Book Review: Modern Lovers by Emma Straub


Emma Straub, the New York Times Best Selling author of the Vacationers, has done it again with her latest  title, Modern Lovers.

This New York Times Bestseller is set in a neighborhood just outside NYC,  introducing us to four friends who had played together in a fairly successful rock band during college.  Now in their seemingly late forties, we learn how their life paths have formed and perhaps disappointed several of them.

At the same time, we meet some of their children who are just about to encounter these idyllic times of youth with mixed feelings of hope and confusion.

Modern Lovers on the surface is about young love and love that has matured over time.  But at its core it’s about finding out who you really are in life and staying true to your dreams (if you are lucky enough to know what they are).

Available at Amazon and other booksellers:





Thai Coconut Margarita


This one came from an awesome restaurant we went to in Pittsburgh called täkō!  Their Thai Coconut margarita had Espolon Blanco, Coconut Milk, & Makrut Lime.  Here’s our take on the Thai Coconut Margarita – Thai it, you’ll like it! (oh c’mon, I had to!)

Thai Coconut Margarita:

  • 1-2 oz blanco tequila
  • 1-2 oz coconut milk or cream
  • Squeeze of fresh lime
  • Pour over ice, shake and serve

    If you are in or around the Pittsburgh area, check outtäkō.  Their queso fundido and tacos were amazing!  We were fortunate enough to walk in, but reservations are highly recommended.


Floral Leggings – the Softer Side of Fitness

Want to stand out in your next fitness class?  Floral leggings are a great way to do this and look great at the same time.  But, hurry up because not many brands are offering them and those that are have some floral lines that have already sold out!

  1.  Athleta – Blossom Intuition 7/8 Tight  – $98*
  2. Athleta – High Rise Chaturanga Tight – $79*
  3. Carbon38 – High Rise Hear Me Roar Tight – $110
  4. Anthropolgie – Rain Forest Leggings – $68

*Save 20% on any one item at Athleta by signing up for email. 


Chocolate Coconut Cold Brew Iced Coffee Drink

After a not-so-great night of sleep, this Coconut Cold Brew Iced Coffee Concentrate helped make the perfect pick-me-up, afternoon treat.

I’m more of a coffee purist in the mornings, but this afternoon, I went so far as to add a little splash of Hershey’s Syrup to add a little decadence to this already great combo.  The result – yum!  Caffeine, chocolate, coconut – all for 55 calories – I’m sold!

Lo-Cal Chocolate Coconut Iced Coffee:

  • 1 part Trader Joe’s Coconut Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate (The bottle has 4 servings)
  • 2 parts water (you can use milk if you don’t mind the extra 100 or so calories)
  • Tbsp of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
  • Add ice

Stir ingredients for a wonderful lo-cal drink!  This can also be served hot by skipping the ice and warming it in the microwave or on the stovetop.


A New Way to Drink Prosecco

Chambong - Set of 2

Recently we were introduced to the Chambong, touted as the “rapid way to drink champagne”.  Our experience?  A lot of fun, sure to provide many laughs, and probably not something you should do in front of your children 😉 Oh, and as Ashlee learned, don’t pull your finger off the bottom too quickly or you may get it in your eye 🙂

Here’s what the inventors of Chambong have to say about their product:

Why not push the limits of party science?  We are artists, dancers, drinkers glass blowers, businessmen, scientists and friends with a belief that friendship and community are key to a happy life.  That’s why we weren’t satisfied with the current champagne drinking experience.

We want classy without pretension. Rituals without exclusivity. And most importantly, an experience that feels magical.

We made the perfect champagne drinking device and now, it’s available to you.
Always Chambong responsibly. –



Almond Joy Snack


We know we can’t sit around eating Almond Joy candy bars,
but we can treat ourselves with this yummy snack to trick our brains into thinking we are having something bad.
Try adding these three ingredients to a container of choice, shake to mix it up and enjoy your healthy almond joy!


Ingredients for Almond Joy snack



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The Important Benefits of Building a Booty-Full Backside

Image of a bikini bottom backside

Recently we asked our friend and instructor at SpinChagrin, Anna Latkovic, why there’s always so much focus on strengthening our glutes.  Here’s what she had to say.

Even if you don’t care about the perkiness of your posterior, your glutes are an important factor in training for life – from picking up toys on the floor, to loving your reflection in your favorite jeans.

Weak glutes are one of the key culprits in almost every lower limb injury and lower back problem, often referred to as gluteal dysfunction. Because no one wants dysfunctions, including glute training should be an important part of your workout routine.

Your backside consists of three major muscles: the gluteus maximum, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. This important group of muscles extends the hip (pulls the thigh behind you), abducts the hip (your lateral movement to the side), and does internal and external rotation of the hip.

Gluteus all.gif
By BodyParts3D/Anatomography – BodyParts3D/Anatomography, CC BY-SA 2.1 jp

It is important to understand that to build a booty-full backside correctly, you need a good plan to evolve from good movement patterns in isolated movements to the more complex movements standing up. Strength is the name of the game and although bodyweight exercises such as donkey kicks, clam shell or other Jane Fonda originals are extremely beneficial, there is more to the story.

According to Functional Training Facility in Orange County, body weight glute bridges are a perfect example. They alone only activate 20-30% of the maximum ability or the backside muscles. These body weight moves are a good start, but more complex, weighted movement patterns need to be added to make a difference.

Here is a brief example of a workout plan that can get you started at home. (video available at
  • Warm up- 5-10 mins of dynamic stretching
  • Start bodyweight single leg glute brides – 3 sets (20 each side)
  • Get stronger – transition into barbell or other weighted glute bridges – 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Bodyweight walking lunges – 3 sets 10- 20 reps per side
  • Get stronger – transition into weighted high step ups with a lunge back – 3 reps (10-12 each side)
  • Bodyweight reverse Hyper extensions – 3 sets of 20
  • Get stronger– Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift- 3 sets of 10


Anna Latkovic pictureAnna Latkovic is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, AFFA Certified Group Fitness Instructor, Mad Dogg Certified Spinning Instructor, TRX Certified Group Fitness Instructor