abandoned hospital episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? 

Adding to the sketchiness was the fact that most the units were operated by a third party as airbnb rentals. So there was a constant transient flow of strangers in and out of the building (all with the access code to the front door). Sometimes it’d be fine, but other times there would be some SHADY characters staying next door. I could write a novel of all the ridiculous things I witnessed/heard while living in that building.

Our new place is so NORMAL. We’re obsessed! I still have lots of unpacking, organizing and decorating to do but you’ll get to see it soon enough in workout videos. 🙂 (I don’t know why I’m acting like it’s some Extreme Makeover: Home Edition reveal—it’s just a standard one bedroom apartment haha).

September Wellness & Fitness Events in Boston

Fall is always a fun time in Boston with lots going on, and I wanted to share a couple local events that I think you guys would be into. If I hear about any others, I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

Tone It Up Tour – Sat 9/9

This Saturday, the Tone It Up Tour comes to Lawn on D. There’ll be workouts led by the Tone It Up girls, Jillian Michaels and CorePower Yoga, rosé tents, healthy food, beauty bars, swag bags and more fun. It’s essentially a big fitness festival. GA tickets are $110 BUT I’m giving away five pairs of free tickets over on Instagram for you and a friend. I’m picking the winners this afternoon so hurry on over to enter if you’re interested!

Fit University’s Back to School Blowout – Sat 9/9

This is a *free* fitness festival for college students (and non-college students!) with lots of different workouts to choose from going down in Copley Square. Details here.

Wellness Meet Up with @nobread: Turning Your Passion into a Career – Mon 9/18

If you’re a local influencer/blogger or in the wellness industry, I think this event would be right up your alley. Nicole from @nobread will be talking about how she left her full-time job at JP Morgan to pursue her passion and will be offering advice for those looking to do the same. Event details and tickets here. You can take 15% off with the code NICOLE15.

TRAIN360 Charity Class at Everybody Fights for UNICEF – Sat 9/23

Workout for a good cause! If you follow a lot of Boston fitness peeps on Instagram like I do (shameless stalker over here), you might know @baddiedae. My girl is running the NYC marathon for UNICEF and raising money with a charity class at EBF. After your circuit-style TRAIN360 workout, you’ll be treated to free Dig Inn. Details and tickets here.

Wellness Collective Panel with @balancewithb and @ebaily_fitness – Mon 9/25

Speaking of people I stalk on Instagram, the Wellness Collective is having their inaugural event this month, teaming up with @balancewithb and @ebailey_fitness. There’ll be a panel discussion about living well; thriving mentally, physically and emotionally; and turning a passion for wellness into a career. Juices and smoothies will be provided and everyone will receive a gift bag filled with wellness goodies. Details and tickets here.

photo by Nick Cosky

Best Acai Bowls in Boston

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.

I did it. The ultimate guide to the best acai bowls in Boston. I tried every single option in the city (that I’m aware of), often eating them for both breakfast and lunch to get this article finished before summer ends. Yes, blood sugar levels were sacrificed for the sake of Pulitzer-worthy investigative journalism. It’s a tough job, but dammit someone’s gotta do it.

Acai bowls are absolutely delicious, the most refreshing breakfast (or dessert) on a warm summer day, and oh-so-easy on the eyes. They also can be high in sugar and calories from the banana(s), berries, granola and nut butter. I personally don’t care because it’s coming from nutritionally dense foods, but just wanted to throw it out there that I’m certainly not eating these every single day now that this piece of groundbreaking journalistic gold is complete. 😉

If you live in Boston or are visiting for the weekend, stop into one of the following juice bars for an acai bowl.

Best Acai Bowls in Boston: A Local’s Guide

I did my best to list these in order of preference with my most highly recommended first—it’s hard to pick favorites though! It’s more of a general spectrum than a hard and fast ranking. Really the only place I wouldn’t recommend is Juice Press. Other than that, they’re all good—it just depends on what type of bowl you’re looking for and if organic ingredients are important to you. I’ll include all that information in this guide, and you’ll notice I list organic places towards the top of the list for the most part.

As far as price goes, there isn’t much of a difference between the following spots. If you’re looking for an acai bowl in Boston, be prepared to spend about $10-12. The one exception to that is B. Good which only charges $5 (smaller serving size).

Pressed

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.Beacon Hill—120 Charles Street
South End—643 Tremont Street
@pressedboston // menu

So it’s a little confusing but there’s a Pressed and then a Pressed Juicery in Boston. Pressed Juicery is a national chain and while delicious, doesn’t offer acai bowls so we’re not talking about them in this post. The acai bowl at Pressed is a blend of acai, maqui berry, cacao, almond butter, ripe berries and banana and house-made granola. It’s definitely in my top three of favorites. Their menu is mostly locally sourced and organic, and the acai bowl is a big, filling serving (definitely a meal, not a snack). The acai blend makes for the bulk of the bowl and there’s the perfect amount of granola and fresh fruit on top to make for a satisfying meal while still giving you the refreshing satisfaction of a smoothie. All around just a damn good bowl.

The Juicery

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.North End—66 Cross Street
@the_juicery // menu

The acai bowl at the Juicery is incredible. When I teach in the North End, I ALWAYS stop by to order one. The Classic Acai Bowl is made with an acai and frozen banana blend, fresh banana on top, peanut butter, granola, coconut, cacao and almond milk. As far as serving size goes, it’s on the larger side so I always feel satisfied after eating one—it’s definitely a meal, not a snack. The Juicery uses all organic ingredients when possible. This bowl is on the sweeter side and they top it with a good amount of peanut butter (hmmm wonder why I love it so much?? lol) so sometimes I’ll even eat it as a dinner+dessert on hot summer evenings. If you’re looking for a bowl that’s less dessert-y, this might not be the one for you but otherwise seriously can’t recommend it highly enough.

Revolution Juice

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.Back Bay—150 Huntington Ave
@revolutionjuice // menu

Revolution Juice cares deeply about providing only organic and non-GMO foods. They have a large menu of smoothies, juices, bowls and some ready-made foods. Their acai bowl is a blend of acai, banana and date and then you get to pick four toppings. I usually go with granola, fresh fruit, coconut and hemp seeds, as shown above. It’s a big bowl (you definitely get an entire smoothie’s worth of the acai blend), and I just love their commitment to quality produce.

Cocobeet

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.Government Center—100 City Hall Plaza
@purecocobeet // menu

Cocobeet’s large menu is organic, raw, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, non-HPP and locally sourced. Phew that’s a mouthful. Their acai bowl is a blend of strawberries, maqui berries, banana, acai and more topped with homemade granola, coconut and blueberries. It’s delicious! Sometimes I do ask them to put less granola on it though because the ratios are a bit off and the last few bites end up being just spoonfuls of ‘nola.

In addition to their acai bowl they have some other smoothie bowls (I think I like their pitaya bowl better than the acai bowl actually) and some delicious refrigerated raw foods. I love their sandwiches, quinoa bites, truffle balls—so many good things going on at Cocobeet and I love their commitment to high-quality ingredients.

Thirst Juice Co.

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.Downtown Crossing—44 School Street
@thirstjuiceco // menu

Thirst offers up four different delicious acai bowls. I’m a big fan of their Peanut Butter Acai Bowl (the prettiest deep purple color going) and Coconut Acai Bowl. Sometimes I’ll also order their superfood bites and then crumble them up on top of the bowl (#ProTip). The only reason I didn’t put Thirst higher up on this list is that sometimes they’re closed on random days, especially on the weekend. I’ll walk all the way over there to find the lights off which is a bummer. Recently they’ve also been out of certain ingredients when I go to order one of their bowls. I’m not sure if the produce Thirst uses is organic or not. They don’t advertise it as organic on their site or storefront so I’m guessing it’s not? Their menu is vegan and gluten-free and their juice are raw.

The Juice Box

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.

Southie—359 West Broadway
@juiceboxbos / menu

Man has Southie come a long way since I lived there! Workout studios, delicious dining options, A JUICE BAR?! The closest thing we had back when I was there were the salads at Shenanigans, which are surprisingly delicious for being served at a bar named Shenanigans. But I digress …

The Juice Box has three different acai bowl options in addition to several pitaya bowls (think acai but bright pink). Pictured above is the Good Morning Bowl which is delicious, but basically the same as a smoothie. I’d recommend one of their other ones topped with granola so you get that satisfying crunch.

This has nothing to do with the quality of their acai bowls, but I have to mention that they use those environmentally-friendly wooden spoons which is very responsible, but the feeling of them in my mouth is like the physical manifestation of nails on a chalkboard.

Kwench

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.

Downtown Crossing—230 Congress St
@kwenchjuicecafe / menu

I would never know about Kwench if it wasn’t for Joe because the Financial District is like a confusing maze of tall buildings and suits that I try my best to avoid. I always feel like a very unproductive member of society when I walk through there on weekdays wearing bright purple spandex and a muscle tank, but I persevered to maintain the journalistic integrity of this blog post.

Kwench sources local and organic ingredients for their menu and serves up a delicious acai bowl. They have a few different options but I went with the South Station because it contains peanut butter and duh. It was delicious, filling, and a great acai blend-to-toppings ratio.

Mother Juice

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.Back Bay—291 Newbury Street
North End—Boston Public Market
Kendall Square—625 West Kendall
@motherjuice // menu

Mother Juice has a large menu of juices, smoothies, breakfast bowls and organic, plant-based food (although their location in Boston Public Market has a limited menu). Their acai bowl is a blend of acai berries, almond milk, banana and blueberries topped with almond butter, granola, fresh fruit and coconut flakes. It’s delicious but I always feel like it’s more a fruit bowl or granola parfait than a smoothie bowl. They top it with a ton of fruit (often even more than pictured above) and then a layer of granola and then the acai blend at the bottom, so there’s a lot of chewing involved. Not a bad thing! I really like their bowl but if you’re looking for more of a smoothie consistency to refresh you on a hot summer day, this one might not hit the spot.

I haven’t been to their Kendall Square location, but the one on Newbury is super cute (very Instagrammable). They have seating indoors and outdoors so Mother Juice would be a great option if you’re looking to sit down with friends and leisurely enjoy your breakfast rather than just doing a grab ‘n go.

Jugos

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.

Back Bay—145 Dartmouth St
West End (summer pop-up)—The Clubs at Charles River Park
@jugosboston // menu

Jugos has an extensive menu of juice, smoothies, acai bowls, pitaya bowls, chia seed pudding and other plant-based foods. I’ve honestly never been disappointed with an order and think everything on the menu is delicious. The only bummer about Jugos is that they don’t use organic produce (I do, however, think the frozen acai they use is organic). Since their prices are just about the same as the other nearby juice spots that do use organic produce, I don’t frequently go to Jugos.

That being said, is a non-organic smoothie going to kill you? No. If you’re visiting Boston and Jugos is the most convenient to where you’re staying, check it out—their bowls are delicious! Just be prepared to be a little overwhelmed during peak times because the space is tiny (just enough room for a line of customers to pass through). My go-to orders are the Kai or the Los Verdes without goji berries (throws off the texture for me).

Squeeze Juice Company

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.

Financial District—53 State Street
Seaport (in Everybody Fights)—15 Channel Center Street
Back Bay (in Healthworks)—441 Stuart Street
@drinksqueeze / menu

Squeeze has a few locations, two of which are attached to gyms (EBF and Healthworks) and one of which is in the lobby of a building downtown. So if you’re visiting Boston and strolling around, they’re not exactly a destination I’d suggest or that you’d stumble upon while strolling down the street. They do have a few delicious acai bowls though! If you want something outside the traditional acai bowl, I’d suggest their Avocado Bowl. It has more of a citrus taste than others and the avocado is a fun, filling topping. I don’t believe they use organic produce because it’s not advertised, but I could be wrong!

B. Good

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.

Lots of locations—see website
@b.goodofficial / menu

For years I’ve loved B. Good for lunch and dinner (their seasonal salads and grain bowls are delicious!). Recently they’ve made a push to offer breakfast as well and among the options is an acai bowl. I’m not 100% sure if all their locations are offering this, but the one on Summer St definitely is.

If you want a light breakfast or more of a snack than a meal, B Good’s bowls would be a good choice. Unlike most of the other places, which give you a full smoothie’s worth of acai blend with the toppings, B Good’s serving size is more along the lines of a yogurt. They have two options—the one pictured above and then one with peanut butter, which I haven’t tried but sounds delicious.

Juice Press

A complete guide to the best acai bowls in Boston.Back Bay—500 Boylston St
Seaport—109 Seaport Blvd
Equinox Franklin St + Dartmouth St
@juicepress // menu

Juice Press has some good smoothies and I love their kelp pesto noodles but I would definitely NOT recommend their acai bowls. Honestly, I’ve always thought Juice Press was overrated (and according to responses I got to an Instagram story about this, a lot of you guys seem to agree!). I do love that it’s all organic, but I’ve given the acai bowls many chances and have always been disappointed—most of the time I don’t even finish them which says a lot seeing as I typically could eat smoothie bowls three meals a day, seven days a week.

The granola tastes burnt (and they put way too much on) and half the time it’s not blended all the way so the texture is icy and chunky. They’re pretty bland, which I guess is good if you need to watch your sugar intake, but if you’re looking for a refreshing summer treat, this is not going to cut it. The almond butter one is a little better than the plain one but it’s still blah. If you do find yourself at Juice Press, I’d recommend customizing your own—don’t go off the menu, and don’t get the granola.

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Phew. I really poured my heart and soul into this post, guys. I don’t know why seeing as no one could possibly care this much about acai bowls, but at least I can now write off a month’s worth of breakfasts as business expenses. #worthit

P.S. Fellow Bostonians, if I missed a place that serves up acai bowls, do me a favor and seriously just don’t even tell me. I’m exhausted.