Friday, May 22, 2015

Hello, MDW! I'm (so) ready for you!

This week was unusual because I was a super social runner and that is so not like me. I went to TWO run groups and I have plans to run long with Teresa on Saturday. Who am I?  I ran with the Seaside Striders on Wednesday night with Ashleigh up in Solana Beach. She lives up that way and I am super jealous because ever since I've moved to San Diego I've wanted to live up in north county. Lucky for me, all of my friends live within a 5 mile radius of where I currently live and my neighborhood is also very beautiful BUT one day, I will make my way up there. Sidenote: I simply adore Ashleigh! If you don't follow her blog, you should. She is the sweetest and cutest, ever.


Ashleigh and I are both Graced by Grit influencers so we walked over to the soft opening for their very first physical store straight from our run. It's right on the 101 in Solana Beach and it's gorgeous! The grand opening is next week so if you're local, check it out!  I walked out with a whole new outfit; I could not resist. And then I drove straight to my friend Megan's house to watch the Bachelorette (episode 2) and holy amazeballs! We are so obsessed with this season already. Juicy, juicy and I love Katelyn. Anyone else?


Want to get some GBG gear? Save 20% with my code!



On Thursday, Teresa invited me to a special edition of "Frun Club" which raised money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. We did a 30 minute run followed by a yoga class right on the bay. It was the most perfect way to end the day and made me, once again, so grateful to live in such a beautiful place where I am surrounded by so many like-minded, healthy, active people. P.S. did you hear San Diego is the #3 healthiest city in the U.S.? We cool like that. ;)




I had such a lovely week and I am so looking forward to a three day weekend. They serve free beer at our gym's rooftop pool so it's the perfect place to start and end a long run which is exactly how Teresa and I plan to kick off Memorial Day Weekend. Hello, bikini time and a bookathon! I am wrapped up in multiple good books at the moment and can't wait to devour them this weekend.

What are your MDW plans? 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Next Marathon! Drumroll Please...

It's been several months since I've trained for a race and it's been pretty glorious. Having my weekends free and flexible, being able to stay up as late as I want on Friday nights (which isn't very late) and not having to plan my life around long runs, tempo runs and speedwork has been refreshing. It was exactly what I needed.

But now I find myself craving the long runs, the schedule, the structure, the hard workouts, the goal setting and basking in that post training bliss.

I feel ready to tackle another 26.2 and more importantly, the months and months of hard work and dedication leading up to it. You have to be mentally willing to train for a marathon and after a nice hiatus, I am. I'm ready and willing to push through those hard runs and conquer the distance every week which can sometimes be draining.


When my mental game is on point, I am able to find joy in the suffering and pride in the progress.  I think I'm there again. I think I can do that.

I started snooping around the web for fall marathons and there were the obvious ones like Chicago and NYC. I had a guaranteed entry for Chicago but missed the deadline so that was out, and as far as I know, no one is giving me an entry and paying for me to run NYC like last year. So, I decided to pick a brand new city that I've never visited.

Somewhere beautiful. Somewhere different. And somewhere unforgettable.

And then I landed on St George, Utah.


Looking at pictures of St George gives me chills. It's stunning.

I know this is an extremely popular race but I actually didn't know much about it. Runner's World calls it one of the four "Marathons to Build a Vacation Around" in the World! I read that and I was sold. I love traveling for races and have zero interest in running a marathon here in San Diego. I prefer to run a marathon along 26.2 miles of ground that I've never covered before. It's the best exploration of a new place I can imagine and St George couldn't be more perfect.


To make this race even more meaningful, I am running to raise money for Girls on the Run, a non-profit near and dear to my heart. Visit my fundraising page to read more about why I chose GOTR. If you feel like spreading the joy and power of running to under-served little girls, please consider making a donation. It warms my heart to know together we will (hopefully) transform the lives of a few girls and it will make race day that much more beautiful.





Utah... here I come!

Have you ever been to Utah? Tell me all about it!

Visit my "Girls on the Run" Fundraising Page!





Friday, May 15, 2015

Every Day is an Escape Day... in San Diego!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Hawaiian Tropic and Walgreen's but all opinions and ideas are my own. 

By now you guys know every weekend is like a vacation for me. I sleep in, leisurely enjoy coffee and breakfast, go for a run or take a pilates or yoga class, and then I usually hit the beach. Clearly I am childless and I realize these luxuries won't last forever. Since I grew up in Chicago, I totally appreciate that the average temperature is 72 degrees here in San Diego and I can basically go to the beach every day. I try to take advantage of that as much as possible and I've basically become a pro at the whole weekend vacation thing. That's why I've teamed up with Hawaiian Tropic and Walgreen's to talk about how to plan the perfect escape day! When they asked me if I'd like to write a post on this, I was like, um duh! I invented the escape day!


First I'll give you the run down of what one of these magical days looks like for me. Let's use this past Sunday for example.

I let myself sleep until about 8:30 and then I got up slowly, drank a cup of coffee, read some of the book I am currently wrapped up in, and then threw on some workout clothes. I went for a 6 mile run down to the harbor, met up with Brittany and she drove me back home.  I showered, threw on my bikini, packed a bag and hit the road.


We stopped at Walgreens to grab some beach day essentials: coconut water, some nuts to snack on, and sunscreen! I am making a serious effort to be diligent about my sunscreen application. It's serious business people -- especially if you run outside multiple days a week like I do.

Hawaiian Tropic has an Island Sport line which is perfect for people like me: active and outdoorsy.  The spray-on formula is perfect to apply right before a run because it's easy to spray and go. The lotion is nice when you plan on spending all day at the beach because it's oil free and won't clog your pores. I'm a freak about putting oily stuff on my skin because it's so sensitive so this stuff is a winner in my book PLUS it's recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.






We drove to the beach, laid out our blanket and then, there was absolutely nothing to do but relax and escape the busyness of life. We eventually walked to get an acai bowl for Brittany and a turkey wrap for me but before we knew it, it was 5:00 and time to head on home.  Days like these make me feel refreshed and ready to tackle yet another crazy week at work with deadlines, phone calls, emails, in addition to social obligations, workouts and errands to run. We need days like these to handle the more chaotic days that are just part of life.

Maybe you don't have the luxury of going to the beach every weekend and you have to worry about more people than just yourself (again, I'm childless and my family lives 2,000 miles away), but that's even MORE reason to make an escape day a priority. Here are some tips to help you plan that perfect day for yourself.



1.) Write it down. It's not going to happen if you don't commit to having a day for just you. You'll always find other stuff that needs to be done unless you put it in your phone, write it on a calendar and commit to taking time for yourself. You deserve it!

2.) Stock up on the essentials. My personal escape day essentials are healthy snacks, a few different books or magazines, running shoes in case I decide I want to throw in a run or hike, a bikini, blanket and a journal in case I feel inspired to write something.

3.) Get your errands and chores done ahead of time. It can be hard to truly relax and escape when you have a checklist in the back of your mind of everything you need to do. For this reason I usually get that stuff done the day before my "escape day."

4.) Treat yourself to your favorite healthy meal (or a cocktail).  It's your escape day; treat yourself! I recommend enjoying something healthy and delicious that will make you feel good and enjoy it outside with the sun on your face (if possible). I usually get an acai bowl or a refreshing coconut kale salad. Sometimes I opt for my favorite cocktail with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice from a place overlooking the beach. ;)

5.) Have no regrets.  Sometimes we feel guilty when we take a full day to ourselves and don't "get anything done." But I am here to tell you, you deserve time to unwind, relax and reset. In fact, you need it.  I would recommend having at least one day like this a month (or if you're like me, 4-6!). I find that these days help me to be my best self.

Now, I dare you to plan the perfect #EscapeDay and share it with all of us.  Use the hashtag #EscapeDay and #HawaiianTropic on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and show us what your perfect escape day looks like. I'd love to see it. I'll be joining in too, of course.


***

Visit your nearest Walgreens or Duane Reede on May 16th for the Beauty Must Have event! You won't want to miss it. And if you're looking for the Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport spray or lotion, it's in the pretty blue bottles. You can't miss it. Now get to planning your fabulous escape day and tell me all about it.

***

What does your perfect escape day look like? Spill it!



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Top 5 Fitness Studios in San Diego + A Hugely Awesome Giveaway!

It was only recently that I started noticing boutique fitness studios popping up all over the place. In the past, I would go to one place for everything: treadmill, weights, spin class, yoga, you name it. It actually seemed kind of ideal – that is until I was exposed to the world of boutique fitness studios. I took one class at an upscale spin studio and was hooked.

First, I should probably tell you, I belong to a pretty fancy gym downtown. It’s the nicest one in San Diego (and trust me, I’ve tried ‘em all) but I was still blown away with the level of sophistication offered at a boutique studio.  The equipment is the best of the best, the instructors are top notch, the amenities are just ridiculous, and the customer service is typically superb. This is obviously my individual experience here in San Diego but I would venture to guess most boutique studios give you what you pay for.

But that’s the problem – they’re usually insanely expensive.  Some studios charge over $200/month and that doesn’t always give you unlimited access. Most of us also like variety. I don’t want to go to the same spin, yoga or barre studio 5 days a week. We need to mix it up but who can afford to pay for multiple memberships to all of these fancy studios? Not this girl, that’s for sure.

That’s where Fitn comes in. They’re a San Diego based company that gives you access to 160+ fitness studios with one membership. San Diego is saturated with studios and there are so many great ones to choose from, and with Fitn you can take classes at all of them, UNLIMITED. The list includes the fancy shmancy boutique studios I was referring to but also regular gyms, CrossFit boxes, and standard studios.



#1 // SparkCycle 
It was love at first spin with SparkCycle. The instructors here are incredible and the classes are a blast! Don't have spin shoes? No problem; they've got you covered. The best part: at the end of each class they pass out cold, eucalyptus infused towels to each guest. It’s amazing. {My full review}

sparkcycle

#2 // Trilogy Sanctuary 
Magical doesn't even begin to describe this place and I'm not even exaggerating when I say it's like heaven on earth. Trilogy is more than a yoga studio – they have a 100% organic, vegan cafĂ© that is to die for and their acro-yoga classes are a must-try. The studio overlooks the ocean in La Jolla and the aerial classes are outside on the rooftop. Truly breathtaking. {My full review}

trilogy sanctuary

# 3 // Baja Body Athletic Club 
I’ve never seen anything like this club in Oceanside. I’m pretty sad that it’s not closer to me because if it was, I’d live there. They have a sand studio (yes, you work out in the sand) and anti-gravity training. They offer a wide variety of classes and the amenities make you feel like you’re at a spa. Oceanfront classes? Check.  This place is thebomb.com.


baja body athletic club
# 4 // Riffs Yoga 
This is actually a guitar shop/yoga studio. This is definitely NOT a boutique studio and that’s what I love about it. They offer live music vinyasa out on the back deck. The storefront is only a block from the beach so you enjoy an ocean breeze throughout your practice. Lovely is an understatement; this place is divine. {My full review} 

riffs guitar and yoga studio

#5 // Studio Barre Mission Hills 
This one is literally a block away from me so it wins for neighborhood favorite. The studio is adorable and they always treat you with so much kindness and warmth when you visit. They have delicious coffee and snacks in the lobby at no cost and a great selection of apparel to shop while you wait for class to start. {My full review}

studio barre mission hills


Giveaway time!

I've been fortunate enough to have the chance to try Fitn out for free for the past few months which is how I became a complete Fitn Fanatic. My friends at Fitn have so kindly offered to give FIVE of my readers TWO MONTHS FOR FREE! That is an equivalent of $1,500 (or $300 per winner).  That’s just nuts and I’m so excited for you guys to try it. If you win, you must promise to take at least one class with me. :)

How to win:  Instead of your standard raffle, I’m just going to give it to 5 people who leave a comment on this post telling me which studio they're most excited to try (and leave an e-mail address.) Feel free to also like my Facebook page, Instagram page and Fitn's Facebook page and Instagram too, for extra love. ;)

**This offer is open to San Diego and Orange County residents only at this time.

For those who don't win: Don’t sweat it, I have a code that will save you $50 on your first month. When you register at fitn.com, enter code: 2yffv8 for your automatic savings.  We all win!

Fitn is better than all the rest in my opinion because they give back to the community and are fighting childhood obesity by partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of San Diego. They aren't corporate giants just trying to make a buck; they truly care. That's where the hashtag #fititforward comes from. Also, Fitn memberships give you unlimited access to studios whereas most others only allow you 3 classes per month per studio.

Have you been to a boutique fitness studio? What did you think?

Any fellow Fitn Fanatics out there?

** Disclaimer: I was given a free trial of Fitn in exchange for feedback and promotion. All opinions expressed are wholeheartedly my own. :)


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

And the winner is...

Weekend Recap

I work for a non-profit and once a year we have a huge fundraiser that requires tons of hours of hard work, an insane amount of planning and then on the day of the event, about 12 hours of running around in heels.  Well, that event is officially over! This means I get my life and my sanity back. For awhile, anyway. We raised a boatload of money last week and now I’m sleeping again and stress free!

wild friday night, SoCal Runner Gal style.

I had a lovely weekend which took an ugly turn Sunday night.  It was rainy on Friday (which is totally rare especially since we’re in a drought) so I used it as an excuse to stay in, order Thai food, start a new book and watch some TED talks. Saturday, I grabbed a cup of coffee and did 3 Tone It Up living room workouts. I was sore the next day and super happy about it.




Sunday was Mother’s Day spent at the beach after a perfect 6 mile run in the sun. Then Sunday night… woof. We went out for dinner with Brittany’s dad and step mom and then came the food poisoning. Holy awful, you guys! It really makes you realize how much we take our health for granted. It was like being on my deathbed.

beach day with the fam, pre-deathbed.

Road Runner Sports Giveaway Winner

Onto happier thoughts and positive things!  A winner was chosen at random for the $50 Road Runner Sports giveaway and the WINNER is…

ANNA CATHERINE !!! 

Congrats, Anna. I hope you get something real nice.

I’m actually going to be taking a trip to Road Runner Sports myself because I decided the shoes I chose are not the best for me. My blisters have been worse than ever and I think I need a different shoe. The beautiful thing is that Road Runner Sports is the only store that allows you to exchange your shoes for 90 days after your purchase. Amazing, right? I’m going to head back over and find a shoe that fits better. I love that about Road Runner Sports!



Last time I was there they offered to do a bra fitting but I didn’t have time so I will be getting one of those done as well. You’d be surprised how often we are completely off about our bra size. This is yet another service they offer completely free of charge and no appointment necessary, just like the video gait analysis Shoe Dog system. Read all about my in-store experience here.


Thank you again to Road Runner Sports for generously hosting a giveaway for my birthday and for giving me (and everyone) a stellar shopping experience.  Great customer service is everything in my book so I love me some RRS.


How was your weekend? 
Has anyone ever had food poisoning?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

$50 Road Runner Sports Giveaway!

Hi guys! Happy Cinco de Mayo (AKA my birthday). I hope you all get out and enjoy some tacos and margaritas tonight. Two of my absolute favorite things in life. I am crossing my fingers that I get to squeeze in a quick run before my birthday dinner but please run for me just in case I can’t! I always run on my birthday so it would just be wrong if I couldn't.

In honor of the day of my birth, my friends at Road Runner Sports are generously sponsoring a giveaway! Someone will win $50 to Road Runner Sports, or the Running Mecca as I like to call it.  There are Road Runner Sports stores across all over but everything is available online so this giveaway is open to everybody (U.S. only, sorry Canadian friends! You know I love you...)




Road Runner Sports is fabulous for basically EVERYTHING running and fitness related. They have everything from shoes to workout clothes to gear to fuel. If you live near a store, they also host Adventure Runs once a month. These always come with tons of giveaways, lots of fun and the chance to meet fellow runners in your community.
  



The most awesome thing about Road Runner Sports is the ShoeDog which is a free video gait analysis. I went through this process and it was super simple and helpful. I figured out that one of my feet is way larger than the other which would explain why I always lose the big toenail on my right foot. It all makes sense now!

testing out shoes at road runner sports

So here we go! It’s GIVEAWAY TIME!  There are multiple ways to win, so get crackin’ and I’ll announce the winner in a post next week. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**This post is sponsored by Road Runner Sports but all opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Palm Springs Weekend Getaway

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday in Palm Springs (my actual birthday is tomorrow, so I'm still 28 until further notice!). We didn't arrive in the desert until pretty late on Friday because I could not sneak out of work as early as planned. As soon as we got to the hotel we dumped our bags and headed down to the hotel restaurant for a much needed and well deserved cocktail.


Saturday was all about the pool after squeezing in a quick workout at the hotel gym. Turns out the Seguaro is party central with a DJ and tons of bachelorette parties. We quickly changed our mindset from "let's relax" to "let's order a cocktail ASAP!"  We actually only ended up lasting a couple hours before we wanted some peace and quiet and then hit up Native Foods across the street for some quick vegan eats.




I discovered my new favorite dessert of all time while in Palm Springs! Dole Whip! Have you heard of it?! It's like fro-yo but it's made from frozen pineapples from the Dole Plantation and it's A-mazing! It's vegan, gluten free, and definitely not sugar free but that's what makes it so delightful.

DOLE WHIP!!! 

I ended up needing a nap on Saturday and woke up close to 7pm so we enjoyed some wine lying on a daybed by the pool. I love the warm weather at night! We don't really have the warm nights here in San Diego and it's kind of my favorite.


Brittany was such a trooper and woke up early Sunday morning to take a yoga class which kind of sucked. I got in a HIIT workout in the hotel room thanks to my Tone It Up girls! I did the HIITy Bitty Bikini Workout and it was perfect for the hotel room.

my "Tone It Up" set-up

Sunday was wayyyy more relaxing at the pool. All of the brides and their posses had checked out and it was much nicer. I read, laid out and then we hit up the ice cream shop for another serving of Dole Whip before heading back to San Diego.



And now it's back to reality with the craziness at work. I will probably lose my mind between today and Thursday but then life will return to business as usual. C'mon Friday... where are you?

Come back tomorrow because I'm giving one of you $50 to Road Runner Sports for my birthday!!