Dance rehearsals are long and snacks are essential. They need be quick bites, easy to eat, non-bloating and energy packed. I recently teamed up with friend and fellow professional dancer Liana Blackburn to share a dance and a snack.
Liana, fresh off the road touring with Selena Gomez as dance captain, is the creator of a YouTube series called Daily Dancer Diet. Not only does she share my passion to dance but also to nourish our bodies with delicious, REAL food. We challenged each other to bring dance snacks that catered to both of our allergies and food intolerances. Liana: gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free. Meagan: allergic to peanuts/nuts (almonds ok) and fish. We danced and snacked the afternoon away full of energy. Of course these snacks aren’t just for your dance bag, they’re great for travel, at your desk, pre or post workout.
Meagan’s Dance Snacks
BERRIES: Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries. Berries are a no brainer- they are are easy to grab on the go, the sugar keeps your energy high and the antioxidants help keep your memory sharp.
ALMOND BUTTER FILLED DATES: Because of my nut allergies, it’s difficult for me to eat protein bars. Most bars contain a variety of nuts or are processed in a facility containing nuts. Barney Butter is an almond butter that is processed in a peanut free facility. That being said, most bars contain a few solid bites of protein, fat and sugar. This is essentially what these almond butter filled dates provide: The pitted date is packed with natural sugar and the almond butter carries the protein and fat. You can get creative and sprinkle some coconut flakes, bee pollen, or chocolate chips on top. The sky is the limit!
POPCORN: I’m addicted to homemade popcorn! It’s so easy. Coat the bottom of a pot with high heat oil like sunflower oil, coconut oil, or canola oil. Pour a layer of kernels to fill the bottom of the pan. Cover and pop until you hear a couple of seconds between kernels popping. I top mine with Flax Oil, turmeric, cayenne, salt and Nutritional Yeast. The flax oil and popcorn itself has a lot of fiber to keep you full as you burn calories while sweating. Turmeric and cayenne are anti-inflammatory and fire up your insides. The Nutritional Yeast contains the vitamin B12 to keep your energy up. This popcorn was left over from last nights’s Netflix and chill so I packaged it up and brought it to the studio.
Liana’s Dance Snacks
JICAMA WITH LIME: Jicama is so underrated! It’s a vegetable but its juicy, sweet and crunchy texture is refreshing. Liana explained that since the flavor is subtle, it takes well to anything you pair with it. She skinned the jicama, cut it into easy to grab sticks and smothered them with lime juice.. so good!
MARY’S GONE CRACKERS: Mary’s Gone Crackers are gluten free, dairy free and nut free. They’re jammed with fiber and are super durable so they wont turn into dust in your dance bag. Once a specialty item available at those niche health stores, these crackers are now on most major grocery store shelves and come in several delicious flavors.
I recently received a gorgeous pair of Sudio VASA Blå wireless headphones from my friends at Sudio Sweden. At first glance, these headphones are absolutely stunning. After living with them for the last couple of weeks, here’s my review.
Pro: Swedish design is stunning. Each pair comes with a chic matching leather pouch and rose gold clip to store and secure the headphones.
Pro: The sound is great, even my musician boyfriend approves. Sudio explains the headphones have a “tuned driver and amplifier. The combination of driver and amplifier is able to separate the sound of every instrument in every song, thereby giving the listener a true studio experience.”
Pro: Bluetooth/wireless aspect helps streamline my everyday activities. City walks and airplane rides are less of a mess and I don’t have to make sure my phone is within wire’s distance away.
Pro: The headphones are super light, I forget I’m wearing them. Sudio claims they are the lightest on the market thus far weighing 14g.
Con: Despite trying all four ear bud sizes that come with the headphones, they fall out when I jog, dance or workout. This was major for me as I continue my search for a pair of headphones that not only look and sound amazing, but stays secure even with extreme physical activity.
Overall, these headphones are chic and fantastic for all activities except working out.
Sarah Hall is my girl on so many levels. I met her while working on VH1 television show Hit The Floor where us 11 dancers were forced to draw straws to decide who got to sit in her makeup chair. For some perspective- 12 year old boy with severe acne would come out of Sarah’s makeup chair looking like Kim K on a good day. This Emmy nominated make-up artist is not only a former model, she has a bachelors in Biology, is a certified Nutritional Biochemist and Esthetician, and is also a wife and mother of two insanely beautiful children. Sarah is my go to on any skin question- what ingredients are good/bad in my products? what make up is ok to sweat in? will washing my face before AND after my workout dry it out? how do I get the mountain range on my forehead to flatten by tomorrow?
The number one habit Sarah pushes whether it be about my face or my body— you must exfoliate! “[Exfoliating will] enable the skin to generate new skin cells and open up the surface to allow oils to penetrate and increase nourishment,” Sarah explains. This makes so much sense- We spend so much money on fancy products, but debris aka dead skin can actually block their effectiveness. Exfoliating my face twice weekly and body once has made all of the difference. My skin shines brighter and any eczema flair ups settle quickly.
Sarah created Restoration Skincare and explains, “I believe in eating clean and not putting anything on my body that I wouldn’t put in my mouth. I like to feed my skin vitamins and nutrients to promote a healthy status and balance inside and out.” Though I love her Hydrating Mist and deodorant dispensed Body Butter Balm, the Sugar Body Scrub is definitely my favorite. I’m in awe of the simple ingredients: coco butter, coconut oil, raw sugar and vitamin E. I’ve noticed that after I use the scrub and pat dry, the coconut oil and cocoa butter subtly remains on my skin to moisturize it without feeling oily.
Sarah recently hosted a Restoration Skin event at Soule Spa. This Sunday Spa Day was equipped with a brow bar, oxygen facials, shoulder massages, and hand treatments. Naturally, I kicked off the event with a glass of rose accompanied by a plate of brie and brownies. I experienced a brow revolution with Candy who pointed out that my left brow was round and sloped downwards compared to my perky and pointy right brow. She evened me out and taught me how to fill my brows in to lift my face (tail end to center, then define the inside corner point). Candy used Restoration’s lavender hydration spray on a Q-tip to calm my freshly waxed skin which I loved because other calming oils and creams make me break out. Sarah gave me a hand treatment with her Brown Sugar Scrub which I was already sold on and my garden shoulder massage was heaven accompanied by Restoration clove body butter. I went home with a mini lavender hydrating spray and roll on body butter which will keep my skin fresh and dewing during a month of heavy travels.
Adidas does it big. Pure Boost X was launched earlier this year and I was lucky to participate in the shoe’s epic three day launch in Santa Monica, CA. Recently, Adidas Running continued the Pure Boost party but this time in Montauk, NY. For those who are unfamiliar, Montauk was once a quiet fishing town past the Hamptons on Long Island, and is now THE summer getaway place to both escape and be seen. The event started with a bang as we boarded three helicopters from NYC to MTK. One hour later we were at Gurney’s Resort. We went through hair and makeup glam, picked out our outfits for the weekend, and got the new Pure Boost X. The two days centered around what adidas Women always stresses- being strong in every sense of the word. We trained- ran in the rain, took a Barre 3 class, examined our gaits and took SUP paddle board yoga. We also spoke with 3 time Olympian Jennifer Rhines and Barre 3 founder Sadie Lincoln on building our own empires, finding balance and doing it all with positive energy. The video and photo library below represent it well. Thank you adidas Running for another epic event.
It’s always better together. I recently teamed up with my girl Michelle Carigma of Modern Fit (@_modernfit) to create a self sufficient workout date. Assign your partner a number, complete these three exercises, then switch! Grab some water then do it all again.
Partner 1(Michelle) – Forearm Plank. Engage your core and glutes. Use your lats to press your forearms into the ground and chest away from the ground.
Partner 2(Meagan) – 20 Tuck Jumps over Parter 1. Get your knees up and count the 20 jumps aloud.
Added difficulty: Partner 1- Lift one leg and hold. Switch lifted legs halfway through Partner 2’s set (jump 10).
Partner 2 – Wall Sit. Sit against a wall with your feet shoulder width apart. Have your partner check that your bum is even with your knees to make a perfect 90 degree angle. Roll your shoulders back, engage your lower abs and hold the position as long as it takes for Partner 1 to complete their set below.
Partner 1 – 30 Tricep Dips. Bend your arms to 90 degrees while holding your partner’s knees. If this feels awkward, have Partner 2 widen their stance. Without letting your elbows splay outwards, push up until your arms are nearly straight. Repeat 30 times.
Added Difficulty: Partner 2- Do 15 dips with right leg lifted parallel to the ground then switch legs for the remainder of the set.
Partner 1- 25 Sit Ups. Two feet on the ground. Arms crossed or behind your head.
Partner 2- Mountain Climbers. Start in plank position while holding Partner 1’s feet. Draw one knee towards your nose, switch. Repeat as fast as you can for as long as it takes Partner 1 to completes their sit-up set.
Added Difficulty: Partner 1- Touch opposite elbow to knee while sitting up. Partner 2- Cross your knees to opposite shoulders.
Maybe it’s because I am here in Los Angeles, the epi-center of folks looking for the next wellness trend, but I have been hearing (or feeling rather) the buzz about the healing practice Reiki, on the daily. Under my own assumptions I put together that Reiki healers use their energy and touch to channel healing powers into a certain ailment plaguing a patient. I thought the practice was similar to that of acupuncture: you lie down, tune out and let the expert work their magic.
I met Kelsey Patel, a Pure Barre studio owner, wellness coach, Reiki Master, and wife and step mother, aka Wonder Woman, at a menu tasting event at Beaming West Hollywood. After dying in her barre class and showing interest in Reiki, she invited me in for my very own session.
My Session with Kelsey
Kelsey gave me no preparation or warning about what I’d experience so naturally, I upgraded my assumptions about Reiki to truth. I was excited to lie back, relax and leave with an energy pep in my step. When I walked in, she placed a stone in each of my hands and told me everything that we discuss in the room would be kept confidential and judgment free *silent panic… ummm come again?
She began to ask me a series of guided questions to understand where I was in my life right now and where exactly I would like to be. I had to rank how I felt mind, body and spirit on a scale from 0 to 10. I ranked my mind at a 6, for example. Kelsey said, “Ok, explain the gap between 0-6 and 6-10.” I said something like, “Well my mind is super excited lately- I’ve been experiencing so many new things, meeting so many new people and developed a new passion. The gap between 6 and 10 comes from uncertainty about how this new passion will manifest itself career wise… Oh and I’m also feeling a little anxious today from running around.”
Kelsey looked for gaps and commonalities in what I was saying and challenged the answers I gave her. This mini therapy session dove deep and was enough to make a grown woman bubble up and cry. I was proud I was able to articulate genuine and honest responses as reflecting upon every prong of my life is not one of my daily chores. For some perspective, in high school I had a friend that would sit me down and say anything and everything to try to get me to cry (never worked). Perhaps this is my emotionally reserved Norwegian side shining. Once Kelsey zero-ed in on something to focus on, the Reiki began.
I logged on to Reiki.org which explains, “Reiki heals by flowing through the affected parts of the energy field and charging them with positive energy. It raises the vibratory level […] and causes the negative energy to break apart and fall away.” Working with a Reiki master like Kelsey, “allows the student to tap into an unlimited supply of ‘life force energy’ to improve one’s health and enhance the quality of life.” Kelsey explained that this unlimited energy travels through her and onto me.
So, lights off, candle on, stones gripped tight, I got on board. Kelsey held her hands near my head and led me through a series of breathing exercises. I could feel her hands moving around (but not touching) my head and shoulders. I sat still and listened to what sounded like a soft chant. I then felt as though she motioned from back to front, above my head. I felt fresh air and light pour onto me like I just dropped the top on my convertible. I felt a gust of wind travel into my left ear, loosen my jaw and release through my right ear. I felt bright and aware like I just popped my ears after a long, muffled flight.
Kelsey then repositioned herself in front of me and began EFT– Emotional Freedom Techniques. EFT uses the Chinese meridian system used mainly for physical ailments in acupuncture. Instead of using pins, EFT uses finger tapping to awaken the meridian points to focus on emotional issues. Kelsey told me to repeat after her. She said a phrase, I repeated, and she double tapped a meridian point. We repeated the same phrase and double tap for each meridian, then started over with another phrase. This was no casual Instagram scroll, these double taps got intense. By the end she was shouting things I’d never say aloud and I was shouting them back. Though it was definitely not the first time conversation has led to yelling “F*ck these bitches,” it felt so good to say it 8 times straight. I wasn’t prepared for such an intense experience, my session got heavy. I was glad when the EFT was over but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try it again.
Kelsey gently led me back into awareness, turned on the lights and asked me to rank mind, body and spirit again all of which took a tick towards 10.
Leaving the session, I felt calm and clear and also stunned at the journey I had just experienced. I definitely didn’t engage in my normal quiet cuss at bad drivers behind my wheel or even pace back and fourth at my casting that was running an hour late. Reiki is meant to bring the feeling of new breath and light and my session did just that. Did this single session cause a major fix-it shift in my life? No, nothing comes that easy. It did however make me understand the importance of regular spiritual practice. Cleansing my insides with certain foods, physical activity and stretching is a priority for me, so why not take care of my spirit? I’ve since subscribed to Kelsey’s newsletter which includes a guided meditation. I’ve been using this meditation to begin a regular spiritual practice in combination with her at home exercise below.
An At Home Exercise from Kelsey:
This small monthly practice allows you to take the reigns, clean ‘stuff’ out and to provide room for you to pursue your dreams.
Know that there is no right or wrong to energy work. Deep respect and acknowledgement of ancient practices is fantastic, but we live in 2016 and need not be scared to honor yourself and adapt practices to your life the way they fit.
When: The new moon and full moon. This happens every two weeks. (Next full moon is July 19// New moon is August 2. Keep track here.)
NEW MOON – The new moon is about bringing things into light and calling in what you want or know you need – sit in silence or with relaxing music and get in tune with what you really know you want over the next 30 days. Take a piece of paper and pen, write the date on it and then write 5 new things you want to bring into your life over the next 30 days. Ex: Attract a new beau or get the next job
FULL MOON – The moon is full and so is your heart. Your energy is about to burst. Concentrate on what you want to release. Write it down. Sleep with it under your pillow. Rip or burn in the morning. Ex: Shitty boyfriend or obsession with chocolate
Shape Magazine set up at the Hudson Loft in downtown Los Angeles to host Shape Body Shop this weekend benefiting the Movement Foundation. The pop-up studio event was jammed packed with classes from celebrity trainers like the Tone It Up Girls and Jen Widerstrom from The Biggest Looser, Flywheel, Pop Physique, various bootcamps, yoga, and a special appearance by Julian Hough. In between classes we were able to shop fit gear, sample some of Shape’s top beauty picks, and snack on delicious healthy treats. My friend Remi and I jammed in five, I repeat FIVE classes on our own free will.
Jen Winderstrom: Bootcamp. She split the room in two and pitted each side against each other to pushup faster and lunge harder. Turning the class into a game made complete strangers work together and root each other on. Such a good ice breaker for the day.
Brett Hoebel:Yoga Brazil. Brett took his training in Capoiera (Brazilian martial arts which combines dance, acrobatics and music,) and blended it with traditional yoga practice. He changed up our thought process in basic yoga positions – we need to bend deeper in a lunge to avoid an overhead kick…talk about motivation!
Tone it Up Girls. These fitness moguls used resistance bands the entire class. I absolutely love using resistance bands because they are a notch up from using your own body weight while working out. You don’t have to worry about bulking up and they make you fire up your stabilizing muscles too. It’s insane how much you can do with little bands and the super sweet Tone it Up Girls were beyond creative with them.
Lacey Stone, my girl! I trained with her at my first adidas event last year. She set the energy on fire at a point in the day when I was ready to nap. She turned simple aerobic dance moves into HIIT. She incorporated medicine balls to use like basketballs and we performed moves inspired by her college basketball years. Lacey’s energy is contagious and I appreciate that she gives everything she has every time she teaches.
Pop Physique: This was a good day ender! I’ve taken lots of Pop classes- it is similar to many other barre classes, but Pop incorporates a squishy ball for many of their exercises. We were tucking our pelvis’ and plie-ing with every ounce of energy we had left.
Why shoot apple cider vinegar when you can sip it poolside? I make this detoxifying, energizing and anti-inflammatory tonic all summer long. This gives me that poignant and refreshing I feel when I crack open a cold Kombucha. I play around with the ratio depending on the day but here is a good base:
Lot’s of ICE
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 – 1/2 Lemon
2 shakes of turmeric
1 shake of cayenne
Sweetener of choice- I use half a stevia packet or agave because they mix best with cold water
Group boxing and shadow boxing classes are so on trend right now. I scroll my IG feed and every other picture is a chick post-class with gloves up and I love it. All things women empowerment are totally my thing, but my easily inflatable arm muscles and pesky shoulder tear had kept me from latching on to this hot workout trend.
I met Ashley Guarrasi at an Adidas’ Wanderlust event in Los Angeles last month. As we ran, yoga-ed, meditated and braided our hair I had no idea she was an absolute powerhouse in the world of boxing. If it weren’t for needing to keep her face in tact for her acting and modeling career, she’d be standing opposite Ronda Rousey for the win.
After creeping on Ashley’s Snap and witnessing her take blows from clients, often men 2-3 times her size, I decided if I were to feed my curiosity about boxing, it would have to be from her.
Warm up- Jumprope. 2 rounds of 3 mins.
Shadow Boxing: She introduced me to basic punches and proper technique. We combined the punches and performed various combinations without gloves.
Boxing and Conditioning: Gloves on, baby. Alternating between throwing combinations to her on mitts and performing sets of planks, squats and push ups.
I expected that my upper body would be absolutely destroyed by the end (it was,) but I didn’t think my core and legs would get as much action as they did. My obliques fired up on every cross punch and I especially felt my core clench on uppercuts. Also, because Ashley alternated between boxing and plyometric exercises, every inch of my body had to engage. The entire session was cardio / non-stop interval training which means the hour workout packed a calorie burning punch (pun intended).
Boxing is great for the mind and body. The sweat and body fatigue was undeniable but I also had to keep my head in the game the same way I need to in a dance class. Boxing combinations are essentially choreography you have to remember. Instead of tuning out like I do when I run, I needed to dig in and engage.