Friday, February 23, 2018

Top Five Friday : Short Week

Hi everyone!  How's your week been?  Even though it was a short work week (gotta love Monday holidays) it felt like it took forever.  I'm so excited for this weekend and some fun times planned with friends.  For now, here are my recent favorites!

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five 


Taylor Swift - Reputation
I'm not sure what it is, but for some reason, it always takes me a while to like Taylor Swift's songs.  The first time I hate them, but I start to like them more the more that I hear them.  Usually it's the opposite for me and music, but for some odd reason Taylor is the exception.  While I didn't like Reputation at first, it's all that I've been listening to in the car lately.  I like pretty much every song, but my favorites would be Dress, This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things, and Delicate.


Girls Gone WOD
It's officially Crossfit Games season (the Open started yesterday!), so I have to talk about one of my longtime favorite podcasts.  Even though I don't do Crossfit (but love to follow the Games), I enjoy this one so much!  Clare and Joy are two friends who talk about random topics (like their love of Mean Girls) as well as health-related topics (both emotional and physical health).  This week they interviewed one of the most well-known and successful Crossfit athletes, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, who is one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram.  Give it a listen!


Bachelor Winter Games
This show is the absolute best, because it's a combination of two of my biggest guilty pleasures- The Bachelor franchise and the Olympics!  Contestants from the worldwide Bachelor franchise all came together to fall in love, while competing in winter sports (biathlon, speed skating, skiing, figure skating) to win dates.  I love the contrast from the real athletes to these people to feel less bad about my lack of skill/talent (there's usually more falling down than staying upright, no matter the contest).  It's really fun to watch and now I just want to be friends with Yuki from Japan!!

What shows are you liking lately?
Anyone doing the Crossfit Open?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Hall of Fame Marathon Training : 6

Yay for cut back weeks!  Some runners love em, some hate em.  I'm personally in the "love" camp.  It feels great to lessen up the miles a bit (and have more free time!)  Here's a look at how week lucky number 6 went:


Rest Day!


3.6 miles / 9:49 pace
Just a nice, easy run.  Went around my neighborhood after work, and it was a beautiful day.  Kept my pace easy and enjoyed the weather!


Rest Day!


4.5 miles / 8:20 pace 
I got to go on this run during my lunch break at work.  It was 60 degrees out so I was really excited to run in shorts and a t shirt!  Since I didn't want to be gone for a long time, I shortened my speed work for the week.  I was originally supposed to do 5 miles at marathon pace with a mile warmup and cool down, but instead I did 3 miles at tempo pace with a half mile warmup and mile cool down.  I started out too fast (shorts weather got me excited) but felt great on this run!


Rest Day!


12 miles / 10:19 pace
I was lucky enough to be joined by friends for my long run!  We met up at the park and set off for 12 miles.  The miles just flew by and felt great.  Crazy how easy running is with other people around you!


1200 yard swimming
I didn't swim at all last week and barely got one in this week because I misplaced my swimsuit and goggles.  Whoops!  Finally found them so I was happy to be back in the pool.  I managed to do this workout faster than the last two times I did it which makes me happy.  I worked on swimming constantly at an even pace instead of going too fast and having to stop.  It was great!

6.2 miles / 9:47 pace
Easy run at the gym after my swim.  Can I call this a brick workout for triathlon training??

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Frugal February : Free Fun!

Hi everyone!  It's now halfway through the month (yes..already!), and my Frugal February is going great so far.  I'll be sharing more about it at the end of the month and a real break down of what I did, but today I wanted to share some ideas on fun things you can do for free.

I always seem to fall back on going out for drinks or to dinner if I want to hang out with someone, but there are so many activities you can do for free!  Today I'm sharing a few of those ideas, and I would love to hear all of your ideas as well!

Watch old movies - Since I got Netflix, I pretty much stopped watching DVDs that I own.  Since I paused my subscription this month, it's a great time to watch those old movies that I used to love!  Some of my oldie-but-goodies are The Aviator, Love Actually, Titanic, and How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days.

Use up old Groupons or coupons - How many times have you bought a Groupon or gotten a coupon for something free, but never use it?  Frugal February is a great time to do this!  Last summer, I won four passes for snow tubing at a nearby resort, and I'm looking forward to going (and not having to spend any money!), as well as trying out some new fitness classes that I have passes for.

Open up that special occasion wine - This applies to anything that you save up for a special occasion, but never actually consume.  I have bottles of wine sitting in my fridge that were more expensive, and I'm just saving up.  Since I'm not going out this month, having that special bottle makes staying in a little more fun.

Take a long bath - To combine a few ideas, take a nice and luxurious bath.  I like to watch a show or movie while I'm in the bath (so you can watch those old videos), drink some wine (special occasion!) and light a candle or use an oil diffuser.  I also like to use up products that are sitting around, like face masks and bath bombs to make this a really luxurious and relaxing experience.

Meet up with friends for a run or walk - My favorite frugal activity is definitely meeting up for a workout with friends.  Running is free, and you can catch up while not spending a dime (plus it helps make your run go by a lot quicker!).  Since I have ClassPass and a lot of my friends do as well, I also like to try out new classes with them.

Check out local free events - I definitely don't take enough advantage of free events in the area, so my goal for February is go to go more!  In Pittsburgh, we have monthly free museum days, weekly yoga in the park, and amazing parks all over the city.  A few days ago I also went to a free snowshoeing class that REI hosted, and it was a lot of fun- plus I learned a new skill!

Have a picnic at a new park - This might not be possible in February for me, but it's always fun to pack up a picnic and check out a new-to-you park.  Who needs to spend a ton of money at a restaurant when you can take the restaurant with you and enjoy the great outdoors?

Play a card game - Whenever I get together with family, we always end up playing card games and have a great time.  This usually only happens during the holidays, so it would be great to have a random card game during the week, or even hosting a card party on the weekend.

Go to the library - In college, I always loved to go to the library and get lost for hours just learning and studying.  Now that I'm out of school, I really stopped doing that!  There are so many cool things to check out in the library, from researching upcoming trips in the travel section to finding recipes for a meal plan in the cooking section!  Or, you can just grab a biography or Harry Potter and enjoy that!  A lot of libraries also offer free classes (a local one hosts a monthly Indian cooking class that I really want to go to), so this is a great Frugal February resource!

Learn how to make something from scratch - Last year, one of my goals was to start making almond milk and beer from scratch.  It was always something that I bought, so I wanted to see if I could make it myself!  Since then, I've also experimented with making my own bread, pizza dough, veggie stock, and more.  It's fun to learn a new skill, and even better if you can eat it at the end.

Take your dog to the dog park or on a long walk - There is nothing Selma likes more than going to the dog park, but it's something that I don't do nearly enough.  We have some great parks around us, and they're all free to get into.  It's a great activity to get outside and let your dog get out some energy!  If you don't have a dog park nearby, just go on a nice, long walk for a similar effect!

What are your favorite free activities?
Is anyone else doing Frugal February?  How's it going??

Monday, February 12, 2018

Hall of Fame Marathon Training : 5

Thirty miles always seems like such a milestone for me in training.  Any week that I don't hit it, I feel like I didn't run enough.  If I go over I feel so proud of myself and count that week as a win.  The past few weeks were less than ideal, and I missed that number (by a pretty large margin), so the fact that I got it this week makes me so happy and proud of myself.  I'm back!

Here's a look at how my week went:


Rest Day!


4 miles / 9:25 pace
Treadmill run!  I got to run before work, but didn't really want to run while it was single digits out with icy sidewalks.  Kept it nice and easy on the treadmill with a progression run to keep from going crazy.


 Rest Day!
We got a ton of snow and ice overnight, and it continued to snow/rain/sleet throughout the day.  I actually stayed at home and did not leave my house at all the entire day!


5 miles / 8:24 pace
Another speed workout on the treadmill because the sidewalks downtown were a mess, and the trail that I usually run on was flooded.  I did 3 miles at tempo pace (8:00) with a mile warmup and cool down.


5 miles / 9:31 pace
I probably could have run outside, but I had to run on my lunch break and didn't feel like lugging all of my winter running clothes into work.  To keep myself entertained, I did a pyramid workout.  I started at 6.0 mph, worked my way up to 7.0 mph, then back down.  I adjusted the speed every half mile so this helped pass the time a lot faster.


3.1 miles / 8:51 pace
Over the weekend it warmed up pretty well, so I took this run outside!  Dan and Selma joined me for the first mile, then I went off on my own.  I felt so great and was really excited to be outside again, so I ended up going faster than expected.


16 miles / 9:32 pace
You know that saying- if you want God to laugh, tell him your plans?  This run reminded me of that.  All week I was whining and complaining about the cold weather, so I was excited to see it warm up over the weekend.  I went out on my run, and after I was a mile in, it started to pour down rain.  Since it was still in the 40s, the rain was really cold, and all the melted snow and ice made huge puddles everywhere.  I was soaked from the beginning and my watch kept glitching, but I had to tell myself that this is what I get for complaining about the cold when I should just be appreciative of being able to run at all (and having access to a treadmill).  This was a mentally tough run for me, so I was really proud of myself when I completed the run and had such a good pace!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Top Five Friday : Tired of it

Can I start off this post on a whiney note?  I'm not usually one to complain about weather (at least in real life), but I am SO OVER WINTER.  This year seems to be more awful than most, and I'm so sick of it!  Not to mention that our car that has four wheel drive (which we specifically bought this year to be able to drive safely in the winter) broke down this week and needs a new engine.  To top it off, I've kept myself running inside because we got hit with yet another snow/ice storm.  BLAH.  I have to keep reminding myself that winter will eventually end, and that I'm lucky to have a warm place to live (and work) and just stop complaining.

Ok, rant over.  Let's get into happier topics, including something VERY exciting that starts today!  Any guesses?  Keep reading!

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five 


Justin Timberlake - Man of the Woods

Definitely a clique pick for this week, but I love Justin's new CD!  While I wasn't super impressed with his half time show (the whole time I was just waiting for something exciting to happen!), this has been on repeat all week at work.  My favorite song is probably Morning Light (mostly because of Alicia Keys) and Young Man is just the sweetest song!


The Podium
OK GUYS ALERT ALERT- THE OLYMPICS START TODAY (technically yesterday, but opening ceremonies are today so we're going with that)!!  I am SOOOO excited because Olympic time is the best time.  I was really excited to hear that NBC will be starting an official podcast where they will recap every. single. day. of Olympic action.  Does it get any better that that?  Nope, didn't think so!  Happy listening :)


Face Off
One good thing about getting rid of Netflix was being able to find new and cool shows that I would normally never watch!  I recently discovered Face Off, which is a reality competition show all about special effects makeup.  It's so cool and interesting to watch the creative process that these artists put into creating characters.  I love it!  Luckily for me, there are tons of seasons already out, so I have lots of watching ahead of me. 


Duh, I had to mention this again.  Today the Olympics officially kick off with the opening ceremony, and it's all systems go from there!  I'm excited for all of the events, but my favorite winter sports are figure skating, and all of the skiing and snowboarding events.  Can't wait to watch and follow along!  #GoTeamUSA!

Can I have some cheese with my w(h)ine?
Do you love or hate the Olympics?  Favorite sport?
What did you think of the Superbowl/Halftime Show?

Monday, February 5, 2018

Hall of Fame Marathon Training : 4

Another week done, and thankfully this was a cutback week!  I definitely needed it because I still wasn't feeling 100% after recovering from whatever sickness I had last week.  I'm finally feeling more like myself, and hope that next week I'll be back to my normal mileage.  This week I also finished my 30 days of yoga challenge, and fit in two swims.  Here's how the week went:


Rest Day!


3 miles / 9:25 pace
I was finally feeling better, so I went out for an easy run after work.  Of course it was freezing out so it wasn't a ton of fun, but I was just happy to be outside and running again!


1200 yards swimming
I headed to the pool after work to get in a swim.  This week's workout was 400 yards, 200 yards, 4x100 yards, 4x50 yards.  It was my first time doing circle swimming at the gym since there were lessons going on, so I was happy to be able to keep up with everyone else and didn't get passed at all!


6 miles / 9:30
Went for an easy run with hills.  Another cold, cold day.  Really starting to feel over winter this year and looking forward to warmer days!


Rest Day!


8 miles / 9:45 pace
I met up with Jessie and Steff for my long run.  I was so happy to have friends to run with, because it was cold out (again) and I had no motivation to run.  The miles went by so quickly and we were done before I realized it!  


6 miles / 9:23 pace
I headed out for another easy run, and it ended up sleeting the entire time.  I only made it four miles before I decided to do my final two at the gym before going for a swim.  This was one of those days where I had to question myself for training for a spring race, because it's hard to run through awful weeks like this.

1200 yards swimming
I did the same workout as Wednesday.  It seemed to go a lot better this time and I felt really strong!  I even finished two minutes faster, which made me happy.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Top Five Friday : Serenity Now

Oh man you guys, this has been a crazy week!  At work we released a new app update and I've been working like crazy to get out new features for our next update, and Dan just got back from a three-week-long trip for work.  I'm hoping that we can chill and relax this weekend, and maybe even get started with our taxes.  Fun!

Here are some favorites from the week!

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five 


Fuego Playlist on Spotify
I'm actually working on some Spanish stuff at work, so it's been fun to listen to Spanish music while I'm doing it (helps to get me in the right frame of mind!)  This playlist from Spotify has so many great songs and keeps me motivated to keep working.  Lately I've just been powering through my work that I make it through the playlist and realize it's already time to go home when it feels like I just got to work!


This American Life
For a while, TAL was the only podcast that I listened to, and it was always the first one I turned to when I had a long run.  Lately though, it seemed to get overly political and I ended up not listening to it for months.  Even though there are still a lot of political episodes, there have been some really interested ones lately.  They also just launched their own app, where you can listen to all 600+ episodes.


Pretty Little Liars
Might not have been my brightest idea to watch this show while Dan was away, but I've been binge watching PLL in January!  I got through an entire season while I was sick last week, and it's so addicting.  I remember watching it back when it first aired, but never finished it, so it's been fun to go back and re-watch!


Mercury Mile box
For a while, I've been seeing a lot of Instagram runners talking about a new service called Mercury Mile.  The premise seemed right up my alley- a box of athletic wear, picked out specifically for you based on a profile you fill out, delivered whenever you want it.  It reminded me a lot of Stitch Fix but for runners, so I had to try it out.  Luckily I was able to find a coupon code from one of those Instagrammers, and got my box really quickly!  There was a hand-written note that mentioned some things in my profile, and 4 pieces of clothes along with socks, some running fuel, sport detergent sample, and a free pair of Goodr sunglasses.  All of the pieces were great quality (I had two tops from New Balance, shorts from Rabbit, and capris from Kari Traa) and fit perfectly.  Whatever you don't like you can just send back and you aren't charged, and you can keep all of the extras!  It was fun to try out, and I might treat myself to another one right before my race.

What shows are you loving lately?
What do you listen to at work?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

What's New With You? Frugal February

Hi everyone and Happy February!  Today is the monthly What's New With You linkup, and today I'm going to be talking about a big goal I have for the month.

You all might know by now, but I am a very goal-oriented person.  Give me a challenge or rules to follow for a set period of time and I am GOOD.  In that spirit, I decided to make a challenge for myself (inspired by Ciara) and have a no-spend month in February!  I'm calling this Frugal February (cute, right?), and have decided on some rules that I'm going to follow for the month.

Luckily, I'm not doing this alone!  I'll have Ciara doing this with me, and also got Annette, Jessie, Steff, Jess, and Maddie to join in as well.  It's so much easier to have a support system when you're working on a challenge, so we already have a group Instagram chat going, and will be supporting eachother on our own No (or Low)-Spend Month!

Here are the rules that I'm going to be following, along with some ideas on how I can accomplish each.  All of the ladies who are doing this with me have different goals, so if you're interested in joining let me know what your goals for the month are.

NO buying breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, or snacks out.  I'm usually pretty good about not going out for lunch or dinner on a regular basis, but grabbing a $2 bag of chips or stopping by a coffee shop after my morning run for a $3 flat white adds up after a while.

How? I will plan out my meals at the beginning of the week and make sure I have enough food!  I only buy snacks at work when I'm really hungry, and end up making a bad choice (both money and health-wise).  So, I need to make sure I bring healthy snacks to work with me so I'm not tempted to buy something.  I'm also going to get a fun mix of coffee to make at work so I'm not tempted to go out (maybe even picking up some hot cocoa mix for a fun Friday treat?)

NO online shopping.  I've definitely gotten better about this, but I can still get better.  I'm definitely tempted by constant "sale" emails that stores send out, and end up buying way more things than I need.

How?  Unsubscribe from those emails!  I've been trying to do this manually whenever I get an email, but I might try to use a service (like unroll me) to get it all done with in one go.  I'll also avoid browsing websites that might tempt me!

NO Target!!  This is a big one for me- I have a Red Card.... and a Target problem.  I'm definitely one of those people who go in "just for toilet paper" and end up with a cart full of random stuff that adds up to $100.

How?  Avoid it completely.  I know that if I make a goal for myself to just buy necessities from Target, I'll still end up grabbing that one more thing.  So, I'm going to make it my goal to not go to Target at all in February!  There aren't any products that I can't find at other stores (or if I truly do need something that I can only find there and it can't wait, I'll have Dan buy it for me...HE has self-control)

NO Netflix and Hulu.  We got rid of cable years ago, but still use Neflix and Hulu.  Both of these services can be paused or stopped, so that's an easy way to save some extra money this month.  Who knows- maybe I'll realize I don't miss them and can eliminate one (or both!)

How?  Pause both services for the month of February.  For Netflix, you can stop service at the end of a billing period and re-start whenever you want, and with Hulu you are able to pause for a set period of time.

NO Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.  I'm not going to be super extreme about this no-buy (some people make it a goal to spend no money at all- including on bills, groceries, etc), but my goal for February will be to do all of my shopping at Aldi's.  It's not my favorite store, but they have almost everything I need (no tofu/tempeh/fresh herbs and their prices can't be beat.  I also want to try to clean out some older products in my cabinets and freezer and spend as little as possible.

How?  Obviously by shopping at Aldi's!  I'm going to try Jessie's method of shopping the sales (going through the ad each week and planning around what products are on sale).  It'll be interesting to see how much money I can save (and how many old products I can use up).

There you have it!  I'll be checking in throughout the month with lunch ideas, free fun activities, and more.  Let me know if the comments if you're also joining in, and also be sure to link up with Kristen and me below!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Hall of Fame Marathon Training : 3

I'm not going to sugar coat it- this was a bad week for me.  It started off really well, then I got hit with a crazy virus that has been going all around the office and kept me in bed for a few days.  On the bright side, I didn't miss any work (since it started on Friday), but I missed two runs this week.  I'd rather have a week like this early on instead of during peak week, so hopefully the worst is behind me.

Here's a look at how my training went this week:


Rest Day


3 miles / 9:58 pace
I was feeling kind of stiff and sore from my long run on Sunday, so I took this run nice and easy.


5 miles / 9:04 pace
Tempo run!  I did an easy mile warmup, then two miles at tempo and two miles to cool down.  It was snowing pretty heavily during this run, but temperature wise it felt great.  For some reason when it's snowing, I don't feel cold.  No clue why that is, but I would always prefer running in snowy weather over no precipitation, cold, windy day.  My tempo miles ended up averaging 7:58 pace, which was a little faster than my goal of 8:00.  Still better than I usually do with pacing myself though!


Rest Day!


6 miles / 9:18 pace
I headed to the park for an easy run.  I did 1 mile with Selma and then 5 alone.  I was starting to feel a little sick so I made sure to keep it easy and rested the rest of the night.

Saturday and Sunday

Sick Days :(
Friday night I ended up getting a fever, and all day Saturday and Sunday I was stuck in bed.  I was feeling a little better on Sunday but decided it was a better idea just to stay in and rest instead of making things worse.  I was so mad to not get in my runs when the weather was so nice, but what can you do!  I did manage to get a little fresh air when I took Selma for a quick walk, but even that tired me out!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Hall of Fame Marathon Training : 2

What a great week!  It seemed like everything clicked into place for week two of training (I'm sure having a Monday holiday helped a lot) and it's making me so excited to continue on.  I managed to swim twice this week, try out a new class, and do my daily TRUE yoga challenge, while getting in my regular mileage.  I'm getting into a routine that feels good!

Here's a look at how my week went, complete with lots of snowy pics:


7 miles / 9:55 pace
I typically take a rest day on Monday, but I had to get this run in!  It was the last day of the Strava/Lululemon challenge, and I was only 11km away from my goal.  Since my long run on Sunday didn't register, I had to go out (plus, I had off work which helped!).  I just went around my neighborhood and going up and down every street for 7 miles.  I even got to run in a blizzard (the roads were all bare when I went out and had about an inch by the time I was done-)

900 yard swim / 18:00
Earlier in the day I went to the gym to get in my swim.  I started week two of my "couch to mile" swim program, and today's plan was:
200 for 12 breaths
4 x 100 for 10 breaths between sets
4 x 50 for 6 breaths between sets
4 x 25 for 4 breaths between sets

The workout went pretty well!  I need to work on not swallowing as much water and not getting it up my nose..anyone have advice?


Rest Day!


5 miles / 9:29 pace
I did this workout on the treadmill, and plugged in the "rolling hills" workout.  I warmed up for a mile, then did 3 miles of hills and did a mile cool down.  I got a visit from Annette while I was running which helped distract me in my last mile of hills!


Rest Day!


6 miles / 8:51 pace
Today's workout was 1 mile warm up, 4 miles at marathon pace (9:00) and 1 mile cool down.  It was a beautiful day outside, and from the beginning I felt so great!  I was trying to keep my pace right at 9:00, but I ended up going faster than that (first mile was 8:45 and fourth was 8:20..ended up being a nice progression each mile).  The good news is that the paces felt really comfortable and I felt like I could have kept going forever!  Bad news is I can't pace myself, so I have to work on that.


TBC / 1 hour
I visited a nearby barre studio for a morning workout- TBC or Total Body Conditioning.  Instead of a traditional barre class, this was HIIT style that rotated between cardio and strength segments.  The hour absolutely flew by and it was a ton of fun.  The studio itself was really awesome and everyone was so friendly.

 Hiking / 1 hour
It was such a nice day out, so as soon as I got home from class, I grabbed Selma and went to the park for some hiking.  Everything was snowy but the sun was shining and it was a great temperature!  I was worried about Selma's paws getting cold in all the snow but every time I tried to stop she kept pulling me towards more trails.  We ended up walking about 3 miles!


12 miles / 9:14 pace
I love those runs where everything feels like it clicks, and that's exactly what this one was.  I turned my display so I only saw overall pace and turned off notifications for each mile, so I really just wanted to run this by feel and not have a pace dictate how I ran.  The weather was perfect (minus a little freezing rain at the beginning) and my body felt amazing!  For the first half of the run, I listened to podcasts, then decided to follow a guided run on the Nike+ Run Club app (which featured Shalane!).  I wanted to keep going!

1000 yard swim / 20:00
I can definitely tell that I'm getting better at swimming and getting more comfortable in the pool (plus my 100 yard pace is improving on each swim!) but this is still really hard!  For some reason, 100 yards of swimming feels harder for me to do than 12 miles.  But, I pushed through and set a new personal distance record in the pool!

What's your favorite way to cross train?
Anyone have swimming tips?

Friday, January 19, 2018

Top Five Friday : All About Sports

Happy Friday, friends!  It's been quite the week, so I am counting down the minutes until it's the weekend.  I have some fun plans with friends and am also looking forward to slightly warmer temperatures as well!  Here's hoping that it'll heat up and STAY warm this time ;)

As usual, I'll be sharing my favorites from the week.  Let me know what you've been loving, and I'll see you back here on Monday!

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five 


Camila Cabello - Camila
I was never really a fan of Fifth Harmony, but always listened to their music because I loved the voice of Camila Cabello.  Luckily for me, she decided to leave the group about a year or so ago and start making her own music!  Even though I've probably heard Havana about a million times by now, I'm still loving it and get excited every time it goes on.  She recently released a full album and it's fantastic!


The Tennis Podcast

It's pretty obvious what this podcast is about (quilting...duh), and I have been devouring every episode since it's officially Australian Open season!  The duo of David Law and Catherine Whitaker release great episodes year round and interview the top players in the sport, but have been releasing daily episodes to wrap up each day of the Open.  Since the tournament is on the other side of the world and I'm not able to watch every single match, it's been great to hear what I missed while I was asleep!  Plus, both hosts are British, so it's pretty nice to listen to as well :)


2018 Olympic Winter Games Preview
The next Olympic Games are right around the corner, and I'm getting SO excited about it.  Since I don't have cable, I haven't been able to see a lot of the Olympic programming so far (including trials for all of the sports).  So, I was really pleased to see that Neflix released a "preview" of some of the athletes, which originally aired on NBC.  I just started it, but I'm already loving hearing more about some of the people who will be representing the United States in February.  Not that it's enough that they're incredible athletes, but it turns out they're all funny, attractive, and amazing people as well.  Make sure to give this a watch if you're counting down the days until the Olympics!  #WinterIsComing


TRUE 30 Day Yoga Challenge

I've been briefly mentioning this in my weekly training report, but this month I've been following along with Adriene's TRUE 30 Days of yoga Challenge!  Pretty much every year, Yoga with Adriene comes out with some kind of themed 30 day series, and I've been doing it for the past three years.  I'm already more than halfway through this years' and have loved it.  I've been sharing each day's practice on my Instagram (mostly to keep myself accountable to do it every day) and it's quickly becoming one of my favorite parts of the day.  If you're new to yoga or want to find a way to integrate it into your life, this series is a great way to get started!

Traveling anywhere for the holidays?
Have you tried diffusing oil yet?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hawaii Part Three : Maui

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Today I'm going to be sharing my third and final post on Hawaii (check out the others here!).  It's been so fun to write these recaps and relive the trip all over again.  Now that it's freezing out and snowing like crazy, I can really appreciate how incredible that trip is.  I would love to go back, PLEASE?!?

We were actually in Hawaii for Dan's work, so the entire time in O'ahu he was working.  I was working on east coast time, so I luckily had afternoons free to explore (which is how I got to see so much, but mostly alone).  When his work was done, we decided to extend our stay a bit and take a mini vacation.  Instead of staying on the same island, we decided to make the quick 45 minute flight over to Maui!  It was a very different experience from O'ahu, and we had a great time.  Here's how we spent our three days on the island:

Day One : Kihei

After landing and picking up our rental car (we decided on a Jeep which was the BEST decision!) and drove over to our Airbnb.  We found one in South Maui in the town of Kihei.  (ps- if you haven't used Airbnb yet, you can save $20 by using my link!)

We settled in for a bit, then walked along the beach (we were right on Waimahaihai Beach, which was never crowded and really beautiful).  We could actually see two other Hawaiian islands from the beach- Kahoolawe and Lanai.

To eat, we walked into town a bit and stopped in Nalu's South Shore Grill.  It was absolutely packed, and the food was great!  I had a poke bowl and a beer, and we got to slowly enjoy our food and listen to live music.  I also love the fact that the restaurant offers three flavors of infused water, rather than plain tap water!  Nice touch.

Day Two : Road to Hana

Since we had a limited time in Maui, I knew that I wanted to get a start early and do what everyone suggested- the Road To Hana!  This is a famous drive along the Hana Highway that starts in Kahului and ends in East Maui (which is where the town of Hana is).  There is also the south drive, which most rental cars don't cover since the road is unpaved and more dangerous to drive on.  Since we had a Jeep, we were able to drive on it and that ended up being my favorite part of the drive.

The drive is famous because it's absolutely beautiful- you drive through lush rainforest and along the coast for a total of 52 miles, and encounter 59 bridges and 620 curves!  Along the way are popular stops, including waterfalls, arboretums, fruit stands, beaches, a national park, and more.

I had a rough outline of stops that I wanted to make, but if something caught our eye we would just pull over and check it out.  Sometimes this was hard, because most places didn't really have a "parking lot" or place to pull over (and most of the roads were basically one-way).  It was all part of the adventure though!  Here are some highlights, going from west to east:

Started the drive at the Kuau Store.  There are lots of options for food and drinks, including a coffee bar.  I loved the fact that they had lots of vegan and vegetarian options, and I ended up picking up a tempeh pesto wrap and a fig bar.

Twin Falls (mile marker 2)
There are bathrooms and a fruit stand at the entrance.  Take a path down to the falls or wander around the park.

Waikamoi Ridge Overlook (mile marker 9.5)
Nice little trail that leads to picnic tables.  We stopped here for a while and ate our lunch that we picked up at the store.

Keanae Arboretum (mile marker 16)
One of my favorite stops.  Free park with beautiful trees and plants and a small creek.

Keane Peninsula (mile marker 17)
This is actually a little off of the "Road to Hana", but well worth the detour.  I would probably pick this as one of the most beautiful stops we made!  The crashing waves and gorgeous views made it a great stop.

Halfway to Hana (mile marker 17.3)
We stopped here for some coffee, and it was great to chat with the owner.  She had lots of suggestions on her favorite stops on the road, and showed us some local products that were sold at her store.  There was also a pizza truck here and lots of snacks if you're hungry.

Wailua Overlook (mile marker 18)
Short hike up to the overlook.  There is a great view of the ocean as well as the mountains.

Wainapanapa State Wayside Park (mile marker 32)
This was the only stop that we missed (which I think is pretty good!)  Apparently this park has black sand beaches, sea caves, and is known for their famous volcanic tubes.  We saw a sign for "camping" and figured the beach entrance was ahead, but unfortunately we were wrong.  Since it's kind of hard to turn around on the Highway, we just kept going.

pic credit

Hamoa Beach
We have now officially made it to Hana!  This beach is really beautiful!  I read somewhere that some consider this to be the most beautiful beach in the Pacific Ocean.  I'm not sure if I agree with that, but I loved how it looked so natural and was so peaceful.

Haleakala National Park
Probably my favorite stop on the trip (even though it wasn't technically on the "Road".)  Just a note that in order to enter the park you must buy a pass ($25 per car, but it is good for three days).  Most people go to the crater entrance to the park to see sunrise or sunset, so buying the pass will let you in both areas!  This park has a trail that leads through a bamboo forest to see two different waterfalls, and another trail that goes down to the Seven Sacred Pools. 

First waterfall (about halfway up the path)

Bamboo forest

Second waterfall at the end of the trail

Seven Sacred Pools (aka 'Ohe'o Gulch)

That was our last stop on the Road to Hana!  The rest of the drive around the south side of the island was gorgeous, but there were no more stops.  Instead, we were treated with amazing views like these:

and this!

Haleakala Crater
It was starting to get late, so we had to make it up to the crater to see sunset.

Most people go during sunrise, since the summit sits above the clouds, but reservations have to be made months in advance to enter the park that early.  To get up to the park, you drive up a huge hill with lots of twists and turns.  It takes a long time to drive up, so make sure you leave yourself lots of time, and pack warm clothes or blankets since the temperature drops dramatically.  

Once parked, we hiked around a bit and tried to pick the best spot to watch the sunset, then watched the stars come out for about an hour.

It was so beautiful and unlike anything I've ever seen before.  Pictures don't even do it justice!

Day Three : West Maui

It was our final day in Hawaii (boo!) so we decided to do a bit more exploring.  We decided to head over to West Maui and check out some of the parks and towns. 

Iao Valley State Monument was our first stop.  There is a short hiking trail that gives you beautiful views of the mountains and the Iao Needle (that pointy little guy in the middle of the picture).  There is a parking fee of $5, but I think it was worth it for the beautiful views.

Right outside of the park was a small botanical garden.  There were trails all over with buildings and structures that were clearly influenced by Asian design.  It was so beautiful, especially considering that the park was free to visit!

After exploring the parks, we headed to the Maui Tropical Plantation.  This place is so awesome!  It felt like a little town, with shops, a restaurant, farmer's market, coffee shop, and even zip lining on their grounds.  We actually stopped for lunch, and the restaurant was really beautiful.  Luckily, the food matched up to the surroundings and I had a delicious vegetarian feast!

After lunch, we made the quick drive over to Lahaina!  I heard a lot about this town, and it definitely lived up to the hype.  There were so many art galleries, restaurants, souvenir stores, and historic building to explore.

We wandered around for a while, then stopped at Kohola Brewery for some beer, and Lahaina Pizza Co for an AMAZING pizza and beautiful sunset!

We had to stay until it got dark to see the incredible Banyan tree that lives in front of the Old Lahaina Courthouse.  It's really an amazing sight to see, especially when it's all strung up with lights!

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