FitMix Studio


La Brea Location
601 N. La Brea Avenue at Clinton Street


Atwater Village Location
3104 Glendale Boulevard


A grave reality of being in my thirties: My metabolism ain't what it used to be! Something had to be done to kick my booty into gear since my usual hikes and runs just weren't cutting it, so I researched the fitness studio scene in L.A. and stumbled upon FitMix Studio. They offer two group classes: Endurance Pilates (55 minutes on their customized Pilates reformer) and The Mashup (25 minutes of high-intensity intervals on the treadmill plus 30 minutes of Endurance Pilates). The real draw for me was The Mashup because you could effectively kill two birds with one stone–cardio and total-body conditioning–in less than an hour. 

Back in the early 2000's, I took private Pilates sessions when it was still under the radar, thanks to a magazine article in which Gwyneth Paltrow swore by it. Determined to obtain Gwynnie's long and lithe figure, I found an instructor on the Upper East Side who was trained by Romana Kryzanwoska, Joseph Pilates' trusted protégé who then carried the torch for Classical Pilates onward. After my first session, my posture was noticeably improved; after three weeks, my body looked leaner and more toned. At $85 per session, though, this was not a feasible workout regimen to maintain for the long-run, especially not for an everyday civilian like myself. I'm so thankful that Pilates has gone mainstream because now you can take group classes which are way more affordable. 

FitMix has a great, authentic vibe. It's rather bare-boned compared to Equinox, but no less clean and efficient. Be forewarned: This is a challenging workout. You will be pushed outside of your comfort zone and you will sweat, but it's totally doable. After the very intense 55 minute-session, you'll walk out feeling lighter, more positive and more motivated to return as soon as possible. I was converted into joining after trying the first class, which is offered at the no-brainer price of $10. If you can get a friend to join with you, as I did, you both get unlimited classes for the first month at $125. I'm already seeing results after seven sessions which is making me think that the regular monthly unlimited price of $219 might be a worthy investment after all.

BLT Sandwiches

8350 West 3rd Street bet. La Cienega and Fairfax Avenues

Slapping lettuce, tomato and bacon between two slices of white bread with a swipe of mayo doesn't sound like much of a sandwich but boy, oh, boy do I love a good BLT. It reminds me so much of my childhood when my mom used to make BLTs (or two-tiered club sandwiches, when she felt particularly ambitious) for my school field trips. She'd even cut them into little triangles and use festive cellophane-wrapped toothpicks to hold their structural integrity in place. 

I like to keep it pure and simple with a single layer of each ingredient–no crazy whole-grain breads, turkey bacon, flavored mayonnaise/aïoli or exotic greens! BLTs, in my opinion, must be made with plain white bread, real bacon, Hellman's mayonnaise, iceberg lettuce–and only iceberg lettuce (for its crisp, neutral freshness)–and a very ripe beefsteak or heirloom tomato. If I'm feeling wild, I might concede to the addition of avocado slices but, honestly, you really can't improve on such a classic. 

I went to a FitMix Endurance Pilates class at noon and was ready for lunch an hour later when it was over. I should've ordered a salad but couldn't help but be tempted by the BLT at Joan's On Third. Their BLT is an exemplary one, with its strips of thin crispy bacon, juicy tomato and perfectly toasted pain de mie. Truly scrumptious. I also ordered a cup of the celery soup on the side because, well, who can resist a little teacup of soup?

*If you're avoiding carbs as I sometimes do, you can request the B.T.A. (bacon, tomato, avocado) at Croft Alley as a Bibb lettuce wrap. It's light and delicious.

The Myth of the Eternal 24-Inch Waist

Once upon a time, I had a 24-inch waist. It remained that way for years throughout my twenties. A burger and a side of fries couldn't put a dent in my flat stomach. F you, carbs!!! Heh, heh, heh! "Just wait," my older girlfriends would say. I brushed off their warning and considered myself one of those blessed ones with high metabolism and good genes.

To seal the deal and ensure that I would never allow my waistline to grow beyond this most ideal measurement, I had all of my Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, and Chanel clothing specially tailored to my skinny-minnie figure. These beautiful clothes were practically sewn onto my body. I wanted to be able to wear them forever, thinking they'd seal in my figure for good. 

Then, I turned 29.

I guess your metabolism does slow down. Even I, who foolishly believed that I was invincible to this fact of life, could not escape it. After being lazy about working out for three months, I found myself with fifteen extra pounds on my hands, or, more accurately: on my cheeks, tummy, hips, and thighs. Disastrous reality. It was a new me, alright. So new that I needed an entirely new wardrobe to match. Nothing zipped up.

Those three months off the track equated to nearly a year of blood, sweat, and tears in the gym. I've lost ten pounds and, as I enter my thirties, I'm now between a 25- and 26-inch waist. Those last five pounds will be the death of me, I tell you!

I learned that nothing lasts forever. Whatever became of those clothes? I certainly didn't account for the fact that my sense of style has changed. As for the 24-inch waist? Who knows, maybe I'll get there again. 




On the Dukan Diet

Pictured here is a griddled beef patty on top of a green salad from Bill's Burger—no dressing

Last year, I decided to try the Dukan Diet, otherwise known as "The Kate Middleton Diet." It's a four-phase protein-centric/low-carb diet that has garnered a reputation as France's long-time secret to staying slim. There are two steps for losing the weight and two steps for keeping it off forever. I had heard about it from my friend Ashley.

"It's so amazing, Jess," said Ashley, as she divulged the details over one of our #singlegirldinners, "I've lost five pounds so far. For breakfast, I'll have a Greek yogurt and boiled egg. At lunch, I'll have a steak, and, for dinner, grilled fish with a green salad."

Well, that sounded reasonable enough, so I bought the book and went to to figure out my customized plan. It generated a chart that outlined a 42-day plan to get to my true weight. For me, it was a matter of losing four pounds. For others, their customized plan may take hundreds of days and even years in order to achieve their true weight, as this diet was originally designed for the obese. 

My meals looked something like:


Fage Total 2% with strawberry

1 boiled egg

2 slices of bresaola

2 slices of lean ham


Sliced steak with charred scallions

6 sticks of surimi 

Beef jerky


Shrimp cocktail

Tofu shiratake noodles with bolognese sauce


Grilled salmon with a micro-greens salad

I lasted all of 21 days. (I believe it was a corn dog at Nathan's Famous in Coney Island that pushed me over the edge.) The hardest part for me was giving up on pasta–I would dream of oodles and oodles of noodles. To this day, I'm shocked that I made it that far without succumbing to the spaghetti carbonara at Otto. Shocked, I tell you.

But it did work. I was able to maintain my new weight of being three pounds lighter while I was doing it. (I know three pounds sounds measly, but it makes such a difference on my frame.) This was, of course, in conjunction with regular exercise and other stipulations in the diet, such as eating oat bran daily. I was on a mission. My body looked leaner, tighter, and toner. I even saw it in my face.

While I didn't complete the 42-day plan, my big takeaway from the experience was that the secret of maintaining weight loss lies in:

1. Making lean protein and non-starchy vegetables the basis of a regular diet

2. Incorporating regular exercise

3. And, this can't be underestimated, you have to really want it

Simple as that. Just something for me to think about as I enter 2013. After all, New Year's Day and diets go hand-in-hand.

The Duality of an SGD Life

"I have spinach smoothies for breakfast, I only eat salads for lunch, and then, for dinner, I'll go to town on, like, pork belly," said a girlfriend of mine, ironically, over a shared plate of sizzling sisig at Pig and Khao, "It's all about balance." I nodded in agreement while crunching on the last pork rind from our appetizer of chicharrones.

We went on to discuss the ups and downs and yins and yangs of an SGD lifestyle. We work hard and gym hard. We'll buy fabulous shoes during the day and eat cereal in bed at night. We're game to try crazy diets yet not afraid to indulge in a meal of fried chicken. We've developed a refined palate but can also enjoy Doritos. We're somewhat of a conundrum even to ourselves.

It's hard to find a food blog that we can relate to. Sure, there are plenty of ones with gorgeous photos and interesting recipes, but I'm not an aspiring domestic diva, a heath nut, a dive junkie, or an ambitious home-cook. I'm a complex creature. I'm looking for a conversation about food that's not only about food. Less Food Network and more Sex and the City-meets-Nigella Lawson, with a dash of Parker Posey and a sprinkle of je ne sais quois. Are those shoes too big to fill? It's a dream pair of shoes for SGD to grow into.

Carrie Bradshaw once famously said: "When I first moved to New York and I was totally broke, sometimes I would buy Vogue instead of dinner. I just felt it fed me more." Let's be real, it might not be the main course, but when it comes to #singlegirldinners, there are times when reading Vogue definitely makes the meal.