The Organic Heart Cookbook and an Interview

Our health is everything, and while we can all do the best by eating right and exercising, sometimes the unexplainable happens and people get sick. Breeana Pooler, creator of the popular Instagram account @the_organic_heart and the food blog,, experienced this in her life, when at only 26 her husband, Jason, was unexpectedly diagnosed with severe heart failure. Following his diagnosis, she set out to regain his health by throwing out everything in the refrigerator and dedicating 100 percent of her time, energy, and passion to creating healthy, nutrient-filled recipes. Now, he no longer needs a needs a heart transplant and is healthier than he has been in his entire life, and his heart is within normal range—all due to a healthy diet.

She recently launched The Organic Heart Cookbook, a book that shares how she helped to cure her husband through healthy eating, plus 75 clean and delicious gluten- and dairy-free recipes that helped her do so. This includes delicious recipes like Sweet Potato Breakfast Sliders, BBQ Chicken Zucchini Noodle Bowl, Mango-Mint Salsa with Cucumber Chips, Shrimp and Kale Fettuccine in a Cauliflower Cream Sauce and tons more! To learn more about her journey and this book, we had the chance to chat with Breena who shared more about their path to healthy eating. Read on to learn more:

Breeana Pooler Interview on The Organic Heart

The Organic Heart Cookbook and an Interview

Wellness Patterns: Tell us about the Organic Heart.

Breeana Pooler: The Organic Heart started back in 2014 when my husband, Jason, was diagnosed with heart failure caused by a rare virus. We met with a naturopathic doctor who recommended we go on an anti-inflammatory diet to bring down the inflammation in his heart and this consisted of gluten and dairy-free, clean, un-processed organic foods. I created an Instagram account to share the recipes I came up with for Jason and share our journey of Jason’s recovery and I quickly gained a following on my Instagram account. Flash forward a few years later I then decided to come out with a cookbook filled with all the healthy and healing recipes that saved my husbands life. Jason’s heart fully recovered and I am now determined to share our story and my recipes with the world.

Wellness Patterns: Can you really regain your health by changing your diet?

Breeana Pooler: Yes, you can 100%. I saw my husband go from nearly dying and us being told he needed a heart transplant to just a few months later (after going on this all organic, anti-inflammatory way of eating) feeling so much better and no longer needing a heart transplant. Food truly turned his health around and saved his life and I got to see the amazing results first hand.

organic heart cookbook interview

Wellness Patterns: What did you learn about health and food after your husband’s heart issues?

Breeana Pooler: My view of health and food completely changed. Before his diagnosis, I never thought of how chemicals in our food actually effect or bodies or how if our system is constantly inflamed from the toxic foods we consume it’s more susceptible to disease and sickness. Jason’s diagnosis of heart failure caused us to take a magnifying glass on our food choices and really put thought into what we put in our body and in turn how that food can nourish and actually heal you.

Wellness Patterns: What are some of your favorite heart-healthy recipes?

Breeana Pooler: My favorite go-to weekly recipes are my turkey Asian lettuce wraps, Italian meatballs with spaghetti squash, Collard green wrapped fajita burritos, apple-cinnamon oatmeal with almond-coconut drizzle, tropical green smoothie and homemade chicken broth for different soups. And all of these recipes can of course be found in my cookbook!

Wellness Patterns: Tell us more about the community you grew on Instagram?

Breeana Pooler: My followers on Instagram have been such a support system through out the years. At times when I felt like giving up they always lifted my spirits and inspired me to keep going and fulfill my dreams of having a cookbook. I’ve had followers all the way from South Africa to Australia to Mexico tell me how our story and my recipes have changed their life and this has meant so much to me. I feel such a connection with my Instagram community and I’m so grateful for each one of my amazing followers.

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Interview with virtue + vice: Women’s Sustainable and Ethical Clothing Brand

There are so many factors that go into how our clothing is made. From where it is sourced to what materials that are used, the production of fashion has changed over the years to offer consumers cheaper items that are made a faster rate. This has a direct impact on the environment has more clothing is making its way to our wastelands–not to mention creating a new culture focused on cheap, fast consumerism. However, there are also many brands that are adhering to both ethical and sustainable practices to change the industry and thus how we consume. One such company that we recently learned about is virtue + vice, a women’s sustainable and ethical clothing brand.

Started by Melanie, who used to source and develop clothing for some well-known big box and fast fashion American retailers, wanted to do things differently and created virtue + vice. As a new clothing brand, virtue + vice provides eco-conscious women with style that promises to produce the smallest possible carbon footprint, while offering a safe work environment and living wage to artisans in India. With a focus on consumer education, virtue + vice gives a ‘behind the seams’ look at how the clothes are made, showcasing each piece’s unique story and the people behind it.

The debut collection, features a gorgeous collection prints, like oversized palm leaves, vintage florals, and scalloped mermaid scales is perfect for hot, sunny days, tropical getaways, or even just trying to bring a beachy bohemian vibe to your regular happy hour. To learn more about their styles and how the clothing is made, we spoke with Melanie who gave the insider scoop on this exciting new brand:

Interview with virtue + vice

virtue + vice ethical fashions dresses

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea for virtue + vice come about?

virtue + vice: I have worked in the fashion industry for over seven years, and lived and worked throughout Asia. During that time I have seen a lot places and a lot of things. I wanted to create a brand that pulled back the glamorous curtain of the fashion industry; and educated consumers on what it really takes to create shiny editorial magazine photos and pinterest porn. I wanted to do this while creating an ethical and sustainable brand with real 100% transparency, as a model for what the industry should strive to become.

Wellness Patterns: How is your production model important for the retail industry?

virtue + vice: Most retailers produce too much. They do this for a couple of reasons. Sometimes it is actually cheaper for them to make more (you get better prices the bigger the order) and to have left overs, than it is to make less. Crazy, right? They also produce to discount. They make the markup ridiculously high because they are planning for most of it to sell on sale. We don’t believe in either of those practices. We make what we believe we can sell, even if we don’t meet lower price minimums, and we price fairly. It’s less wasteful this way and better for the customer.

Everything we make is also ethically and sustainably made. We believe in paying more for quality products and factories with safe working conditions and fair wages.

virtue + vice ethical fashion skirts


Wellness Patterns: What can someone expect from the collection?

virtue + vice: Easy to wear day to night pieces. Most of the clothes are easy transitions from a day at the beach or a bbq, to going out at night. It’s a cute relaxed look, without trying too hard to be trendy.

clothing production at virtue + vice

Wellness Patterns: How are the clothes made?

virtue + vice: Everything is made in Gujarat India right now. I used a lot of khadi, which is hand spun and hand woven fabric. It doesn’t use any electricity or water to make, and each spinning machine and loom that is replaced by man power creates 150 jobs. I use low impact non azo digital printing on the khadi. Digital printing uses less water and electricity than typical industry printing, and creates less air emissions. I live at my factory usually for about 3 weeks during production times, to ensure fair practices and quality.

virtue + vice ethical fashion shorts

Wellness Patterns: What is your favorite piece?

virtue + vice: My favorite pieces are the VADA khadi shorts. I LOVE khadi, and the waist band is super stretching and comfortable.

Wellness Patterns: What are your plans for the future?

virtue + vice: I plan to introduce a lower price point line for spring 2018 using commodity fabrics, to make sustainable and ethical fashion even more accessible to everyone.

Excited to check out virtue + vice! They are also hosting a 48-hour private flash sale. Check out the details below to save big on their stunning sustainable fashions:


virtue and vice 48-hour private flash sale

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Interview with Portraits for Good: Online Art Gallery that Gives Back

It’s so important to have something to believe in. No matter what our work may be, giving back is a way to support those in need. One such company that is doing their part a quite an impactful way for both consumers and artists is PORTRAITS FOR GOOD, an online gallery that sells artwork and prints while simultaneously donating to the charity of your choice.

PORTRAITS FOR GOOD, an online gallery that sells artwork and prints

Created by Alix Greenberg who realized that while artists have long stood for important causes, they lacked a way to directly impact the causes that mattered to them most. She created PORTRAITS FOR GOOD, a unique business that donates proceeds from every purchase to a non-profit of the customer’s choice. Since launching the site, PORTRAITS FOR GOOD has helped support organizations like JDRF, Doctors Without Borders, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and ASPCA.

PORTRAITS FOR GOOD art that gives back

PORTRAITS FOR GOOD pictures that give back

Not only an incredible way to give back, you can expect to receive a beautiful print or painting that arrives wrapped, framed, and ready to hang. To get started, customers choose a limited-edition print or commission a custom piece from one of their artists, then choosing a charity of their choice from which a portion of the proceeds will go towards. To learn more about this company and how it works, we spoke with Alix Greenberg who shared more about how the idea started and her goals for the future of PORTRAITS FOR GOOD.

Interview with Portraits for Good Founder, Alix Greenberg

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea of Portraits for Good come about?

Alix Greenberg: A few years ago I realized that, while artists have long stood for important causes, they’ve lacked a way to directly impact the causes that mattered to them most. I created PORTRAITS FOR GOOD; in 2015 a unique business that donates 10% of proceeds from every purchase to a non-profit of the customer’s choice. Since launching the site, PORTRAITS FOR GOOD® has helped support organizations like CodePurple Now, JDRF, Doctors Without Borders, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and ASPCA.

Wellness Patterns: Why was it important for you to tie in a charitable component to your company? How do you pick the charities you want to work with?

Alix Greenberg: The first part of this question is answered above! It started with me picking my favorite charities, and as I brought artists on, and more customers purchased, they also had ideas of charities to add. I am happy to add non-profits locally and abroad as long as they are benefiting us for good.

white girl rose portraits for good

Wellness Patterns: How do you select the artists to work with?

Alix Greenberg: PORTRAITS FOR GOOD partners with several artists who create original art or limited edition prints that showcase their unique artistic style. Since this is a fine art venture, I carefully acquire artists who have a strong aesthetic style and based on their social media presence. The site is curated and as I grow the business, I plan on bringing on 1-2 artists a day, then more! I want to make sure the site is showcasing the best.

 Portraits for Good, an online gallery that sells artwork and prints while simultaneously donating to the charity of your choice.

Wellness Patterns: How does the process work to purchase a piece of art?

Alix Greenberg: It’s easy!

1. Customers pick an artist from the “Artists For Good” dropdown menu and view the selection of limited-edition prints or upload an image and commission the artist to create a customized piece.

2. At checkout, consumers can choose their cause from a dropdown menu of numerous charities we partner with and have donated to in the past. Consumers who want to give to an organization not currently offered on the site, can contact us and we’ll happily add it as long as it is a 501(c)3!

3. Once purchased, the art will be delivered framed and display ready!

Wellness Patterns: What are some of your goals for the future of Portraits for Good?

Alix Greenberg: I am currently scaling the business and will be relaunching a brand new website in a few months optimized to bring on more artists and more charities – I want to bring 1-2 artists a day to start! I see this as a platform that aggregates both professional and dabblers alike and sells their work to charitably minded individuals. It will remain that PORTRAITS FOR GOOD is the seller and is the operational, shipping hub!

For more information, please visit:PORTRAITS FOR GOOD

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Find the Perfect Meal in the New FoodFaves App (and an Interview!)

We all have our food cravings, that on a given day, can be heightened when we scroll through social. Most food apps work to get food quickly and conveniently to you, but for the most part, that’s it. Most apps don’t know what your food likes and dislikes are or allow you to search for what you are craving (via images) in your area.

Enter the new FoodFaves App, a crowdsourcing tool that finds the best food pic content in your area, using pictures to cue up your food cravings and help you find the best eatery to satisfy that craving. Created by Sydney Epstein, a New York City television editor, who figured out that people respond to pictures of food more than menus or even good reviews. She created her app to be the ultimate personal dining assistant to help people achieve the battle to find the ultimate meal.

FoodFaves App ice cream

This ingenious new app works to identify what you’re craving, find the best possible version of what you’re craving, figure out where to go get it and provides the tools for you to get out of your office/home and be social. To learn more about this app, we chatted with Epstein about how it works and her goals for the app in the future.

Interview with Sydney Epstein about FoodFaves App

Interview with Sydney Epstein about FoodFaves App

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea for the app come about?

Sydney Epstein: I had just graduated from Emerson College and moved across the country to start a new job in Los Angeles. As a food-obsessed millennial, one of the very first things on my “to-do list” upon settling into a new city was to research my new “go-to” restaurants/takeout joints (#priorities). Within the first few minutes of my research, my computer screen became flooded with endless tabs of yelp pages, websites and reviews, and it was impossible to comprehend/keep track of which restaurants matched/catered to my personal taste. That was when I had that “there’s got to be a better way” moment and the idea for Foodfaves was born: an app that’s not just a personal dining assistant, but a “personal portal” to the foodie community!

Wellness Patterns: Tell us more about how it works?

Sydney Epstein: FoodFaves was designed as a personal dining assistant with a visual-heavy interface that capitalizes on cultural trends in how people seek to satisfy hunger. There’s an emphasis on convenience and reliance on digital media and smartphones in everyday decision-making.

FoodFaves offers several features to help users “organize” their food preferences, their favorite restaurants and dishes, while encouraging them to try new foods. Its core feature is a unique “Crave Quiz” that presents the user with sequential photos of delicious dishes based on their preferences and location, interpreting user responses (swipes) to each photo to determine what will satisfy their crave. Using the user’s Crave Quiz results, the app matches the user to a local restaurant that serves their crave. Think of the FoodFaves app as an intelligent “Tinder of Food.”

Through other FoodFaves features, you can easily thumb through pictures of your favorite dishes, or pictures people share with you that all appear in your personal newsfeed. Scroll through your favorite restaurants and menus with the option to save restaurant profiles that catch your eye and revisit them later. Found that perfect meal or snack? Share them with your followers while discovering delicious dishes and treats from others in the FoodFaves community.

It’s fun and it’s social. Finally, a personal dining assistant, right at your fingertips!

FoodFaves App cravings


Wellness Patterns: Why target cravings through an app?

Sydney Epstein: FoodFaves is a picture intensive application that capitalizes on the growing cultural attraction to visual images of food, often referred to as “food porn.” It’s digitizing a daily thought process that we all have, in order to reveal your craving. FoodFaves is made up of features which were all designed to help direct users to the restaurant most likely to “match” their craving within their desired location radius. Our app is a unique product with competitive differentiation in a market whose potential lies in its enormity, fascination with food, and increasing reliance on technology.

Wellness Patterns: What has been the response like so far?

Sydney Epstein: User feedback has been extremely positive, mainly about how it’s crazy that this idea has never been done before! Our FoodFaves database of users and food image uploads continues to grow every day. There are currently 30,000 tagged photos of dishes from restaurants all over the country (even some from overseas) uploaded to our app. The majority of food photos uploaded within the app are of dishes served in and around New York City, as that is our first test city. However, more and more food photos are posted every day of dishes served all across the U.S. Many of our users also run successful foodie Instagram accounts, so they came to the FoodFaves app as food influencers. But what is great about FoodFaves is that anyone can be a food micro-influencer within their own social circle. It’s the perfect forum for these users to not only show off drool-worthy dishes, but help other users discover new restaurants in their area! And obviously restaurants greatly benefit too, from the social sharing component of their dishes.

Wellness Patterns: What are some of your goals for the app?

Sydney Epstein: To be a leader in the social media-driven universe of food. FoodFaves provides a feature-rich program that creates unique appeal among users seeking convenience, while providing the restaurant community an easy, cost efficient means of targeted advertising. For restaurants, its visual advertising with a key social component. In addition to bringing users and restaurants together in commerce, we hope the application will provide an active social media forum for users who wish to share food photos with each other, and restaurants who seek to leverage social media for advertising. At the end of the day, our main mission is for FoodFaves to help users search for the perfect answer to satisfy their cravings and where to find it, by digitizing a daily conversation we all have – “What do I (we) want to eat today/tonight?”

For more info about the app, please visit: the iTunes store.

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Interview with Family-Owned Karen’s Naturals (Formerly Just Tomatoes)

Interview with Family-Owned Karen’s Naturals (Formerly Just Tomatoes)

You can pretty much go into any grocery store these days to discover aisles dedicated to organic and healthy snacks. What was once a niche category that you could only find at a health food store has now grown to $43.15 million dollar (2015 stats) industry with more people seeking out these healthy alternatives. One such company that was at the pioneer of this movement was Just Tomatoes. Conceived in 1985 by Karen Cox who envisioned a brand that would utilize dehydration and freeze-drying technology to bring farm fresh fruits and vegetables to the public year-round in the most nutritious, convenient, cost-conscious and flavor-packed manner possible. Working with her husband, Bill Cox, a fourth generation family farmer, they created Just Tomatoes – initially selling dehydrated tomatoes from their farm, then quickly outgrowing their name by adding apples, persimmons, berries, corn and mix to their line of naturally-fresh, chemical-free products.

During a recent chat with Bill Cox, we learned that the process starts by using fruits and vegetables directly from farms, ranches and orchards where they’re allowed to ripen naturally before being picked at the peak of flavor. The produce is then washed gently, and cut into bite-size pieces before being flash frozen. All water is then extracted by vacuum. Since the temperature never exceeds 90ºF, freeze-dried foods are considered a raw food (the company’s dehydrated products are dried at 125ºF). Whether freeze-dried or dehydrated, Karen’s Naturals’ fruits and veggies always maintain their color, nutrients and natural flavors without the use of any additives or preservatives.

karen's naturals freeze-dried line

karen's naturals freeze-dried line

Sadly, Karen passed but her family continues to honor and legacy and recently re-branding the company as Karen’s Naturals, to both honor her and continue her mission to create healthy, farm-fresh freeze-dried fruits and vegetables. This includes an expansion of their product line and retail distribution where you can now find Karen’s Naturals in 37 distinct fruit and vegetable variations, along with their new line of 100% natural fruit powders. Available in all-natural and organic versions, some of Karen’s Naturals products include: Just Apples, Just Bananas, Just Strawberries, Just Blueberries, Just Grapes, Just Peaches, Just Mango, Cherries, Just Raspberries, Just Tomatoes, Just Corn, Just Peas, Just Hot Veggies, Fruit Powders and more. Additionally, all of these products are naturally free of gluten, dairy, wheat and nuts.

A pioneer brand in the industry, Karen’s Naturals is a great way to snack on healthy veggies and fruits without having to worry about added any sugars, preservatives or GMOs.


Available online at, through and other online retailers and at such health food stores as Whole Foods, Karen’s Naturals offers individual “on-the-go” snack bag versions of its freeze-dried and dehydrated fruit and veggie products (all under two dollars each), as well as bulk packages and Variety Packs. 

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New Yorker Jay Asparro to Run 75 Miles for Alzheimer’s in Grandparents Honor

Running is powerful form of exercise. In the great game of you vs. you, it’s all about the strength, power and focus that comes from within. Fellow New Yorker, Jay Asparro will be embarking on these challenges when he will run a collective 75 miles this November (48.8 miles from Jones Beach to Teddy Roosevelt Park in Oyster Bay and the next morning he will run 26.2 miles at the New York City Marathon). This intense endeavor is driven by his passion to raise money for The Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation, a disease his grandmother, Ann, battles everyday. Last year he completed this same run, finishing 90 miles, tired yet inspired by how the awareness of his run had raised $38,000 for the Foundation. This year, the 75 miles represents what would have been his grandparent’s 75th wedding anniversary. Leading up to the run, Jay partners with local business to help raise money and awareness for his cause. This has included family bowling events to selling purple bagels at a Long Island based deli to the first annual Ann Asparro 5K. We had the pleasure to learn more about this run and the incredible cause during our recent interview with Jay. Read on to check out more about him and his cause-driven run.

New Yorker Jay Asparro to Run 75 Miles for Alzheimer's in Grandparents Honor

Interview with Jay Asparro on Running, Causes and Inspiration

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea to raise money through running come about? Why running?

Jay Asparro: I feel as though most people do not like running. If I am going to run an Ultra-Marathon, I believe I’ll be able to grab the attention of these people. Everyone knows the NYC Marathon but I don’t think anyone has heard of someone running 48.8 miles the day before the marathon. Then there are those people who love running. Most do not run more than a marathon, so I felt with an Ultra-Marathon, I could grab the attention of these people as well.

New Yorker Jay Asparro to Run 75 Miles for Alzheimer's in Grandparents Honor

Wellness Patterns: Your goal is 75 miles for this upcoming goal! How do you train for that?

Jay Asparro: I’ll be running 48.8 miles on Sat. Nov. 4th and 26.2 miles on Sun. Nov. 5th at the NYC Marathon. I hired my running coach, Patrick Hammond, from Educated Running and he puts my running schedule together for me. Unfortunately, I sprained my ankle in March and have a torn ligament in my ankle. So I swim, bike, and take hot yoga classes on top of my running 4x a week.
For recovery purposes, I take Epsom salt baths, go to Cryotherapy at Cryofit in Syosset, NY, go to Physical Therapy, get massages, and I do push-ups, sit-ups, stretch and roll everyday.

Nutrition is extremely important as well. So I’m constantly on top of my food intake eating good carbs (brown rice, sweet potatoes), protein (chicken and fish) and drinking at least 100 oz of water a day.

Wellness Patterns: What has been the reaction to your run?

Jay Asparro: When I tell people about my 75 mile run, their eyes get big and they tell me I’m crazy. Then I explain to them that I am running in honor of my grandmother to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, then they understand. 90% of the time I tell someone I’m running to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, they begin to tell me someone they know who is living with Alzheimer’s.

As for media attention, I believe it is still too early to get their attention. I’m hoping when the run gets closer- TV, Radio, and any other media outlets will give me an opportunity to speak about Alzheimer’s and the impact it has had on my family.

jay asparro running

Wellness Patterns: Why was it important for you to do this for your Grandmother?

Jay Asparro: Unfortunately, my grandmother doesn’t know who I am anymore. I know who my grandmother is and I refuse to have Alzheimer’s define my grandmother’s life. My grandmother lived with Faith, Joy and Love for her Family. That is what I run for and I always appreciate an opportunity to talk about my grandmother. She has three sons, who married three great women, she has seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren that she loves and is very proud of. I run all of these miles with love for my grandmother and my family.

Wellness Patterns: What’s something you’ve learned first-hand about Alzheimer’s?

Jay Asparro: I’ve seen the toll it takes on the caregivers. My parents, Aunt and Uncle are the caregivers for my grandmother. I also run for them because I know how much they have sacrificed to be there for my grandmother everyday. Their strength and love for my grandmother is something that helps me train when I don’t want to train.
Again, when I talk to people about Alzheimer’s, I’ve met caregivers and I see the stress and pain they have gone through or going through. I not only run for my family but I run for families living with Alzheimer’ and families who have lived through Alzheimer’s.

Wellness Patterns: How can someone help out if they aren’t a runner?

Jay Asparro: I’m raising money for the Long Island Alzheimer’s foundation, so donations would be greatly appreciated. They can go to and click on the donate link. If people want to help me promote the run, that would be great as well. They can email me at

Below is more information about the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation:
For 29 years, LIAF has been providing supportive community-based services to Alzheimer’s families on Long Island. LIAF offers critically needed social adult day programs for individuals facing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their caregivers. LIAF takes considerable pride in its pioneering role in the development of cutting edge services that foster the independence, dignity, well-being and safety of individuals with Alzheimer’s. LIAF is pleased to announce that the organization’s headquarters have relocated to a new state-of-the-art facility at 1025 Old Country Road in Westbury. The more centrally-located facility will provide the opportunity to bring services and programs more easily to those who need them. A special community open house and grand opening celebration is planned for spring 2017. For information call (516) 767-6856 or visit


You can also follow along with Jay’s fitness and fundraising journey on Instagram- jayasparro7, The Ann Asparro Run Face Book Page as well as on

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New Book Tackles the Importance of Friendship and an Interview!

There’s no denying that friendship is crucial part of our health. Whether it’s having someone to vent to, cry with or share a private joke, meaningful friendships can enhance your life and even heal. The new book, Friendship Matters addresses some of these issues as told by two clinical psychologists, Dr. Wendy Rapaport and Dr. Sanda Bernstein, and “best friends” as the celebrate the story, values and healing powers of friendship. In fact, good friendships are seen to be a good predictor of health, overall well-being and longevity.

New Book Tackles the Importance of Friendship and an Interview!

The book addresses their 47 years of friendship, as they examine the complexities of maintaining a good friendship through its many ups and downs. The book, a combination of memoir, life lessons and laughter, is a foray into understanding and further strengthening these ordinary yet extraordinary relationships. To learn more about this exciting new book, we chatted with authors, Dr. Wendy Rapaport and Dr. Sanda Bernstein, as we discovered more about the power of friendship and how having this connection is so crucial to our lives.

The Importance of Friendship in Friendship Matters

The Importance of Friendship in Friendship Matters

Wellness Patterns: Why was it important for you to cover the topic of friendship?

Dr. Wendy Rapaport and Dr. Sanda Bernstein: Who doesn’t want to brag about what they are good at? Seriously, we are so capable in our friendship- utilizing all the skills which we help inform patients everyday to use in their lives. We know that friendship has made us more effective in our interactions with others (spouses, work, families, other friends) and besides that, our laughter and wisdom which we share back and forth is a pleasure. Sometimes it is better to give than to receive and sometimes vice versa…and we do both. We want others to “have what we are having.” Truly we enjoy it everyday.

Wellness Patterns: What have you learned about yourself through your friendship with one another?

Dr. Wendy Rapaport and Dr. Sanda Bernstein: Plenty of self awareness and acceptance. We don’t feel ashamed…we feel accepted and understood and normal. Wendy has learned to be more precise and go deeper and Sandy notes Wendy’s persistence in her choices. Safety first is what we learned as kids: that’s what our friendship provides.

Wellness Patterns: What advice would you give to someone who has a toxic friend?

Dr. Wendy Rapaport and Dr. Sanda Bernstein: Notice it and check it out with your you are not “assuming” you understand their intent and you are letting them know how it feels. That makes you skillful for yourself and a good friend for the other. And if deliberate and conscious conversations don’t work, let them know what was so wonderful and what you will miss in your “dear john” letter (which you might or might not send…depending on the type of toxicity)

Wellness Patterns: What do you think friendship is so complex?

Dr. Wendy Rapaport and Dr. Sanda Bernstein: We have much in our pasts that contribute in a positive or negative way to our friendship, including our growing up experiences, relationships with siblings, experiences with friends as a young person and , self-perceptions (which can be wonderfully enhanced by a healthy friendship.) In some ways, if we communicate honestly, openly and kindly, it is very simple…and rewarding. When it is work, it’s worth the effort. Friendships are a big payoff.

Wellness Patterns: What can a reader expect in your new book, Friendship Matters?

Dr. Wendy Rapaport and Dr. Sanda Bernstein: Entertainment, knowledge, skill, and growth. Not fattening, except for growing in comfort and capability.

For more information on the book and authors, visit


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The Next Hottest Finess Craze: Cyclebox

While we are all about exercising and getting our bodies to move and groove as much as possible; there’s no denying that it can be boring to do the same old thing all the time! We are psyched when we learned about new fitness craze called Cyclebox, a new hospitality inspired and music driven, group fitness indoor cycling studio.

Created by Fitbox Method, a Miami-based boutique boxing gym, Cyclebox includes a 45 minute instructor-led group cycling class that’s aimed at burning calories while also providing a full body workout through upper body strength training using aerobic weights and shadow boxing.

cycle box class miami

Open to adults of all fitness levels, the core methodology behind Cyclebox is for members to achieve maximum levels of endurance without noticing how hard they are working, set to the energy of heart-pumping playlists and captivating colors in a supportive and welcoming atmosphere.

This also includes a commitment to camaraderie instead of competition where members are all working towards the same goal rather than competing against each other. Cyclebox drives you ride to the beat using the music to propel your energy taking the emphasis off numbers and putting more on fun. While this all sounds awesome, we wanted to learn more and recently had a chance to do just that from the team at Fitbox Method. Check out our interview below to get the scoop about this awesome new fitness class.

Interview with Fitbox Method About Cyclebox

 Fitbox Method About Cyclebox

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea of Cyclebox come about?

Fitbox Method: We wanted to go back to the basics and focus on team spirit, and fun within in a high-energy night life-inspired setting

Wellness Patterns: How does a class work?

Fitbox Method: Each 45 minute Cyclebox class is led by one of our rock star instructors and we use audio and visual components to engage our riders

Wellness Patterns: What can someone expect who is new to a Cyclebox class?

Fitbox Method: Sweat while having fun doing it, being caught up in the moment and not believing an hour passed by-instead of feeling drained – our riders exit each class feeling like they just danced the night away at a nightclub with friends

Wellness Patterns: What kind of music can we expect to hear in a Cyclebox class?

Fitbox Method: All types from EDm to Pop and Hiphop

Wellness Patterns: How is Cyclebox an effective full-body workout?

Fitbox Method: Indoor cycling works on core and lower half of the body, but by adding an aerobic weight circuit targeting upper body at the end of each Cyclebox class incorporates a total body workout.

Cyclebox will offer non-contract class passes ranging from $14-$25 per class. Monthly membership levels start at $75 per month and go up to $175. Pre-opening specials will be available until June featuring unlimited classes for $99 per month with complimentary Shimano cycling shoes upon joining.

For additional information please visit or contact 305-978-3961. Instagram: @FitboxMethod


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Understanding Iyengar Yoga

Did you know that there are more than 20 million people who practice yoga? This includes more than a dozen disciplines such as Iyengar yoga that can be confusing and overwhelming when you’re first starting out or looking for something new. This practice focuses on precision and alignment through focus, attention and controlling your breathing. Yoga teacher, Carrie Owerko, a certified Yoga Therapist, Laban Movement Analyst and Senior level Iyengar teacher, has been teaching and exploring the relationship between body, breath and mind for several years so we were excited to speak with her to learn more about her background and what is really involved in the practice of Iyengar yoga.

Interview with Carrie Owerko on Iyengar Yoga

Carrie Owerko on Iyengar Yoga 

Wellness Patterns: How did you get started in yoga?

Carrie Owerko: I began my daily yoga practice over 20 years ago. I was working in a Movement Theater company in NYC and was curious about the body/breath based meditative practices of yoga. After leaving the theater, I began studying Laban Movement Analysis at the laban Institute of Movement Studies In NYC and continued my yoga practice. My yoga practice is where I felt most integrated.

Wellness Patterns: Why do you think yoga is an important practice for people to try?

Carrie Owerko: I think yoga, especially Iyengar Yoga, is primarily about cultivating greater levels of awareness. It is about developing presence and the ability to engage with life’s joys and difficulties with the whole of oneself. That wholeness includes the body, the breath, the mind, the emotions, the intellect, the imagination. The practice of yoga helps develop this sense of integration. It also develops our capacity for variability. We become better able to adapt to the many variables, or curve balls, that life seems to throw at us.

Carrie Owerko on Iyengar Yoga interview

Wellness Patterns: How often should you practice?

Carrie Owerko: As for practice, it is most effective as a daily endeavor. It doesn’t have to be long–even 15 minutes can do wonders–but consis: tency is really important.

Wellness Patterns: What is Iyengar yoga?

Carrie Owerko: Iyengar yoga is an approach created by the late BKS Iyengar of Pune, India. This approach is known for it’s attention to alignment, the creative use of props such as blocks, chairs, belts, etc., and a high degree of focus and attention. It is also know as an inherently therapeutic practice. BKS Iyengar’s work in therapeutic yoga is highly respected in the larger yoga community.

Wellness Patterns: How can someone can started with Iyengar yoga? Any tips?

Carrie Owerko: There are Iyengar Yoga classes available in many gyms and yoga centers all over the country. There are also classes and courses available online. I have one called Iyengar 101 with Yoga Journal, which is currently available. My approach to Iyengar yoga is playful. I am influenced by my study of Laban Movement Analysis, an ongoing study of biomechanics as well as my time in movement theater. I believe deeply in the power of play as a invaluable approach to learning anything. I feel it makes the disciplined practice of yoga more enjoyable and sustainable.

Check out more about Carrie here:

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One Tribe Apparel: Bohemian Fashion Brand that Gives Back

The beauty of so many modern companies is that many support and educate the public about important causes, allowing the consumer to connect to bigger issues while supporting a brand that gives back. One such company is One Tribe Apparel, a Bohemian fashion brand that began when two travellers fell in love with Thailand’s Bohemian styles, and decided to bring them back to to the west in a socially conscious way. This includes a product line that’s sourced and made in Thailand by local artisans who are paid fair wages. This includes gorgeous Bohemian finds such as the fun “Summer Dreams” bucket bag, Elephant Harem Pants, colorful Kimonos and much more.

In addition to offering stunning pieces, your purchase also supports a company that gives back in quite a special way. For every purchase made, One Tribe Apparel donates to the Elephant Nature Park in Chang Mai, Thailand, which rescues and cares for endangered animals so they can roam freely in a safe environment. Amazing, right!? We were certainly inspired and know you will be, too! To learn more about this socially conscious company, we spoke with Suzette Williams, partner at One Tribe Apparel to learn more about how One Tribe Apparel is breaking geographical barriers and uniting women around the globe with a shared passion for travel, culture, and conscious fashion!

Interview with One Tribe Apparel

One Tribe Apparel suzette williams

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea of One Tribe Apparel come about?

Suzette Williams: One of the amazing things about traveling to Thailand is that you’ll meet people from all over the world. I’m from Australia but in addition to great Thai friends I’ve created bonds with people from Africa, Europe, South America and almost everywhere else in the world. It’s this incredible melting pot for travelers and that was the initial inspiration for One Tribe Apparel to bring together a global community through art and fashion.

One Tribe Apparel waters

yoga One Tribe Apparel

Wellness Patterns: Tell us about your connection to Thailand.

Suzette Williams: We’re based in Northern Thailand now but I first lived down south on the islands. It’s beautiful, it’s old fashion in some ways where the wifi isn’t that strong so people hang out on the beach and drink a coconut or a beer while taking in this breathtaking nature. It has some of the best food in the world and the people are amazing. There’s just something about Thailand that’s hard to put your finger on, many people come back again and again or they come once and decide they want to move there.

one tribe apparel thailand

elephants One Tribe Apparel

Wellness Patterns: Tell us about your partnership with Elephant Nature Park.

Suzette Williams: One thing many travelers & tourists to Thailand may not know is that many of the commercial elephant rides and attractions are very dangerous for the animals. They are abused & chained & whipped from the time they are babies to make them compliant and obedient. It’s really sad to see and most people don’t know what their contributing to and just want to interact with the elephants. We strongly advise people to never ride an elephant especially if they are strapped in to any kind of basket. This article does a good job explaining the work of the elephant nature park and the plight of the other elephants in the country –

What elephant nature park does is provide a safe sanctuary and rescues and buys elephants that have been poorly treated. At the park you can feed the elephants and interact with them in a fun and safe way that doesn’t hurt them.

We love the mission of the park and since many of our products have the traditional Thai elephant on them we felt it was a great way to give back. Right now we make a donation for every sale of every product we sell but we’re working on exclusive products in the future where 100% of profits will go to the park.

one tribe apparel thailand

one tribe apparel thailand

Wellness Patterns: Why do you think fashion should have a conscious connection?

Suzette Williams: With fashion we’re inspired by culture by nature by animals and by our communities. I think it’s only right to give back as a thanks for that. In addition to our work with the park we hire local designers & artists and we make sure all manufacturers we work with have good working conditions and fair wages. It’s possible to do all of these things and still make a profit and we think it’s great that many fashion companies and companies in general are doing this as well.

One Tribe Apparel waters

One Tribe Apparel harem pants

Wellness Patterns: What are some plans for the future of One Tribe Apparel?

Suzette Williams: The original concept for One Tribe Apparel was that every year we would pick a new destination like Nepal or Bali and do a clothing line featuring the artisans of that location. Unfortunately, that’s incredibly expensive and logistically difficult but we still love the vision. We plan on keeping our roots in Thailand but would love to add styles from Nepal next. As for our product line we’re going to be greatly expanding our collection of bohemian handbags and our yoga accessories like straps and bags.

For more information, please visit:

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