Inspiring Life from the Core

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My Magic Beans

carol and her magic beans

written by Carol Crincoli, Pure Pilates Director

As autumn approaches, I look back on my “Covid Summer” and have to say it was quite lovely.  I don’t usually vacation in the summer months, so this year, being home seemed relatively normal.  I found that the warm, sunny weather allowed my husband and I to support our favorite restaurants with al fresco dining. I also treasured many nights, lingering outdoors with friends over beautiful food and cocktails. Even with masks and social distancing, the summer did not disappoint.

But as the days shorten and the temperatures drop, I have a sense of dread moving into the end of the year.  Fall has always been a reset for me and the time of year I love to travel. But there will be no vacations, overnights in New York City, Pilates conferences or 3-day weekends. I must wrap my head around the idea that I am staying put for a while.

Then all of a sudden, they appeared out of nowhere. Well, they actually appeared last week at the local Super Fresh! My life jacket for joy!  My Magic Beans! The Long Beans were whispering to me, “It’s gonna be alright. Just let me stew in your kitchen and I promise you will be transported back to your Italian villa.”

I call them the Italian Long Bean because I was introduced to this vegetable on a food tour and cooking class in Lucca. It was September 2018, I was spending 3 glorious weeks in Tuscany, celebrating 50 years of life and feeling fabulous.   Doing a quick Google search, I learned that the long bean is also known as the yard long bean, asparagus bean and that it is an Asian vegetable, not originally from Italy. It’s called the long bean, because, duh, it’s long. But it’s so different from the string bean that you see in our grocery stores. It’s meatier and a bit tougher than you would expect, but allows for long braising time on the stove. It is the vegetable you WANT to eat a bit mushy! 

With just a few ingredients – garlic, oil, crushed tomatoes, herbs and salt, I can transport myself to a very happy place! But can it be that easy? Can I fill my joy reservoirs with simple pleasures? After the comfort and ease I experienced with my magic beans, I believe it’s worth a try.

While you may not understand my joy in magic beans, maybe you can find the humor in the story.  Finding something that can make you laugh or even just break a smile can offer the joy you may need in the moment. Here are some other suggestions.

  • Start a gratitude journal – Start or end your day with 10 things you are grateful for. Write them down so you have the list when you need some reminding.
  • Purchase a house plant – Not only do they purify the air, but a plant may improve your mood and increase your creativity. It also gives you something to care for.
  • Take a “passeggiata” – Italians associate a passeggiata with leisure and ease and the feeling of having plenty of time.  It’s a traditional evening stroll, typically taken in a plaza by the local residents. I started adding this to my evening routine. And while I do not get transported back to Italy, it’s a lovely time to slow down at the end of the day. 
  • Brighten a room with fresh cut flowers – The colors and scents of flowers can enliven a room and maybe even boost your spirit.
  • Create an uplifting playlist – Music can soothe the soul and energize your mind and body. Keep it handy when you need a quick pick me up.
  • Indulge in a moment – The smell of that first morning coffee, a bite of amazing chocolate or the intimate conversation you are sharing with someone gives us the opportunity to be present and grateful.

I would love to hear how you find joy during these challenging times. Please reach out and share what makes your day a bit brighter. I also want to acknowledge that lingering over a stove and cooking your favorite meal may not be a solution for anyone who is struggling with depression or anxiety. If you or someone you know needs help, please find a medical professional who can assist you.

And if you ever stumble upon long beans, here’s a recipe to try! https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2015/07/braised-long-beans-tomato-garlic-recipe.html

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Katie is a passionate mover who was brought to Pilates through dance. After a professional dance career, Katie discovered her love of teaching-connecting the mind and body, and working with students of all ages and levels. Her appreciation and understanding of everyone’s ever changing body and needs only became greater as her own body went through pre and post natal stages, an experience which has helped Katie navigate problem solving, and bring a freshness to each session making them feel personal and specific to each body’s needs. Her sessions are full of flow and aim to challenge clients with a sense of comfort, and often a little humor, all of which she has brought to Pure Pilates since 2016. Katie thinks the gift of movement and self care is one of the best things one can do for overall wellness, and is thrilled to seek and fulfill milestones and goals with each of her clients. When she’s not at the studio, Katie is taking care of her three little humans- another job that also makes her smile, laugh, and challenges her on the daily.
Eighteen years ago I discovered my love for Pilates. After having my two children, I felt the need to move my body again. At the time I was living in North Carolina, and worked through many different exercise and training programs. I discovered Pilates, and instantly knew it was right for me. Forteen years later, and a move to New Jersey, I decided to share my love of Pilates with other people looking for some way to move their bodies. Pilates has also been a way for me to keep me strong and flexible to continue many activities. My family loves to be active, and I often find when we are all together (mostly vacations) our days consist of activity and movement such as hiking, kayaking, or skiing(more on this later). As I have gotten older I find it even more imperative now that I keep my body strong. Recently I was in a skiing accident that left me with many knee injuries and ultimately having to go into surgery. I found being able to do light Pilates a few weeks after surgery kept me sane and ultimately helped with recovery time. Pilates has not only helped me be able to keep up with my children, but has also provided me with a body that is able to function at peak performance. My approach to Pilates can be described in one, simple word: movement. Movement can help you, both physically and mentally. Movement, and Pilates, is ultimately about self care. Having a built in time to focus on your body and movement can help relieve yourself of feeling tired, anxious, and stressed. Movement awakens you. Even after one session you can leave feeling calmer and energized.
Enjoyment of life through movement is a vital part of Kathy’s philosophy. When not in the studio she leads an active lifestyle trail running, cycling, skiing and hiking. She also loves connecting with people while traveling with family and friends. One of her favorite cycling trips was riding along the coast of northern California. Learning new things and sharing knowledge is also important to Kathy. She has a passion for food, likes to cook for her family and experiment with new recipes. She is currently trying to achieve the perfect pizza. She is also an avid reader of historical fiction and biographies. Her latest endeavor is learning to play golf.
Carol M. Crincoli, owner Pure Pilates studio, has been in the fitness industry since 1990, with experience in corporate and commercial fitness, recreational programming and teaching as an adjunct professor. She began practicing Pilates in 2003 and received Pilates training through the PhysicalMind Institute in New York, NY. She holds certifications from the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as a group exercise instructor, personal trainer and lifestyle and weight management consultant. She was also accepted into the IDEA-PFT Recognition System as an Elite Level Personal Fitness Trainer. She is the only trainer in the NY-metro area for Trent McEntire’s Arcus equipment. Carol graduated from the Boston Conservatory of Music with a BFA in musical theater and a minor in dance. Opening Pure Pilates is the culmination of a lifetime dream, and her mission to "inspire life from the core" is a holistic approach to health and wellness—from exercise and nutrition, to stress management and self-care. Carol is also the inventor of 8th Avenue Rail, an organizing solution for Tower springs.