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Oct 242014
 

*Don’t forget, there’s still time to enter my gummy bear giveaway! Details available here.*

Hey friends! Happy Friday! I’ve had a few fun things going on in the last couple of days, so let’s catch up shall we?

Revolve DC

Yesterday morning I went to a 6:00 am Body Ride class at Revolve DC. Have I mentioned lately how much I am loving trying out new studios as part of my free month of ClassPass? Well, I’m saying it now. It’s awesome! I could get used to this for sure.

Although there are tons of classes available through ClassPass, I constantly find myself drawn to ones with morning classes (you know me) that are about 10-15 minutes from my apartment. So far, I’m pleasantly surprised at the variety of options!

This week there was a morning spot available at Revolve DC, and since I had heard about Revolve from a lot of friends and fellow bloggers, I decided to check it out.

Before heading over to Revolve, I did some quick research on The Fit Crasher to see what I was in for (I learned my lesson after not researching reformer pilates) and I’m so glad I did! Once I read Meaghan’s review I realized there was plenty of street parking available near the studio, so I decided to drive instead of run there. This decision allowed to me to sleep in for an extra 5 minutes which was oh-so necessary. 😉

When I arrived at the studio about 5 minutes before class started, I was greeted to pumping music and a flurry of activity. By the time I arrived, I was one of the last ones to get settled! You definitely want to arrive early for this class; they start right away.

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After signing in and filling out a quick waiver, I paid the $2 rental fee for a pair of spin shoes. Then I dropped off my bag in one of the combination lockers (love!), filled up my water bottle from their filtered water fill station (love!), and headed into the class.

Mara was my instructor for the day, and she was nice enough to come over and help me clip into my bike pedals since I am a newbie to clip-in bikes and had zero clue how to do it. Whoops. I’m so glad she was there to help!

Then as the music was pumping, the lights turned down low and the class began. I really enjoyed the darkness of the spin room – it helped you focus on your form and speed instead of worrying about how much the person next to you is turning up her bike resistance or staring at your reflection in the mirror and thinking about how you look like a sweaty sleepwalker, since it is 6:00 am after all.

For the duration of each song, Mara would guide us through different exercises. From one minute sprints with 30 second rests, to gradually “climbing” a hill for a whole song until you could barely pedal by the end, there was a lot of variety.

About mid-way through the class we brought out the weights that were hanging by the bottom of our bikes, and completed a great upper body circuit. I don’t know if it’s just been a while since I’ve worked out my arms in a new way or what, but my shoulders were burning! In the best way, of course.

After this we did a bit more sprinting in and out of the saddle, and then the class was over. Just like that, 45 minutes later, I was dripping in sweat and feeling like I just had a really great workout.

photo (1)Such a fun way to switch up my morning routine!

Fit Crasher Happy Hour

Then last night after work, I met up with my fellow DC Fit Crashers!

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We’ve been blogging together for a couple of months now, and although I’ve met a couple of the crashers at fitness events here and there, and had met them all via Google hangout, it was nice to get us all together for a happy hour. Unfortunately Maggie got sick and wasn’t able to join us (feel better, Maggie!) and Meaghan was in New York so she obviously couldn’t join us, but it was great to get the rest of the group together.

We wound up meeting at Bar Charley, a nice bar in the middle of the DuPont Circle and U Street neighborhoods, which had some delicious food and hand-crafted drinks.

I wound up ordering a “shoulder to the wheel” for my cocktail, which was made up of  tequila, allspice, lemon, egg white, and whole bunch of other things that I couldn’t name. It was sweet and fruity – but not so much as to give me a headache – and I adored the frothy egg white on top. Yum.

As far as food goes, we decided to go with two of the “poutines and fries,” which were essentially french fries with delicious gourmet toppings. We got the Chesapeake (fries with Old Bay gravy (!), blue crab, and ricotta salata) and the Catalin (fries with avocado and some kind of chorizo, topped with a fried egg). The Catalin was really tasty, but the Cheapeake? Wow. As someone who was born and raised in Maryland, you better believe I was all over that. Yum.

Overall the food and drinks were great, and it was so nice to put faces to names and get to know this crew a little better 🙂

Run with Anne

This morning I met up with Anne for our weekly run! We decided to skip the track today since she’s running the Marine Corps 10K this weekend and wants to save her legs. Works for me!

We met in Courthouse at 6:00 am and decided to run into Georgetown, which is one of my favorite routes. It was a good one for today too since it was so dark and all the sidewalks are pretty well-lit (compared to some of our other favorite running trails which would have been pitch black).

It had been a little while since I’d seen her (we skipped last week due to thunderstorms) and we had so much to catch up on! We had so much fun chatting along the way.
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I always love running through Georgetown, even when it’s this dark out!

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After two miles we turned around and headed back up to Courthouse. Our pace was a little slower than usual (around 9:15 overall), but we stayed steady up through the mile-long hill of death home, which was really great. Once we were back, the sun was finally starting to rise, but we were too far from the water to see the sunrise. Boo. photo (1)

After our run we spent about 15 minutes walking for our cool down, which was so nice. It’s always so fun running and chatting with Anne!

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Good luck to anyone running the Marine Corps Marathon this weekend!

Questions of the day: How do you feel about spin classes? Do you have a signature cocktail?

 Posted by on October 24, 2014
Sep 102014
 

Good morning!

It’s Wednesday already, which means it’s What I Ate Wednesday time! I love this opportunity to reflect on my eats and workouts from the week. It’s a great way to take a snapshot of a single day, and see how I’m doing health and fitness-wise.

Today we’re taking a look at Tuesday. Let’s see how I did, shall we?

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As always, my thanks go to Jenn for hosting the linkup!

(Unpictured) Pre-breakfast Snack

Yesterday morning I met up with Anne for another one of our early morning track workouts, and since I knew I wouldn’t be eating for a few more hours, I ate a small handful of raw almonds beforehand for a little fuel. It did the trick! Almonds make great emergency snacks, and I always keep some at home, in the car, and in my snack drawer at work. 🙂

No pictures of this one, because who can remember to take a picture at 5:30 a.m.?

Workout

By 6:00 a.m., Anne and I were at the track and ready to go! It was dark at that hour, which was somewhat depressing. I guess those bright summer mornings are officially over!

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Luckily there was still enough light for us to see the track, and soon the sun started coming up.

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Once again, the track was really busy! I love that everyone is up and at ’em so early in the morning.

Our workout was pretty similar to last week’s, and looked a bit like this:

  • 1 mile warm up – pace: 9:21
  • 2 miles of sprint the straights, jog the curves – first mile overall average pace of 7:47, second mile 7:36 (YES!!!)
  • 1 mile cool down – pace: 8:40

We ended up doing 4.15 miles total (we went a little over by accident) at an average overall pace of 8:22. Thanks to Anne for keeping track on her Garmin!

Overall I was thrilled with this workout. I know everyone runs at different paces, and for some of you running a 7:36 mile might not be a big deal, but for me that is really fast!! I was so proud of us 🙂

Thanks, Anne for the great workout!!

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Next week we are going to try sprinting half the lap (not just the straights) and I’m so excited to see how fast we can get! Woohoo!

Breakfast

Once I got home from the track, I quickly showered and gobbled up a breakfast of whole wheat toast, natural PB, banana, honey, and chia seeds.

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I was running a little late for work because Anne and I got caught up talking while stretching, so I didn’t have time to make much else. This worked though! 😀

Lunch

Around 12:15 p.m. my tummy started rumbling, so I dug into my salad.

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Don’t be fooled by this picture, it was actually gigantic.

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In the mix was:

  • Spinach
  • “Power Geens” from Costco
  • Broccoli/carrot slaw
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 avocado
  • Grilled chicken
  • Feta cheese
  • BBQ sauce dressing

I love that this salad was really voluminous – thus keeping me full – but was still low in calories because of all the veggies! These giant salads have been my go-to lunch lately. Yum!

Dinner

Well to be honest, it’s Tuesday night as I type this and I haven’t made dinner yet. Be right back while I go cook something!

Ok I’m back 😉

For dinner I made a pasta dish with chicken sausage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, tomatoes, and cheese.

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It was great!

Now I’m rummaging around trying to find something for my sweet tooth…perhaps a couple of Hershey Kisses will do the trick? 😉

Catch you guys later!

Question of the day: Is it dark when you wake up these days?

 Posted by on September 10, 2014
Jul 192017
 

Hello there! Today I’m popping in with another recap of our amazing honeymoon in Thailand, this time with the details of our quick trip to Pai! If you missed my previous recaps, you might want to read those first.

After spending a few very fun days in Chiang Mai, Fabio and I checked out of our hotel (for now) and hopped on a van to Pai. Pai is a smaller town north of Chiang Mai and is known for its natural attractions like waterfalls and hot springs, and also for being a popular spot for backpacking tourists.

The ride from Chiang Mai took us only three hours, but unfortunately the winding roads were very hard on people who get car-sick easily, which is usually me. Luckily I bought some motion sickness medicine at a 7-11 in Chiang Mai and took some before we got into the van, but one passenger got sick on the way to Pai and then another (different) passenger got sick on our way back from Pai. One was outside the van after the driver pulled over, but one was…not. And she didn’t have a bag. Gross. But anyway, just a word of warning for anyone looking to travel to Pai!

Once we arrived, we saw cute little streets with lots of shops and restaurants.

We also saw lots of dogs in Pai, and most of them were really friendly. Fabio fell in love with this little lady, who followed us around during our whole time in Pai even though we never fed her any food. If she didn’t have a collar on we definitely would have looked into adopting her!

After getting our bearings, we walked over to our hotel, Pai River Corner. Although there are tons of incredibly cheap accommodations in Pai (you can find places for $6 per night), we decided to go with a nicer hotel option – it was our honeymoon, after all. We had the top floor of this bungalo all to ourselves!

(Please excuse the candidness of that one!)

The room was nice enough, with clean bathrooms and wifi. Plus it was still a steal compared to hotel prices in the U.S.!

And our balcony had a nice view of the lush greenery and the pool. Beautiful!

Pai River Corner is also located – you guessed it – right along the river. The restaurant and bar had a great view of the mountains and the river!

Once we dropped off our bags, Fabio and I decided to do a little exploring via scooter! We had read that Pai is a great place to rent scooters since it’s a lot smaller of a city than Bangkok or Chiang Mai, and the roads are pretty tourist-friendly. The scooters themselves are also really cheap, so you can rent them for 24 hours for just a few dollars.

Then again, I had also read about how dangerous the scooters could be, and we saw plenty of tourists walking around with bandages from scooter accidents. I do think most of these were from people driving the scooters after having too many drinks at the bar, but it made me nervous regardless. In fact, I was pretty much dreading climbing onto that thing, and was really regretting my decision at this point.

In the end, Fabio and I decided to take the scooter over to Pai Canyon, a cool lookout spot that was, most importantly, not too far away. I’m pretty sure I gripped Fabio and the scooter for dear life the entire way there, and I was so relieved when we arrived safely just about 15 minutes later.

Pai Canyon featured lots of narrow, winding peaks, and we could see other tourists who were climbing around on top of them. I walked to a relatively easy area of the canyon before realizing I’d have to get down on my hands and knees/crawl on my butt to go any farther, and I decided that was enough for me. There was a huge drop on the side of the peaks, and it seemed like one misstep could leave you very badly hurt. No thanks!

We did see some dare devils who rode motor bikes all along the cliffs, and Fabio and I agreed they were crazy. Again, no thanks!

Once we were done exploring Pai Canyon, Fabio and I scootered (safely) back to the hotel and then enjoyed some happy hour cocktails by the river. I think I earned it for facing my scooter fears!

There was also a cool bamboo bridge near the restaurant, so of course we had to check that out.

It was really rickety, but cool!

While we waited for our cocktails to arrive, it started drizzling and then we saw the most beautiful rainbow!

It was actually a double rainbow and if you look closely you can see the second one above the brighter one. It was so beautiful, and Fabio and I took it as a honeymoon gift from our grandparents who are no longer with us. 🙂

After happy hour, we walked into town for some dinner (we went to the Witching Well per some recommendations I had read online – it was pretty good but not amazing) and then waintod in to Boom Bar since it seemed like one of the more lively bars on the street.

Any place that serves up its cocktails with a slice of water melon is a-ok in my book!

Boom Bar had all kinds of lounge areas, a dance floor area, a pool table, and a couple of tables for beer pong! Fabio and I watched a couple of games of beer pong, but ultimately decided not to play. Instead, we hung out at the bar and made friends with some other travelers, two of whom were from Colombia!

They were so, so nice and we had a great time talking to them throughout the evening.

Oh and just a quick side note: When we got back from the trip I had a hard time explaining to my friends and family what the people in Pai were like, and would usually just say they were mostly Western hippies. Then I saw this drawing in the bathroom at the bar, and thought it described the average Westerner in Pai perfectly:

Precicely!

The next morning, Fabio and I set out for a full day of tours around the Pai area! We opted to do a private tour instead of one of the big group ones, mostly because we wanted to set our own schedule for the day. We had planned to see a water fall, a hot spring, and a cave, but we really wanted to go to the cave in the evening because I had read that’s when all the bats come out. None of the big tour groups went to the cave at that time of day, so we hired our own tour guide to take us. It was a little more expensive than the group tours, but still relatively cheap and definitely worth it.

Our first stop was Mo Paeng waterfall.

This was a really lovely waterfall for swimming in, and we slid down the wet rock next to the waterfall and splashed into the pool. We also met a couple of other nice tourists here, and spent some time talking to them while splashing in the chilly water.

Up next was Sai Ngam hot springs – aka Pai’s “secret” hot springs – which featured a couple of pools of warm water. It wasn’t as hot as hot tob water (and pretty different from the hot springs we swam in at Yellowstone) but it was the most perfect temperature for relaxing and I’m pretty sure we could have staying in the hot spring all day. Plus, our tourist friends from the waterfall joined us, so we got to talk to them some more!

Our last stop of the day was Lod Cave, which was probably the coolest thing we did in Pai.

When we arrived, we bought some food to feed the fish and were amazed at the swarm of them that jumped up to get the food. This water was teeming with them, and some of the fish were huge!

Then we wandered into the cave while following a woman who spoke no English and was carrying the cave’s only source of light, which came from a wind-up lantern. I’m pretty sure Fabio and I were sprinting to catch up with her at some points – if she walked away, we would have been completely in the dark.

We spent some time climbing up into the caves and observing all the interesting shapes in the stalactites and stalagmites.

Then when we had seen two of the caves, we climbed onto a narrow bamboo raft that would take us over to another cave.

It was so narrow and flimsy, and all I could think about was that all those giant fish that we had seen were swimming right below us. Eek!

While we were going down the stream, we kept noticing drops in the water. Fabio and I both assumed it was condensation dripping down until our guide shined her flashlight up to the huge ceiling of the cave, and we saw hundreds of thousands of bats above us. Ok then, those drops are clearly bat poop.

Soon we emerged near the mouth of the other cave, and we saw thousands and thousands of bats swarming around the entrance. It was just about sunset, so it was time for the bats to go eat their dinner, I suppose. It was really, really cool, and definitely worth hiring the private tour guide to see. It was incredible!

You can see our raft in the background here – it really was tiny!

All in all, it was a really fun day exploring the sites around Pai!

When we got back to our hotel, we cleaned ourselves up and then got some dinner from the street vendors. I started with a mango smoothie, and then got green curry and brown rice for my meal.

(Yes, I joined the crowds of tourists and bought myself a pair of elephant pants.)

This was probably my favorite Thai dish that I had during the whole trip, and it came from a food truck!

Fabio got stir fried noodles with hot basil and chicken, and his was equally delicious.

The street food in Pai did not disappoint!

After dinner we walked around for a while to do some shopping and then called it a night as we had to hop on the van back to Chiang Mai early the next morning.

All in all, I would recommend a visit to Pai for anyone who’s interested in seeing a smaller, unique Thai city with all the creature comforts that we tourists enjoy. It was wonderful!

Question(s) of the day: Have you ever been in a cave? Would you ride on a scooter?

 Posted by on July 19, 2017
Jul 102017
 

Hello there! Did you have a nice weekend? Fabio was out of town for his grandfather’s funeral all weekend, so I decided it was the perfect opportunity to take Jack with me for some quality time with my family.

On Friday after work, I packed up our stuff and drove over to my mom’s house. She and my stepdad have been working really hard on their garden this year, and it really is coming along nicely! Apparently they hardly ever need to go to the grocery store anymore. #LifeGoals

This also means they’ve been cooking up lots of delicious veggie-based meals, one of which is the always delicious squash blossoms! I first tried squash blossoms on a trip with my mom and stepdad to Italy, and I think we’ve all been hooked ever since.

This time my mom showed me how to make the blossoms in case I ever want to try making them myself. Not likely, but hey, I like learning to cook new things! To start, you first have to pick the blossoms from the squash plant early in the morning (they close up if you pick them later in the afternoon).

You also have to make sure to pick the male flowers instead of the female ones, since the female ones produce the squash.

Once you have the flowers, you stuff them with about a tablespoon of cheese. (Oh yes.) I know my mom uses ricotta and I think some mozzarella, but you could get creative with it. Then you make a batter that’s equal parts flower and seltzer water, batter them up, and fry them!

Again, this is probably more work than I would ever feel like doing (and deep frying is not really my thing anyway) but I will definitely not complain whenever my mom feels like making these – they’re delicious! We had the squash blossoms with a salad made with other produce fresh from the garden. 🙂

My mom also made my favorite cake for dessert – hot milk cake with the most decadent, amazing chocolate icing. Ahhh!! It was worth going over to my mom’s just for this. 🙂

On Saturday, I slept in a little and then parked myself pool-side for the day! My mom and I spent hours soaking up the sun with a mix of chatting, book-reading (I’m reading Beneath A Scarlet Sky and it’s really good!), and lounging on the pool floaties. In other words, all my favorite summer activities!

Eventually we broke for lunch, and my mom made us another delicious meal: fried green tomatoes with homemade basil mayo (the mayo was even homemade!) and corn salad. YUM! Having all these fresh veggies is such a luxury for me.

Later in the afternoon, my stepdad made me a refreshingly cold mint julep cocktail. 🙂

Eventually I hopped in the shower, said goodbye to my mom and stepdad, and headed over to my dad’s house for a cookout. We sat outside enjoying the perfect evening and enjoyed a meal of burgers, salad, macaroni, and baked beans. Plus some of my dad’s sangria!

I sat around talking with my family for a while, before heading home around 10:00 p.m. I made it home 45 minutes later and instantly fell asleep. A fun day in the sun will do that to you!

Sunday was a much more productive day: I meal-planned, went to the grocery store, cleaned the whole house, did a ton of laundry, and put away lots of wedding-related decorations and gifts. I hadn’t done a big house cleaning since before the wedding, and it definitely needed it. I was happy to see a full fridge again too!

At around 8:00 p.m. I was debating whether or not to head upstairs to watch TV in bed and fall asleep early, but I decided it was too nice out and I wanted to get outside. I wound up leashing up Jack and taking him for an extra evening walk, and we had a fun time hanging out in the park and playing with a big stick he found. I guess neither one of us was ready to say goodbye to such a beautiful summer weekend!

And now I’m typing up this post and looking forward to midnight tonight when Fabio will get home! I’m sure I’ll be fast asleep by then, but I can’t wait to see him!

Question of the day: What’s your favorite kind of cake?

 Posted by on July 10, 2017
Jun 302017
 

Hey friends! On Monday I made my return back to work after taking 2.5 weeks off for the wedding and honeymoon, and it was rough. Luckily we got back from our vacation on Saturday afternoon so we had Sunday to recuperate, but with an 11-hour time difference between D.C. and Bangkok, I was still feeling pretty jet-lagged and exhausted all week.

Even though I had a lot of stuff I wanted to do in the evenings (laundry, putting away wedding presents, catching up on TV, reading my book, etc.) I could barely keep my eyes open once dinner was done. There were a lot of early nights this week, I’ll tell you that.

One thing that definitely helped my mood was the weather! It’s officially summer here, and we enjoyed some beautiful sunny days and warm evenings this week. This, of course, meant Fabio and I did lots of grilling! (Err – Fabio grilled and I watched. 🙂 Lol.)

One night we had grilled corn, which I topped with a basil butter. Yum! With this meal, we also had pan-seared salmon (simply seasoned with salt and pepper) and side salads (mixed greens with feta, olive oil, balsamic, salt, and pepper). Delicious!

Another night we grilled these chicken parm burgers which are quickly becoming a favorite in our house. We also grilled some asparagus for the side, and they came out perfectly! Usually our asparagus come out slightly too salty, too bland, too overdone, or too underdone, but this night they were excellent.

And we even kept Jack from eating the cheese for the chicken burgers, so I’d say that’s a win. 🙂

Spending time with my two favorite boys on our little front stoop while Fabio grills and I sip a glass of cold white wine has definitely made this whole re-entry process a bit easier. 🙂

And now, let’s chat about this week’s workouts!

Saturday, June 24: Considering it took 29 hours from the time our first flight took off in Koh Samui to the time our last flight landed in Dulles, there were definitely no workouts happening on Saturday. In fact, I feel like I spent the whole day sitting on my butt stuck on a plane (the 14-hour flight from Qatar was especially terrible). Oof.

Sunday, June 25: Rest day! On Sunday we went over to my mom and stepdad’s house to pick up Jack and have a celebration lunch to tell everyone about our trip! A few of our family friends came over for the lunch and a bunch of our family joined as well, including my dad, stepmom, sister, step-sister, and her boyfriend. It was such a fun day! I missed my family. (And Jack, obviously.)

Monday, June 26: On Monday I ran three miles with Jack! He had gained a little weight during his two-week stay with “grandma,” so I figured the run would do us both some good. Plus it was a gorgeous morning – not too hot or humid – so we really enjoyed the miles.

Tuesday, June 27: On Tuesday I was back to my usual bootcamp workouts with Anne! We hit up one of our favorites, Definitions, via ClassPass (<–affiliate link for $40 off) and it was great as usual! Our workout had us using all of the different equipment that Definitions has in their studio including the rowers, weights, kettlebells, TRX bands, and more. It felt so good to be back!

Wednesday, June 28: I had planned on going for another run with Jack on Wednesday, but writing my first honeymoon recap blog post took longer than I expected, so I set my alarm for a little earlier in the morning to finish it up before work. Luckily I had an hour-and-a-half webinar to listen to during work, so I headed over to one of the treadmill desks we have in the office to walk while I listened. I wound up covering three miles on the treadmill, which was such a nice bonus! I need to use these desks more often.

Thursday, June 29: On Thursday, I headed over to FlyWheel City Center for a spin class! I hadn’t been to FlyWheel in ages (maybe two months?!) so it felt really good to get my sweat on there.

It also happened to be the City Center location’s first birthday (I can’t believe it’s been open for a year already!) so they were having a birthday celebration with free food and iced coffee. The line for the coffee was insane so I skipped it, but I snagged some breakfast goodies from honeygrow before I headed out the door.

When I got home I munched on the delicious granola, vegan chocolate, and fruit. Jack wanted some, obviously.

Yum!

Friday, June 30: Tomorrow (it’s Thursday night as I’m typing this up) I’m signed up for a bootcamp class at one of my other favorite spots, Urban Athletic Club, with Anne and Kathleen. I can’t wait for the whole gang to be reunited!

**Edited to add: I just had to pop in quickly to say that this morning’s (it’s Friday now) workout at UAC was extra great! Our instructor Jana included a lot of unique exercises, including a fun pyramid workout for our second half and some wall walks! What a great workout!**

And that’s all I have for you guys today! I’ll be out for the early part of next week since we’ll be in Otis, Massachusetts celebrating the July 4 holiday, but I’ll catch up with you guys after that! 🙂

Question(s) of the day: If you’re from the U.S., how do you celebrate July 4? Do you get affected by jet lag?

 Posted by on June 30, 2017
Jun 282017
 

Hello there! Today I’m coming at you with the first recap of our amazing two-week honeymoon vacation in Thailand! Our first stop was Bangkok, where we only stayed for one day. We were told by friends who had visited Bangkok previously that we probably didn’t need to allocate more than a day or two to seeing Bangkok’s sights before moving on to the rest of the country, so we took that advice to heart!

Our trip began with a 9:50 p.m. flight out of Dulles the day after our wedding. That day was such a whirlwind – we woke up as husband and wife, enjoyed breakfast with our wedding guests, packed up everything at the hotel, came home to do some laundry and swap suitcases, and then headed to the airport. Phew!

When we arrived at Dulles airport, we realized we were able to access the airport lounges through a travel credit card that Fabio has (I think it’s Chase Sapphire Preferred, but I’m only like 80% sure about that). Anyway, we got into the lounge and took advantage of free champagne! Woohoo! Kicking off our honeymoon in style. 🙂

Cheers!

We then embarked on a 12.5-hour flight to Qatar via Qatar Airways. In case you’re wondering where Qatar is, it’s here:

The country is actually having some diplomatic issues right now so we weren’t sure if our flight would be affected, but luckily it wasn’t. By the way, Qatar Airways is very nice (it is usually ranked either the best or second-best airline) and we had a very comfortable flight. We were pretty tired from the wedding, so we slept the whole way!

As our flight was landing, the flight attendants came around serving breakfast to everyone (although it was early afternoon in Qatar and they called it lunch – it felt like breakfast to us). Fabio and I had read that the Doha airport in Qatar had tons of nice restaurants, so we decided to skip the airplane meal thinking that we’d get something to eat at the airport. Then of

Then of course we landed and the flight attendant made an announcement reminding us that since it was Ramadan, eating in public in Qatar is prohibited until 6:30 p.m. Um, what?? Noooo!!! We definitely were not planning for this, and I was wondering if I was going to have to smuggle one of the protein bars I had in my carry-on into a bathroom stall or something.

Once we got off the plane we asked more about Ramadan customs at the airport information desk, and we were told that while the restaurants remain open, it would be pretty disrespectful to eat at them, but ultimately the choice was up to us. I asked if drinking water at the gate was ok, and again was told that it was up to us. Well ok then.

Luckily we found another one of those airport lounges that we were allowed to access through Fabio’s credit card perks, and I was SO happy to see that everyone inside (who was also a tourist) was eating and drinking. THANK GOODNESS! I don’t know what we would have done otherwise, since we still had another 7-hour flight ahead of us to Bangkok. Phew.

There were some other interesting sights at the Doha airport, including this weird teddy bear art installation and some cool middle-Eastern/deserty things. 🙂

Then after a pretty uneventful flight, we arrived in Bangkok! We took the Bangkok airport skytrain (also called the Link) out to the very last stop on the red/blue line, Phaya Thai, and from there got in a taxi headed to our hotel near Khao San Road. Todo, we are not in Kansas anymore!

Quick note for anyone looking to book a stay in Bangkok: We chose to stay close to Khao San Road, which is a really fun/popular area with lots of night markets, clubs, bars, restaurants, etc., but we didn’t stay on Khao San Road because we’d read it can be kind of loud and noisy. Our hotel, Casa Nithra, was about a 10-minute walk to the really popular area, which wound up being perfect for us!

When we checked in to Casa Nithra, we were greeted with the most amazing chilled Thai tea drinks (something we found all throughout our Thailand travels!) and were thrilled to find out our room was ready early. Thank goodness, as we really needed to shower after all that time spent on planes! After freshening up, we headed up to the hotel roof to check out the view of Bangkok.

The area where we stayed is also much more “old city” compared to the neighborhoods with lots of modern high-rises, which I was ok with. I like seeing the old culture much more!

Then we headed out to begin our adventures! (BTW – Thailand is 11 hours ahead of D.C., so it was around 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning by this point. Mind-boggling for sure!)

Our planned agenda for the day was to walk to the Grand Palace to visit the Emerald Buddha and see our first temple, Wat Pho, to check out the reclining Buddha, but a super sweet pedestrian stopped us in the middle of the sidewalk to ask us where we were going, and told us that there was a special ceremony for the King happening at the Grand Palace that day and that if we wanted to go, we’d need to be dressed in black with long sleeves and pants, and would have to wait about four hours to get in. Ok then, back to the drawing board. She helpfully told us about a few other tourist stops we could see nearby, and even told us how much we should pay for a tuk-tuk (basically little open-air, three-wheeled taxis) to take us to all the places.

Fabio and I were both waiting for her to sell us a tour or something, but with a friendly wave, she went on her way. This was our very first insight into the Thai culture and gave us a preview for the kind of generosity and hospitality we’d discover throughout the rest of our two-week Thailand trip. The people here are just genuinely kind (I think the Buddhist religion is a big reason for this) and so helpful!

Here we are in our first tuk-tuk!

Our first stop was Wat Intharawihan, a temple with a huge standing Buddha. The temple itself was really lovely, with lots of gold, ornate details (which we came to find is typical for almost all temples, or wats, in Thailand).

Then we saw the big standing Buddha! It was…big. Lol.

Then we hopped back in our tuk-tuk (the driver waited for us outside of each stop) and headed off to the Golden Mount, or Wat Saket. You had to climb 344 steps to get to the top of the Golden Mount, but there were lots of interesting little sculptures along the way to keep you entertained.

And there was even some “wildlife.” Yuck.

Halfway to the top, there was a little coffee shop (we came to find out coffee shops are EVERYWHERE in Thailand), so we stopped for iced cappuccinos. Yes please! It was hot in Bangkok!

We made it to the top!

And we looked like total tourists once we got there. 🙂

The wat was really interesting because there were lots of people praying and making offerings to Buddha, so Fabio and I just kind of quietly walked around and tried to be respectful. You are also supposed to cover your shoulders and thighs in wats out of respect, but since our plans had changed in the morning I didn’t bring anything with me for this, and it didn’t seem to be a big deal in these particular wats (there were others, especially in Chiang Mai, where I definitely had to wear extra clothing to cover myself).

After the Golden Mount, our tuk-tuk driver took us to a suit-maker! The Thais make excellent custom suits, so it’s a popular stop for tourists. Fabio wound up getting a couple suits and shirts, and spent tons of time haggling down the price. I always think this is so awkward, but it’s worth it if you don’t want to get ripped off.

The suits actually should be arriving at our house this week – they are quick!

After this stop we decided we were hungry, so we asked our driver to take us somewhere for lunch. I have no idea where he took us, but it was a cute little spot right on the river and we had fun watching some big fish and lizards jumping around in the water. Note to all: Do not swim in that river. Ever.

For our meal, we got some Tom Yum soup (with chicken since Fabio is allergic to shrimp, which is more traditional in this soup) and Pad Thai. Everything was phenomenal!! Sigh. I miss Thai food already. The flavors are so unique!

And even though we were full, we had to get mango sticky rice for dessert. It’s our absolute favorite, and this one did not disappoint! YUM!

After lunch, it was time for our final stop of the day: a boat tour along the canals! Our tuk-tuk driver dropped us off at the docks, and we couldn’t believe how cheap our day with him had been. For the whole day’s worth of stops, he charged us just 70 baht per person. This comes out to $4 total!! All of the other tuk-tuk rides we took during our trip were slightly more expensive than this, so it goes to show how much they increase their prices for tourists versus when we had the helpful Thai lady tell us how much to pay. Our tuk-tuk driver had also been really friendly, so we gave him a nice tip before saying goodbye.

Then it was onto the boat!

This was such a cool way to explore Bangkok, especially since so much of it relies on the canals and waterways. We got to see lots of cool houses, shops, and wats!

At one point we slowed down so a woman on a small wooden boat could offer us souvenirs and snacks. Ice cold beers? Don’t mind if we do!

The local Thai beer brands – Chang and Singha – are both delicious too!

At one point we stopped along a little set of concrete steps that led down to the water (these are everywhere, and seem to be like docks for the locals to access the river) and saw a little boy throwing bread into the water. Remember how I said don’t swim in this water? Yeah. There’s about a million big fish in there, and even some alligator-sized lizards. Yeesh! Fabio and I were both wondering how safe we were in our wooden boat. LOL!

Soon enough, our tour concluded at the Grand Palace!

Once again we thought about visiting the palace, but were told by a few other helpful people that we’d have to be wearing all black and would have to wait a long time because of the King’s special ceremony. Darn. Next time, Bangkok!

After this, we strolled around for a while, looked into some shops, got quick 30-minute foot massages (this is very common in Thailand and massage places are everywhere), and then headed back to the hotel for a much-needed nap. The jet-lag was catching up to us!

When we were ready to resurface, we got changed and ready for dinner at the famous Sky Bar! We had heard that Sky Bar was ridiculously overpriced (it was) but that the views were worth it (they were). Plus we received money from our wedding to use for the honeymoon, and we figured our friends and family would want us to have a nice, romantic dinner out!

We hopped in another tuk-tuk (about 100 baht this time) and made our way across town!

When we arrived around 9:00 p.m., we saw that it (thankfully) wasn’t too crowded and we were able to really enjoy the view!

Hello, Bangkok! You are beautiful!

A table was ready for us in no time, and we enjoyed some delicious cocktails while we waited for our food. We weren’t too hungry after the big lunch, and since the menu was pretty pricy we decided to share a steak dish. It was pretty tasty, but nothing crazy, especially considering the price. Clearly, you are paying for the atmosphere here.

Despite the relatively expensive bill, we had an amazing time! I’m so glad we decided to trust our gut and go to this beautiful spot.

Me and my husband!! <3

After Sky Bar, we took a tuk-tuk down to Khao San Road and walked around for a while ogling at the crazy bar scene. Most of the parties were in full swing when we arrived, so we had fun walking around and watching lots of rowdy and drunk tourists. We weren’t really in the mood to try to catch up with them, so we decided people-watching was good enough for us. We also passed a number of vendors selling all kinds of delicious-smelling street food, and even some trays of bugs for tourists to try! Eek! No thank you.

When we’d had enough, we walked back to our hotel and fell asleep instantly. What a fun day in Bangkok!

The next morning, we headed off to Chiang Mai! More adventures to come!

Question(s) of the day: Would you try eating a bug? Would you have gone to the expensive restaurant or skipped it?

 Posted by on June 28, 2017
Jun 022017
 

Hi friends! Things are super busy around here, so I’m going to keep today’s blog post pretty short. I want to chat about a few of my last minute wedding thoughts (it’s next weekend! Eek!) but first let’s go over this week’s workouts.

Saturday, May 27 – Rest day! I spent this day day-drinking with my best friends at the beach!

Sunday, May 28 – On Sunday morning, I tackled a 3.7 mile run along the boardwalk, and then walked another two-ish miles with my friends to get breakfast. It was a beautiful day for a beach-side run!

Monday, May 29 – Monday was a rest day! This entire day was spent wedding planning. Oof!

Tuesday, May 30 – On Tuesday morning, I headed to Definitions via ClassPass (<–affiliate link for $30 off) for a bootcamp class with Anne and Fabio!

We had a great class with lots of different exercises like rowing, jump squats, planks, push-ups, shuffle runs, and more. It was a good one, and I had fun chatting with Anne and Fabio about wedding stuff. 🙂

Wednesday, May 31 – On Wednesday I met up with Anne again and our buddy Kathleen for another bootcamp class, only this time at Urban Athletic Club! Wednesday’s workout included all of my least favorite (read: hardest) exercises including pull-up holds, mountain climbers with our feet in the TRX straps, mountain climbers on the sliders, and a three-minute jump rope finisher. Phew! I was exhausted after this workout, but it left me feeling nice and accomplished!

Thursday, June 1 – I was feeling pretty stressed out on Wednesday, so Fabio suggested we take a yoga class on Thursday morning to zone out a bit. We wound up signing up for CorePower Yoga’s How Power Fusion class (again, via ClassPass), which is similar to their Yoga 2 class but with slightly more strength work. It was super hot and I sweat like crazy, but I really felt like I was able to relax and be present in the moment during this fun time of prepping for the wedding. Toward the end of class when we were in half pigeon, the instructor came over and gave me a little massage which felt absolutely amazing. It really, really helped me relax, and weirdly even made me feel emotional. I remember thinking, how did she know I needed this little massage? Ha! I think I’m losing it. 🙂

Friday, June 2 – Tomorrow (it’s Thursday night as I’m writing this) I’m planning to run three miles with Jack. This will allow me to sleep in a little later, which I’m really looking forward to! Plus the weather is supposed to be nice. 🙂

Overall it was a great week of workouts!

As for wedding planning, it’s going well! All of the big stuff is done, and this weekend we’re going to have a crafting day at my mom’s house to finish up some of the other items like assembling the programs, folding the escort cards, painting some signs, etc. There’s still a lot of last-minute details to wrap up, but overall I’m feeling pretty good about my to-do list!

Emotionally, I’m not sure it’s hit me yet. This big event that we’ve been planning since we got engaged on Christmas 2015 is finally here!

What’s more than that though, is that this guy who I met when we were sophomores in college back in 2008 is going to become my husband. We’re going to make a promise to each other to be bonded for life, and I don’t think all of the emotions that come along with that kind of commitment have really set in yet. It will be interesting to see how I’m feeling as the day continues to come closer!

Starting this weekend we’ll have family coming into town, and then next week I have a lot of last-minute wedding stuff to finish up (for example, after work next week I have some nail appointments, hair appointments, stuff like that) and then on Thursday morning we head out for the venue! And then on Sunday we head out for a two-week honeymoon! 🙂 I will try to get one more post up before then, but if I don’t, you’ll know why. 🙂 I can’t believe this time has come!

Question of the day: Do you have any advice for me?

 Posted by on June 2, 2017
May 262017
 

Helloooo! How are ya? I’m feeling pumped because it’s almost time for a three-day weekend where I’ll be spending time at the beach with some of my best friends! Woohoo! But first I have to make it through half a workday before we can hit the road. I hope the time goes quickly!

Overall I had a really nice week, despite some super rainy and gray weather. The sun barely came out all week! Anyway, here’s a look at my workouts.

Saturday, May 20 – Saturday was a rest day that I spent traipsing around vineyards in Virginia with some of my best girl friends!

Sunday, May 21 – I wasn’t feeling so hot on Sunday after all the wine the day before (oof) so I thought going for a short run might help. I only wound up going a mile, but it really did make me feel much better after! My headache was pretty much completely gone after that.

Monday, May 22 – I was planning to complete one of my Kayla Itsines workouts at the track on Monday, but when I woke up to pouring rain I decided to move my workout indoors. I knew I still had to walk Jack and would get wet regardless, so I took him on a one-mile warm-up run that was extremely wet. When we came inside, I chose a Kayla workout that didn’t require too much space and got to work! The one I picked included burpees, jumping lunges, push-ups, squats, mountain climbers, V-ups, and more. It was a good one!

Tuesday, May 23 – On Tuesday, I drove over to CorePower Yoga for my favorite Sculpt class with Monica. I swear, she kicks my butt every time! I still think she’s the hardest CPY sculpt instructor I’ve ever had. Her plank series is insane!

Wednesday, May 24 – Wednesday it was finally not raining (though it was still chilly and gray out) so I took Jack for a three-mile run along our favorite path. It was nice to get outside!

Thursday, May 25 – On Thursday, Fabio and I headed over to BodyMass Gym for another one of their bootcamps (we’ve been loving them lately!) and this time we were joined by one of my college besties, Lauren! Lauren lives really close to the gym and is also on ClassPass (<– affiliate link for $30 off), so the night before class I texted her to see if she was free to join us. To my delight she was, so on Thursday morning she joined us for a fun class that included a mix of upper body, core, and leg exercises (so many jumping lunges and lunges on the slider!).

It was especially fun chatting about wedding stuff with her since she and I met right before Fabio and I met in 2008, so the three of us all know each other really well. 🙂 So fun! Thanks for joining us, Lauren!

Friday, May 26 – Tomorrow (it’s Thursday night as I type this) I’m signed up for another bootcamp class with my friend Kathleen at Urban Athletic Club (Anne is out of town this week). It should be good!

*Edited to add: Omg I did MORE jumping lunges in today’s class. Help!

And one other thing happened this week that I wanted to share with you all – my coworkers threw me a surprise bridal shower!

I thought I was on my way to a regular meeting, and when I got to the conference room I saw that they had set up a whole spread complete with decorations, balloons, adorable snacks, and even some presents.

How sweet is this?! They also somehow found my registry, so they got me one gift from there and then a few other personal gifts. They are the best!

After opening presents, we played a couple of games! For the first game, my coworker Dani played about 10 seconds of a song with “love” in the title and you had to guess the name and the artist (each answer was worth half a point). It was so fun!

Then my other coworker Carly said she had another game that was just for me – uh oh! It turns out she had contacted Fabio (my coworkers are very sneaky) and asked him a bunch of trivia questions like “where does Chelsea want to retire” and “what is Fabio’s most prized possession” and then I had to guess what Fabio’s answers were. It was hard, but I did a lot better than I did at my regular shower. 🙂

It was so fun, and so unbelievably thoughtful. I am truly lucky to be blessed with so many wonderful people in my life!

After the party, I moved all the decorations over to my desk. 🙂

Hooray indeed! 🙂

Question of the day: For those of you celebrating Memorial Day, what are your plans?

 Posted by on May 26, 2017
May 192017
 

Hey friends! Did you have a good week? Mine was a good one, complete with a fun work conference at the Newseum (along with a post-conference happy hour on the roof overlooking the Capitol!) and a meeting with our HOA board that we took outside since it was such a nice evening. Sometimes little things like that can make a big difference in an otherwise boring week!

I also got in a bunch of good workouts this week, though I didn’t get many pictures (blogger fail). Here’s a look!

Saturday, May 13 & Sunday, May 14: These were both rest days! I thought about going for a run with Jack on Sunday morning since Fabio was out playing golf and I had some extra time to myself, but I decided to take him on an extra long walk through our local park instead. It was still nice to be out and about!

Monday, May 15: On Monday, I took Jack for a one-mile warm-up run and then headed to the track to complete a Kayla Itsines circuit workout. I have been loving these workouts lately since they’re quick and easy and I can do them outside without having to go too far from home.

Monday’s circuit included step-ups, step-up/lunges, walking lunges, jump rope, burpees, and more. It was a good one, and once again I was happy to just be outside in the sunshine. What a perfect way to start the day! 🙂

Tuesday, May 16: On Tuesday, Fabio joined me for a class at Bodymass Gym in Court House via ClassPass (<– affiliate link for $30 off). I’m so glad we discovered this fun bootcamp-style gym so close to home!

Recycled photo from last time we went

Our instructor Chaz took us through a bunch of circuits with exercises like goblet side lunges on sliders, push-ups, and more. Halfway through class Chaz challenged me to use a heavier weight, which is one thing I really like about these classes. The coaches definitely push you in the best possible way! I was pretty sore after this workout, especially my upper body. Ouch!

Wednesday, May 17 – Wednesday’s workout featured a class at Urban Athletic Club with my favorite workout buddies Anne and Kathleen. It was a good one, like usual, and I especially enjoyed the series of outside sprints since it was such a nice day out. Also, if any of you read Anne’s blog, you might have seen that she shared some exciting news this week!! 🙂 Congrats to Anne and Matt! <3

Thursday, May 18 – Thursday was a rest day since I had a work conference and had to be downtown by 8:30 a.m. I could have gotten up earlier for a class, but I decided to sleep in instead! It was a good decision.

Friday, May 19 – I have an early morning meeting tomorrow (it’s Thursday night as I write this) so I won’t be taking a class, but I do plan to get in a three-mile run with Jack. It’s been a while since I’ve run that route with him (a week? two weeks?) so I’m looking forward to it!

The end.

Question of the day: What was your favorite workout this week?

 Posted by on May 19, 2017
May 122017
 

Oh man, this has been a week. Work is crazy, life is crazy, and I feel like I just need a minute to catch my breath. Phew! Hopefully things will be a little calmer this weekend.

Luckily I had some really good workouts this week, and I felt like they helped to keep me grounded and sane. I used to dread working out (back in the days when I used to work out in my living room after work – oof) but now I look forward to it as the one time of my day that I don’t have to think about anything else on my to-do list. I also know that a workout will improve my mood immensely. What a change!

Here’s a look at what I was up to!

Sat., May 6 & Sun. May 7 – Rest days! This weekend was spent traipsing around New York City with Fabio and our family and friends.

Mon., May 8 – On Monday, I took my workout over to the track at Washington Lee High School, which is right by my house. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and I decided to complete one of my old Kayla Itsines workouts on the track.

I positioned myself next to a bench so I could do some step-ups, and then got to work! My workout included weighted walking lunges, burpees, squat jumps, sumo squats, step-ups, and more. It was a good one! And it was so nice to be outside in the sun. 🙂

Tues., May 9 – On Tuesday, Fabio and I headed to a FlyWheel class via ClassPass (<– affiliate link for $30 off). We had Richard as our instructor, and his classes are always so hard. My total power at the end of class was 293, which was much higher than my usual 255ish. Clearly he pushed us on Tuesday! I was dripping in sweat by the end of class, and was feeling so happy to have such a good workout behind me. Plus, it’s always fun when Fabio joins me! 🙂

Wed., May 10 – Wednesday was bootcamp day with the girls! I met up with Anne and Kathleen at our favorite spot, Urban Athletic Club, for a 7 a.m. class. Unfortunately all the usual instructors were randomly out of town/unavailable that day, so we had a last minute fill-in instructor teach us. He was a nice guy, but I didn’t love the workout he took us through which included toe-taps on the medicine ball, cleans, skaters, push-ups, and just a couple of other moves. The one part of the workout that I did really enjoy was a quick jaunt around the neighborhood, and since it was such a pretty day out, it was nice to get a quick run in outside!

Thurs., May 11 – Thursday was a rest day for me since we wound up going to the National’s game with our friends Megan and JR the night before and didn’t get home until around 11:00 p.m. By that time the stress of the week had caught up to me (plus it was rainy and gross out on Thursday morning), and I was glad to have a planned rest day.

I love these guys so much!

Fri., May 12 – Tomorrow morning (it’s Thursday night as I write this), I’m planning to take the sculpt class at CorePower Yoga. It’s one of my favorite classes, and I’m really looking forward to it!

And that’s a wrap! I hope whatever you do this weekend is exactly what you want to be doing – whether that means it’s filled with lots of plans or none at all. 🙂

Question of the day: Have you been to any baseball games yet this year? This was our first one of the season!

 Posted by on May 12, 2017