Posted by: Stephanie Tuck | October 6, 2013

Great New York Cycling Club with Excellent Rides

1276690_10151571093961364_851980457_oWe’re still smiling. The perma-grin  my cycling buddy, Abby Ellin, and I shared were in full effect miles 1-65 of the Escape New York Ride recently. The ride is  an annual event put on by NYCC (the New York Cycle Club) but you don’t have to be a member to participate. I LOVED IT. I am getting more adept at these long organized rides (just did the Montauk Century and the New York Century) and this one was my favorite.  Not only was everyone super nice and helpful ( to the guy who explained how to maneuver  the lock on the air valve on my tires — thank you! Who knew???) but clearly Abby and I stumbled into a community of fellow sporty spices who share the same idea of fun:  a mix of speed, nature, endurance endorphins and chocolate chip cookies. Sign us up. Done.

This ride, which went to Nyack and back via back roads and winding, scenic tangents, was a winner because there was hardly any traffic and the well-marked route was seriously gorgeous.  It was also super low-tech – no train needed, no car, just bike to Grant’s Tomb, sign in and get your map, and go. I may want to move to Piermont or Nyack — both towns are funky gems on the Hudson with an artsy  flavor, and they are both biker favorites.

The New York Cycle Club is only $30/year, and they offer  a range of  rides with leaders every weekend.  In the spring they do a 10 week training course I’m seriously considering – they teach you how to ride with a team, cycling techniques, some light repair tips and on. They test your pace on the first day and group with folks who are the same speed. I hear you need cold weather gear for March but by graduation you’re a warrior.

Have you done any great rides or know of a fab cycling group? Let us know!  xxooSteph

Posted by: Stephanie Tuck | September 6, 2013

Fire You Up Video: Nike’s “Possibilities”

This video cracks me up and fires me up at the same time. Watch this before you put on your sneakers  and you may just turn today’s slog into a jog – no, let’s upgrade that to “run.”  Took me a few watches to figure out whose voice is narrating and it’s Bradley Cooper. Nice job, BC. Your cheeky talking-smack jock tone is just right. xxoo

Posted by: Stephanie Tuck | August 29, 2013

Hudson Valley Multi-Sport!

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               Hallelujah and praise be, we’re in heaven!                           On Big Indian Trail in Phoenicia, NY

I’ve seen the future, and it is…Woodstock? Yes, that’s right, a place you may think peaked in the 70’s with sex, drugs and folk’ n’ roll, is my kind of happening — great biking, fantastic  yoga (you can’t throw a stone without hitting a studio), hikes for days, rafting/tubing/swimming and ridiculous farm to table food that’s making me question my carnivorous past.  (I think it’s a law that every restaurant MUST serve kale.)   See ya, Hamptons – been real, but  I’m feeling groovy.

If you’re going to hang out up here you need a car as towns are spread out and the hills are no joke.  Here are some highlights not to miss – hiking and biking in Lake Minnewaska Park, rafting on the Esopus, hiking in Phoenicia followed by blow-your-mind ridiculous pancakes at Sweet Sue’s (seriously – perfect day –), biking around the Ashoken Reservoir in Kingston, and Jivamukti yoga at the charming and beautiful Euphoria studio in Woodstock.

Happy bike = Happy life. Ashoken Reservoir path has no cars and gorgeous views

Happy bike = Happy life.
Ashoken Reservoir path has no cars and gorgeous views

As I type this I’m eating fantastic sunny side up eggs over polenta and sauteed greens (KALE!, c’mon now, of course) at the Phoenicia Diner, home of the best breakfast food in 3 counties. But for a special treat, book the tasting menu at Fish and Game in Hudson NY – it’s a 6 course dinner that changes every week based on what’s fresh,and it was one of the great meals of my life. Seriously, it’s foodie paradise. Hudson is primo antiquing territory and very happening so put on your favorite ironic glasses and take a stroll before dinner and be sure to wave at all the happy hipsters. My friends and I were joking that we’re cool enough for NYC but perhaps not quite up to edgy par in this town. It’s definitely fun to visit, but I gravitate most towards Woodstock, with its artsy, peacenik Stevie Nicks flavor, but that’s me. I sound like the Chamber of Commerce but there’s truly something for everyone.  This was my first summer in this area and for sure I’ll be back. There’s so much to see and do, from culture to nature to food and style. WOW, Woodstock , I heart you. xxxooooSteph

Croquet anyone? The Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park is lovely inside and out.

Croquet anyone? The Vanderbilt Mansion Museum in Hyde Park is lovely inside and out.

Posted by: Stephanie Tuck | July 19, 2013

Nutrish and delish: Homemade Kale Chips

baked-kale-chipsI’ve been writing a series about powerfoods for a great new site, Archetype Me, and I wanted to share a few (super easy) recipes I’ve posted there. Go to ArchetypeMe for more recipes and tons of info for athletes, travelers, artists, sci-fi smarties and more.

Here is my recipe for homemade baked kale chips. Love ’em!

Sometimes in the late afternoon, lunch but a memory, I crave a nice salty crunch — but thanks to the joy of kale, I don’t have to resort to junk anymore. One of the surprising satisfactions about kale chips is their great texture; better still, they taste like they’re loaded with calories and fat — like the addictive snacks we’ve all battled to wean ourselves off. The green queen is the darling of fitness folks and foodies alike, and it punches way above its weight nutritionally. One cup contains (are you sitting down?) 36 calories and 5 grams of fiber — plus 15 percent of daily requirements of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40 percent of magnesium, and 180 percent, 200 percent, and 1,020 percent of vitamins A, C, and K respectively. BAM!

You can buy kale chips all over the place these days, but health-food stores usually carry a selection. I like Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale Chips, Vampire Killer flavor, and I may well be addicted. You can also easily make them yourself. Here’s how:

Steph’s Kale Chips

1 large head kale
2 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt
I tsp. onion powder
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast

Preheat oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit and cover two baking sheets with a layer of aluminum foil. Wash the kale and dry the leaves. Remove the large ribs and rip leaves in two-to-three-inch pieces. Toss with the olive oil and sea salt to taste, and spread out on the sheets. Bake until crisp, about 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Once the chips are done, combine the nutritional yeast and the onion powder (if you added a lot of salt originally, make that just a dash of onion powder) in a large bowl and toss your chips in the mixture. Voilà.

The secret ingredient here is not the kale but the yeast. It tastes a little like nutty cheese — I love it on popcorn, for example — and it’s packed with protein: those two tablespoons deliver 8 grams of it, so adding the yeast to kale equals nutrition heaven, with few calories but a huge punch. I can eat a whole head of kale when I’m snacking. That sounds like a ton, but it bakes down to almost nothing, and the chips pack up wonderfully in a largish Tupperware for work. Just check your teeth in the mirror after eating them, because the green stuff can really rearrange your smile. They’re delish and nutrish — enjoy!

Posted by: Stephanie Tuck | June 29, 2013

Mind-blowing video: Adrenalin Junkies In Motion

Check out this inspiring video of bodies in motion. Wo. Some of the magic comes from editing, no doubt, but this definitely makes me want to get up and move.  Gravity seems not to apply to these folks – they (I) believe they can fly.  Side note: I hope they have good insurance 🙂

Just do it…(!)

Posted by: Stephanie Tuck | June 23, 2013

Magical Morocco

The lush colors of the textiles of Marrakesh. Eye candy at every turn.

The lush colors of the textiles of Marrakech. Eye candy at every turn.

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beautiful inlaid enamel spoons sold on the street in the market for $1

beautiful inlaid enamel spoons sold on the street in the market for $1

Melanie and I have our faces painted with kohl in an apothecary

Melanie and I have our faces painted with kohl in an apothecary. We bought buckets of local Moroccan Oil!

I just returned from my second trip with Escape To Shape, an adventure travel/fitness company  I LOVE. The first time I traveled with them was to Istanbul last summer and in June, I went to Marrakech. To make things extra wonderful,  my dear friend, the lovely and excellent Alex McKay, came along.

So Marrakech. WOW. The colors were so bright, the beauty so lush, the scent of roses lingered in the air  – I’m not sure words will do the trick in describing the sensory overload of being in the ancient city. It’s a place I always wanted to visit as the aesthetic so appeals to me, and it did not disappoint.  I may just let some photos tell the story.  In keeping with this blog, we did more than just explore –  we also exercised about two hours a day – one yoga  class and one fitness class (somewhere between bootcamp and sculpting) lead by the excellent Kiya Knight (Kiya Fiya, if must know…and she made us burn!) We stayed in Marrakech mostly and spent one day hiking in the Atlas Mountains.  Escape’s Erica Gragg did another fantastic job picking fabulous/amazing hidden spots to visit and we all felt simultaneously out-of-our element (in a thrilling way) and totally taken care of. Was rather a perma-grin week for us all. Thank you, Erica, Kiya, Francesco and thank you to new pals I met who were so generous with their stories and their hearts. Ah travel, it does a body – and soul – good.

Where’s your next adventure? xxxooSteph

Kiya's workouts are no joke.

Kiya’s workouts are no joke. This was one stop on her make-you-cry circuit.

Handmade crafts are everywhere in the market. Alex and spent an hour in here. Heaven.

Handmade crafts are everywhere in the market. Alex bought three lamps in this store…and surprised me with one! A treasure. Heaven.

Erica outside a restaurant in the walled city. The streets are narrow and the world opens up behind beautiful doors. Homes and restaurants have gardens and atriums and you eat outside

Erica outside a restaurant in the walled city. The streets are narrow and the world opens up behind beautiful doors. Homes and restaurants have gardens and atriums and you eat outside

Bellydancing with my friend Lusann in a riad. Zumba comes in handy...

Belly dancing with my friend Lusan in a riad. Zumba comes in handy…

Posted by: Stephanie Tuck | April 27, 2013

Montauk Bike Ride: From Here to Eternity

It’s a tale as old as time. Us humans love epic journeys to push ourselves to really see what we’re about, from Jason and the Argonauts traipsing through a wacky Greek-Mythology All Star obstacle course to Italian trader Marco Polo chilling with the Mongols in the Steppes, way back in the day. Well friends, my time has come. Montauk. By bike. Join me.

Minstrels will write songs about us.

Hazardsoftheroad

Wackiness from last year’s Ride To Montauk. The fish are biting!

On June 1, rain or shine, I’ll be joining some hearty (crazy?) friends and doing the Ride to Montauk. There are a few distances available, and we’re doing the 108 mile option (if you’re totally nuts, there’s a 150 mile route.)  Along the route, organizers feed you pie, healthier snacks and plenty of water and everyone meets at the end for a great big party by the lighthouse in Montauk which I can image is not very happening as most riders will be nearly comatose by then. The organizers truck your bike back to the city, riders take the train home, you sleep for a few days, and you’re done. Viola. Epic.

Say hello to my little friend, or should I say  new GIANT friend. Gotta take 'er out and let her do her thing!

New toy alert. Say hello to my little friend, or should I say my GIANT friend. Gotta take ‘er out and let her do her thing!

I’ll let you know how it goes…or better still, sign up and say hi! xxoo Steph

Posted by: Stephanie Tuck | April 16, 2013

Heartbreak and Hope at the Boston Marathon

Please help me by sharing this!</p><br /><p>As some of you know, I was 1/2 mile from the finish line when the explosion went off. I had no idea what was going on until I finally stopped and asked someone. Knowing that my family was at the finish line waiting for me, I started panicking, trying to call them. Diverted away from the finish line, I started walking down Mass Ave towards Symphony Hall still not knowing where my family was. Right before the intersection of Huntington, I was able to get in touch with @[100003790924961:2048:Bryan] and found out he was with my family and they were safe. I was just so happy to hear his voice that I sat down and started crying. Just couldn't hold it back. At that moment, a couple walking by stopped. The woman took the space tent off her husband, who had finished the marathon, and wrapped it around me. She asked me if I was okay, if I knew where my family was. I reassured her I knew where they were and I would be ok. The man then asked me if I finished to which I nodded "no." He then proceeded to take the medal off from around his neck and placed it around mine. He told me "you are a finisher in my eyes." I was barely able to choke out a "thank you" between my tears.</p><br /><p>Odds are I will never see this couple again, but I'm reaching out with the slim chance that I will be able to express to them just what this gesture meant to me. I was so in need of a familiar face at that point in time. This couple reassured me that even though such a terrible thing had happened, everything was going to be ok.

A friend of mine from Boston, Fred Harrington, shared this story from his cousin, Laura Wellington, who ran the Boston Marathon yesterday.  I’m posting her story here as it made me feel a tiny bit better.  The horror of the bombs, and the violence and suffering they imparted, is hard to process and hard to withstand.   Please help share this story if it moves you – it did me.  xxoo Steph

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As some of you know, I was 1/2 mile from the finish line when the explosion went off. I had no idea what was going on until I finally stopped and asked someone. Knowing that my family was at the finish line waiting for me, I started panicking, trying to call them. Diverted away from the finish line, I started walking down Mass Ave towards Symphony Hall still not knowing where my family was. Right before the intersection of Huntington, I was able to get in touch with Bryan and found out he was with my family and they were safe. I was just so happy to hear his voice that I sat down and started crying. Just couldn’t hold it back. At that moment, a couple walking by stopped. The woman took the space tent off her husband, who had finished the marathon, and wrapped it around me. She asked me if I was okay, if I knew where my family was. I reassured her I knew where they were and I would be ok. The man then asked me if I finished to which I nodded “no.” He then proceeded to take the medal off from around his neck and placed it around mine. He told me “you are a finisher in my eyes.” I was barely able to choke out a “thank you” between my tears.

Odds are I will never see this couple again, but I’m reaching out with the slim chance that I will be able to express to them just what this gesture meant to me. I was so in need of a familiar face at that point in time. This couple reassured me that even though such a terrible thing had happened, everything was going to be ok.  -Laura Wellington

Posted by: Stephanie Tuck | April 4, 2013

31 Excellent Cycling Tips

31 Biking Tips from Elite Female Cyclists

A gal and her trusty steed

My excellent athlete friend, Cristina Goyanes, just wrote a great story for Shape, 31 Biking Tips from Elite Female Cyclists ,   and I  had to share it with you. I pick up my new chariot on Saturday, a Giant Avail Composite 3,  and I’m about to embark in the world of all things bike, so this excellent advice comes perfectly on time for me.

Cristina pretty much has access to all the top bikers, so this compilation of the best from the best is insider gold. From the right tire pressure to the best seat height, from a weekend joyride to a competitive race, click  here to ensure happy trails.  See you out there soon, pedal pushers!  xxoo Steph

Woman hoisting bike overhead in triumph.
Posted by: Stephanie Tuck | March 31, 2013

Powerfood: Ch-Ch-Chi Chia Pudding, a Tasty No-Cook Treat

Your just desserts!   Here’s a recipe I’ve road tested every day this week and have officially embraced: chia seed “tapioca” pudding. Yum!

Yeah, I know it sounds scary and I felt the same way  before I tasted it – it won’t win any beauty pageants –  but it is a three ingredient, no-cook recipe that yields a great 4 pm POWER snack filled with protein, fiber, Omega 3 oil, iron and more. And c’mon, PUDDING?! What’s not to love?  [Can’t lie, as I wrote this I have Bill Cosby’s jello pudding voice in my head.]  Here’s the recipe:

Tony Soto’s Chia Seed Pudding

  • 2 tablespoons Chia Seeds (Trader Joe sells them, as does Whole Foods)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla flavored Almond Milk
  • dash of agave to taste

Mix the chia seeds with the almond milk in a small Tupperware container or small bowl and stir. Add a teaspoon or less of agave and stir again. Cover and place in the refrigerator for an hour or two. If the spirit moves you, when it’s setting stir again and break up clumps that will form. The chia seeds will expand and absorb the almond milk, forming a thick pudding that will stick to a spoon, even upside down. It tastes like tapioca.  Zhuzh it up with berries when you serve and sprinkle on a dash of cinnamon.

This will make 1 serving and is approximately 200 calories. It is a great pre-workout snack,  light breakfast, or a perfect mid-afternoon energy booster. I’ve been bring it to work with me. It really sates my appetite before I train after work and doesn’t make me feel heavy. 1 tablespoon of chia seeds is 70 calories and  has more Omega 3 than any plant food. It’s also gluten-free, vegan approved and (best part)  easy as pie (actually, way easier than pie.)  It’s part of the treasure trove of recipes my trainer Tony shared with me last week and now I’m passing it on to you. Let me know what you think! xxoo Steph

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