Healthy Body, Healthy Reviews

Rise and Shine with Luna

July 14, 2016
The Word Brave

All photos courtesy of Amy Boyle Photography

I’m bad at making commitments. Really bad. Except for marriage, of course. I’m really good at that (Love you, babe!). I’m talking schedule commitments with friends, with strangers, with workouts, whatever. My mindset is, how can I possibly know how I’m going to feel or what I’m going to be doing on said day – days, weeks, or months in advance? For that reason, I’m always hesitant to sign up for events or agree to gatherings. Horrible? Maybe. Honest? Yes.

Berry Greek Yogurt Luna Bars

SO when my alarm went off at 5 AM after a particularly horrible night of sleep, I was extremely mad at myself for signing up to attend Rise and Shine – a group workout hosted by LUNA Bar, taught by a Nike Master Trainer and held at the Wit Rooftop. Two weeks ago it sounded fantastic. At that moment, the idea of getting out of bed for anything more than a glass of water sounded horrible.

Nonetheless, when I sign up for something, I follow through. So I dragged my groggy butt over to State and Lake – anticipating for it (my butt) to be kicked hard.

Today, I can honeslty report that it was indeed kicked. But that I’m SO GLAD it was.

Here’s what happened:

I met people. Really cool people.

Luna Bar Rise and Shine Workout

Like Alia Dalal, A Wellness Chef. This girl may have my dream job. I just didn’t know it existed until she told me it did. But I think that’s because she created it. She works with people to help them get their health on track, but in a really delicious way. She was professionally trained in health-supportive cooking at the Natural Gourmet Institute of Health and Culinary Arts in New York City. She’s worked at a destination spa in the Himalayas, an Ayurvedic spa in India and Sterling College in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. AND she is the host and creator of Nightcap, a late night-style web series on good food and beverage. WHA?? How did she? Where can I? What am I doing with my life??? She’s awesome. Until I get to where she is, I highly recommend checking her out.

I discovered A Sweat Life.

Sweat Life Founder Jeana Anderson Cohen

And the powerhouse behind the organization, Jeana Anderson Cohen. A fitness fanatic, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Nike Training Club trainer, Jeana had this genius idea for a health and wellness publication that helped make fitness more accessible to people – no matter where they are (hallelujah for work travelers, work-from-homers and long-commuters). She hosts monthly #Sweatworking events all over Chicago with the purpose of introducing people to a new workout while also introducing people to PEOPLE in a setting “other than a bar.” Amen to that. Coolest part is, she was a journalism major and a former agency girl just like me. Inspiring much?

I work ouuuut.

A Sweat Life WorkoutAs tired as I was, being on the brightly lit Wit Rooftop surrounded by other supremely motivated and in-shape women (I happened to lay my mat next to the DePaul Rowing Team. Really?), I was every bit as energized as if I’d had a solid night’s sleep. Oh. And did I mention we had our own personal DJ? Ya. I know.

Dj Lani Love

The trainer, Betina Gozo was a complete badass. But not in a scary drill sergeant sort of way. More like a really optimistic friend who knows you have it in you sort of way.

Beth Gozo Nike Trainer

The warmup was solid (which I always appreciate). Deep breathing with your diaphragm and lots of dynamic stretching. Followed by some great cross-training type movements and core exercises, partner drills, and finally a finisher that OF COURSE included burpees. But seriously. By the end of it, I was tired and sweaty, but not exhausted. Which I think is the sign of a good workout. In my opinion, if I can’t get through the rest of my day because my body aches all over and/or I can’t keep my eyes open, I pushed it too far.  

I juiced a lot. Then juiced some more. (I don’t mean steroids).

Bellis Juice Chicago

There were tons of goodies including coffee from Heritage Coffee, LUNA Bars – the new Berry Greek Yogurt, of course, and a goodie bag with THE COOLEST watch I have ever owned (see picture below). But for any of you who know me, I go gaga over juice bars. And it was here that I met Belli's Juice Bar. Chicago’s Cold Pressed (Raw, Organic) Juice Bar and Local Foods Market in Pilsen. I seriously went back FIVE times for generous samples. The taste was just incredibly fresh and after doing some research, I figured out why.

Alexandra Curatolo Bellis Juice Founder

Their founder Alexandra Curatolo was on a little bit of a mission when she opened up Belli’s. After growing her own food at nearby community gardens, she was inspired by urban agriculture. So she decided to open up a juice shop that used ingredients that were locally-sourced as much as possible. In fact, they work with urban farmers in the city of Chicago and local farmers in the Midwest to provide all of their ingredients. I’m telling ya. When you eat local, you can taste the difference. It’s just fresher. Since discovering them at the event, I have spotted them at multiple Farmer’s Markets, always served up by local Pilseners. Very cool.


This is the third Luna event I’ve attended and I always have a blast. (Remember the Joys of Being a Girl at Lunafest?). The team of girls who put it on (especially Linor Vaknin ;)) are SUCH good people. Yes, of course their events are intended to promote their yummy (Gluten-free!) bars. But I always get this very strong this-is-your-community, have-you-met-this-badass entrepreneur?, girl power vibe from them. And just like that, I’m inspired to do more for myself and my business and you, my readers. I mean, if other Chicago girls can travel to the Himalayas, found a workout movement, and open up a community-driven local-foods juice bar, then I can AT LEAST get up at 5 AM to go get my butt kicked. Word.

The Time Is NOW Watch

Your turn: Name a commitment that you are SO glad you didn't bail on (even though you were THIS close).

Much Love,


p.s. I just made it a whole lot easier to comment – no name, email or login required. So have at it, friends 🙂


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      Yeah, she was pretty awesome. Motivating, but not over the top. It makes you realize what a difference it makes when you have a good workout instructor.

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