Monday, August 31, 2015

San Francisco Summer Running

San Francisco has been having some incredible summer weather, so I had to get out and run!

I started out my Saturday with a nice 5k loop. It was a bit of a struggle. Although I haven't been having much difficulty with distance since I started running again post-injury, I have been having a lot of trouble with my calves getting tight. That happened last time I started running seriously, so I can't say that I'm too terribly surprised. Fortunately, I dug out my foam roller and it seems to be helping so far!

tank [similar] - sports bra [exact] - pants [similar] - shoes [exact] - sunglasses [exact]

San Francisco summer is the best! Although our actual summer weather isn't anything too terribly spectacular, patience pays off for those of us who wait :) From the end of August to late October, our weather is absolutely stunning. Clear, sunny skies, 75-85 degree's just lovely!

It was a good step into my half marathon training...miles start ramping up next week!

How did you spend your weekend?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

August 2015 Birchbox

It was a late month for my Birchbox! I just got mine in the mail a few days ago, which threw me off. Last month, it got here pretty early. This month, I received my shipping notification pretty early but then it didn't show up for about two weeks afterwards. I had participated in the sample choice this month, opting for the dry shampoo. Dry shampoo is always one of my favorites!

I was a fan of the artwork on this month's box! It was a bit more literal than previous months (which seem to typically be more abstract art or patterns), but fun nonetheless. It certainly felt very summery! The contents were also very nice and in keeping with the summer theme.

Although I was excited about the warm weather favorite contents of the box, it confused me a bit. Why would they send their summer favorites in August? Yes, it's still summer, but it doesn't really give you the opportunity to use them while the weather is still good and hot! This would've made a lot more sense in June or July.

In this month's box...
Air Repair Complexion Boosting Moisturizer
COOLA Organic Makeup Setting Spray
R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo
St. Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower
theBalm Balm Desert Bronzer/Blush

While I was pretty pumped about the dry shampoo and moisturizer in this month's box, but overall, it was a dud for me. I'm not a fake tanner (I get all the color I need running outside!), so the St. Tropez stuff does not appeal to me at all. When I wear makeup, I use an HD powder to set my look, so I also don't need a setting spray. The bronzer, however, could be nice...although I didn't ever use up the last bronzer I got in my Birchbox!

In other makeup and skincare news...I got a lovely bag of samples with my last Sephora purchase! It was a pretty impressive haul...check it out!

Looking forward to giving it all a try!

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Climbing Roundup

Over the past several days, I've done quite a bit of climbing! Unfortunately, I have been slacking a bit on blogging about it!

Shameless plug: follow me on Instagram and you won't have to wait for my delayed blog posts :)

tank [similar] - sports bra [similar] - pants [similar] - shoes [exact]

I recently made a happy discovery when I went to Old Navy with a friend. They had all kinds of workout clothing (including this tank) on clearance, so I decided to give their stuff a shot! I'm very pleasantly surprised by how affordable their things are while still being decent quality. As of now, I've just tried their tops, but I may make another trip back to test out some pants, as well.

tank [similar] - pants [exact]

This one was a nice outfit for going to the gym straight after work. These leggings are thick enough that they are acceptable to wear with a longer shirt in my (very casual) office. For this particular outfit, I wore my tank top underneath a wrap shirt, so all I had to do was pull my outer layer off and I was good to go! 

tank [similar] - sports bra [similar] - pants [exact] - beanie [similar]

For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to wear a hat while climbing. While I'm generally a fan of beanies (I lived in them all winter when I worked in Park City, Utah!), I just ended up looking pretty silly...I was sweating by the middle of my climbing workout but still had a knit hat on. Oh well...not something I will be repeating moving forward! Everything else in this outfit was wonderful, though. In particular, I liked how my sports bra matched my pants!

How was everyone else's weekend? Any fun fitness activities?

Friday, August 21, 2015

My 5 Favorite Work Out Clothing Finds Under $40

As you have probably noticed by now, I really like workout clothes (I'm writing this post in yoga pants and an athletic T-shirt). And, over the last several years, athletic clothing has really taken off in popularity! Every major retail outlet seems to have their own workout line, and the Lululemons and Athletas of the world have become as ubiquitous in the gym as they are at brunch. However, those items seem to come with increasingly ridiculous price tags — $90+ for sheer yoga pants?! Seriously?!

When you shop for workout clothing as often as I do, though, you come across some amazing steals. So, without further ado, here are 5 of my favorite work out clothing finds...all for under $40!

1. Calvin Klein Performance Crop (On sale for $20)
I'm pretty sure I rave about these absolutely every time I wear them. They're a great multipurpose athletic crop. I've worn them climbing, running, to barre class and even to work. They're opaque and comfortable, but don't move while you're wearing them. In short, they're everything you want in workout pants! Although their regular price is a little up there ($50), they're almost always on sale in store and are frequently on sale online. I paid less than $35 for each pair I own!

2. Nike Pro Classic Sports Bra (Nike price: $35; Nordstrom Rack price: $22)
Historically, I've been a skeptic when it comes to Nike gear. Yes, a lot of their clothing is cute. Yes, it does a good job of wicking away sweat. But I just never felt it was that good for the price...until I discovered this sports bra. It's a fantastic medium support sports bra — I swear by them when I'm running! Size down, though, because they seem to work better when they're a little on the tight side. You can pretty much always find them at Nordstrom Rack in several colors.

3. C9 by Target Athletic Socks ($10)
I've seen a lot of runners talk about the importance of socks, preaching about spending all kinds of money on fancy brands. However, I've found that my preferred socks are right down the street at Target! These have a good amount of cushioning but are still thin enough that sweat and heat don't stay in. I can't recommend them enough.

4. Under Armour Fly By Compression Capri (Select colors: $37)
These are another pair of pants that I've shared no shortage of praise for over the past several months. In fact, you could go as far as to say they are my go-to running pants. Like the Calvin Klein ones above, they do not budge on a run. They are compressive, opaque and comfortable — everything you want at a race or on a long run. You can typically find multiple colors on sale online, and you can also frequently find deals on them at Under Armour Outlet stores.

5. Forever 21 Racerback Tank ($11)
I don't wear tank tops while running often (San Francisco weather just doesn't usually call for it), but I swear by racerback tanks while rock climbing. While I'm not a huge fan of their form-fitting tanks, I love the ones like this that are a little looser. They're cute, cheap and give you room to move. They're also supremely flattering on all kinds of figures!

So there you have favorites on a budget! What are your go-to pieces when putting together a work out wardrobe on a budget?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Post-Work Workouts

I'm very fortunate to work at an office that encourages its employees to be active. Once a week, they bring in a wonderful personal trainer who leads us in intense boot camp classes. We also have a weekly running club, a softball team and other, various fitness-related, one-off activities. I try to take advantage of those as much as possible!

This week, I was a little sore after my overly ambitious hike to Alamere Falls. So, when we split up into our pace groups for running club, I was more than happy to bring up the rear of the pack! I also cut my usual four-mile run along San Francisco's Embarcadero down to three. It was a struggle!

tank [similar] - sports bra [exact] - pants [exact] - shoes [exact] - sunglasses [exact]

A few days later, it was boot camp time! Since I've been getting back into rock climbing and running a bit more regularly, I wasn't dreading it quite as much as usual. An extra 30 seconds of squats didn't quite strike terror into my heart this week like it has in the past (although we'll see how I feel about that tomorrow). We also didn't close out this week's workout with mountain climbers like usual — a very welcome respite!

t-shirt [similar]

There's plenty of rock climbing on tap for the rest of the week...both belaying and bouldering! How are your workouts going this week?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Hiking to Alamere Falls

Sometimes, random conversations can lead to wonderful adventures. Case in point: this weekend's hike to Alamere Falls!

A few days ago, Whitney and I were talking about her new hiking boots and whether or not we should go on a local hike so she could break them in before a trip she has coming up. I mentioned that I had been wanting to hike to Alamere Falls — a hike I knew nothing about but had seen a handful of pictures of online. Jason, my roommate, also happened to be home and joined in the conversation. Plans for a Sunday hike were quickly thrown together!

Because I was coming home from the Taylor Swift concert from the night before, we got a bit of a late start. Factor in our roundabout drive to the trailhead, as well, and we weren't actually on the trail until well after noon. However, Jason had hiked the trail several times before, so we weren't too worried about it, despite its 8.2 mile length and the hot, dry weather.

sports bra [similar] - shorts [exact] - sunglasses [exact]

As I'm sure you can tell from this photo, those miles were very much worth the work! 

For the first mile and a half or so, it was very dry and dusty as we snaked along the coast (I was very happy that I had thrown an extra water bottle in my bag at the last minute!). We zigzagged in and out of the trees, often opening up onto sweeping vistas of the Pacific coastline. There was a decent amount of traffic on the path, but not enough to make it feel congested. 

After a while, the path veered more into the forest. The shade of the trees was a welcome respite from the sun! We also walked by two, gorgeous lakes, one of which had a rope swing that plenty of people were taking advantage of. After that lake, traffic thinned out a bit. According to Jason, a lot of locals like to hike to the lake and hang out all day on inflatable tubes. Perhaps we'll have to do that next time!

Finally, around 4 miles into the hike, we reached the turn off for Alamere Falls. The path was pretty narrow but surrounded by foliage on all sides, so it felt almost like walking through a tunnel! After awhile, it opened up onto a rocky cliff facing the Pacific Ocean. In order to get down to the base of the cliff (where the waterfall was), we had to climb down a pretty steep path of crumbling rocks. Since I was wearing regular old athletic shoes, I had trouble keeping my footing there! However, we handled it a lot better than a lot of the other people on the trail!

You have to get through this to get to the waterfall!

Finally, we were on the beach! It's an absolutely stunning sight — the open Pacific Ocean on one side and a breathtakingly beautiful waterfall on the other. We sat down on the sand and took it all in while enjoying the burritos we had purchased earlier in the day.

Once our lunches were consumed, it was time to cool down! We played around in the ocean surf for a little bit before heading over to the waterfall. Although I'm not typically one to submerge myself in the Pacific Ocean in northern California, it felt phenomenal after 4.2 miles of hiking on one of the hottest days we've had all year!

Since the waterfall is fresh water, we all rinsed the salt water off there before packing up our bags again and heading in the same direction we had come from. I got the opportunity to use a little bit of my bouldering knowledge when going up the steep path back to the top of the cliff — I found some good holds and hoisted myself up rather than taking advantage of the people pulling others up. I can't say it was very technical, but it felt kind of fun :) 

We made very good time on the way out, all eager to get some food and cold water back in the city. A refueling stop at Super Duper Burger in Mill Valley definitely hit the spot for all of us! 

Thanks for a fun adventure, Whitney and Jason! Looking forward to the next one :)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Swift on a Saturday

I hope you all had a magical weekend...because I know I did!

I kicked off my Saturday by sleeping in for the first time in weeks. After enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee and a few handfuls of cereal (High Fiber O's from Trader Joe' go-to for quick breakfasts!), I decided to head out on a run. One of my friends talked me into signing up for a half marathon the other day, so I figured that there was no time like the present to get back into running shape!

tank [similar] - sports bra [similar] - pants [exact] - shoes [exact] - sunglasses [exact]

It was a very hot weekend here in the Bay Area. We aren't used to very much in terms of temperature fluctuations, so I was caught a bit off guard when the breeze was blowing in hot! Since the winds were coming from inland (instead of the Pacific Ocean, like usual), it was bringing in very hot air, as well as a lot of smoke from wildfires. All weekend, the faint scent of smoke lingered, as did haze. My thoughts are with everyone being impacted by the fires...hopefully, they'll be contained soon.

After recovering from my very hot 5k (confession: I did take a short walking break mid-run...I just cannot handle the heat!), it was time to get ready for the next big event of the weekend: seeing Taylor Swift!

My friend Sam and I bought tickets back in November, so we've had quite a lot of time to anticipate this concert! I dressed up in full 80's gear for the evening (since it is the 1989 World Tour) and both of us busted out our red lipstick (we've got that "red lip classic thing that you like..."). Overall, it was a fantastic evening! Taylor sounded phenomenal, Little Mix performed "Black Magic" with her (one of my favorite workout songs at the moment) and we had a blast dancing and singing until we were both sore and hoarse.

Cheers to a wonderful Saturday!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Running Club and Volunteer Time

And we're back!

After a few months of our members nursing injuries and exploring other workout alternatives, my work running club is back in action. Several of us decided to sign up for the Run 10 Feed 10 race in October, so we figured that probably meant we should be running to prepare for it. So, we put the word out and got a decent little group of people together for our first outing.

I haven't run in awhile due to my knee, so I opted to take it pretty slow. Instead of focusing on speed, I focused on how I was pacing myself. When I first started running, I had a really, really difficult time trying to run at a consistent pace. I'd always start too quickly then find myself completely exhausted by the halfway point, eventually stopping to walk. However, I've gotten better over the last few months in particular. During this run, all three of my mile splits were within a few seconds of each other!

shirt [similar] - pants [exact] - shoes [exact] - sunglasses [exact]

In non-workout related news, I've been trying to get a lot more involved in my local community lately. I've always enjoyed volunteering, but most of the things I'd done in the past had been one-off, event-based opportunities. Now, I'm trying to find more long-term things to get involved with. I've been volunteering with the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee since June and have met some great people there. It's been such a positive experience that I am now looking into becoming an ER volunteer at a local hospital, too!

Do any of you volunteer? What's been the most rewarding volunteer experience you've had thus far?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Outside Lands + Barre = A Painful Combination

This weekend, I was pleasantly surprised when a friend offered me a free ticket to Outside Lands! For those of you who haven't heard about it, it's a music festival held in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. On Saturday, the lineup included Billy Idol, Kendrick Lamar, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, The Black Keys and more. I've been dying to see the Black Keys live for years, so I was happy to finally check that one off of my bucket list!

The festival itself has a very distinctly San Francisco feel to it outside of the music, too, with nice touches like Winelands (Napa and Sonoma wineries all under one roof so concert-goers can wine taste between sets), Cheeselands (local cheese plates) and an impressive array of local food trucks.

Well, I spent a little too much time at Winelands (my brother and sister-in-law on the other side of the country had a baby that evening, so I was celebrating!), so when my alarm went off the next morning for a 9:45am barre class that I had signed up for, I was not super thrilled.

However, I'd already committed to it and my friend Crystal was teaching, so I dragged myself out of bed, downed several cups of water and a mug of coffee and headed out.

Let's just say it wasn't my most impressive barre class performance.

tank [similar] - sports bra [exact] - pants [exact] - flip flops [similar] - sunglasses [exact]

Sometimes, when I've overindulged a bit the night before, a workout is exactly the cure for whatever ails me. On this particular day, it was absolutely not! After struggling through the workout and enjoying brunch after, my head decided it just was not having it and I spent much of the rest of the day nursing a headache. I did, however, manage to get a lot of cleaning and laundry done around the house in the process :)

Coming up later this week...more boot camp and the triumphant return of my work running club! Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Struggle is Real

Oh man. Getting back to boot camps, climbing and other workouts is obviously good for me...but my body is so sore! Last week, I went to a boot camp workout after work one evening and, during the workout itself, I didn't feel like it was that too terribly challenging. However, by the next day, I was feeling every muscle in my legs, particularly when walking down stairs (and to overshare a bit here, the process of sitting down to go to the bathroom was also challenging). The next day, it hit my abs (my obliques, to be exact). But, alas, I can't shirk off several days of workouts just because of that!

Smiling because the soreness hadn't set in yet...
tank [similar] - sports bra [similar] - pants [exact] - shoes [similar]

Fortunately, I had already made plans to meet up with a friend to do some climbing two days after my boot camp workout. So, although my muscles were screaming at me to spend the evening in bed, I grabbed my chalk bag and climbing shoes and hit the gym. 

It's always fun introducing people to climbing. For a lot of my friends who have gone with me, it's something they haven't tried in years — or sometimes ever! People have very different reactions to it, too. Some people are instantly hooked, while others just aren't comfortable with the heights or perceive it to be more dangerous than it is. I've also found that some my friends aren't into workouts that lack structure...which is actually one of my favorite things about climbing (and a reason why I don't go to workout classes very often...I hate being told what to do!).

tank [similar] - pants [exact] - shoes [exact]

I'm still rebuilding my confidence post-fall, so I was more than happy to do an array of V0s and V1s with my friend! They had just reset a lot of the walls, too, so there were new problems for me to solve. After our workout, we headed back to my house for a low-key girls night with a bottle of nice wine.

I have a feeling that a few more painful boot camp classes are in my future...but hopefully, I'll be back in fighting shape very quickly :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

On the Road Again

Confession time!

Despite promising some workouts on the road, I don't have any to report back on. Although I had every intention of squeezing in a run, the combination of Indianapolis' heat, humidity and a super busy schedule led me in a different direction. So, instead, I tried to add some active elements to the things I was already doing (one of my favorite things to do while traveling!).

On Friday, my sister and I went to One Direction's On the Road Again tour (yes, really).


Even though I had no doubt that we'd be jumping around like crazy all night, we parked a ways away and walked a few miles around downtown Indianapolis before the show. We had a light dinner at Adobo Grill, then were off to Lucas Oil Stadium for the main event.

We didn't sit down for a second of the show (even during the opener, Icona Pop...they were fantastic and we were sad that there weren't more people up and dancing). Despite being among the oldest people in the crowd (aside from parents), we had a blast and were both sore from busting out so many dance moves.

On Saturday, my activity was limited to hanging out with this lovely face.

Lola the puggle

Although we clearly aren't doing much here, I joined my parents on their daily dog walks around the neighborhood. It was a great way to spend some time hanging out with my parents while also moving around a little bit. And let me tell you...the humidity and heat made even short walks around the neighborhood feel intense! San Francisco has made me a complete wimp in just about any other city's weather!

On Sunday, I hit the pool. I swam a few laps, then relaxed with a book in the sunshine.

And, finally, on my way home, I did airport laps! It may sound silly, but it's actually one of my favorite ways to kill time during a layover. On this particular one, I was flying through Detroit. If you've ever spent much time in that airport, you probably know that its terminals are very long. So, instead of hopping on the tram, I just enjoy the scenery (and people watching) and walk to my connecting gate. It's an easy airport to walk a mile or two in!

And now, I'm back in California and ready to get back to my regularly scheduled workouts :)

P.S. - Go listen to the new One Direction single "Drag Me Down" if you're looking for some new running tunes!