Daily Fitness: JABS

(This article was first published in the September 20, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)


Move over Zumba, there’s a new dance class in town. Pulse, at JABS in Cutchogue, is a fitness class that is reminiscent of those dance classes so many us loved taking as kids. Hip-hop, pop, Latin all fused together with cardio training and even some boxing moves.

Studio owner Jill Schroeder began with Zumba in 2007 but moved in a different direction.

“Two years ago I started to move away from the Latin style of things and wanted to create my own choreography and incorporate the music that I like. So I coined it ‘Pulse.’ The fitness elements break it up. It’s a great work out but you’re having fun as well.”

If Pulse doesn’t get your heart rate going, JABS — an acronym for Joining Active Bodies Studios — offers numerous classes daily including yoga, spin, barre, TRX, and more. The studio is going into its seventh year running, originally starting in Mattituck but calling Cutchogue home for four and a half years. Schroeder opened up a dual location in Riverhead.

With the motto ‘Fueled by enthusiasm, motivated by passion,’ JABS inspires members to constantly push their physical limits, all with a smile on their faces, which is exactly what Schroeder has always dreamed of doing. “There’s a lot of passion that I’ve put into this business and the programs that I’ve developed. And it’s really cool to see the enthusiasm from others partaking in it and being here,” she relayed.

JABS’s current location boasts 5000 square feet of space and Riverhead matches that size. 10,000 total square feet? That’s a rather large upgrade from the mere 1500 sq. ft. space at the original studio.

“I guess you never really know where things are going to take you,” Schroeder admitted. “I opened up the first location, I had just finished some schooling … I opened up the doors and I packed out.” She always wanted to have more than one location, she said. “I did want more.”

Classes are $25 each, with other options for class packs or unlimited memberships. Now, in anticipation for the grand opening in Riverhead, there are special promo packs (redeemable at both locations) going through October 1. Choose between 5, 10, 20 or 40 class packs.

Join this active bodies studio by finding out more online at http://www.jabsny.com, call them at 631-315-5227 or follow them on Instagram and Facebook @JabsNY.

Montauk Yacht Club Food Review

(This article first appeared in the August 9, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)

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It’s another warm, summer night as the sun begins to set over Lake Montauk. Coast Kitchen at Montauk Yacht Club is surprisingly quiet at 6 PM on a Friday, but with the crowded streets in town it’s a welcome change of atmosphere. As I sit in the white wicker chair overlooking the pool and deck area, I inhale the salty air flowing from the outside — indicative of The End.

Before beginning a long-awaited evening of fresh catches I order a Rosie from the cocktail menu — cucumber vodka, watermelon, Aperol, crisp white wine, and fresh mint, each sip lingering on my palate like dew on fresh morning grass.

First course, the seafood platter. A salty spread of Blue Point oysters, Little Neck clams, peel and eat shrimp, one pound of king crab claws, with horseradish mignonette, onions pickled in red wine vinegar, cocktail sauce, and lemon on the side. As I learned the proper way to eat a crab claw (break it apart like a wish bone, dip and eat), my mouth filled with freshness. The shrimp was thick and meaty, likely one of the thickest shrimps I had eaten on Long Island, as I dipped it in the delectably spicy horseradish sauce.

Up next was the Montauk cioppino — clams, shrimp, squid, market fish, and mussels all swimming in a light tomato broth, drizzled with garlic aioli. Minus the market fish, which was underwhelming, the tastes and textures of this dish was exquisitely executed. Unlike the seafood platter, the shrimp in this dish were smaller to better scoop up. The broth opened up the flavors individually while seamlessly blending them together. A touch of the aioli sauce completed each spoonful with a hint of garlic. Save the bread for last, as dipping does wonders after it’s had the chance to soak in each ingredient.

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Finally, the four-pound lobster with drawn butter and lemon. Cut, dip, drizzle, repeat. On the sides, a cauliflower-creamed spinach, roasted cremini mushrooms, and parmesan mashed potatoes, all three served in cast iron pots, ideal for sharing. Guests would be remiss to leave out the parmesan potatoes as part of their order. With crunchy fries on top, each mouthwatering forkful is in anticipation of the next.

No meal would be complete without dessert. A chocolate croissant bread pudding is served in a cast iron pot with dark chocolate pearls on top, whipped cream, and salted caramel ice cream. In addition, a key lime pie with a raspberry puree, whipped cream, lime garnish, and raspberry sorbet on the side is a wonderful choice. The sorbet is a welcome tie-in to the lime richness of the pie and the overall plate, an ideal end to a satisfying meal.

A consistent piece throughout the dishes were florals, edible of course. Whether you decide to eat them or simply admire their colorful beauty (I admit, I tried a few), it’s a unique touch to the restaurant.

As the restaurant began to fill up a bit more it still retained an undisturbed essence, which can likely be attributed to its off-the-main-road location.

With a menu featuring a variety of items, not just the seafood I eagerly devoured, Montauk Yacht Club’s Coast Kitchen will be serving their summer menu through the end of September.

Coast Kitchen is located at 32 Star Island Road. Call 631-668-3100 for reservations.

Daily Fitness: Eight Tips For Your Next Vaca

(This article was originally published in the July 26, 2017 edition of The Independent Newspaper)


Pack your bags, you’re ready to go. That “ahh” feeling sets in as the vacation is about to commence. You’ve got your itinerary or, if you’re anything like me, an activity bucket list and your appropriate fitness gear.

But when it comes down to it, keeping healthy while traveling is so much more than simply hitting the gym, which actually isn’t so simple considering how mundane it may feel.

So here are my eight personal tips for keeping fit while on your next vacation

1. Rather than sitting down before boarding the plane, walk around and stand as long as possible. It’s important to fit in exercise before being immobile to stimulate circulation.

2. Stay hydrated. The moment you arrive in that airport, vacation fever begins. You’re eyeing the bar, or when the flight crew comes around you’d much prefer that new beer their promoting. Opting for water not only saves calories but can decrease the fuzzy, groggy affect from traveling. Once you’ve landed, well, that’s a horse of a different color.

3. Make the first meal a light meal. Typical travel calls for adjusting to another time zone or climate. Let your body catch up before you dive immediately into the cuisine. Choose a meal that will help you feel refreshed the next time you dig in.

4. Talk to locals before you Google. They know the best spots to not only eat but to stay in shape — bike lanes, hiking trails, and more.

5. Eat small but eat often. To taste local cuisine, sharing food rather than ordering big meals is not only more fun but it’ll help keep the metabolism up.

6. Don’t be afraid to adventure alone. That extra few steps or burst of energy will lead you down some interesting journeys, beyond a healthier life.

7. Wake up earlier than usual. Given, most of us vacation to sleep in. But rising ahead of schedule will make you feel more inclined to do activities for that extra morning boost.

8. Give yourself a break. Literally. You didn’t leave home to work out, in most cases, so enjoy the moment!

28 Days of Awesome: Spring to Action

It’s hard to believe that Summer solstice is upon us. My blog 28 Days of Awesome: Find Your Local Adventure inspired a movement within myself. Though the initial blog was 28 unique things in 28 days I didn’t want to stop there. Why not try new things each season? Hell, I’m making it a blog series!

In order to make the most of 2017 I vowed to optimize each day as the seasons continue with small efforts to live life as an adventurous journey (not one we simple begrudgingly walk through).  Spoiler alert: it works! I feel happier and healthier.

Here are some new things I partook in (and highly recommend you do the same):

  • Eating at New Restaurants, Attending Yearly Events & Trying New Free Offers From A Variety Places:

The Cuban, Garden City, L.I.- Feel, and taste, like you’re in Little Havana. From Cuban cuisine to Latin music, this restaurant transports you on the vacation you’ve been dying to take.

Salinas, Meatpacking District, N.Y.C.- Bienvenido a España in this beautifully decorated restaurant next door to the Highline Hotel. In the true Spanish tapas style, plates are pequeña but a variety for sharing to get a taste of everything.

–  Ayhan’s Shish Kebab, Port Washington, L.I.- The original of the chain where I drank a pomegranate martini, making me feel like I was one of the Gods.

Left Coast Kitchen, Merrick, L.I.- I bow down to the person that created this Temple Burger. A spin on the classic bagel, lox & cream cheese deluxe, but replace the bagel with latkes and add some eggs. You read that right.

La Fondita, Amagansett, L.I.- Under the same ownership as restaurants Nick & Toni’s, Rowdy Hall and Townline BBQ, this off-the-road location looks understated but its large personality matches the enormous flavor.


Left- The Cuban / Upper right- Salinas / Bottom right- Left Coast Kitchen


–  Hampton Coffee Company, Hamptons, L.I.- I’ve never actually stopped at a brick & motor location for this coffee. Off route 27, it was an ideal pick me up.

Kobrick Coffee, Meatpacking, N.Y.C.- In an intimate and swanky, yet surprisingly casual location, that serves an Affogato worth salivating over!

Starbucks  , All Over- I came, I bought and I loved the newly released Toasted Coconut Cold Brew.

Douglas & James Ice Cream, Port Washington, L.I.- A quaint little parlor right on the water with a decor that makes you want to try it all!

– Carvel’s Free Cone Day, (once a year) All Over- I was the only adult on line, April 27th, but no way was I missing out! Mark your calendar for yours.

Taste of Tuckahoe, Southampton, L.I.- This annual benefit supports local schools and provides delicious tastes from dozens of local fare!

Southampton Publick House, Southampton, L.I.- In its new location, it retains the same welcoming vibe as its former.

  • As a self-proclaimed ‘fitness foodie’ my motto is that if you want to eat hard you have to work out even harder. As evident of the above, I had some hard work ahead of me. Listed below are some of the unique ways to keep fit:

East End Row, Southampton, L.I.- I’d never taken a row class, let alone been on a row machine, but this got me hooked. See my full review from The Independent Newspaper.

Glow Golf, Garden City, L.I.- It can still get chilly in Spring, so some outdoor activities remain on the back burner (like mini golf). But mention indoor, GLOW IN THE DARK mini golf and no questions needed.

Aerial Silks, Riverhead, L.I.-  I took an aerial fitness class in a hammock (what they use for aerial yoga) and became hooked. A slightly different, and more difficult, experience was the dual hanging silks! Full review here.

Volleyball, All Over- I may be an athlete by nature but I had never played competitive beach volleyball before now. Turns out, while I certainly need practice, I’m not half bad (for a real review ask my teammates).

Box + Flow, N.Y.C.- This summer Ruschmeyer’s kicked off #WavesandWellness. Based in NYC, Box+Flow made their east end debut with  a class combining boxing & yoga. This was the best way, potentially the only way, to eagerly get me on a yoga mat. Read my review in full.

Cryotherapy, Water Mill, L.I. & N.Y.C.- Can you stand to be in a tube filled with nitrogen gas at -250 degrees Fahrenheit? How about for 3 minutes? For the health benefits it’s entirely worth it. Read more.


Top Left- East End Row / Bottom Left- Cool Zone Cryo / Top Right- Box + Flow / Bottom Right- Aerial Silks
  • Explored some new places: Some things I just stumbled into, or decided to experience for myself.  In omnia paratus!

Private Artists Exhibit, East Hampton, L.I.- Guild Hall held its 79th Artists Member Exhibition and I was fortunate to attend the initial private showing.

Baron’s Cove, Sag Harbor, L.I.- Sitting under heat lamps on the outside deck, sipping my last whiskey cocktail of the season, it was a pleasant reminder that winter had passed and Spring was blossoming.

– Long Beach Strip, Sag Harbor, L.I.- A different Long Beach, known as Foster Memorial. A beautiful strip on the bay side.

– Democrat Point, Robert Moses Beach, L.I.- I hit a few first with this one, including watching kitesurfers!

Long Island Welcome Center, Dix Hills, L.I.- You’ve likely seen the obnoxious, blue I <3 New York advertisement signs on every major parkway. I stopped by the newly developed L.I. Welcome Center (eastbound on the L.I.E.). With all local produce it supports the entire community and gives back to those who make this island great.

Montauk Salt Cave, Huntington, L.I.- I couldn’t make it to Montauk but I did get to experience my first salt cave at their secondary location in Huntington. Inhale salty benefits, exhale stress.


Top Left- Artist Exhibit, Guild Hall / Bottom Left- L.I. Welcome Center / Right- Montauk West Salt Cave


  • On a more personal note, I made a conscious effort to further my career: I’ve worked hard on building my ‘Nikki on the Daily‘ brand for years. Recently, by consciously making an effort to push harder, it seems things are finally falling into place. But I wouldn’t be where I am without some help.

– Started a Fitness Column, East End, L.I.- I’ve been writing for The Independent Newspaper for several years. Currently I am perma-freelance reporting on several topics. A topic I aimed to be fluent in is fitness & have earned the weekly IndyFit column.

Modeled LIVE on TV, N.Y.C.- When I was in the studio audience of The Wendy Williams Show, back during my 28 Days of Awesome, I was asked to potentially return for a model segment. Thanks to help of style expert, Chassie Post, I modeled in a live TV segment called Look for Less.

– Hampton’s Modeling Debut, Southampton, L.I.- The wonderful Gabby Wild and Southampton Adoption Center invited me to walk in their ethical fashion show/benefit, Catwalk for Canines. I took a step in the right direction in the gorgeous fashion lines of Marita Wrong and Pelush, with a pup up for adoption.

Bethpage Polo at the Park,L.I.- This season, as a manager to the VIP tent on the polo grounds, I am both humbled and proud to be able to contribute to a business community I strongly believe in. Come join us on Sundays.


Top- Live TV, Wendy Williams / Bottom Left- Bethpage Polo / Bottom Middle- Catwalk for Canines, Pelush / Bottom Right- IndyFit Column


From my adventuress to yours, may every moment be more awesome than the last!

Make sure you check back for 28 days of Summer.


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