THE DEAR KATE DIARY

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Athlete Spotlight: Chloie Jonsson

Chloie Jonsson is a CrossFit coach and personal trainer based in Northern California.

Kate: How did you first get into CrossFit?

Chloie: Well I had been active for some time before coming to crossfit. One of my close friends, Jason Lane, was really into cross fit and was always trying to get me to try it. Once I got over being nervous about it I tried it. My first class left me on my knees and gasping for air. BUT i got through it. And from that moment on I was hooked. 

K: What has been the most awesome result/effect of doing CrossFit?

C: Before starting cross fit i always felt limited by what  I could do in regards to lifting weights. When I was 14 I was in an jet ski accident that left me with a shattered pelvis. I couldn’t get out of bed or walk for months. After that the Drs told me that I’d always have to be careful baring weight. So the most awesome result of cross fit has been learning that my body can do and handle a lot more then i ever thought it could. I have by far passed any expectations i had when I 1st started. 

K: Favorite song to play during a workout?

C: This changes all the time. But right now I’d have to say anything with Pitbull in it. 

K: What’s the deal with Paleo? Are you a Paleo eater?

C: I am not Paleo. For my body to preform its best I eat according to what my nutritionist wants me to! Which means meats, rice, potatoes and grains! 

K: Any suggestions for someone who is curious about CrossFit and just starting out?

C: Yes, JUST TRY IT! If you don’t like it you can just not do it again. 
Everything in cross fit can be modified to make it easier. So beginners are always welcome! 

Follow Chloie on Instagram and Facebook.

Athlete Spotlight: Holly Borday

Kate: How did you first get into climbing?  

Holly: I’ve always enjoyed climbing/bouldering and jumping off things whether they were rocks in Vermont’s river gorges or the ocean cliffs on the island I grew up in Rhode Island. Vermont was definitely my first exposure to bouldering and top-roping. Since then, I have always been surrounded by some excellent female climbers whether it has been in the Himalaya, Denmark, Colorado or Austria who have displayed the overarching importance of balance, strength and trust in yourself with the rock. Climbing and bouldering for me has always been about pushing my mind beyond preconceived limitations and a means of embracing what my surroundings can offer.   

K: What brings you to the city, and how do you get your fix here? 

H: A short term project with the UN on climate change in the post-2015 agenda is what has recently brought me to the city. I try to take on the philosophy to somehow make the most of what you can with our surroundings regardless of where we end up. A bike ride home after work every day through the chaotic city and over Manhattan Bridge in time to catch the sunset over the impressive skyline never fails to fill that fix. In a sense, the skyscrapers have become my mountains and I just have to work a bit harder to find the rocks that lay amongst them :)   I am looking forward to Central Park’s boulders and the climbing potential of NY’s mountains outside the city as the weather warms up.

K: What do you take with you on a bouldering trip?

H: Bouldering matt, climbing shoes, chalk , a shock proof camera, map, guitar, and of course, a buddy.

K: Favorite places you’ve bouldered/climbed?

H: In Austria (pictured above)I did a full via ferrata (protected climbing route) along the ridge of the Nordkettenbahnen peaks above Innsbruck, Austria where I could see into both Italy and Germany. The mountain infrastructure there is fantastic with Austrian huts all the way down!

In the U.S., the Boulder Flatirons are beautiful sandstone rock faces with all different grade levels to play around on. The first one (1000+ ft) gives a spectacular view of the city of Boulder and the desert beyond while being on the first slabs that begin the foothills of the Rockies. 

I also lived in the Himalayas for a while, and during my time in the region I hiked Ganda-la pass (16,339 ft)  around some of the most aesthetic granite boulders in the world’s greatest mountain range. I committed myself mainly to trekking while there. The greatest trek was in the Zanskar Trek in the Northern flank of the Great Himalaya Range up to Drang Drung glacier – one of India’s biggest glaciers. I am looking forward to a a bouldering/climbing trip to a paradise called Hampi in Southern India which I am very stoked for!

K: Your prefect trail mix recipe?

H: Chocolate covered almonds, cashews, cherries. Maple syrup granola a must!

Athlete Spotlight: Chloe Kernaghan

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Kate: How did you first get into yoga?

Chloe: I started practicing when I first moved to New York for NYU. It was something my movement teachers in school would reference and use to warm us up. I eventually started to go to yoga classes around the downtown area to take a break from the madness of school and work. What I initially just considered to be a practice of stretching and strengthening, has since opened my world to ideas of love, how to live life more completely, and just work on being a more invested human being… intense but pretty awesome- and now there’s really no turning back! 

K: You just came back from leading a yoga retreat to India. How has that impacted your practice?

C: On our retreat we were mostly in a really small, spiritual town called Vrindavan. To just be around such sacred spaces, you notice a palpable shift in atmosphere. India has this crazy mix of madness and tranquility- so for me it was definitely a learning experience on how to deal with my own practice. There is such importance to keeping sacred things respected… its given me perspective with the way I move through a yoga class- even if its a quick paced vinyasa- making room for the sacred moments of the practice, letting each posture have some root in that. The trip gave me a moment to refresh my thoughts on why I do yoga, and especially how am I practicing yoga. 

K: Favorite song to play during a workout?

C: I have a strange soft spot for listening to the Cranberries when I practice… Dolores O’Riordan will always be a queen in my book.

K: Go-to post-yoga snack?

C: Avocado! In different variations… 

K: How do you use yoga to stay chilled out in this fast paced city?

C: Yoga is amazing for relieving stress and giving you the time and space for reflection. I know if I can do a home practice or get to a group class in the city, my day will be 100 times better because the practice is nourishing not just for the physical body but also the mind, emotions, etc etc etc…. I could talk for years on the benefits! Even if I don’t have time for a full practice on a busy day- I try and make time for just 20 minutes of longer held postures and pranayama- pigeon, seated forward bend, plough, hero’s pose- this will keep me grounded midst all the rushing around from place to place I do. 

You can find Chloe’s class schedule and contact for private bookings on her website, and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Athlete Spotlight: Rebeccah Wassner

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Rebeccah Wassner is a three-time winner of the New York City Triathlon, holds records on the Philadelphia and Columbia Triathlon courses, and was a member of the US National Team in the 2006-2007 season. She and her twin sister, Laurel, are both professional triathletes here in New York. 

Kate: How did you first get into triathlons?

Rebeccah: I ran Division 1 cross country and track in college and one of my teammates was a former professional triathlete from Australia. I learned about triathlon through him, but after graduating went on to pursue a career as a CPA. I remained a competitive runner, competing in the NYRR races and then started swimming again at Chelsea Piers. There I met some recreational triathletes and they showed me the ropes about the cycling piece of triathlon and from there I was hooked.

K: What are you doing for your training regimen?

R: I train 6 to 7 days a week. Each day is different, but usually involves a mix of swimming, biking, running, Pilates, TRX and stretching. I work with a coach who provides me with a daily training schedule. 

K: How do you juggle being a mom and a professional athlete?

R: The biggest challenge with being a mom and a professional athlete is scheduling. What works best for me is treating my training like an 8:30-5:30 job. I fit all of my training in during these hours. That way I can be with Amy when she gets up in the morning and finished with everything in time to have a relaxing evening when my husband gets home from work.  As far as racing goes, my parents have been very supportive, coming to races and taking care of Amy or coming to stay with us while I travel. 

K: You cover some serious distances while training. Where is your favorite place to trainer?

R: My favorite place to train is New Paltz, NY, specifically, the Mohonk Preserve. It’s a very beautiful and unique place and the running trails are the best I’ve ever run on. 

K: Your twin is also a professional triathlete. Are you competitive with one another?

R: We are very competitive with one another, but in a supportive, sisterly way. We constantly push each other to do better or get faster. 

Check out their website, and follow Rebeccah on Instagram @athletefood and on Twitter @athletefood and @becwassner.

Athlete Spotlight: Layla Luciano

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Kate:  How did you first get into martial arts/kickboxing?

Layla: I started martial arts when I was 5! I’ve always had way too much energy for my own good, my parents put me in every sport possible hoping I would expend at least half of my energy outside of the house. Martial arts became a way of life for me from a very young age. Not only just learning different techniques and katas but also how to develop harmony between the mind, body and spirit. I started boxing, kickboxing and Muy Thai when I became a first degree black belt.

K: We hear that you’re a third degree black belt in karate. How long did it take you to reach that level?

L: Since the dojo was like my second home and I was very passionate about martial arts, I earned my black belt very quickly at the age of 13. I earned my third degree black belt around the age of 18. 

K: Current favorite song to play in class?

L: Waka Flocka - No Handz (CRNKN remix)

K: Go-to breakfast?

L: Spirutein protein shake with almond milk, scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, whole wheat toast.

K: Your classes are famous in NYC for a reason. How do you motivate your students?

L: I teach every class like its a performance; my last performance. Everything from music, to lighting, to energy has to be on point! My motivation is 100% sassy and funny, always no nonsense and individualized. Pushing every single client to the max, whether it be one more rep, a deeper squat, better form, faster speed, my goal is for every one of my clients to reach the goals they are after and that only comes by motivating to push past their comfort zone! If I expect them to give me all they got, I make sure I give them all I got! 

Layla teaches at Barry’s Bootcamp in NYC, so be on the look out for her signature cardio kickboxing class making a comeback in the scene this spring/summer. Stay connected through social media for more info!
She does personal training as well.

Follow Layla on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @laylaluciano and check out her website.

Athlete Spotlight: Emily Stillings

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Kate: What types of dance have you studied, and which is your favorite?

Emily: I have studied many types of dance including ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, modern, pointe, tap, and hip hop.  My favorite style is definitely ballet because I love refining my technique but I also enjoy grooving it out in hip hop as well.

K: Highlight or most awesome moment of your dance career? 

E: Dancing for a Neon Trees music video was one of the most awesome moments of my dance career.  It was so fun seeing what goes on behind the scenes and getting to dance for a band that is so well known.  

K: What is your dream dancing gig?

E: I have so many dream dancing gigs; it’s hard to pick just one.  One big one is to have the opportunity to dance with Beyoncé because who wouldn’t want to dance with Beyoncé! 

K: Favorite non-dance workout?

E: I love working out because it helps me with the strength aspects of dance.  You will usually catch me at the gym doing circuit training or taking a pilates class.  

K: Who is your biggest inspiration?

E: My biggest inspiration would have to be my mom.  She works really hard and inspires me to work hard too.  I would not be able to be a dancer without her love and support.  

Follow Emily on Instagram and Twitter @emilystillings, and on her website and Facebook.  

how to make a flower crown

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When we first found out about 2h Flowers, my eyes immediately went to their flower crown. I was one of those girls who could never quite get the dandelions to stay together in a circle and besides, the 2h crowns are 10x prettier than your run-of-the-mill-kid-made flower crown. So when Kelly agreed to model for us for our Vera collection, I knew we also had to get the inside scoop on how to put together a grown-up flower crown. Here are her tips from start to finish (thanks for sharing Kelly)!

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-ramie-wrapped rustic wire to form crown 
-green fine gauge wire
-wire cutters
-some hardy varieties: we used nigella, tweedia, and seeded eucalyptus (from L-R)
(Supplies can be purchased at most hardware stores or at jamaligarden.com).

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Unroll the rustic wire and size by wrapping around your head. Cut piece 2-3 inches longer than your measurement. Wrap the two ends around each other, creating an adjustable crown frame. Cut several 3-4” pieces of fine gauge wire. Trim your selected floral elements leaving about 1” of stem.

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Starting with the strongest variety, layout the pieces in a staggered line and then wrap a piece of wire around the stems, attaching them to the crown frame.

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Group together 2-3 more elements, creating a mini bunch. holding the stems securely, wrap another piece of wire around the grouped pieces, attaching them to the crown frame. 

Repeat the wiring process until all pieces are added.

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Modeled by Kelly herself!

Tips for balanced yoga poses from Kristin McGee

I kept hearing rave reviews of Kristin McGee so when we met and she offered for me to come to a yoga class a couple weeks ago, I couldn’t say no. Not only has she trained celebrities, she starred in a Body by Bethenny series (read: she’s incredibly in shape). Despite her somewhat legendary reputation, she is super sweet and down to earth in person. I took her class on Valentine’s Day morning and it started my day off on the perfect note (including no guilt in promptly heading over to Magnolia Bakery after for cupcakes with heart sprinkles).

It was truly the first time that my body experienced “flow” during a yoga class. I’m not sure if there’s a specific definition for that term, but in my mind that’s what happened. The room was packed and we listened as Kristin guided us through a series of non-stop stretches. The poses fit my body and rather than fighting against it as I have done in some previous classes, the poses felt smooth and comfortable. 

After class Kristin and I had a mini photoshoot where we snapped shots of a few of her favorite poses and she shared her tips on them below for Dear Kate fans. Read on for her advice!

xo, Julie 

ps. To hear more tips from Kristin, follow her @thebendigirl on Twitter & Instagram and check out her website and Facebook

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Reverse Warrior

Step with your feet about one leg length apart. Turn your right foot forward 90 degrees and your left toes in about 45 degrees. Bend your right knee deeply until it’s over the foot into warrior two, and lean your torso to your back leg. Drop your left hand down onto your left leg. Hold and breathe 3-5 breaths and switch sides. Tips for this pose:

Make sure that your  front knee doesn’t roll in, don’t put too much weight into your back hand, use your abs and obliques.

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Cupid’s day is almost upon us… share your stories of how he missed the mark!
Tweet to dearkates with #worstdateever OR email stories/video clips to jenna@dearkates.com.
Winners will be revealed on Valentine’s Day, and will receive a code for one free pair of their choice.

Cupid’s day is almost upon us… share your stories of how he missed the mark!

Tweet to dearkates with #worstdateever OR email stories/video clips to jenna@dearkates.com.

Winners will be revealed on Valentine’s Day, and will receive a code for one free pair of their choice.