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Lifestyle

three individuals - two women and one male - stand next to each other
Lifestyle

Connect with the Hottest Trainers in Miami Using Motto

It's no secret that Miami is a city with tons of talented fitness professionals. Now, Motto - a new fitness concierge platform, is allowing you to discover and book the hottest trainers in town for individuals and groups.

RELATED: 25 Miami Fitness Trainers You Need to Follow in 2021

Motto solves the common challenge of discovering and booking high-quality, trusted personal trainers by giving you access to their community of vetted and hand-selected talent across four cities (Miami, Palm Beach, New York City & the Hamptons). Users can book trainers who offer strength & HIIT, boxing, yoga and pilates with different session types.

“We created this platform because we needed it and recognized this would help the industry,” said Co-Founder, Leanna Brittis. “We are hoping that Motto refocuses the industry and provides a safe and trusted place for people to turn to.”

Motto offers personalized training for individuals and groups of all sizes with no upfront or subscription fees - only the price of the session, this provides users with the flexibility to try various trainers and workout types without commitment. These sessions can be booked at home, a location of your choice or virtually.

  • 1-on-1 (1 person): Individual session to improve one’s mental and physical health
  • Social Sessions (2-4 people): Small group training to get social with friends, colleagues or clients
  • Group Classes (5-15 people): Group workouts that allow the client create a class to bring together friends, coworkers, bridesmaids etc

Trainers build out their profiles and list their own rates and availability for clients to choose from. Motto allows for direct messaging between users and trainers should they need to request a specific availability that may not be listed on a trainer's schedule.

For more information, visit https://bookmotto.com/welcome



It's no secret that Miami is a city with tons of talented fitness professionals. Now, Motto - a new fitness concierge platform, is allowing you to discover and book the hottest trainers in town for individuals and groups.

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Body oil for soft smooth skin
Lifestyle

5 Body Oils for Sexy, Soft, and Smooth Skin

At some point, we’re not quite sure when, we ditched body lotion and began moisturizing with body oils. Given our hot and humid climate, one might think that body oils are too heavy for us Floridians, but the truth is, there are so many lightweight and fast-absorbing oils that they are in fact the perfect option to keep skin healthy and hydrated. The trick is to apply right after your shower, giving skin the ultimate glow-up. Here are our top 5 finds. 

At some point, we’re not quite sure when, we ditched body lotion and began moisturizing with body oils. Given our hot and humid climate, one might think that body oils are too heavy for us Floridians, but the truth is, there are so many lightweight and fast-absorbing oils that they are in fact the perfect option to keep skin healthy and hydrated. The trick is to apply right after your shower, giving skin the ultimate glow-up. Here are our top 5 finds!

1. Versed Keep It Supple Body Oil 

First we fell in love with the mess-free, mist-on application of this quick-absorbing formula and then the delicate, floral scent of ylang ylang oil, one of many oils in this affordable body oil. This sustainable and clean brand blends sweet almond, macadamia nut, and coconut oils with nourishing calendula flower extract and vitamin E to keep skin supple. Hence the name. $15,  versedskin.com, @versed 

2. Jordan Samuel Skin Olio Per Il Corpo Body Oil 

Formulated by a former professional ballet dancer, the ingredient list reads more like a salad. Inspired by the Sicilian countryside it includes antioxidant rich, Grapeseed Oil and Tomato Extract along with anti-inflammatory Broccoli Seed Oil, Mango Citrus Fruit Blend, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Olive Leaf Extract among others.  Not only does this soothe our skin, but it has the most intoxicating, sweet-smelling Citrus scent  that does in fact transport you via your senses to Italy. $32, https://jordansamuelskin.com@jordansamuelskin 

3. African Botanics Firming Botanical Oil

Hydrate and firm with this 100% cold-pressed oil that combines the firming and restorative benefits of antioxidant rich and nutrient dense Pinotage Grape, Marula, Moringa, Kalahari Melon and Rose extract, which have firming and toning benefits. Ever so slightly scented this is our go to when we need a little extra firmness or spent too much time in the sun 

$130, Africanbotanics.com, @africanbotanics  

4. J.R. Watkins LOVE Body Oil Mist

This oil mist has a powerful blend of natural pink peppercorn and guarana, both of which may boost sexual desire and stimulation which is an added perk. It also hydrates with sunflower seed oil extracts, jojoba seed oil and apricot kernel oil along with summery scents peony and patchouli that left us loving how our skin felt. $15, jrwatkins.com@jr_watkins

5. NEOM Perfect Night’s Sleep Body Oil 

Prepare your body and mind for a restful night with this oil that includes a complex blend of 19 essential oils to help you ease into sleep including English lavender, along with sweet basil and jasmine. The nourishing and skin softening blend also includes safflower oil, jojoba oil and rosehip oil to keep skin soft. $40, neomorganics.com, @neomorganics 

woman standing in front of a stair case
Lifestyle

MYP Athletes Sees Increase in Demand for Meditation Services from Athlete Clients

I began to notice a shift in the types of needs more and more of these athletes were having. As a result of them beginning to resonate with and ask for mindfulness/meditation work, as well as Pilates, I knew that this was an opportunity for MYP to fully serve as a go-to for “working in.”

When “MYP Athletes” was created, athletes were, of course, the primary focus. I also knew it was time to offer more than just yoga, which I had already been offering for years. I began to notice a shift in the types of needs more and more of these athletes were having. As a result of them beginning to resonate with and ask for mindfulness/meditation work, as well as Pilates, I knew that this was an opportunity for MYP to fully serve as a go-to for “working in.” Therefore, adding both of these to the mix was a no-brainer. I know first hand how valuable these forms of “working in” are, as they ultimately allow an individual to keep cultivating and creating the energy needed to continue performing and working out. This was why offering more than one option seemed to be what made my brand and vision feel complete. Except it wasn’t.

RELATED: Bend Like a Pro with These 10 Athletic Yoga Poses

Once again, I realized there was more to “MYP Athletes” than I was tapping in to. After working with athletes at all levels, as well as people who push their bodies and minds like athletes do, I realized that “MYP Athletes” was meant to serve more people. The people I am referring to, for example, are those who are low on time because they already commit themselves to working out almost as much as athletes do; those who consistently prioritize bettering themselves, not just physically, but also mentally; and those who fully understand the importance of recovery and taking care of their mind, body, and spirit, yet don’t necessarily want togo to a yoga or Pilates studio.

In essence, “MYP Athletes” is here to help the real MVP’s: the ones who are committed, willing, and connected to not just being the best, but also feeling the best. The ones who prioritize “working in” just as much as working out.

We offer an all-encompassing online sanctuary consisting of body-part specific recovery, homeostasis attainment, add-ons to current fitness regimens, and convenient + on-the-go videos. This is by design to create the ultimate mind-body connection so that you can heal, perform all tasks better, and enhance your current skill set.

“MYP Athletes” is here for you if being a yogi isn’t your thing, but you still connect to the actual practice of yoga facilitating recovery, healing, and feeling your best. We got you covered without the yogi flair. MYP is here for you if having to drive and show up to yet another class just isn’t for you. We got you covered with several types of classes/categories to help you “work in” at various durations. MYP is here for you if you know you need to “work in,” but staying within a budget is also a priority. We got you covered with a 7-day complimentary trial and a $29/month membership. MYP is here for you if adding anything else to your schedule is just not practical. We got you covered with time-efficient classes, as short as10 minutes, to add-on to your current fitness regimen. MYP Athletes is here for you if you feel like a novice at this work or even intimidated by it. We goty ou covered with classes you can access from your phone, tablet, or computer in the privacy of your home, backyard, hotel room, or office. MYP Athletes has been made with YOU in mind.

Life is meant to be lived feeling good and being your very best from the inside out. Join the team. We are waiting for you.

Model in barbell-printed athleisure
Lifestyle

Get Ready for Serious Savings and an Insane New Wardrobe Thanks to Miami Sample

We’ve been keeping a secret, but in the interest of sharing is caring, we are going to let you in on it. It’s called Miami Sample, and it’s the best thing that has happened to our wardrobe. We’ve been shopping the site since its initial launch and finally caught up with the Founder Bree Feibischoff to get the scoop on Miami Sample. 

We’ve been keeping a secret, but in the interest of sharing is caring, we are going to let you in on it. It’s called Miami Sample, and it’s the best thing that has happened to our wardrobe. Miami Sample is an online sample sale site that offers the most incredible sales on top athletic wear brands, think Heroine Sport, Year of Ours, Beach Riot, Koral, APL sneaker and brace yourself because this Thursday, September 9, they are launching Adam Selman Sport at 12PM. There will be sizes ranging from XXS-XXL along with all types of inventory: bras, leggings, hoodies, crop tops, skirts, etc. and at crazy discounts, of course. 

We’ve been shopping the site since its initial launch and finally caught up with the Founder Bree Feibischoff to get the scoop on Miami Sample. 

Bree with her dog

Miami Sample is the best kept secret (until now). Tell us a bit about how you got started? 

I moved to Miami From NYC in 2019 and found myself flying back to New York for sample sales on weekends. Sample Sales were a part of my daily schedule in NYC and I just couldn't understand how Miami didn’t have them. My background is advertising- I was a copywriter at an agency in New York. I figured, if I’m here with the NYC work ethic, a background in advertising and a cool idea, why not just go for it? I quit my job and decided to go all in on a concept that to me was a no-brainer. Who doesn’t like discounts?

You launched right when COVID shut things down. Did you have to pivot to online or was that always part of the plan?

Online sample sales were never really a thing! My store opened in March of 2020 and had a 2-hour wait to get into the first weekend we opened. After launching with such great momentum and then being told I had to close my doors two weeks later, I knew I had to pivot and make it work online. COVID created an environment where stores were canceling brands’ orders, and it gave a lot of the companies no choice, but to let us do the sales online. Brands didn’t really want to show sample sale prices online, but we got creative with ways of keeping it “exclusive” to our following.

Tell us how the sales work? VIP vs open to the public? 

We are open to the public for over 90% of our sales, but we do have a VIP program, called VICE, which not only grants our VICE members early access to our sales, but gives exclusive invitations to some of our smaller-inventory, high-demand sales.

In addition to the killer activewear and athleisure brands, you also have insane sales on accessories, home décor and top name designers? How do these collabs come to be? 

On the B2B side most of our sales and connections come from word of mouth. We’ve maintained great relationships with our partner brands which not only allows us to host great sales, but leads to most of our new sales which come from referrals. I am super picky with the brands we work with for being such a young company! I think it’s extremely important to work with brands that appeal to our customers and our own brand! I basically study our followers in my down time. What do they like? Who are they? Where are they from? Do they like trends or classics? Where do they vacation? LOL I want to know everything so that I can work with brands that they genuinely love. I’m obsessed with our insta-fam.

Dream sale?

Easy - Golden Goose. Our favorite types of sales are luxury items that most people don't splurge on, so that we can allow them to purchase at affordable price points without going too over their budget.

Tell us about you, Bree:

I’m a total weirdo. I hate water. I don’t sleep. California rolls only at a sushi restaurant. The epitome of unpopular opinions. I work all day long and love every second of it. I hate people that say “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life” and yet I find myself saying it...all the time. I love to gamble. Let’s play craps!

What’s your favorite way to sweat? 

Any way as long as it’s while working out. And it doesn’t count unless it’s a LOT of sweat. But the second I’m sweating outside of a workout, in hot weather, sauna, meat sweats…. it’s game over. Find me the nearest shower ASAP.

Favorite studio(s)?

Solidcore has changed my body, but Tone House in NYC is where I will always return to if I want to feel humbled.

Favorite instructor’s class? 

Kira Stokes used to have a 90 minute class in NYC on Monday nights that turned into a 2.5 hour class weekly. We were all in it together and the class became a family. I haven’t found that in Miami yet, but you can find me at Solidcore every single day at 8:10 AM. Every instructor is equally successful at torturing me there!

Do you prefer solo workouts or are you more of a sweat-with-a-friend type of active? 

I’m actually a sweat-with-a-rando type of active. I’m so competitive by nature that I like to keep my friends separate from my workouts LOL. But give me a rando on a treadmill next to me at Barry’s and you better believe we will be racing the entire class. Or at least I’ll secretly be racing them.

Favorite healthy place to grab a bite? 

Pura Vida never fails.

How do you take your coffee? 

Often. Like 3 or 4 times a day. Iced with almond milk, no sugar.

What are three things we will never find you without? 

  1. Sweatpants
  2. My intern who happens to be a mini goldendoodle
  3. GUM. I never am not chewing gum!

Anything else you can share with us? 

If you ever see something when you’re shopping that you don’t want to spend the money on, slide into my DM’s. I’ll get you a sample sale. And if you ever find a great workout class in Miami, let me know, I’ll do it with you! Will never turn down a workout class :)

Be sure to follow Miami Sample on Instagram (@miamisample) as they post teasers, flash deals for followers and to stay tuned for the latest upcoming sales. And subscribe to their list online https://miamisample.com


National Hydration Day
Lifestyle

Stay Fit, Stay Hydrated - 4 Ways To Replenish on National Hydration Day

It’s officially summer and it’s officially hot. The humidity is back in full effect making us even more susceptible to dehydration, which can show up as muscle pain, headaches among other symptoms. In honor of National Hydration Day today, we’re sharing some of our favorite ways to stay hydrated. 

It’s officially summer and it’s officially hot. The humidity is back in full effect making us even more susceptible to dehydration, which can show up as muscle pain and headaches, among other symptoms. In honor of National Hydration Day today, we’re sharing some of our favorite ways to stay hydrated. 

1. Jovē 

This 100% purified water (pronounced Jo-V) is made with proprietary Advanced Cellular Hydration Technology™ that is clinically shown to provide proper skin and cellular hydration to support healthy, vibrant living. Jovē alkaline water goes down smoothly with pH 9.5+ and contains an exclusive patented liquid silica, an essential mineral that increases alkalinity. It is also charged with electrons, a primary source of energy for our body and cells. We love the one-liter sized bottles, which can be found at Publix and on Amazon. Drinkjove.com, @drinkjove


2. Aquarian Sky CBD Water

We’re fans of CBD for everything from muscle recovery to anxiety, so this sparkling water that combines medically researched, patent-pending Tanasi™ formula of CBD/CBDa along with 100 other cannabinoids excites us. This full-spectrum, CBD-infused bubbly beverage that is made under the stars in Florida with local, fresh ingredients and natural spring water, is not only vegan, but it also contains no sugar, no carbs, and no caffeine. Aquarian Sky Sparkling Water is available in four flavors, Original, Grapefruit, Mojito, and Black Cherry and can be purchased in six-packs for $30 and cases of 24 for $76. Aquariansky.co, @aquarianskyh2o


3. HALO Sport

Skip the popular sports drinks and opt for this lightly-flavored, reverse osmosis water with organic ingredients. HALO Sport is infused with lemon juice and re-mineralized with the brand’s bespoke formula of electrolytes, vitamins A, C and E, trace minerals and ionic magnesium harvested from Utah’s Great Salt Lake, as well as antioxidant rice Amla berry. Your body will be thanking you for keeping it hydrated and helping it fight against oxidative stress. It’s hard to choose our favorite flavor from their line up of Blood Orange, Pineapple, Peach, Lemonade, Black Cherry, Tangerine, Pink Lemonade, and Lime, but we do love that it’s only 10 calories per and has 2g of sugar per bottle. ($23.99/12 pack) halohydration.com, @halohydration 


Drink Your Vibes

Something as simple as a water bottle can make all the difference when trying to drink half your body weight in water. Drink Your Vibes bottle is a 1-liter, chic-looking, BPA-free bottle with a wide mouth that not only features timestamps to keep you on track of your water intake throughout the day, but also has a high vibe words like gratitude, health, love, abundance marked on the every hour starting at 8 am until 7 pm along with a refill reminder. $33, drinkyourvibes.com, @drinkyourvibes


Father's Day Gift Guide
Lifestyle

Shop For Pops - 5 Father’s Day Gift Ideas

When it comes to shopping for dad, let’s leave gifting him ties a thing of the past. Rather, this Father’s Day, help the male role model in your life look and feel his best with these gifts that will certainly wow. 

When it comes to shopping for dad, let’s leave gifting him ties a thing of the past. Rather, this Father’s Day, help the male role model in your life look and feel his best with these five gifts that will certainly wow. 


1. Liteboxer

Yes, it’s a splurge, but dad deserves to be in frightening shape. Litboxer is not your ordinary punching bag. This freestanding, lightweight device is a first-of-its-kind fitness platform that provides a heart-pounding, full-body and sensory experience, boxing workout. By combining advanced gaming technology, music, and expert training all-in-one platform, dad will be ready to rumble. Liteboxer costs $1,495 and $29 for the subscription service, Liteboxer.com, @liteboxer


2. Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager

We’re pretty sure at some time in your life you’ve been a pain in dad’s neck. But we’ve found the perfect solution for stress related to nagging kids, work, or stress the body endures from a hard workout. For at-home or on-the-go relief this Shiatsu Massager for Neck and Back features 16 massager nodes that will provide instant relief of aches, knots, and muscle tension. With three strength modes and infrared heat, muscle tension will melt away. $46, Amazon.com 


3. Biography

Not all men are great at taking care of their skin, because let’s be honest, skincare can oftentimes be complicated and overwhelming. Enter Biography Few Words Oil. This luxurious face oil that is cruelty-free, paraben-free, free of fillers, mineral oils, preservatives, alcohol and water protects skin from razor burn, moisturizes itchy and dry skin, prevents ingrown hairs, bumps & nicks, and promotes beard growth. $52, Bazaar Project Coconut Grove, biographynyc.com, @dearbiography


4. Revtown

No dad jeans here. Revtown’s premium jeans are designed with the performance and comfort of athletic pants, but with the look and feel of designer jeans and are touted as “the most comfortable jeans on the planet.” Launched by former Under Armour executives, Revtown allows for shopping by fit as well as by using their online  “digital tailor” sizing tool, which offers 96% accuracy. Stylist and sustainable, 100% of all waste is recycled, and their denim is sustainably dyed using shrimp shells, orange peels, and nutshells – saving energy, water, and using fewer chemicals in the process. Jeans start at $79, Revtownusa.com, @revtown 


5. Mizzen+Main

You got him the jeans, now complete the look with Mizzen + Main, shirts designed to be wrinkle resistant, and featuring four-way stretch and moisture wicking fabric that will have dad looking and feeling cool. You can shop their dress shirts, but we suggest the Leeward Vacation Shirt (Classic or Trim fit) available in Blue and Green Palm Print, as it gives off that Miami vibe. $88,  mizzenandmain.com, @mizzenandmain 

Miami-based Beauty
Lifestyle

3 New Miami-Based Beauty Brands To Help Get Your Glow On

Check out these three Miami-based products to help you get your glow on.

Check out these three Miami-based products to help you get your glow on.

1. Careen

We’re suckers for body oils so when we first heard about Careen’s vegan, plant, and sea-based line with no artificial fragrance and no artificial dyes, we had to check it out. We fell instantly in love with both the Renewing and Illuminating Body oils and have an equal affinity for the body scrubs and body soaks. Launched during the pandemic by Kristen Panebianco, Careen is perfect for soothing skin and detoxing sore muscles as the salt-based products combine Dead Sea, Epsom salt, Himalayan salt, and regular sea salt for deep detoxification.  Plus the packing, shipping, and bottling products are recyclable, and some elements, when noted, are compostable. Going the extra step, Careen also recycles all the waste from making the products and has a composting partnership with Compost for Life Miami for the products that use fresh fruit peels. https://www.careen.us, @careen.us 

2. NĀELI

This all-natural skincare company caught our attention with its simple yet chic packaging and “free-off” ingredient list -- free of harsh chemicals, paraben-free, MEA/DEA/TEA free, sulfate-free, dye-free, synthetic fragrance-free, phthalate-free, Dimethicone free, Silicone free resulting in us feeling worry-free about what we’re putting on our skin. The brand name NĀELI means “the truth will be revealed,” and they’ve set out to make the collection clean, effective, and affordable. The standout for us is the  4.25% Retinoid Collagen Night Moisturizer ($26) as its lightweight formula smoothes into the skin and delivers a collagen and elastin boost with its retinol, Hyaluronic Acid, and peptides. Plus the lemongrass scent makes the application a spa-like experience. https://naelinaturals.com, @naelinaturals 

3. CTRL

If you have sensitive skin, finding products that are effective yet non-irritating can sometimes be a challenge. Until now. CTRL created a collection of skincare (and some killer lipglosses) that uses effective and natural ingredients that target sensitive skin without feeling “too clinical” and are also affordable. The Rejuvenation Facial Polish uses amber granules to gently exfoliate skin and the honey and vanilla-infused polish is hydrating and soothing on the skin and the senses. And since there is no avoiding our hot, humid summers, the Paradise Smooth Moisturizing Gel, will be your new BFF. This oil-free formula is extremely lightweight, instantly absorbs, and doesn't leave you feeling greasy. It helps to minimize pores while keeping skin hydrated with botanical antioxidants like Snow Algae, Vitamin A-rich Cloudberry, and Caffeine, which also work to revive dull skin, support collagen and boost skin defenses. https://ctrlcosmetics.com, @ctrlcosmetic


J.Lo at Anatomy South Beach Miami
Lifestyle

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Spotted Together on Gym Outing to Anatomy

As reported by Page Six and ET Online, J.Lo and Ben Affleck worked out at Anatomy Sunset Harbour today and sources say they were very affectionate.

As reported by Page Six, J.Lo and Ben Affleck worked out at Anatomy Sunset Harbour today and sources say they were very affectionate.

Anatomy is a notorious fan-favorite for celebrities who visit Miami.

Photo of J.Lo and Ben Affleck by MEGA for PageSix.com

Check out the full story here.

Gen E Fintech App
Lifestyle

Climate Action With Every Transaction with Gen E

The climate crisis can feel overwhelming. It is hard to feel like one person can have an impact. Now with the recently launched Generation Environment or Gen E phone app, becoming more climate-friendly is easier than ever.

The climate crisis can feel overwhelming. It is hard to feel like one person can have an impact. Now with the recently launched Generation Environment or Gen E phone app, becoming more climate-friendly is easier than ever.

Gen E is a climate fintech app that combines the tools of financial management apps, the perks of having your own philanthropy fund, and a social feed filled with the positive actions of a like-minded community stepping up to protect the planet.

The idea was started by Kristen Kammerer after she reconnected with her passion for nature and the environment.

"I thought about how I can make an impact on climate change,” said Kammerer. “It is hard to make lifestyle changes; even if you care about climate change, you have to be really dedicated."

Kammerer created Gen E to make climate change seamless and easy. Her goal was to automatically give back to the planet with every purchase as a way to stand up for what she believes in her daily life. She knew she had to seamlessly fit into other people’s lifestyles in order for people to adopt this climate action as an easy entry point in leading a more climate-friendly life.  

While it may be hard to avoid the way society is built, there are things we can do within our own lifestyles to give back even while taking from the planet. Now Gen E makes it easy to create a positive reaction and maximize your impact.

Once you download the app, you can tailor your support to vetted organizations working on climate solutions. It rounds up the change from your everyday purchases and donates it to the organization of your choosing on a monthly basis.  You can add more impact by planting trees, for example, and all their impact and tax receipts are stored in the app.    

Gen E allows you to take back some control and stand up for the planet in your everyday life by giving back to it – your way – every time you swipe that card.

"If you have the means, this is the easiest most impactful way an individual can take action on climate change,” said Kammerer. “This is the first step into living a more climate-friendly life. Once you see how easy it is and raise awareness of the environmental impact, it can be a positive snowball effect of starting to do more."

Download Gen E for both Apple and Google phones or find out more about the app by heading to generationenvironment.com.


Susan Cote
Lifestyle

You're Only As Good As Your Gut. It's Time to Take Care of It

For those of us striving for ripped abs or the coveted six-pack, let’s take time out to look at what’s underneath those abdominal muscles. The gastrointestinal system, also known as your GI tract or gut, has a lot to do with how healthy you are.

For those of us striving for ripped abs or the coveted six-pack, let’s take time out to look at what’s underneath those abdominal muscles. The gastrointestinal system, also known as your GI tract or gut, has a lot to do with how healthy you are.

“Our gut plays a major role, not only in our gastrointestinal health, but in the health and well-being of the entire body,” says Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Get to Know Your Gut

Your microbiome is as much your body’s footprint as your DNA. It is unique to you.

Your microbiome is an ecosystem that resides inside your gut, specifically your large intestine (colon).  You are the host to 100 trillion microbes and you want to keep the good microbes happy so they proliferate and stick around. On the other hand, like a bouncer at your favorite nightclub, you want to discourage the trouble maker microbes from getting out of control.

Without taking a deep dive into human anatomy or advanced nutrition, the gut is often referred to as our second brain. Your gut and your brain are constantly communicating.  Your gut sends a message to your brain which then helps us to determine what, when, how much and how fast to eat and drink.

Your gut is where 90% of the body’s serotonin (the happy hormone) is produced. In fact most of our emotions are generated in our gut, not our brain. Since serotonin regulates our appetite, body temperature, sleep cycles and sexual desire, we definitely want more of this happy hormone.

Taking Care of Your Gut

So what foods can you eat to increase your levels of serotonin naturally to keep your appetite in check, body temperature regulated, sleep like a baby and boost your libido? Consuming foods that contain the essential amino acid, tryptophan, which aids in production of serotonin are lean protein like: salmon, chicken, turkey, eggs, spinach, nuts and seeds, dairy and soy products.

Regular exercise and exposure to light can also help increase your serotonin levels. In South Florida, we get plenty of natural sunlight, so get outside to soak up those rays for a minimum of 20-30 minutes per day. If you have any history of skin cancer, then obviously take precaution. People who hail from more Northern states can experience a depression known as SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder, during the winter season due to shorter days of light.

How to Reward Your Gut

Another hormone generated in our gut is dopamine also known as our reward hormone. Dopamine is a brain chemical or neurotransmitter that influences your mood, and is associated with pleasure and reward. And who doesn’t like to be rewarded? When your brain is expecting to be rewarded, the hormone dopamine is released. An imbalance in the levels of both of these hormones have been linked to anxiety, aggressive behavior, and depression.

For your body to make dopamine, consume foods that contain the amino acid Tyrosine. Tyrosine containing foods include almonds, bananas, avocados, beans, fish, chicken and eggs.

Balance the portion of animal protein on your plate by adding lots of plant-based foods: cruciferous veggies like cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli and Brussel sprouts and don’t forget your leafy greens like arugula, collards, kale, microgreens, spinach, Swiss chard and watercress. All of these plant-based carbs help feed the good gut bacteria so they will stick around. Ditch the processed, refined foods full of fat and sugar to discourage those trouble making microbes from proliferating so they don’t take over the party.

You have put in the hard work to get those abs in primo shape, so be a great host to your gut microbes and eat the food that keeps them in balance and happy. Trust your gut, your body will thank you for it.

To find out more about how the Downtown Miami YMCA can help you achieve your health and wellness goals, please contact us at nutrition@ymcasouthflorida.org.

Endospheres Therapy Miami
Lifestyle

Everything You Need to Know About Endosphères Therapy

One of the latest health and wellness trends has come to Miami. You are going to want to try Endosphères Therapy, an innovative treatment that promotes muscle recovery and reduces inflammation.

One of the latest health and wellness trends has come to Miami. You are going to want to try Endosphères Therapy, an innovative treatment that promotes muscle recovery and reduces inflammation.

Endosphères Therapy is a globally recognized treatment that is new to the US market.  A roller device composed of 55 silicon spheres makes up the Compressive Microvibration system, which generates low-frequency mechanical vibrations to rejuvenate, tighten, and tone.

The treatment is enriched with a sensor system, which is a pressure-controlled mechanism that allows it to accurately assess the amount of pressure applied in relation to the type of tissue and the number of sessions already completed.

This method delivers results in as little as one session and is a non-invasive treatment with zero side effects Additionally, the patented technology is backed by seven years of clinical research experience and has been proven effective in physical therapy, injury rehabilitation, and sports medicine. 

For athletes and fitness enthusiasts, Endosphères Therapy can help increase flexibility, relieve minor aches and pains, and promote faster recovery. A single session harnesses the mechanical boost that your body needs to restore homeostasis and aid in injury prevention. 

Endosphères Therapy optimizes body function and helps prevent injury by

  • Reducing pain and inflammation
  • Increasing circulation
  • Boosting lymphatic drainage
  • Strengthening immune function
  • Reducing fibrous tissue
  • Improving muscle tone 

Try Endosphères Therapy for yourself with esthetician Amy Peterson at Skincare by Amy Peterson in Miami Beach.

Miami Mother's Day Gifts
Lifestyle

Celebrate Mom with These Miami-made Gifts

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 9, and if you are stumped on what to get mom, don’t sweat it, we got you covered. From tie-dye essentials and phone chains to a customized bicycle, gift mom with anything from one of these locally-based brands to show her your love and appreciation and possibly win points as the favorite child in the family

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 9, and if you are stumped on what to get mom, don’t sweat it, we got you covered. From tie-dye essentials and phone chains to a customized bicycle, gift mom with anything from one of these locally-based brands to show her your love and appreciation and possibly win points as the favorite child in the family.

Live & Let Dye

We are addicted to Live & Let Dye and have a wardrobe to prove it. For the active mom, the workout T or workout towel is the perfect addition to step up her gym look. Or opt for a T-shirt or hoodie from their best-selling Spider collection. You can also try punching up her kicks with the brand's tie-dye shoelaces.  All pieces are hand-dyed with love in Miami by founder Andrea Carneiro. letsgetdye.com @letsgetdye 

Monde World 

Monde World’s #CountYourBlessings Phone Chains are a must-have item that mom might not know she needs, but trust us, she does. Created by Aliette Monde an artist, designer, and magic maker, one of our favorites from the collection are the heart chains, which feature 124 heart-shaped beads, in Red or Opaque,  Pink Sparkle, Pink Pearl, White Pearl, or Clear,  (totaling at approximately 22” inches long) that are all charged with crystal-infused holy water enhanced with seasonal flower essences, essential oils, and colognes. These high-vibes chains will allow mom to be hands-free and stylish while manifesting her dreams as #124 is an Angel number that comes as a message that cooperation and hard work are needed for the manifestation of your dreams. You can customize your chain with a saying, name, initials, or whatever your heart desires. etsy.com/alittemonde, @mondeworld_

Mumi Design 

Moms are often on the go which sometimes leaves little time for getting in all the nutrients they need to keep themselves nourished and in optimal health. Mumi Design’s Single Does Kit helps to solve that with their convenient, mess-free solution for taking powder supplements (such as protein, collagen, or pre-workout powders) on the go. Featuring 7 single-dose pouches and a wide mouth funnel for a mess-free transfer, the pouches are safely stored in a zip-up bag that is compact to fit into a purse, gym bag, tote, or glove compartment. Mumidesign.com, @mumidesign

OIYA

Gift mom and feed a child with the OIYA, a line of handmade accessories founded by Miami-based Brazilian model and entrepreneur Priscila Zoullas. OIYA donates a portion of each purchase of their colorful jewelry ranging from bracelets to earrings and necklaces to Share The Meal (an initiative of the United Nations World Food Programme). shopoiya.com, @shop.oiya 

Vivelo Bikes

Handmade in Wynwood, Vivelo’s handcrafted classic city bikes, beach cruisers, and choppers are one of a kind, just like mom. Choose from 16 different frame color options, fork, rims, tires, spokes, light, stem, handlebar, grips, brakes, crank, pedals, chain, chain cover, fenders, saddle, saddle springs, stickers, and seat post in all different colors making it totally customized to mom’s likes. Vivelo.com, @vivelobicycles  


CBD Products
Lifestyle

Chill Out This 4/20 With These 10 CBD Infused Must-Haves

This global pandemic threw us all for a loop (to say the very least) and stress and anxiety have been at an all-time high. 4/20, a universal day to chill out, couldn't come at a better time, and to help you weed through all the options of CBD on the market, we share our top 10 picks that will help soothe you from head to toe. 

This global pandemic threw us all for a loop (to say the very least) and stress and anxiety have been at an all-time high. 4/20, a universal day to chill out, couldn't come at a better time, and to help you weed through all the options of CBD on the market, we share our top 10 picks that will help soothe you from head to toe. 


Sweet Sleep

Pure Craft Nano Infused Vegan Gummies are delicious fruit-flavored gummies, infused with USA-grown Nano-Optimized Broad Spectrum CBD,  are our new nightly to-go. Not only do they satisfy our sweet tooth, but also assist with sweet dreams. After a few nights of taking these, we definitely noticed more restful sleep. Be sure to take advantage of Pure Craft CBD’s 420 Day Promo by using code 420Day at checkout. Receive 15% off sitewide (some exclusions apply) through April 20, 2021. Purecraftcbd.com @purecraftcbd


Sun Safety

Nourish and protect your face from the sun and environment with La Gotta Antioxidant Facial Sunscreen with CBD. This sustainable, reef-safe, cruelty-free, CBD sunscreen is designed to fight inflammation, environmental pollution, and sun rays while healing the skin with CBD, vitamins, and antioxidants.  lagottaswimwear.com  @lagottaofficial


Hair Repair

Locks need a little love? VEGAMOUR GRO Hair Serum is a vegan and cruelty-free

serum with micro-encapsulated, full-spectrum CBD to help you achieve fuller-looking hair in as soon as 90 days. Formulated with the brand’s proprietary blend of concentrated mung bean, red clover, curcumin, and nicotiana benthamiana extracts, helps to reach the hair follicles at the root level and aid circulation to “more effectively to strengthen roots and increase the appearance of hair density, thickness, and volume.” Vegamour.com @vegamour 

 

Hand Helper

If your WOD is tearing up your hands, Elina Organics CBD Restoring Hand Cream will lend some help. This rich and nourishing, deep delivery formula with CBD and arnica extract will not only help reduce joint pain and stiffness but will also help to brighten the skin thanks to Vitamin C and birch juice. elinaorganics.com @elinaorganics


Bath Buddy

Whether it be the stress of the day or a tough workout, soothe your body with Resilience Recover CBD Bath Bomb. CBD combines with menthol, Dead Sea salts, eucalyptus, and spearmint essential oils to create a mineral-rich bath that helps sore and achy muscles recover after your toughest days. We love that there are no synthetic fragrances, dyes, or preservatives. resiliencecbd.com @resiliencecbd 


Muscle Recovery


If anyone knows about muscle aches and pains, it’s champion, MMA great Conor McGregor, who is also the founder of TIDL. So when you feel like you went a little too hard, chill out with  TIDL Sport Plant-Powered Cryotherapy Topical Spray (including CBD), which delivers powerful relief through cryotherapy and novel plant science, addressing pain and inflammation directly at the source. Tidlsport.com @tidlsport


Another muscle soother we instantly fell in love with is, HERO CBD Oil + DMSO Roll-On for Pain Relief & Inflammation. First for its no mess roller-ball applicator, and then once we began using it nightly on our legs with our favorite De La Heart Lymphatic Drainage Tool. Infused with a strong dose of CBD, 1500 mg of Full Spectrum CBD oil, to fight pain and inflammation along with DMSO. DMSO quickly penetrates the skin, acts as an anti-inflammatory, as well as acts as a delivery system for the Hemp Oil into the bloodstream. This lightweight, non-greasy oil, works well for joint-, hip-, knee- pain, arthritis, sciatica, menstrual cramps, tension headaches, twisted ankles, and other injuries and aches (or for prepping skin for lymphatic drainage!). https://www.herowse.com @hero_wse


Monthly Relief

Ladies, for those of you that experience monthly menstrual pain, The Ritual is a 1,200 mg Full Spectrum CBD balm devoted to minimizing the pain that comes with your period. 

Formulated with non-GMO, pesticide-free, organically grown U.S. hemp to soothe your aches, the company also donates a portion of proceeds to help The Last Prisoner Project and The Period Movement. Enufperiod.com, @enufperiod


Bedroom Bestie

To quote George Michael’s I Want Your Sex “sex is natural, sex is fun...” except when there’s discomfort. Enter: Foria Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD, a topical that works with your body to enhance pleasure, ease discomfort, and help make great sex even better with a blend of broad-spectrum CBD and organic botanicals. Awaken was designed to support sexual wellness for women and people with vulvas – solo or with a partner. Foriawellness.com @foriawellness 

Foot Fatigue


If the weekly miles you're logging on the treadmill, track or trail have your feet longing for some relief,  CBDfx CBD-Infused Foot Masks which are vegan, non-GMO and PETA-certified, will rejuvenate tired feet. These easy to use and quick to soothe masks slip on like socks and soften skin with coconut oil and sweet almond oil while the lavender with 50mg of broad spectrum, organically grown hemp  provide anti-inflammatory benefits. cbdfx.com, @cbdfx_


Teamup Fitness App
Lifestyle

Get in Shape and Connect with a Fitness Companion Using the TeamUp Fitness App

As we emerge from multiple waves of the pandemic, people are looking to not only change their nutrition habits but their lifestyle habits. The one app to help you achieve your ideal summer body and find a fit companion is the TeamUp Fitness community.

As we emerge from multiple waves of the pandemic, people are looking to not only change their nutrition habits but their lifestyle habits. The one app to help you achieve your ideal summer body and find a fit companion is the TeamUp Fitness community.

Numerous blogs will tell you the basics: stay hydrated, workout plans, diet tips, and how to record your progress. An article by Shape presented a 30-step plan on how to achieve your ideal summer body, which includes nutrition plans, varying workouts and training with a workout buddy.

However, TeamUp Fitness is the one resource you'll need to get your summer body back. The app was launched as a social, lifestyle, and fitness connection dating platform and has continued to develop into a place where the fitness community can come together - especially during a time when gyms are slowly opening back up, people are realizing they've lost their healthy habits and gained weight from the pandemic, and people are trying to get back into going to the gym and fitness centers or even picking back up their at-home-equipment.  

All the plans presented above and across varying blogs are available in one place on the TeamUp Fitness App. Features of the app include a section to connect with a nutritionist who can create the ideal diet to drop some of those pandemic pounds. Another feature is the chance to connect with Fitness trainers who are available to provide workout tips and develop a workout program based on your fitness goals.

"The fitness world is filled with hundreds of different nutrition plans and workout plans. However, the TeamUp Fitness app brings all the expertise of the fitness industry into the palm of your hands," said Frank Peperno, Chief Marketing Officer of TeamUp Fitness. "This one app provides users leading-class expertise from personal trainers and nutritionists to help everyone achieve a healthy lifestyle and get that Summer Body you've always wanted with the right team and partner."

TeamUp Fitness is available for download today on the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

exercise recovery tips
Lifestyle

7 Simple Tips to Optimize Your Recovery and Decrease Inflammation

Seven simple dietary and lifestyle tips to help you decrease inflammation, recover optimally and improve your exercise performance.

Inflammation and soreness are a normal part of intense exercise training for most athletes. While small bouts of inflammation are beneficial for muscle repair and growth, too much inflammation can negatively affect the recovery process. Often times people turn to NSAIDs (e.g. Advil) for soreness relief but these drugs are associated with negative GI symptoms and can impair training adaptations.

Here are a couple of dietary and lifestyle tips to help you decrease inflammation, recover optimally, and improve your exercise performance.

Don’t Fear Fats

Healthy fats can help your body fight inflammation and promote muscle repair. Some excellent sources of healthy fats include nuts, seeds, avocados, egg yolks, olive oil, and fatty fish. Omega 3 fatty acids help protect cell membranes from damage and promote muscle repair. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies, and sardines are an excellent source of essential omega 3 fatty acids.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

Consuming alcoholic beverages in large quantities can promote inflammation. It is important to remember that alcoholic beverages should be consumed in moderation. It is recommended no more than one serving for women and two servings for men per day. Alcohol has also been shown to significantly disrupt sleep which can further impair the recovery process.

Get Proper Sleep

Athletes require at least eight hours of sleep per night for optimal performance and injury prevention. Without proper recovery with a good night’s sleep, more inflammation is promoted in the body through increased stress in the body. If you feel you are not improving in your training, then make sure to track your sleep quality. There are many sleep apps available now that can help you not only track how many hours you are sleeping but your sleep quality per night. 

Consume Nourishing Carbohydrates

Having sources of whole grains in your diet can help fight off inflammation. Some excellent sources of nourishing whole grains include quinoa, brown rice, oats, whole wheat breads and pastas. Avoid consuming large amounts of refined carbohydrates which promote inflammation such as white rice, bread, crackers, cereals, cookies, pastries, etc. and consume mostly whole grains. 

Eat the Rainbow

Eat a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables which contain essential nutrients and antioxidant polynutrients that fight inflammation in the body. Each color of the rainbow has a specific benefit. For example, the polynutrient in blue foods like blueberries contain polyphenols such as anthocyanins, quercetin, and resveratrol which promote cardiovascular support, improve insulin sensitivity, and enhance cognitive function. Be sure to increase the consumption of these colorful plant foods during heavy training periods! 

Try Turmeric 

Turmeric root has been medicinally used for thousands of years. The yellow pigmented root contains a compound called curcumin which is responsible for its powerful anti-inflammation effects. To enhance the absorption of curcumin in the body, combine it with black pepper which enhances absorption by 2000%. Curcumin has been shown to be just as effective or MORE than the popular over the counter NSAID drugs!

Work with a Licensed Dietician

If your goal is to improve performance, prevent injury, and decrease inflammation, working with an experienced sports dietician can help you on your road to success! Nutrition is never “one-size-fits-all” so working with a dietician to create a personalized nutrition protocol is essential for meeting your performance and wellness goals.

Click here to book a FREE 15-minute consultation to see if we are a good fit for you!

Visit our website for free resources and recipes and receive special offers by signing up for our newsletter at www.NextGeneration-Nutrition.com.

Downtown Miami YMCA
Lifestyle

March Madness: 4 Mistakes to Avoid While Getting Your Game Back

Robert Green-Carter, founder of DARCHorse Basketball Training and the Downtown Miami YMCA’s very own Basketball Skills Instructor shares four potential mistakes to avoid while getting back into shape.

This post is powered by the Downtown Miami YMCA

While sports leagues took a backseat for much of 2020, the training never stopped for some athletes. Robert Green-Carter, founder of DARCHorse Basketball Training and the Downtown Miami YMCA’s very own Basketball Skills Instructor, stayed busy throughout the pandemic. He spent a lot of time working one-on-one with his clients around Miami, but he recognizes not everyone had this option available. As gyms start to reopen, adult sports resume and March Madness is on your mind, here are Robert’s four potential mistakes to avoid while getting back in the game:

1. Doing Too Much Too Fast - A common mistake among people returning to activity after an extended layoff is trying to do too much too fast. Understanding that you won’t get it all back in one session, one week or possibly even one month goes a long way in ensuring you avoid an injury that could put you on hiatus once again.

2. Train With A Purpose - Many people get caught up in the trendy new exercise/drill they see on instagram when this actually may be counter productive to your own specific goals. If you’re an athlete competing in a sport that requires speed perhaps it may not be best to incorporate specific activities that will slow you down. A basketball player’s program should look much different from a bodybuilder’s. Train like an athlete to move like one.

3. Not Focusing - The importance of being focused and detail oriented can’t be over stated. One of my favorite stories is about NBA star Jayson Tatum who began training when he was 13 years old and for the entire first month of his training he only did jab steps without taking a SINGLE SHOT. That tremendous focus and attention to detail paid off immensely as he is one of the most polished players in the entire league. Master one thing and then move onto the next. That’s what separates the good from great.

4. Not staying the course - Perhaps the most important thing in any training program and life in general is understanding that success isn’t linear. You’ll have days where you feel and perform great and others where it’s the polar opposite. The sooner you come to the realization that it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon, the more likely it is that you’ll ultimately stay on track to reach the goals you set for yourself. Don’t give up!

If you need more direction in your training, schedule some time at the Downtown Miami Y! You can come for open gym time, train with Robert one-on-one, or join his small group skills clinics to refine your game. Skills clinics take place every Tuesday nights at 6:30pm and Saturday morning at 11:15am. Each session focuses on a specific functional training movement. You’ll practice developing the new skill and then apply it into real game scenarios. Call 305.779.9622 for more information.

Anatomy 1 Hotel
Lifestyle

8 Wellness Focus Areas For Next Level Goal Setting

The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.

This post is powered by the Downtown Miami YMCA

Last year, we were forced to face physical and mental health challenges like never before. As the global pandemic began to impact every aspect of daily life, the majority of regular wellness routines went out the window. Now, we’re finding ourselves in a new year and facing similar circumstances but with a new attitude. If you are resolved to prioritizing your health and wellness in 2021, you’re not alone. According to Allainz Life annual New Year’s Resolution Study, 57% of Americans also have health and wellness as their top area of focus.

So how do you put it into action? Living a healthy lifestyle can sound like a big undertaking and achieving total wellness can seem unattainable. The truth is there’s no picture perfect conclusion. Choosing to prioritize your health and wellness means you’re embarking on an ongoing, active process of seeking out a balanced lifestyle that’s personal and individual.

The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health. It goes beyond the physical health like nutrition, exercise, and weight management and includes both mental and spiritual health, too. It’s multidimensional and dynamic, so if general wellness feels overwhelming start by breaking it down into smaller brackets and focus on making decisions that will work together to enhance your life as a whole.

Some examples of wellness dimensions according to the National Institutes of Health include:

  • Physical – taking care of your body for optimal health and functioning now and in the future
  • Intellectual – expanding knowledge and skills, maintaining curiosity about learning
  • Emotional – understanding and managing your feelings, values, and attitudes
  • Social – maintaining healthy relationships, contributing to your community
  • Spiritual – finding purpose, value, and meaning in your life
  • Vocational – participating in work that is consistent with your values, goals, and lifestyle
  • Financial – managing your resources, preparing for short-term and long-term needs
  • Environmental –understanding how global and personal surroundings affect your well-being

Making healthy choices in your life doesn’t need to have an all or nothing approach. Don’t worry about being perfect. Acknowledge the areas of your life you want to improve and start paying attention to the choices you make. Take control of your actions and you’ll improve the quality of your life.

Looking for inspiration to get started? The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, dedicates February 1st to March 31st as Miami Health & Wellness Months under the GMCVB Miami Temptations Program. They partner with local business to offer special promotions that keep the community engaged and tourists entertained. You can find tempting offers on health and wellness activities from biking to beach cabanas, massages to manicures, pool lounging to rooftop yoga – all with health and safety guidelines in place.

Included in the GMCVB Health & Wellness Months is a Free 3-Day Guest Pass at Downtown Miami YMCA with unlimited access to the gym, fitness center, and group exercise classes at no charge to you. Classes include indoor cycling, yoga, circuit training and more! Just call 305.779.9622 to grab this deal now through March 2021!

partner WOD
Lifestyle

Before Brunch, Try This Valentine's Day Partner WOD

Before Valentine's Day brunch, try this partner WOD.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and we have the perfect plan for you. 2021 is a year of change, so why settle for the same old bed & breakfast or brunch? Let’s take it to another more personal level: a morning workout date with your partner! 

Let’s leave the restaurants and picnics for later and start the day with some sweat and endorphins. The entire routine could be done at your house, the beach, or even the parking lot of the restaurant you will be eating after this workout. And let’s face it a pre-brunch workout will leave you guiltless from all of the chocolates you will be eating.

Try this full-body partner on Valentine’s Day:

Partner Plank Hop-Overs

One person is in plank position while the other partner jumps over and lands in a squat. Try 10 jumps each, for five rounds.

WheelBarrow Push-Ups

Get in a high plank position while your partner holds your legs in the air. Maintaining this position, perform push-ups while your partner performs squats, at the same time (tip: both you and your partner should be going down at the same time). Do this until failure and then switch. Repeat five times.

Back-to-Back Squats

Stand back to back with your partner and drop into a low squat at the same time (your back will be supporting your partner's back, so you need to trust each other for this one). Try 15 squats, then hold a 30 second squat with your partner, and repeat four times. Let it burn! 

Squat Hold with High Knees

Do a squat and hold it with both arms extended parallel to the floor while your partner will perform high knees. But here’s the fun part, the person doing the high knees should touch their partner’s arms with their knees. Do this for 60 seconds and then switch. Repeat four times.

Seated Ab Circles Clockwise

Sit in front of your partner with your legs out in front of you, knees slightly bent. You will both lift your feet off the ground and draw a circle in the air with your feet, moving in a clockwise direction, while your partner is doing it at the same time, around your legs. Do this for one minute, and then switch to the other direction. Repeat four times.

Miami City Ballet
Lifestyle

Miami City Ballet Takes Dance Into Neighborhoods

For its 2021 spring season, MCB extends this model further – bringing dance to South Florida neighborhoods with “To Miami, With Love,” a series of pop-up performances set in iconic locations including Lincoln Road, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Wynwood, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami Design District, and The Underline.

Though the COVID-19 vaccine rollout holds out hope for an eventual return to normalcy, the near-term challenges of safely staging live performances remain real.

In December, Miami City Ballet tackled this challenge with its outdoor production of “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker in the Park” in downtown Doral.

For its 2021 spring season, MCB extends this model further – bringing dance to South Florida neighborhoods with “To Miami, With Love,” a series of pop-up performances set in iconic locations including Lincoln Road, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Wynwood, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami Design District, and The Underline.

Admission to the performances is free, though tickets are required. And all performances adhere to the health and safety measures implemented by each locality or individual business. For those unable to attend in person, the pop-up performances will be freely distributed on MCB’s social media channels beginning the week of March 8.

“As a cultural institution, we wanted to demonstrate our love for this city that really made us who we are,” said MCB artistic director Lourdes Lopez. “When COVID hit, we thought we are not going to let go of our desire to thank this city, instead we will find other ways of doing it.

“And the idea of pop-ups came up. What better way than to go out and dance in all the iconic places this mosaic of the city has to offer?”

MCB and partnered with New World Symphony to perform on Lincoln Road on Jan. 30, as a nod to the historic Miami Beach beginnings of both organizations.

“Before this horrible pandemic, the 35th season of Miami City Ballet was going to be a love letter to Miami, and we still wanted to find a way to give back to the community, give people a chance to take some time to relax,” said Cameron Catazaro, a former MCB school student who joined the company as a Corps member in 2019.

When the pandemic forced the cancellation of MCB’s season, Catazaro quarantined at home in Maryland. During downtime, he began work on “A Lovely Feeling,” a pas de deux set to the plaintive prelude of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera, “La Traviata.”

“It came naturally to me to choreograph,” Catazaro said. “The music we dance to is why I love to dance.Locating the music and then imagining the steps that would work for it was the fun part for me. Seeing the music play out through the dancers is what I really love.”

Verdi’s music especially moved him.

“I would play it during quarantine while doing puzzles,” he said. “Every time it would catch my ear, and I would put the needle back and play it again.”

The pop-up also includes new work by Miami City Ballet Corps dancer and choreographer Julian Goodwin-Ferris.

“For this project, I really spent a lot of time studying the musicality of Balanchine’s ‘Square Dance,’” he said. “Balanchine has such interesting ways of sometimes following Baroque music’s structure.”

His new work, “Realized Inner Voices,” is a two-part pas de trois set to the music of 18th-century composers Georg Philipp Telemann and Jean-Marie Leclair.

“Realized Inner Voices,”one of his first choreographies, was inspired by a visit to Vizcaya Museum andGardens, where his ballet will be performed on Feb. 5.

“Vizcaya feels like a villa you would see in Italy, but it is also a mix of different styles and eras of European history,” he said. “Vizcaya’s mash-up of different European art is, in a way, similar to ballet that is choreographed today. Influences and ideas ften come from the large mix of the choreographers and ballets that came before, but the steps still trace their origin to the Italian court.”

  • WHAT: “To Miami, With Love” pop-up performances
  • WHEN: Jan. 30-Feb. 21
  • WHERE: Venues throughout Miami-Dade County
  • COST: Admission is free, but tickets are required
  • INFORMATION: MiamiCityBallet.org/popups

*This article was originally published on Sun Sentinel by Sean Erwin and can be found here.