Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Favorites

I decided to roll out a new series sharing some of my favorite things every week. Some will be fitness related...and, naturally, some will be a bit more random :)

1. House of Cards. I love politics. I like to say that I watch The West Wing when I want to feel optimistic about politics, while I watch House of Cards when I am feeling a bit more negative. It's an incredibly well-acted (and hopefully, much dramatized) depiction of what goes on underneath the surface amongst the elite of Washington, DC. Season 3 came out on Netflix today — so start watching it right now!

2. Australia's Next Top Model. America's Next Top Model was always my go-to trashy reality show, but over the last few seasons, it's gotten to be a bit too much for my taste. When I found out that Australia's Next Top Model was on Hulu Plus, I was pumped! If you liked the first few seasons of ANTM (you, know, before it became the Tyra Banks show), you'll love this. It goes back to basics and actually gives you some insight into the modeling world.

3. Black Nike Frees. I know, I know...Nike Frees are everywhere and everyone has some sort of strong opinion on them. However, this week, one of my coworkers worked them into a very classy, workplace-appropriate outfit and it just struck me how versatile they are! They're definitely going on my wish list.

4. Nike Rally Hoodie. I've posted about this hoodie twice this week. It's comfortable like you expect any hoodie to be, but the funnel neck elevates it beyond average. I've worn this to the gym, to work and everywhere in between. It's a great piece to have in your closet!

5. Sumita Navy Eyeliner. This was included in my Birchbox this month. I was initially a bit skeptical about it — when would I actually wear navy blue eyeliner? — but now, I'm hooked! This goes on smoothly, doesn't budge all day and really makes blue eyes pop.

6. Sonicare Healthy White Toothbrush. My friend Katrina has been trying to talk me into buying an electric toothbrush for months, and I finally broke down and did it this week. I didn't think it could really make much of a difference, but it definitely does! My teeth have never felt cleaner! This one is pricey, but it's worth it.

7. Cadbury Royal Dark Mini Eggs. Easter candy is here! Although I'm trying to be good and not indulge frequently, these are what I go to first when I have a chocolate craving!

What are your favorites this week?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

No Running Club — Let's Go Climbing!

Despite my promises to share some running club photos today, I'm afraid that isn't going to happen! With everyone busy working and still hurting from the boot camp workout, running club ended up getting canceled. I can't say I was too upset about that since I'm definitely sore, as well! I did still fit in a little bit of a workout at the climbing gym, though.

Hoodie: Nike [exact]
Pants: Under Armour [exact]

Here's my hoodie again! I grabbed it at the last minute because the gym can be a bit chilly sometimes and, since I was moving a bit slowly tonight, I definitely felt the colder air. I know I've raved about these pants before, but here I go again...these pants were incredible for climbing! The pattern on the front covered up the chalk that inevitably ends up all over everything while bouldering. The back was nice and opaque but moved well with my no matter what strange body positions I found myself in. These were such a great buy!

How's everyone else's week going so far? Any killer workouts?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Boot Camp, Running and Climbing...Oh My!

It's been a busy 24 hours! Since I last posted, I have finished my first boot camp training class, completed week 7 day 3 of Couch to 5k and spent a few hours top roping and bouldering. Needless to say, I'm a bit sore!

It started with boot camp. My work is always trying new things to encourage employees to spend time together and be active, so they brought in a trainer for this new weekly workout class. It was intense! I had committed to running with my friend Whitney after class, so I went straight from that to running (which was a struggle to say the least). Tonight, I went to the climbing gym with my roommate Jason and we top roped (I managed to scale one of the super tall walls!) for a bit, then finished the evening with some bouldering before heading home to make dinner.

Hoodie: Nike [exact]
Leggings: Under Armour [similar]
Shoes: Nike [similar]

Sooo...despite the multitude of physical activities, I neglected to take much in the way of photos. This is me post-climbing today. Still, even if this was a last-minute photo, I'm glad to finally feature this hoodie on here! It's probably one of the most frequently worn items in my closet. I purchased it when I ran the Nike Women's Half Marathon in October. The funnel neck makes it a little different from your typical hoodie, but it's still incredibly comfortable. It's also a bit more fitted than most of my hoodies, so I can get away with wearing it to a variety of places, whether that's the office or the gym. And you guys know how much I like my multitasking workout gear :)

Tomorrow, it's run club time! I'll be sure to take some better photos this time around!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Officially Cleared to Belay!

After successfully completing my belaying lesson the other day, I made my first trip back to the climbing gym to take my belaying test. I was a bit nervous because I kept forgetting how to tie all of the different knots, but I practiced a few times before the test started. After watching two other people go through their tests, it was finally my turn. It went incredibly well! I successfully tied all of the appropriate knots and even got a compliment on my belaying technique. I'm now officially cleared to belay at my climbing gym!

Since there were three of us, we rotated who belayed and who climbed. This is my friend Nick manning the ropes for me.

Tank top: Nike [similar]
Sports bra: C9 [similar]
Pants: Yogasmoga [exact]

If I keep up with this climbing thing, I'm going to need a lot more tank tops! Even though the gym is pretty open and airy, it gets pretty warm up there when you're twisting around and pulling yourself onto teeny tiny little holds. It's a very addictive sport! It's both a mental puzzle and physically challenging.

After passing my belay test, I rotated through belaying and climbing with my friends Brent and Nick. They're both much better than I am at climbing, so they would call up pointers when I was stuck on a particularly tricky problem. Once we called it quits on top roping for the day, we did a bit of bouldering before heading out. I opted to walk home from the gym to get in a little more exercise.

How was everyone else's day? Any fun workouts?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Wind + Running

After a busy weekend with friends, I took advantage of today's sunshine to go on a much-needed run. My calves have been super tight lately and, given the fact that I get tendonitis quite easily, I opted to take it easy. I did a little 3 mile loop to and from my gym. I spent a good chunk of that walking, but it still felt good to be out doing something.

Jacket: Asics [similar]
Pants: Yogasmoga [exact]
Shoes: Newton Running [exact]
Sunglasses: Free [similar]

There was a bit of a breeze today and I do NOT like running in windy conditions! However, it was a great opportunity to try out this jacket that one of my friends gave to me. It was fantastic! It's very lightweight and breathable, but cut the wind quite well. I definitely got a little sweaty as the run went on because of the extra layer, but, unlike other windbreakers that I've worn, this one did wick the sweat away a bit. 

One other fun little piece of information...last week, I blogged about my belaying lesson. Today, I passed my belaying test! That means there will be a lot more climbing in my future...but more on that later :)

How was your weekend? Anyone try any fun, new things?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Belaying Lesson and Bouldering

After being told to give it a shot several times by a few friends, I finally went through with a belaying lesson! There's a climbing gym right down the street from my house, so it's pretty convenient. I'd always just assumed climbing wasn't for me — after all, it involves a lot of upper body strength, and that's usually the last thing I think about. Still, I figured there was no harm in at least learning a bit about it.

When you take a belaying lesson, you probably think you're going to spend the whole time scaling massive walls filled with all kinds of climbing handholds. You would be wrong. Instead, you spend most of the time figuring out how to tie knots and attach carabiners appropriately. By the end of the lesson, though, you have the chance to tackle the walls. Despite never having a fear of heights, I definitely felt a bit weak in the knees by the time I got to the top of the two story wall for the first time!

Shirt: Nike [similar]
Pants: Aerie [similar]

I cannot stress this enough: if you are going climbing, wear form fitting, stretchy clothing! These photos are from bouldering after my belaying lesson (when you go bouldering, you aren't attached to ropes...but you also don't go up nearly as high), but the same clothing principles apply regardless of which activity you're doing. In addition to stretchy clothing, it's useful to be a stretchy person while climbing, so I'd definitely recommend taking up yoga, as well. Fortunately, my gym offers both :)

Have you ever given climbing a shot? What new things are you trying this week? Let me know what activity I should try next!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Starting the Day with Yoga

There's something incredibly relaxing about starting the day off with yoga. Every time I do it, I swear I'm going to make a habit of it. Unfortunately, I'm not a morning person at all and have to be at the office most days by 9am! Today, though, I took advantage of the day off and went to a yoga class to kick off my day.

Salutations, sun!

Tank: Forever 21 [similar]
Pants: Under Armour [exact]
Yoga mat: Gaiam [exact]

I really couldn't have asked for better weather this weekend. It was almost like San Diego weather came back to San Francisco with me! I was looking for excuses to get outside all weekend and, since my legs weren't exactly cooperating with running, I went for quite a few walks. This outfit was great for going from class straight to errands and lunch with some friends. I threw a jacket on and was good to go!

This week is promising to be an active one! I have a belaying lesson scheduled at a local rock climbing gym, then I'll have to go in for the belaying test a day or two after that. I also have a work softball game, running club and my first half marathon training run this weekend! Whew! Hopefully, this amazing weather keeps up!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Good Days and Bad Days

I've been having a lot of good runs lately, which is somewhat unusual for me. In the past, my 3-4 runs each week have usually consisted of 1 good run, 1-2 mediocre ones and 1 bad one. Granted, a "bad runs" vs. "good runs" are all relative. For some people, just getting out and getting moving is a good day.

For me, a good run is when everything clicks. My legs feel light, I'm in a good head space and I wind up feeling almost giddy at the end. On a bad run, it's like nothing lines up properly. Generally, the differentiator for me is about 95% mental.

Yesterday, I had a bad run. On paper, it should've been a great day for running. The weather was incredible. Crystal was meeting up with me, and running with other people helps push me a bit further. I hadn't run since Wednesday, so my legs were (theoretically) rested. But once I started running, my calves felt incredibly tight and my mind just wasn't having it. All I could think of with every step was how my calves felt. I found myself checking my distance after running for all of 3 minutes. I ended up only running a few 3-minute bursts of running and walking the rest of the time. But that's okay...we all have our less than ideal days!

Shirt: Nike [similar]
Pants: C9 [exact]
Shoes: Newton Running [exact]
Sunglasses: Oakley [exact]

Even if it wasn't a great run, I enjoyed this outfit I put together. This shirt is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It's flattering, wicks sweat well and is the perfect fitted-but-not-compressive fit. I also love how these pants fit even though I'm not typically a big fan of the capri running pants that hit at your knee (I favor leggings that are a big longer). If anyone uses Target's Cartwheel app, they're offering an additional 25% off of women's apparel purchases through Monday. I think I may have to go check out some workout clothing!

In lieu of attempting another run today, I'm going to give yoga a short. Maybe it will be the solution for my tight calves! I'm off work on Monday, so I'll give running another shot then. I'm also taking a rock climbing lesson on Monday night! It should be fun. Stay tuned to hear about that!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

February 2015 Birchbox + Rent the Runway

After months of hearing from my sisters about the wonders of Birchbox, I finally caved and bought my own subscription a few months ago. It's cheap (only $10!) and is a great way to learn about some new products without investing in a full size item. As someone creeping up on 30, I was particularly eager to try out some of those anti-aging miracle cures that seem to pop up on the internet with relative regularity. After all, who wants to drop $100 on something without knowing it's going to work first?

One of my favorite things about Birchbox is the anticipation and speculation before each month's box is shipped. I find myself perusing internet forums and eagerly awaiting the announcement of the month's sample choice. Even after my box in my hands, one of the first things I do is text my sisters — what did you guys get?!

This month, Birchbox offered a box that was curated by Rent the Runway. Normally, I don't go for the curated boxes because it kills the element of surprise. However, I was running low on dry shampoo and have yet to fall in love with any particular brand, so I figured this box was a good opportunity to try some new things. Everything else it listed seemed like something I would use, as well.

This box included the aforementioned dry shampoo from Fekkai, a full-size theBalm Read My Lips gloss, Sumita navy blue eyeliner, derma e anti-Wwrinkle scrub and Not Soap, Radio body wash. I've tried the scrub and the gloss so far. The scrub is phenomenal...made my skin incredibly soft! It also appeared to have faded a sun spot on my face a bit. The gloss was a decent shade, but I wasn't in love with the formula. It went on streaky and didn't stay too long for me.

As a bonus, they threw in a $30 Rent the Runway discount. I've never personally used Rent the Runway, but I have a few friends who swear by it. Maybe I'll give it a shot next time I have a wedding to attend! Anyone else try out Rent the Runway? How was it for you?

What did you get in your Birchbox this month?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Mac & Cheese

When I got home tonight, I was pretty tired...and, unfortunately, fatigue usually leads me to make poor decisions in the food department. I opened the refrigerator and immediately honed in on the large bag of shredded cheddar cheese that I bought at the grocery store recently. There was absolutely nothing special about this stuff — just your standard shredded cheese — but I immediately started craving something cheesy for dinner. When my eyes moved just slightly to the spaghetti squash that I knew I needed to use in the next day or two, I had an idea. Why not make macaroni and cheese with spaghetti squash?

I've never made spaghetti squash before tonight. I've watched many a friend make it, but never really paid close enough attention to replicate it myself. So, after some quick Googling, I had my squash in the microwave and was on my way!

Spaghetti Squash Mac & Cheese
Adapted from POPSugar

1 small spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened almond milk or regular milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup asiago and parmesan blend
Salt and pepper

Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds inside. Place the squash down with the skin facing outward in a microwave-safe baking dish. Add about 1 inch of water to the dish. Microwave the squash on high for 8-12 minutes. When poked by a fork, the squash should be tender. Cool for 10-20 minutes.

While the squash cools, melt butter in a saucepan. When melted, add flour and mix together. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and whisk in cheeses until melted.  Add salt and pepper as desired for taste. Set aside.

Using a fork, scrape out the insides of the spaghetti squash into a bowl. Once finished, pour the cheese sauce over the squash and mix together.

If desired, sprinkle additional cheese over top. Enjoy!

Visually, it isn't necessarily the most appealing of meals. However, it's a great, lower calorie substitute when those mac and cheese cravings hit. A few things to note: the texture will not be what you would expect from a pasta dish. Spaghetti squash has a bit more of a crunch to it than pasta will. Also, if you opt for almond milk over regular milk (like I did), the sauce won't be quite as creamy. But that's the sacrifice we make for healthy alternatives :)

Back to San Francisco

I'm back in San Francisco and, fortunately, my first day back at the office was also running club day! I'm up to running for 25 minutes without stopping (week 7, day 2 of Couch to 5k). Tonight, my friend Arianne tagged along with me for the whole time. We ran along the Embarcadero. It's always beautiful running along there and enjoying the view of the Bay Bridge!

Shirt: Asics [similar]
Pants: GapFit [similar]
Shoes: Newton Running [exact]

Apologies for the lack of good photos! I don't typically take my DSLR along with me to work, so I have to rely on the trust iPhone camera. Since it's dark by 6pm, I broke out my highlighter pants for the first time in awhile. I got a lot of comments on them in the office! Even though this outfit is similar to a previous one, this is actually a brand new shirt. A friend of mine gave it to me recently, so I figured I'd try it out. It worked out pretty well! I may have to give some more Asics stuff a shot.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Last Day in Paradise

Oh not ready to leave San Diego! The original plan for my last day here had been to go for a run, then spend my day (until my flight at 5pm) at the beach. However, I woke up to a thick marine layer of fog, so that put a damper on the plan. After waiting awhile to see if it would clear up, I finally headed out on my run. Despite the wind and fog, it was still pretty warm outside. Since I was solo (Crystal went back to SF on Sunday), a friendly couple on the beach took my workout photos for me!

Tank: Lululemon [similar]
Pants: Under Armour [exact]
Shoes: Newton Running [exact]
Sunglasses: Free [similar]

Considering the relatively high humidity for the morning, this outfit was great. This tank top has always been one of my favorites (I wore it for my last half marathon), but I haven't had the chance to wear it much lately since it's generally a bit too cold for tank tops in San Francisco. 

After my run, the fog cleared up a little bit, so I wandered around PB for a little while. The shops there always have so many random, cheap accessories and clothing, so I like checking them out if I have spare time. Eventually, I made my way to the airport...and damn! I didn't pay much attention to the airport when I landed, but with a bit more time to look around, I was super impressed with the renovation! San Diego Airport used to be a bit dumpy and dated, but now, it's absolutely beautiful. The Delta Sky Club there was probably my favorite one I've ever stopped into!

Well, now it's back to the real world. And, unfortunately, the return to the real world kicks off with an endoscopy tomorrow :(

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Boardwalk and the Beach

Even though my run through downtown San Diego was wonderful, I knew I couldn't leave without a run by the beach. So, Crystal and I started our Saturday with a drive up to the boardwalk in Pacific Beach. We managed to score a great parking spot right on the beach, then knocked out one of the best runs we've had together in awhile! We ran two miles down the boardwalk, then turned around, ran another mile on the return, then headed out to the beach to enjoy the sand and water for our last mile.

Tank: American Eagle [similar]
Shorts: Under Armour [exact]
Shoes: Newton Running [exact]
Sunglasses: Oakley [exact]

I opted not to repeat my mistake from my run the other day and went for shorts instead of capris. It was a very good decision! I stayed a lot cooler in this outfit. I'm a big fan of these shorts...nice length and material. Plus, I'm always a big fan of neon-colored running outfits.

Post-run, Crystal and I refueled with brunch at The Broken Yolk in PB. The mimosas were fantastic, the portions huge (my single biscuit was bigger than two normal ones!) and everything tasted phenomenal. It may not have been my healthiest meal ever, but oh well...a little splurge every now and then doesn't hurt!

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Dose of San Diego Sunshine

Greetings from San Diego!

One of my good friends from when I used to live down here is having a baby very, very soon, so I decided to make a trip down south for her baby shower. Crystal is also along for the ride (she and I met when we both lived down here). Today, we took advantage of the hot, sunny weather and went from a run along one of my old favorite routes, a 5k loop from Little Italy down to the Embarcadero and back.

Tank: Under Armour [similar]
Sports bra: Lululemon [similar]
Pants: GapFit [similar]
Shoes: Newton Running [exact]
Sunglasses: Oakley [exact]

Since I'm used to running in San Francisco's permanent spring/fall weather, the heat took its toll today! It was not a very fast run for me, and I was sweating quite a bit by the end. Fortunately, this tank top is vented in the back, so it was a great choice for a warm day. I think shorts would've been a better option for the bottom half of my outfit, though. 

Crystal and me mid-run at Seaport Village

Here's hoping that the rest of the weekend has equally beautiful weather!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Back to the Barre

After running twice this weekend, I wanted to take a day off from it today. However, I still really wanted to get in a workout! Since I still have quite a few classes left on the barre package I bought, I asked Crystal if she wanted to go to one of those again. Despite not being 100% in love with it the first time, I was definitely sore for a few days afterwards, so I knew it was working a lot of rusty muscles. So, why not?!

My alignment is off here...but, hey, it's a work in progress.

Tank top: Under Armour [exact]
Pants: Yogasmoga [exact]
Sports bra: GapFit [similar]

In my two barre classes, I've learned that yoga clothing works well here! Barre is a mixture of yoga-style stretching and bodyweight exercises, so it's nice to have formfitting clothing that moves well. Despite letting me down in the running department, my Yogasmoga crops work very well here. Tank tops are a must, too, because it gets hot doing all those microbends and pretzeling your body into strange shapes! I've got a lot of work to do before I'm great at any of those things, but I'm on it ;)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Let's Skip the Super Bowl and Go Running

Let me admit something to you all — despite being a girl who loves sports, the prospect of watching the Super Bowl this year was not appealing at all. I'm far from being a fan of either team involved. In fact, I dislike both. So, instead of watching, I took advantage of the fact that everyone else was inside by their TVs (and that it was yet another beautiful day) to go on a nice run and run some errands!

Shirt: C9 [exact]
Pants: American Eagle [similar]
Shoes: Newton Running [exact]
Sunglasses: Oakley [exact]

I received this shirt as a gift for Christmas but haven't tested it out yet. It was great! I loved that it was a bit longer than most of my running T-shirts. It's also fitted, but not skintight. All around, it was a good one! It appears that these shirts are on clearance at the moment, so I may have to snag a few more. Target was one of the places I went during my Super Bowl errands, but I didn't spot any there.

Hope everyone enjoyed the weekend!