Thursday, July 20, 2017

Practicing Farm To Table: Is A CSA For You?

April 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Featured, Green & Serene, Latest

Farm to table has never been easier, even in the concrete jungle of New York City. Locally grown produce is popping up in grocery stores more and more, and, with spring upon us, farmer’s markets will be flooding our parks and public spaces. More and more people are also choosing to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), supporting local farmers and getting shares of  great produce on a regular basis. Unfamiliar with CSAs? Here’s the breakdown:
csa nyc

When you become a member of a CSA, you’re purchasing a “share” of vegetables from a regional farmer. Weekly or bi-weekly, and traditionally from June until October or November, your farmer will deliver that share of produce to a convenient drop-off location in your neighborhood.CSA members pay for an entire season of produce upfront (typically $300-$600). This pre-payment concept enables your farmer to plan for the season and account for a variety of factors including weather and resources.

Shares usually include seven to 10 types of vegetables, enough for a family of two to three people. Most CSAs also offer half shares for smaller households or for those of you who are busy! Many CSAs also offer the option of other produce from local farms such as fruit, eggs, meat, and even flowers to your order.

Upon searching for CSAs in the NY Metro area, Just Food popped up. Just Food is a non-profit organization that provides CSA organizers the resources they need in order to establish a neighborhood-focused healthy food network.

Here’s how it works:

Select CSA on the home page
Choose “I am interested in CSA”
Select “Find a CSA”
Refine search by selecting neighborhood or by entering the zip code in the search box above
Given the increasing food safety concerns, participating in a CSA is growing in popularity.Visit Just Food’s website and find one near you!
Top Photo: Flickr

anita fitmappedABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anita Mirchandani, M.S, R.D, C.D.N received a B.A. from NYU and M.S in Clinical Nutrition from NYU. After doing her internship at New York-Presbyterian hospital, Anita is now a practicing Registered Dietitian. She is also the co-founder of

Green & Serene: 6th St Botanical Garden

April 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Featured, Green & Serene, Latest


6bc botanical gardenThe East Village is sprinkled with hidden gardens, but one of my favorites is the serene, lush garden on 6th Street between Ave A and Ave B. This sweet little spot boasts an abundance of summer wildflowers, manicured bushes, and even a calming waterfall to ease away all the stress of the day. 


The garden is maintained through volunteers, and today I can hear the distant sound of someone doing a little handy-work in what looks like the garden’s tree house (in fact it is a solar electric installation- very cool. Check out for more info). 


6th Street Botanical Garden is a true delight, and a refuge for any one seeking a little solitude and peace and quiet. It has plenty of places to sit and relax, including cozy hidden spots with adorable rock tables and chairs. It also has a japanese goldfish pond, complete with a calming waterfall, lily pads, goldfish, and the occasional snapping turtle. 


This is one of my favorite East Village parks, but there are plenty of others nearby to enjoy.  The Miracle Garden on 3rd between A and B; the Creative Little Garden on 6th between A and B, the 6th Street Garden on 6 and B,  El Sol Brillante on 12th between A and B; and the Liz Christie Garden on Houston and Second Avenue are just a few.  


Here’s a little interesting history for you about the creation of these gardens. Many of these gardens came about in the 1970s when a huge part of the East Village burned to the ground after the city’s fire fighting budget closed many of the local firehouses. Village residents soon reclaimed many of the neglected, empty lots left, and turned them into what are now some of the prettiest places in the East Village. However, this all was not without a fight! There was a battle early on when the city wanted to cash in on these pretty spaces, and replace them with valuable, sellable real estate (surprise, surprise).  Fortunately, through the persistence of residents,  many of the gardens still remain today. 

Green & Serene: Discover Governor’s Island

September 4, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, Green & Serene, Latest

gov largeWith summer winding down, it’s time to discover all the beauty and serenity that exists right here in New York City.  I had been meaning to visit Governor’s Island for some time, but it was not until I was riding my bike down the East River path a week or so back, and caught sight of the ferry loading up so I hurried to ride aboard and take the the opportunity to explore the quiet little gem that is just a short boat ride away from our bustling city.

gov island bikeGovernor’s Island is the perfect place to bike, walk, or just grab a blanket and enjoy sitting and relaxing on one of the many green spaces. It is 172 acres of land and has over 5 miles of car-free biking, the majority of which takes you along the water and gives riders spectacular views of lower manhattan, the statue of liberty, and more! There is even a new Water Taxi Beach, complete with sand volleyball courts and plenty of fun in the sun await those looking to hold onto summer.

Governor's IslandIf history is your thing, the island’s castle which was once used as a jail during   the War of 1812 is open for exploration, and guided tours of the island’s armory will also keep you occupied. Throughout Governor’s Island there are also remnants of the twentieth century soldiers and their families who lived full-time on the island during the 1960s. It was in 1966 that the island was turned into a US coast guard base, and the sailors’ houses that remain today (as well as a museum) still reflect island life during this time. For me, it  was really was fascinating to see the remnants of different centuries of NY history all within walking distance of  each other.

While Governor’s Island is not inhabited these days, it is a great place to visit. However, you will have to do it soon! The island is only open for visitors seasonably, and there are only a few weekends left to take advantage (open Fri-Mon until Oct 10). For more information about getting to Governor’s Island and all that awaits you there head to



Meditation: Relax Your Mind In The East Village

Meditation is like an acceptable version of napping—it recharges you, clears your head, and helps you escape your daily stresses. The practice is the perfect way to unwind, silence a frantic mind, and cope with the downtown pace of life. How can you pass that up?

You feel the essence of who you really are when you are in stillness, says yogi Alan Finger of Ishta Yoga in the East Village. The static in your mind settles; and you can can see your life more clearly. Meditation removes your fears and anxieties while keeping you happy throughout your day for no reason at all. Sounds like the cornerstone of true bliss and cheaper than therapy.

After your silence ends, you’ll be surprised at how easily these new-found senses of stillness and calm stay with you during your bustling day. “While the effects of other stress-reducing techniques wear off,” says Ethan Nichtern, director of the NYC-based nonprofit Interdependence Project, “meditation teaches you how to remain peaceful in the midst of living in the city—not just escape it.”

If you have have trouble getting to a quiet personal space on your own like most New Yorkers, sign up to meditate with a group or guide. The goal is to get in at least 20 minutes of meditation daily.

Here are some popular meditation spots in the East Village:

Allan Finger Sessions at Ishta Yoga
56 East 11th Street

Interdependence Project
302 Bowery NY, NY

Classes Ana Fox @ Dance Forum NY
20 East 17th Street

Yoga High
19 Clinton Street, Suite 205

Ilana Donna Arazie is a blogger and vlogger based in NYC who chronicles stories about living your best life in a big city. Her stories have been featured on the Associated Press, Chicago-Sun Times, Yahoo, The Travel Channel and other media outlets. She is the founder of Downtown , a site that is a bit of Cosmo meets Deepak Chopra, offering deep yet fun insights into finding peace and meaning.

Yoga Afuera: Best Outdoor Spots To Get Your OM On!

Now that the heat has subsided in NYC, the idea of yoga outside is a great one! Warm sun on your skin and a cool breeze make for the perfect yoga experience. And despite it being NYC, there are plenty of yoga classes offering green spaces and fresh air! Here’s a list of top spots to get your OM on outside this summer. Best part? Some of them are FREE!


Hudson River Park – Pier 46 – From now through July 27th, YogaWorks is hosting free community yoga with a trained instructor every Wednesday from 6 – 7 p.m. What makes this hour of yoga in the hot sun even more worth it? Organicoa is providing free Frocoa (frozen cocoa!) to everyone after practice! Yoga + frozen lattes in the Manhattan summer heat = happiness for all!

Yogamaya: All summer long, Yogamaya offers “free yoga in the park” classes, sponsored by the Chelsea Improvement Company. Join them on Tuesdays at the “14th Street Park”, 10th Ave b/w 14th & 15th Street for some great yoga fun & post savasana, There is no advance sign-up, just show up and bring a mat if possible.

Open Air Yoga: $15 classes offered in Central and Battery Park City. Ok, this one has a fee, but there is a freebie here too. Class includes a free drink and free essential oil hand wipes.Times and locations vary so check out the full schedule here. Open Air Yoga also offer private outdoor instruction, so you can even get your Om on on your own balcony.

CLAY Health Club + Spa: Flow through poses and de-stress while enhancing your flexibility and calming your mind at sunset and sunrise and escape the hustle of Manhattan. Each Vinyasa class incorporates traditional poses and breathing techniques that flow seamlessly from beginning to end.
SUNSET YOGA : Tuesdays 7:30pm
SUNRISE YOGA: Wednesday 7:00am
Top Photo Credit: Open Air Yoga

Spring Is Here: Get out and Get Fit. Enjoy your local parks! (video)

March 24, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured, Fitness, Green & Serene, Latest

We are now well into March and Spring is approaching fast! This is an amazing time of year. The air is fresh, the breeze begins to get warm and everyone is excited about the chance to get outside. This winter we had an especially cold and snowy experience. Embrace the opportunity with Spring to renew your resolutions to get fit, eat healthy and enjoy life’s blessings!

As a trainer, personal coach and boot camp owner, I am shocked at how many people are not aware of the fantastic fitness opportunities local to them! If you live in NYC – here are some great programs offered by NYC Parks and Recreation. Take advantage!

Alley Pond Adventure Course (QUEENS) :I want to share a secret with you- that I discovered……Alley Pond Park – in Queens – there is an Adventure Course – that is open to the public and FREE on Sundays!!! The Queens Boot Camp and members of Becky’s Fitness Company went out to try it! What a blast! Check out the video below!

A few other great finds as well:

Bronx Equestrian Center (BRONX)

Row Boat/Kayak Rentals (MANHATTAN):

Marine Park Golf Course (BROOKLYN):

Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach (STATEN ISLAND):

Want to learn more fun fitness things to do in NYC? Check out the Parks Website!

If you live outside of NYC – simply go to your cities Chamber of Commerce website and check out the great programs available to your area! Next week I will explore Farmer’s Markets!

As Always,
Stay Focused Until the Miracle Happens!



NYC Spaces: Madison Square Park – Greenery & Free Music!

August 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Events, Green & Serene

NYC is sprinkled with fabulous green spaces. Madison Square park is one of them, and today’s feature comes to you simply because I have made the park my workspace for the afternoon, and am delighted in it.

Whether taking a lunch break (tables and chairs awaiting), sprawling on the lush lawn, or sitting on one of the many benches with a great book, Madison Square park is a central spot to kick back and relax.  It also can become your second office providing free wi-fi through (sure beats being inside on a beautiful day!)

Another great feature of the park is the FREE music series it offers all summer long.  Every Wednesday evening concerts are held rain or shine, and begin at 6 or 7 pm depending on the show. The Oval Lawn series presents nationally recognized, touring Jazz, Bluegrass, Folk, R&B, Soul, and Pop performances. Tonight, is the James Carter Trio! So grab a blanket and come enjoy!!

For more information on upcoming Madison Square Music, go to

Discover Chelsea Market & The High Line

May 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Green & Serene

New York City’s High Line is the latest in hip, hot and happening…dayspots!  A couple of weeks ago I found myself with a free Saturday afternoon and decided to take in the infamous Chelsea Market, and check out the High Line (originally built in the 1930s as an elevated railway).

If you have not yet tread your soles on the High Line, I highly recommend checking it out. On a nice sunny day you can stroll along, take some time to sit on the lounge chairs or benches along the way, and take in views of the Hudson. It incredibly well kept, and some of the original tracks are still in place. It is such a terrific vantage point to see many West Side areas of the city, including the Meatpacking District, Hell’s Kitchen and West Chelsea. While not fully completed and estimated to be a mile and a half longelevated park, there currently are plants, flowers and even trees to enjoy along the way.

Now onto Chelsea Market! I went inside sort of expecting to see Emeril Lagasse or Rachael Ray. However, I did not. I was surprised by the sheer size of the actual market. While unsure exactly what Chelsea Market looked like inside, I did not realize how many specialty stores and restaurants there were to choose from. While the building seems a little compact, there are so many wonderful offerings within it. Below are some of my favorite places.

T-Salon Chelsea Market

Buon Italia offers a wide variety of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, roasted nuts, cheeses, olives and other imported Italian specialties.

The Lobster Place has the freshest fish and seafood and GREAT prices. The selection of salmon alone was enough to impress me. They also are quite famous for their lobster rolls. The sushi and other prepared foods looked quite appetizing as well.

Bowery Kitchen Supply carries an extensive selection of kitchen equipment and supplies, including furniture.

Posman Books is a new addition to the market. They offer bestsellers, travel guides and of course numerous cookbooks.

Hale and Hearty Soups always offers hearty soups, sandwiches or salads.

T-Salon bills itself as the first environmentally sustainable tea bar – cafe – market in the world has a great assortment of teas and pleasant atmosphere to sit and relax.

One Lucky Duck is another recently added establishment I am ecstatic to mention. They offer absolutely amazing raw vegan treats including my personal favorites: tiramisu and agave lemonade.

There are additional retail and restaurant establishments located in the market. I do urge you to go and visit The Chelsea Market ( for your own experience.



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