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I have now been working for a few months for a consulting firm that helps global organizations to unleash their full human potential. We encourage our clients to optimize performance when it’s essential for them. This means that choices related to body, heart, mind, and spirit should be optimized when it’s important to perform well. We are strong supporters of balance, though, and understand that not getting 8 hours of sleep, some wine every now and then, less healthy food, etc. are a part of a balanced lifestyle and by no means encourage people to exclude those.


Enjoying the first days of spring on Brooklyn Bridge.


Our method is based on making one positive change at a time. We have noticed that making one change a part of the daily routine creates a domino effect that impacts other areas of a life. That catalyzes a growth process of gradually unleashing more and more of a person’s full potential. A concrete example of this could be from a couple of years ago when I started my journey towards a healthier and more sustainable way of living. I had been studying for a few years, eating irregularly, partying a lot, not sleeping enough and was sick all the time. I had a realization when I saw a picture of a not-so-healthy-looking girl and shockingly thought to myself “is that really me”. From that moment on I started to prioritize my health by eating evenly throughout the day, adding vegetables to my diet and by exercising more and partying less. Slowly I started to feel (and look) more energized, focused and healthy. This of course encouraged and motivated me to firstly, hold on to this change and secondly, to make other positive changes to feel even better. My wellness journey has had it’s ups and downs but right now I feel that I’ve come quite far – which feels amazing.


Lunch & breakfast at my two favorite spots the Butcher's Daughter and Two Hands.


In the process of going from an unhealthy lifestyle to living a balanced healthy one I’ve become a “wellness-nerd”. I’ve read and watched everything that I can come across related to nutrition, training, sleep, lifestyle, body image etc. and have been so excited to work for a company where this type of information is further shared to people who are eager to learn more. The most inspiring part of my job is to watch people have similar realizations as I had, and to see them develop and get excited about their own health.


Dragon Slayer shot to kill a flu, at the Butcher's Daughter.


My personal opinion is that wellness is a journey. It’s not sustainable to change everything at once since changing one’s behavior patterns takes time, and if too many changes are made it’s very likely that a person will sooner or later go back to her/his old bad habits. I also strongly believe that everybody has to find their own optimal way of living – one diet doesn’t fit everybody, the same sport doesn’t work for all of us, we all need different amounts of sleep, everybody handles stress differently, and work-life balance looks different for everybody. Despite our differences I’m quite sure that most of us have one, two or three areas in our lives where we could do a little better.

Conscious living is what I’m aiming for. By this I mean that I consciously make choices that are good for me, but still understand and don’t punish myself for choices that aren’t as good. The key is to find a balance so that I can perform well when it’s needed, and also enjoy a less strict life without feeling guilt. I challenge you to analyze your way of living – what are your 1 or 2 areas that could be improved?

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Many people have asked me to write a Brooklyn guide so here it comes! I have to point out, though, that there are so many good places to go to and fun things to do in Brooklyn that it’s simply impossible to write about every one of them. Here are, however, some of my favorite spots and things to do. I’ll update the guide frequently.

Food & drinks

Juliette. 135 N 5th St. Good French food and a cozy outside seating area on the roof. Good service too!

DuMont Burger. 314 Bedford Ave. Rumors suggest that they have the best burgers in the city.

El Almacen. 557 Driggs Ave. This cozy Argentinian restaurant is heaven for meat-lovers. Try the “parrillada” to get a taste of different kinds of meats and don’t forget to order some chimichurri & truffle fries – they’re amazing!

Five Leaves. 18 Bedford Ave. This is my go-to place for everything, coffee, brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks. The interior is super nice, the food is yummy and the atmosphere is relaxed. In the evening there’s usually queue outside so make sure to go on time, put your name on the list and go to the bar on the other side of the street to have a drink and wait for your table.


Food at Five Leaves!


Smorgasburg. The location varies so you have to google it. Smorgasburg is a flea food market (inside during the winter and outside in the summer) with up to 100 vendors who offer small, pretty cheap portions of street food. Try the oh-so-famous ramen burger if you don’t mind standing in line for ages – people say it’s worth it.

Brooklyn’s Natural. 49 Bogart St. #1. If you’re around the Morgan L train during lunch timeI suggest that you get takeaway from Brooklyn’s Natural. They have huge salads, fresh wraps, comfort food and much more to very decent prices.

Colonie. 127 Atlantic Ave. Awesome interior design, open kitchen, urban music, farm-to-table ingredients and friendly personnel. Perfect place for Sunday brunch or for socializing. The restaurant gets pretty noisy and the tables are very close to each other so if you prefer more quiet, private places this one’s maybe not for you.


Nachos at Smorgasburg, sooo good!


Wythe Hotel. 80 Wythe Ave. This is one of my favorite spots in Williamsburg for one simple reason, the view. During the warmer months their rooftop is an excellent place to spend a day at sipping cocktails and hanging out, and during the winter, their inside bar is a great spot to go to for drinks (and to enjoy the view of course).

Miss Favela. 57 South 5thSt. This Brazilian Botequim serves brunch, lunch and dinner but you really don’t go there for the food. This is really the place togo to if you want to spend the night drinking caipirinhas dancing to Enrique Iglesias with laid back, nice people. The vibe in Miss Favela is really something else.


Manhattan skyline from the Wythe Hotel


Cafes and juices

Toby’s Estate. 125 North 6th St. Cool people sit here with their macbooks and work. The Coffee is 5/5 and their avo toast looks delicious (have to try it next time!).

Organic planet (juice and smoothies). 169 Bedford Av.& 205 N 9th St. Both of the Organic planets have great juices and smoothies that they make on the spot from organic fruits and vegetables.


Green smoothie <3


Fun things to do

East River Ferry. Different locations, google it. East River Ferry connects Manhattan with different destinations in Brooklyn, Queens and seasonally on Governor’s island. It’s a good way to cool down on a hot summer day and the views from the ferry are spot on.

Brooklyn Brewery. 79 N. 11thSt. Good beer and nice atmosphere with the opportunity to go on a small tour around the brewery or on a tasting event.

Yoga to the people. 211 N. 11thSt. Yoga for everybody. I like their vibe and prefer their hot yoga classes. One time is 12 $.

Brooklyn tabernacle. 17 Smith St. The Sunday service at Brooklyn Tabernacle is mind blowing. Go there, experience it.


Williamsburg Bridge from the East River Ferry


Shopping

Pinkyotto. 204 & 218 Bedford Ave. I could empty these stores – love their cute unique clothes. They have something for every occasion and often they only have a few pieces of each product. One downside is that the sizes are “one size fits all”. The personnel however, is very professional and often pulls out pieces that one would never try but that then looks amazing on.

Bird. 203 Grand St. Love, love, love Bird. They sell products from Acne Studios, Rag&bone, J.Brand, Alexander Wang, Mansur Gavriel and many, many, more. They also have local jewelry artisans featured and their selection is always changing.

Brooklyn Charm. 145 Bedford Ave. In Brooklyn Charm you get to design your jewelry yourself from a selection of hundreds of chains and thousands of charms. Good gift idea, or if you want to wear jewelry that’s totally unique.

Brooklyn Flea. Different locations, google it. Brooklyn Flea has hundreds of vendors of vintage clothing, furniture, collectibles & antiques, jewelry, art and food. The products are really amazing and it’s an experience itself to see the fleamarket packed with people.

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I’m back in the city that never sleeps with a new exciting job at a consulting firm. We help global organizations to unleash the human potential amongst their executives, managers and talents. I’ve been working for two weeks now – going to meetings, attending client programs, doing content production, seen Gina Otto (google hershe’s amazing) talk to children about changing the world and so much more.

The company I work for base their programs on a holistic approach covering body, mind, heart and spirit. The idea is that by doing small changes and optimizing these areas a person’s ability to achieve optimum performance in challenging situations increase. I thought I’d share some tips with you in up coming blog posts, that can help you in becoming more efficient at work and in feeling better and sharper.


My neighborhood & the view from an office we had a training at.


It feels really good to be back in New York and in my old neighborhood in Brooklyn. I’m living in a “Scandi-community” with one of my childhood friends Lina, and a Swedish girl. Since I left at the end of October so many nice restaurants and bars have opened here and I just noticed today, that an acai bar is soon opening its doors next to our building (you know were to find me in the mornings ha-ha). All in all my first two weeks here have been exciting, yet very challenging. But I guess development happens when you step out of your comfort zone.


Happy people enjoying the sun in Central Park!

I’m posting a guide to Brooklyn later today so stay tuned!

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Many people associate America with fast food and doughnuts, so did I, and was really positively surprised by the number of grocery stores in New York that have a broad selection of organic, locally produced and healthy food. The neighborhood in Brooklyn that I lived in had one “regular” grocery store and at least 3 or 4 stores that focus on organic alternatives. These types of stores have huge produce sections with fruits and vegetables from local farmers, sell meat and fish that are raised without antibiotics, from farmers and ranchers that are committed to animal welfare standards, prefer local brands over multinational ones, and often have food counters with healthy prepared meals. The closest we get to these kinds of stores in Finland are market halls or markets and smaller stores such as Anton&Anton or Ruohonjuuri.

Produce section at the Urban Market of Williamsburg

In New York many people actually buy ALL of their food at the prepared foods counters. Instead of buying ingredients for a dinner, they buy their entire dinner, for example steamed broccoli, salad, fish or meat, lasagna, cooked potatoes, wraps, pasta, or fruit salad at the counter (all organic, of course). This is a huge difference between New Yorkers and Finns. I find buying steamed broccoli a bit crazy, but have to admit that after living in the city for a while, I became a more frequent guest at the food counter of my local store. Grocery stores naturally have prepared foods also in Finland, but most people still prefer cooking rather than microwaving their dinner. Obviously cooking is a good thing, but there would probably be more demand for prepared meals if grocery stores in Finland provided a greater variety of healthy and delicious alternatives. For example busy families with kids and people living alone would surely benefit from this kind of development.


My biggest weakness


The most famous grocery store to offer wholesome, organic food is probably the Whole Foods Market. In my opinion the chain totally deserves the hype around it – their stores are amazing and I could spend hours in them! Also, they are situated in central locations in Manhattan, which makes visiting them easy. If you visit New York or another city in America I strongly recommend visiting a Whole Foods store and especially their section with prepared foods, it’s truly something else!

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At the end of October my internship ended and it was time to head back home, so right now I’m in Helsinki. The only thing I can say about the three months I spent in New York is that they were amazing. There’s truly no place like it. I experienced so much, met amazing people from different countries with different cultures, and felt alive. The vibe in New York and the fast paced lifestyle that I had there, made me energetic, motivated, and happy. I still have to say that home is always home and it’s been so nice to spend time with friends and family, and to relax a little (haven’t had much time for that the past three months). I’m also very excited to say that as it looks like now, I’ll be spending some more time in New York next year.

Beautiful Helsinki by night

Tomorrow I'm publishing a post about grocery shopping and grocery stores in New York so stay tuned!

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Hardly anyone has been able to miss the health boom going on all around the world. Grocery store isles are filled with high protein products, restaurant menus have ever more healthy alternatives, Instagram is filled with belfies and gym selfies, an increasing amount of people are turning vegan/vegetarian, and every other one of us is erasing gluten, dairy products, sugars or additives from their diets in attempt to find wellbeing and a ‘perfect’ diet. This wellness mania is gaining ground on both sides of the Atlantic, but the huge population of cities like New York takes these trends to completely other levels than we could ever hope for in Finland. With high enough demand for even the most restricted, special diets, it is profitable for companies to correspond to them.

A current trend that the New Yorkers are going nuts about, are different health drinks that can be consumed on the go: juices, coconut water, kombucha, smoothies and matcha chai to name a few. The juice-isles in grocery stores are huge and even the smallest corner delis have their own juice and smoothie bars. It’s in the nature of most New Yorkers to be extremely busy, and drinkable food suits this lifestyle more than well. The company that I’m doing the internship for sells organic cold pressed juices and our best selling store is actually in the financial district. For busy investment bankers the juices are an easy and quick way to get energy. This trend hasn’t arrived to Finland yet, and I’m not sure that it ever will. We Finns are simply not “on the go -people” to the same extent; we like to sit down to have our coffee or lunch.


Juices for every taste and diet at Westerly Natural Market 


Obviously there are people who take healthiness to the extreme. One guy I met at work suggested that our juices should be sold in black bottles to keep out sunlight, which in his opinion destroys the nutrients. Another stated that he doesn’t consume any products in plastic containers because toxins are released from plastic. A very funny question I often get is whether or not our fruit and vegetable juices contain gluten or dairy ingredients.

But are New Yorkers even worse health nuts than we Finns? I wouldn’t necessarily say they are, but there are certain differences. New Yorkers are for example much more conscious about buying organic food. The reason for this is probably that the non-organic or poor-quality alternatives are so much worse here, and that you can’t really trust food labels. In Finland the food industry is more regulated, and even non-organic alternatives are in most cases ok. Here, on the other hand, even ‘organic’ labeled foods may contain hidden sugar and preservatives, and a package of non-organic ground beef can basically contain anything. This is probably the reason for so many New Yorkers to turn to farm-to-table ingredients, plant-based or vegetarian/vegan diets and grass-fed meats and erasing processed foods, sweeteners, dairy and fat free products from their diets.


Enjoying Sunday brunch at Duet, a charming West Village restaurant!

Many grocery stores, such as for example Whole Foods, are corresponding to this demand, but more about the amazing health food stores in my next blog posts.

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I have now lived in the marvelous Big Apple for a few months doing a marketing internship at a wellness company. It took some time to adjust to the fast paced lifestyle of New York, but after a while I got over the tiredness, got used to huge (!!!) amounts of walking and learned how the subway system works. When the daily life stopped taking so much energy, I started to experience days of extremely good vibes. Days when I had so much energy that sleeping and eating felt unnecessary and I just felt extremely motivated, inspired and invincible. This feeling has now leveled into a generally energized and happy state of mind. Obviously I have bad days, too, but mostly I just want to smile without any particular reason when walking around the streets of this amazing city.

New York makes me high on life, but why and how? The number one reason is the ‘buzz’. There’s so much to do every day of the week, events, parties, exhibitions, sports, festivals, musicals – you name it, and so much different interesting people to meet. During my time here I have for example been to art exhibitions, had lunch, drinks and dinners on rooftops with the most amazing views, danced at a Brazilian club until my feet hurt, been to an oyster fest (?), tried Soulcycling, seen three musicals (can’t get enough of them), been to a yoga retreat and eaten at countless great restaurants. I've shared these moments with nice people, which makes everything even better.


​Happy girls at times square!


Another reason could be the slightly shallow but pleasant “how are you” and small talk culture, which has led me into fun discussions with complete strangers every day, throwing compliments back and forth and sharing good vibes. Some think this American habit is fake, but doesn’t everyone love getting compliments or talking to people that are having a good day? I do at least.

I also admire the self-confident attitude of many New Yorkers. When asked, what they do or enjoy doing, they talk about their jobs or hobbies so that they seem like the smartest and coolest people ever, doing the most important and exciting jobs and things. If you want people to stay interested, you have better do the same. So the key to social success here is actually believing that you ARE extremely smart and cool. That is something that I’ve been happy to learn and am definitely going to hold on to when I get back home. I think we Finns in general would benefit from a fair dose of this attitude.

I find it somehow unbelievable and inspiring that I’m walking on the same streets, shopping at the same stores and hanging out at the same places as many of the most famous and successful people in the world.

All in all, living in this vibrant city where there’s so much going on 24/7 makes me feel that anything is possible, and the best thing is that anything is!


More about the crazy New Yorkean wellness and health scene that I have been exploring in my next posts.

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Welcome to my blog. I’m Pia a 24-year-old marketing grad student from Helsinki, Finland. Three months ago I packed my bags and headed to NewYork to spend some time in my all time favorite city. During my time here I’ve tried new sports, visited amazing health restaurants and encountered a completely new wellness culture. This is not a regular fitness or personal trainer blog. This is a blog where I question, criticize and write about wellness, food and trends, analyze differences between New York and Finland but also write about my New York experiences, travel destinations, healthy living and the benefits of a balanced lifestyle.


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