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Therapeutic Massage & Recovery

A massage can be relaxing. It can be luxurious. It can be indulgent.

And while I like to show myself some love with body treatments, these days I’ve been turning to massage for restorative purposes. Massage is a wonderful way to promote recovery – It loosens your muscles, increases blood flow, and when integrated properly, it can reduce soreness so that you can put in more time training.

When I’m training for a race – Like the Kaiser Half Marathon earlier this month – Massage becomes an important part of my training regime.

I’m excited to be partnering up with massage therapist Deidre Corda to chat about how massage can be used to improve recovery.

MCLV: Can you tell everyone a bit about your company, what you offer, and your specialties?

Deidre: The short answer is: I offer in-home massages that are 100% personalized. Because every session is personalized and includes a variety of techniques, I only charge based on the length of the session, not based on which techniques I use. Charging more for a deep tissue or sports massage versus a Swedish is ridiculous!

Right now my client base is pretty equally divided among athletes, frequent travelers and moms! It’s a pretty diverse group which keeps it interesting. The travelers are particularly interesting to me at the moment. I’ve been studying up on the best ways to regain and maintain balance despite the negative effects that travel has on the body (muscle fatigue, sickness, anxiety, digestive issues, etc).

A good example of a session with me (here comes the long answer!) is my “traveler’s massage. It varies from client to client, day-to-day, but usually it consists of deep tissue and stretching to combat muscle fatigue from things like extra walking, weird beds or cramped travel situations. Lymphatic drainage massage is used to stimulate the lymph to ensure the immune system has a properly flowing waste removal system. The drainage also works wonders for sinus pressure! I balance all of that out with Swedish massage and restorative energy work to make sure my clients can sink deeply into relaxation and calm any anxieties they might have. That’s all in one session by the way!

MCLV: I’ve always appreciated the restorative effects of massage – Can you walk us through how massage can be used as a tool to aid in muscle recovery?

Deidre: Sure! But let’s get something out-of-the-way first, our bodies have every intention of healing themselves and correcting imbalances, but sometimes they need a little reminding.

The most important task of a massage therapist is to get the client to fully relax and surrender. This relaxation state is known as the parasympathetic nervous system which is the opposite of what we have turned on for 90% of our waking hours (“fight or flight”). All you need to do is breath and focus on letting go.

Once the client has dropped into the parasympathetic, we can literally feel the muscles melting as we sink deeper to find adhesions, tension, scar tissue, muscles that are firing even when they aren’t being used, etc. We use different techniques to release and bring attention to these areas of discomfort. It’s really all about awareness and being present with your body in order to heal.

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MCLV: How often would you recommend getting massages during an intense training program? How often for someone who works out regularly but isn’t necessarily pushing their body to the limits regularly?

Deidre: Our bodies need consistency in order to integrate massage and not bounce back to their previous state in a day or 2. This is why frequency with massage is so important. It doesn’t really matter how intense your workouts are, if you aren’t getting massage regularly, you will need to start with at least bi-weekly or weekly sessions until you start to feel that the effects of the massage don’t just disappear after a few days.

Once your body is integrating the bodywork, you can alter your schedule based on your work out routine. If it is an intense program, you will benefit from keeping up with at least 2 massages per month. Otherwise, monthly would be the minimum.

One note on working out and deep tissue massage: do not request deep tissue when you are sore (I mean really sore, not just a little muscle fatigue). A lot of clients think they need deep tissue massages right after an intense workout, but because of the micro-tears in their muscles from the work out, deep tissue massage will have a negative effect. It will only cause more harm to the muscle fibers and potentially increase inflammation and prolong the soreness.

MCLV: In your experience, what’s the best way to integrate massage into a healthy life? Would you recommend anything before or after to improve the results? (water, stretching, food etc)

Deidre: Integration is the key! Like I said previously, frequency is the first step. Getting a massage once in a blue moon expecting it to “fix” your discomfort is like eating a salad once and thinking you’re going to suddenly have your dream body. That’s not how bodies work.

Water is always the #1 recommendation after a massage. Not because it flushes out toxins or lactic acid, those claims are unfounded, but simply because your body and your muscles need water in order to function. If they can’t function, they definitely won’t be able to heal.

Another key is taking time to relax before and after your massage. This is one of the main reasons I offer in-home massages! You are already relaxed in your own home and after the session you don’t have to switch over to high alert mode to battle traffic or take public transportation. Unfortunately, this sudden change can sometimes undo the work on the table.

As for stretching, that depends largely on what issues you have and what your body is up to. I always talk to my clients about home care and ways to prolong the benefits of each session. That might be stretching, heat, ice, movement, more/less frequent sessions, shorter sessions, longer sessions etc.

I really loved hearing her answers – Especially about frequency and developing a routine. I’m also thrilled to share that Deidre has a referral program! If you refer a friend, you both get $25 off a massage! You can reach out to her at

What do YOU think – Would you turn to a massage therapist to help with recovery?

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January Favorites

One of the new series that I’m going to be working my way through this year is a round-up of my monthly favorites!

From new beauty products I tried to all-time favorites in the kitchen to workout classes to new restaurants.  I’ll be checking in each month to give you a peek at what I loved and couldn’t live without during the previous month.

No Cow Bars – I try a lot of bars. They’re great if I need a little protein boost to hit my macros at the end of the day, and they’re a total lifesaver when I’m traveling or running around like a headless chicken on weekends. Bars are great because they’re easy to store, and a quick/easy source of healthy nutrition. I have recurring favorites that I buy time and time again, but I really like giving new brands a try as well. These No Cow Bars are an unusual texture, but really tasty and filling. My favorite flavors so far are Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Lemon Meringue Pie, and Dark Raspberry Truffle.

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Shiseido Benefiance Eye Cream – I talked all about my Winter Skin Care Routine a few weeks ago and one of the real favorites from that all-star line-up was the Shiseido Eye Cream.

Adidas Neo Sneakers – If you follow me on Snapchat {if you don’t – it’s moicontrelavie} you’ll know I’m a huge fan of my Adidas Neo sneaks. I have them in three colors. Since foot injuries ruined my love affaire with ballet flats and heels {The Painful Truth About High Heels} I’ve been wearing my Neos daily. They’ve held up wonderfully and are still cute and comfy!

Fluffbutter Salted Caramel Sundae – Oh. M. Geeee. This dairy-free protein peanut butter is amazing. But, full disclosure, the bf made a face when he tried it… But he has a sugar addiction so I’m pretty sure his taste buds are shot. 🙂

Finding Ultra by Rich Roll – I’m a huge fan girl when it comes to distance runners and after finishing Born To Run I ordered a bunch of other running books that I’ve spent years going through. More recently I read Eat and Run by Scott Jureck and after that ultra marathoning love fest, I had to read this one.

What were YOUR January favorites? What do I need to add to my Must Try list for February?

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Blogger Confessions {XVII}: College Edition

Welcome back to the blogger confessions series! Its been a while… 🙂

This Confessions post is all about college factoids and ridiculousness from my four wonderful years at the University of California at Berkeley.

When I was in college I had very definite plans about joining the CIA. I also wanted to be the first female accepted in the Navy SEALS.

I lived in Rome, Italy for the Spring semester of my Junior year studying Art History. Which, incidentally, was not my major.

While Berkeley was ringed by cute little cafés filled with students studying up a storm, I was a library girl and routinely studied in the smaller History and Classics libraries. Fewer people, more table space, and I frequently needed to locate more arcane texts for my papers and studying sessions.

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I joined UC Berkeley as a member of the diving team but due to an injury – The same spinal injury I’m still dealing with today – I never got a chance to represent UCB in competition.

I wrote an Honors thesis for each of my majors and the subject of my Classical Civilizations thesis is, in part, the basis of one of the novels that I’m working on writing right now. If I had gone straight into a PhD program after my undergraduate program as I’d originally anticipated, it may have been the basis for my dissertation.

Missed on the other Blogger Confession posts? Check them out here.

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What’s In My Bag: Everyday Handbag

There’s an ongoing joke at my office about the size of my daily handbag. While I switch things up fairly regularly, some of them could be considered… Sizeable. On weekends I tend towards crossbody bags and carry less with me, but during the week, when I’ll be away from my apartment for 12+ hours a day, I tend to haul my whole life around with me.

So, without further ado, here’s what’s in my bag:

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Plus, there’s the handbag itself. This is my baby – A large Givenchy Antigona. I have a medium-sized Antigona as well and it’s the ultimate Mary Poppins bag. You can fit an unbelievable amount of things in it. I always, always take this as my carry on bag when I travel.

What’s in YOUR handbag?

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Resolutions, Goals & 2017 Planning

I have to confess that I went back and forth on writing a January post about New Years Resolutions or setting out goals for the year…

On one hand – I am a huge fan of planning and To Do Lists and I definitely spend some time around the end of year doing some much-needed soul-searching. On the other hand, so do most people. And maybe this post would just get lost in the year-end shuffle.

If you couldn’t guess… I decided to write it anyway! Why? Because it’s a tradition that I love, writing down my hopes for the year, and also because this year’s goals aren’t your garden variety New Years Resolutions.

This year it’s simple. It’s about personal growth and self-love.

(1) Stop apologizing

I, like many of you out there, have a nasty little habit. I apologize. I apologize all the time. The first words that pop out of my mouth on multiple occasions every day are: “I’m sorry.” For no apparent reason.

Why? I don’t know. Habit. Conditioning. I’m not sure exactly why, but I am sure that I want to stop.

An apology is an important thing, but I feel like my constant “I’m sorry’s” have practically devalued those words into meaninglessness. And – Let’s be honest, the guy who bumps into me doesn’t deserve my apology. He should apologize to me!

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(2) Focus on Self Love

Last year was a great year for me in terms of refocusing my energies. My goal of simplifying my life meant reducing the physical and the mental clutter. When I stopped spreading myself too thinly, I was able to truly see what mattered to me.

And you know what matters?


I used to feel like it was selfish or self-centered to prioritize myself and my own happiness above all else, but I’ve discovered that you are able to give much more to others when you’re happy and healthy. And you can’t get to happy and healthy unless you give yourself what you need.

That’s different for everyone. For you that could mean getting a monthly massage or planning a spa day, or it could mean making time for the gym or spending time on your favorite hobby.

For me, the goal is to create a healthy self-love ritual to following each night. A bath with delicious smelling candles and lovely oils, meditation, and journaling. It can be quick or it can be long and luxurious, but I want to do those three things as many nights in 2017 as I can manage!

What are YOUR resolutions? What are you planning for 2017? Tell me your goals!

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