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9 Places You Can Workout Next to a Celebrity in LA, New York, and Chicago

OMG! It’s really them! That moment you realize you’ve identified a celebrity in the wild, out amongst mere mortals, living “just like us,” can be rather thrilling. For those who live in LA or NYC, it’s all too common to dine next to the hottest faces and grocery shop elbow to elbow with leading ladies, but for people in the other 48 states, running in to a celebrity on vacation is one of the souvenirs you hope to collect.

If you’re planning an active vacation this summer, hit these workout hot spots and you’re likely to sweat right alongside an OMG-moment-worthy celeb.

Picture or it didn’t happen, your friends will say after your excited tweet. But should you even let them know you know it’s them?

“When I see celebs in the gym, I think it’s poor personal etiquette to approach them during their workout,” advised Dan Flores, RTSm, a master personal trainer based in New York City. “I value my personal gym time and would hate to be interrupted. I would approach them after they were finished and on their way out of the gym.”

– New York City

heidi klum russell simmons

Central Park is no stranger to the rich and famous; in fact, it’s practically their cardio playground. Free to enter, take your morning run to one of the most famous landmarks in the world and you’re sure to spot a name or two worth bragging about. Heidi Klum, Russell Simmons, and Gwyneth Paltrow are on the extremely short list of A-listers you’ll run or down-dog along with!

The Mark Hotel has a state-of-the-art fitness facility that rivals any gym getting your membership fees. Book your stay here, and your workout may coincide with that of Oprah, Sarah Silverman, Larry David, David Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, and even dignitaries like the President of France!
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7 Awesome Reasons Denver Residents Look and Feel So Good

I’ve lived in Denver for one month now, and by the end of the first week it was clear to me why Colorado as a state and Denver as a city own the top of the healthiest lists. From activity to fresh air and an attitude that supports wellness, how could anyone not feel their best here?

Year after year, Colorado remains at the top of the list for healthiest states. The CDC’s map of obesity trends starts in 1985, and it wasn’t until 1990 that Colorado even showed up for having less than 10 percent of its population qualify as obese. The most current map is from 2012 and puts Colorado as one of only nine states with an obesity population under 25 percent. Fitness and hiking clothes seem to be The Official Denver Outfit, as everyone at brunch, the park, the grocery store, and the office seem to be dressed down and ready to move!

While there are no doubt more, these are seven killer reasons that Denver residents look and feel so darn good!

denver bikes
Very Bicycle Friendly. I’m confident I’ve seen more bicycles in the last four weeks than I’ve seen in the last four years. Whether for commutes, fun, or exercise, bicycles own the roads in Denver. As recent as 2011, bicycle commuters were 2.4 percent of Denver’s population, a number up 183% since 1990. Bike racks and lanes exist everywhere, making it a no-brainer for cyclists to get out and ride to work, to the grocery store, or just out for fun. B-Cycle has 83 rental stations and 700 bikes throughout the city, making it pretty impossible not to bike.

chipotle sofritas
Vegetarian Food Abounds. You can throw a stone and find vegetarian and even vegan dining options. Bonnie Brae makes a titillating homemade vegan ice cream, Native Foods has a mock fast food menu that will knock your socks off, and the locally-based Chipotle even puts sofritas (organic tofu braised with chilis and spices) on the menu. Every restaurant we’ve visited (and there have been a lot!) has hearty vegetarian options that even the most carnivorous will consider noshing on. The Goodness Truck roams around near Ft. Collins serving their grilled brie sandwich — to die! And all around the area you can dine at farm to table events.
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Sip on This: Fresh Strawberry Balsamic Drizzle Milkshakes

My favorite dessert started as something I didn’t even think I’d like. Friends presented a bowl with vanilla ice cream and strawberries and a dark, seemingly chocolate glaze poured over the top. But it didn’t smell like chocolate, and I knew the move was far too pedestrian for these foodies. They said it was a balsamic vinegar syrup. I loved balsamic — I mean, I could seriously drink the stuff! — but I wasn’t sure how that was going to go with dessert.

strawberries balsamic

Well, I’m here to tell you it was like sky rockets in flight, after dinner delight all up in my mouth! It’s become my go-to dessert for dinner guests when I want something that appears super fancy but takes less than five minutes to prep and assemble.

Yes, fancy and five minutes in the same sentence!

strawberry balsamic milkshake

This summer, I’ve decided to make my favorite dessert a bit more portable. You can’t really bob around in the pool with a big bowl of ice cream, but you can certainly float with a Strawberry Balsamic Drizzle Milkshake in your hand. Or at least I will. I won’t tell you how to spend your swim.
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Juicy Watermelon Jalapeno Twist Mojitos are the Official Cocktail of Summer

Nothing looks, tastes, or smells as much like summer as watermelon does. Maybe sunblock, but you can’t, and really shouldn’t, drink that. That hot pink melon just screams hot, summer days! Get as much as you can because it’s so hydrating; I don’t care who you are, that juice is going to run down your chin and arms!

Watermelon is as much a staple in our house in these warm months as is a good cocktail. I love nothing more than to gather friends on our patio and share a delish homemade cocktail. After our first round of watermelon mojitos, I’ve declared these the official drink of summer 2014!

watermelon mojito

The first sip garnered oohs, ahhs, and even a “oh that’s the stuff!” The muddling gives you a solid upper arm workout while the jalapeno is hot enough to keep your metabolism on its toes. I’m not trying to pass off a cocktail as being a part of your summer workout plans, but those facts alone make this drink seem like a no brainer, right?

watermelon jalapeno mojito

To really make the flavor pop, you’ve gotta muddle.
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The More the Berrier with Summery Blueberry Muffin Tops

The best part of the pizza? That very first bite of the pointy triangle end.

The best part of a cinnamon roll? The ooey-gooiest center.

The best part of the muffin? The top. Duh!

blueberry muffin tops

My completely made up statistic that 99.5 percent of people would rather eat the top of the muffin exclusively, rather than what a friend of mine calls “the stump,” is the reason an entire pan has been created to let you accomplish such baked good sorcery. There’s no waste; just bake the part people actually want to eat!

I know it’s warming up outside and the last thing you want to think about doing is firing up the oven. But berries are in season! So, you kind of have to. Rules and what not.

blueberry muffin tops pan

Blueberries are one of those can’t-fail foods, at least from a mom perspective. I don’t care what my four-year-old’s mood is, what she is or isn’t liking that week, or where we are — blueberries always get a yes. They are one of the original super foods, so it’s a no brainer to add them to pancakes, salads, smoothies, or just devour a fist-full every chance you get. One of the few, rare “blue” foods that occur in nature, those juicy little beads of sweetness can stand on their own with a healthy dose of fiber, a bit of protein, potassium, vitamin c, anthocyanins, antioxidants, and a host of other good-for-you goodness.

blueberry muffins

So when I tell you this recipe calls for blueberries, do not be shy. Dump ‘em in! The more the berrier, right?

You’ll notice we don’t add any sugar to this recipe. A generous, drizzly pour of honey with some natural applesauce really take on the heavy responsibility of sweetening these muffins. It’s not a two-man job though, the lemon juice, vanilla yogurt, and of course the blueberries, all carry their own weight in that department, too.

honey and applesauce

However, just before baking, I do sprinkle the tops with just a pinch of raw turbinado sugar. This gives the muffin that glazy top that you’d ordinarily create with a streusel topping, but without gobs of butter and white sugar.

sugar topping muffins

I use half-and half all-purpose and whole wheat flours. This gives me the bulk of fiber in a better flour with the texture we’ve all become accustomed to with white flours. To make up the difference, I add just a bit of uncooked oats for more fiber and a denser bite.

baking muffin tops

After it’s all whisked and folded together, scoop that batter into a pre-formed muffin top pan. Roughly 20 minutes later, you’ll have a pile of muffin tops that are just jam-packed with blueberries! You’ll want to save them all for yourself, but they’re so darn cute that sharing will seem like a reasonable option, too.

Blueberry Muffin Tops
makes 6

INGREDIENTSmuffin tops recipe

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp honey
1 egg
1/4 cup natural applesauce
2 Tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz. vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp. raw turbinado sugar, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl.

3. In a second bowl, beat the egg with the other wet ingredients.

4. Fold the wet ingredients in to the dry, then gently add the blueberries.

5. Lightly mist the pan with cooking spray, then add the batter. If you choose, sprinkle the tops with raw turbinado sugar.

6. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

ALSO TRY THIS!

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Recipe by Brandi Koskie; photos by Kacy Meinecke