Close Out the Year with Self Love

As the holidays approach, media and marketing will sell you on thinking it’s the most wonderful time of the year (and hoping you spend that pretty penny too). While I hope nothing but good cheer for all, sometimes this time of year brings forth heartbreaking reminders of those we’ve lost, failed resolutions, being stuck in careers, relationships, or unsatisfied life choices, or just simply feeling lonely. I’m here to remind you that even though these times may play havoc on your emotions, you’re still amazing and now, not just January 1, is the perfect time to practice some self-love.

I’ve come up with some practical ways for you to bring back that lovin’ feelin’, woah that lovin’ feelin’:

De-stress Monday’s


There’s an account on Instagram I follow called @destressmonday and they also have a webpage here. Stereotypically, Monday’s are the “worst” but the account gives you little reminders to breathe, smile and think positively, not just on Mondays but for everyday of the week.


Start Saving Weekly to Give Yourself a Present/Trip


Chanel Boutique in Paris

It may seem ironic to put away money when you know you probably should spend it towards the gifts for others this holiday, but how can you be your best for them if you don’t take care of yourself once in a while? Practicing some budgeting and rewarding yourself for making the means to grab something you really love or a getaway you’ve been craving for is not selfish, it’s making a goal, being diligent, and taking pride in your work. That’s an achievement!


Pay it Forward


Be Kind from Momentum Jewelry

If you are feeling slightly guilty for thinking about yourself, which you SHOULDN’T, you can always give back to those in need or just do random acts of kindness. Smile and hold a door open for someone, buy the person’s coffee behind you, volunteer at the local food pantry, give to charity. There are literally millions of ways to help and be kind and in the long run, you’ll feel better because you brightened someone’s day!


Listen to Inspiring and Interesting Podcasts


This American Life Podcast

I might get a little heavy here. Personally, losing 3 family members over the past 5 years actually makes the holidays suck, to be brutally honest. My mom was the champion of Christmas with the decorations, several little ceramic villages, lights, dinners, pies, and presents. She made the holidays feel lively, animated, and she made everyone around feel loved. This will be my 4th Christmas without her. It doesn’t get easier, but I know that by holding everything in could be disastrous. When I’m out on long runs, I like to listen to podcasts to pass the time, like This American Life with one episode in particular talking about a way to speak to loved ones who have passed and reconciling with others who are still here. The first act is discusses a documentary in Japan about the Wind Phone. It’s a non-working, old, rotary phone in a white phone booth box on a man’s garden that over 10,000 people have visited or used. It’s popularity began following the 2011 Tsunami and became a way for friends and family members, of those lost or taken from the disaster, to find a way to speak to their loved ones and grieve peacefully. I did end up watching the documentary here at this link, but be forewarned if you’re human, you’ll probably cry. The second act is about two elderly brothers, in their 80’s, who held a somewhat unknowingly grudge and hadn’t really spoken in about 20 years. The son of one helped to reconcile them, knowing time was not on their side and helped guide them to have an adult conversation about their grievances which helped to take some ‘weight’ off their shoulders. Both stories are healthy reminders to allow for time to think about your loved ones who are no longer here and to not wait to reach out to those who still matter to you while they are still here.




Brady the Cat, named after the GOAT Tom Brady

On a lighter note, because there are only 12 days left until Christmas there’s a hashtag going around called #12days12ways. It’s a reminder to reflect back and document, however you wish, 12 ways your life has changed positively over the past year.

Here are mine:

January: Got to celebrate the new year with my friend Liz, who visited us in France from NYC

February: Watching the Patriots win the SuperBowl

March: Spending a week in the Swiss Alps snowboarding

April: Completing my 9th Marathon in Rome, Italy and during that same week watch Julien crush his PR in the Paris Marathon

May: Completing the Luxembourg night half marathon, the hottest race I’ve ever done in my life

June: Growing my influence in the running, fitness and wellness community on Instagram and having my hard work, “little hobby”, get recognized with sponsorships and ambassadorships from companies like Under Armour and Nordstrom

July: Getting a new kitten and fur baby, Brady

August: Visiting my one of my oldest friends Dorothy, in Rotterdam, Netherlands while at the same time being lucky enough to have her on this side of the pond with me

September: Twofer, sneaking home on a super discount flight for Labor Day weekend to go on, one of my best friend’s, Katie’s sailboat and completing my 10th marathon and 3rd World Major in Berlin

October: Having my Dad visit for a couple weeks and then all of us flying back to the US for 3 weeks, 2 weddings and an east coast adventure

November: My birthday in Budapest, Hungary with my American bestie here in Metz, Carmen

December: Having Julien’s family embrace and welcome me into their home for Christmas this year

Here’s to ending the year on a positive note and feeling optimistic for what is to come!


Birthday in Budapest

A couple weeks ago, November 13th exactly, was the day I was born on! 27, I mean 37 😜, isn’t so bad. I’m healthy, happy and seeing the world. Can’t really get better than that?!

For my birthday, I decided to go on a little getaway girls weekend with my friend Carmen. Looking up the low cost airline options, we decided on Budapest, Hungary.

We took a train ride to Paris and spent the Friday night having Thai food and hitting up Rue du Lappe for a little bit of bar hopping. Then we made our great escape on Saturday morning on a direct flight to Budapest with Easy Jet.

Rue du Lappe, Paris

Rue du Lappe, Paris

Upon arrival in Budapest, we found public bus transportation that would get us to VII District and the old Jewish Quarter on the Pest (or Pesh) side.

Buda and Pest are the two areas that make up Budapest. Buda is the hilly side with old churches, monuments and the Castle. Pest is the flat land that contains the old town with all the bars, restaurants, spas and Parliament. The River Danube divides the two with several beautiful bridges connecting them along the way. Budapest is the 9th largest city in the EU and has a long war torn history. In 1949, it was declared that Budapest was under communist regime until 1956 when the Hungarian Revolution began. The city has developed and has one of the oldest metro systems along with building strengths in other areas like commerce, finance, art, technology and entertainment. And we planned to pack as much of that in within 2 days.

Budapest, thanks to

We first had lunch at a very friendly restaurant called BB’z. Then we made our way over to take a River Cruise Tour to see the Hungarian Parliament and Castle lit up at night. Weather in November isn’t ideal and we sat through cold, wet, and windy weather, but the boat had booze and inside seating so we survived! We walked back through Jozsef Nador Square where they already begun their Christmas Market and we stopped to have a drink. Then we got dressed up to have dinner with traditional Hungarian plates which includes a lot of meats, dumplings and heavy sauces. And after, we made our way through a neat, little alley way called Kazinczy Street that hosts several bars and pubs. We made our final stop to the most famous bar called Szimpla Pert Pub which is an art gallery by day and club at night.

BB’z restaurant

BB’z Restaurant

Hungarian Parliament

Hungarian Parliament

Hungarian Castle and River Cruise

Hungarian Castle on River Cruise

Christmas Market

Christmas Market

Traditional Hungarian Food

Traditional Hungarian Food

Krazinczy Street

Kazinczy Street

Szimpla Pert

Szimpla Pert

A 5am return called for some sleeping in, donuts and then pampering ourselves at one of the most famous thermal spas in Hungary (btw they have over 123 of them), Szechenyi Spa Baths, which has 15 indoor and outdoor pools. Getting full day passes online for 16€ (or almost 5000 Hungarian Forint) and 40€ for hour long Thai massages, not only was it quite reasonable, it was completely worth it!

The Donut Library

The Donut Library

Szechenyi Spa

Szechenyi Spa

That evening we found an Asian fusion restaurant and made our way back to the hotel to prep for another evening out. Our neighbors in the hotel were having quite the party, a few guys from Manchester celebrating a stag party. Because we’re such great neighbors we ended up becoming friends and hitting up the near by Karaoke Bar. So much fun!



Pregaming for Karaoke

Pregaming for Karaoke

A fun and memorable weekend in affordable, cultural, and lively Budapest. Be sure to check it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

Knots and Trigger Points oh my!

Have you ever received a massage and been told you have knots? And they hurt when they are pressed? Or you have a vague pain in your arm, leg, or face but can’t pinpoint the source? What is the Deal?!!

You’re more then likely suffering from muscluloskeletal pain referred to as a trigger point (often interchangeable with knots). As a physical therapist and masseuse I hear these complaints, a lot, from every single human I tell what I do for a living. Amiright fellow PTer’s?

What is a trigger point? 
A motor (movement) dysfunction within muscle in which there is increased density in the muscle belly. Usually a localized tender spot but can be associated with referred and, sometimes, persistent pain. It is said they can be found anywhere on the body, differing between people and in intensity.

There are different types:
Active: current triggering of pain locally and/or referred
Latent: point that is only tender with compression which may or may not be associated with referred pain
Secondary/Satellite: cascading trigger points created in referral zone from primary trigger point

How are they formed? 
No definitive cause is attributed to trigger points however over exertion, overuse, repetitive wear and tear, posture, trauma, flexibility or structural issues, and nutritional deficiencies are said to play a part.

There are many methods from conservative to invasive techniques (dry needling, injections, etc). As a physical therapist and masseuse, I opt for the conservative approach always as a primary option, like coming to see me!

Often massage (manual or tool assisted, such as Graston), stretching incluiding active release or muscle energy techniques may be done by a professional (like myself) along with alignment, postural, and functional restoration exercises individualized for patient to correct dysfunctions that cause repetitions of trigger points. And be forewarned that these trigger points may require some pain for gain in particularly with the manual focus.

My first recommendation is to talk to your PCP to get a referral for PT to be sure your source of pain is indeed muscular and not myocafascial or neurological and to get individualized education on your specific pain. Or seek out a specialized deep tissue massage therapist, like myself. Have you noticed a direct correlation to my shameless self promotion yet? 😂

For my Luxembourgish community come visit me at LuxChiro: Luxembourg Chiropractic and Wellness Centre 239, Val des Bons Malades, Kirchberg, L-2121 Luxembourg
You can book your appointments with me directly online by clicking this link LuxChiro

What can you do?
Come see me, of course, but if logistics make this difficult there are self help tools you can use to try to manage your symptoms on your own at home.

Here are just a sample of therapeutic tools you can have on hand at home to begin with self-massage but, again, I highly recommend seeking out the advice of a specialist prior to starting.

Foam roll


Tennis/lacrosse Ball

Bring on 2016

Life can bring a full range of emotions. I’ve missed my mom and my niece, Terri, for major life events and holidays. I’ve had close family friends pass away. I’ve experienced a loss in trust, fear for the world, friends diagnosed with cancer, and I uprooted what I thought was a stable and sufficient life.

But I’m a pretty optimistic person and 2015 you’ve been good to me. I was lucky enough to travel to Switzerland, Iceland, England, Scotland, France, Luxembourg, and a lot of the US. There’s been family graduations, weddings, and those getting engaged with a great-niece on the way. There’s been an amazing opportunity to explore and grow myself and my relationship. I’ve become educated on good food and how to make it and help others promote a healthy lifestyle. Damn!  I’m grateful to have the life I have and thankful for the opportunity to give back, even if I make just one person’s day.

My year in pictures:

Here are my New Year’s Resolutions:

Learn French

  • I know, this has been on my list since I moved to France. I’ll be the first to say, it’s tough. To find the right class, costs, accessibility, and the time of year. But in reality it’s just pure laziness. I have someone who translates for me and while that’s helped this month, I’m determined to understand the language and develop on my own because that’s the type of person I am. Plus, I just think it’s plain rude to not try to assimilate to my new culture.

Complete the Paris Marathon

  • I’m on day 29 of training for the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon on April 3, 2016. This will be my 8th marathon. I’m shooting for sub 4:30. Click on the link to subscribe to my Facebook page to follow my progress or follow my Instagram @thefitwanderluster

Lose the love chub

  • In my last post I desribed my passion for cheese and wine and my 35 year old body is laughing at me for thinking I still have my 25 year old metabolism. I don’t, so the effects of love will be battled against with my 2016 accountability group. For more info, message me on Facebook or email:

Help others, in whatever capacity

  • I’m your girl if you want motivation and inspiration on fitness, running, and clean eating tips. I’m also really good at muscle tension, comedic or entertainment relief to provide a small break from our sometimes scary world. I will donate, volunteer, clean the house for my working man. I’m open to the possibilities of how I can give back and strive to achieve to the best of my abilities in 2016.

My wish to you and yours is that everyone enjoyed their holiday season, and find peace, joy, and love this brand new year!