Spa Days are the Best

I cherish the weekends that don’t have much planned. The weekends when your schedule is wide open and you can spend your time how you see fit. Go to a movie, read, lounge on the couch, exercise, run errands, or hang with friends and family. The possibilities are endless.

It has been awhile since Ray and I have had a free weekend, but luckily this weekend is one of those times. The only thing we have planned is a beach day and BBQ on Sunday to celebrate our friend, Laura’s, 30th birthday.

Last weekend Laura and I took a girls trip to Indian Wells (which is close to Palm Springs) for a pre birthday celebration. Laura found an awesome Travelzoo deal for a deep tissue massage, feet/ hand exfoliation, lunch, and use of the spa and resort facilities at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells.  We decided to make a weekend out of it and headed to Indian Wells the night before our spa day. The Hyatt’s rooms were a little pricey, so we decided to stay across the street at the Miramonte Resport & Spa.  The hotel ended up being a great find for the price ($150 thanks to Orbitz). The grounds were well maintained, the pool area had lots of comfortable lounge chairs and plenty of shade, our room was big, and the beds were comfortable.

photo 4

As soon as we got to the hotel, we jumped in our swim suits and headed to the pool. On the way to the hotel we stopped by a local grocery store and grabbed a bottle of wine, hummus, and a bag of pita chips to snack on before our dinner reservation.  We poured our wine into paper coffee cups from the room so we could enjoy it by the pool.  So classy!

For dinner we went to Cork & Fork, which I picked solely based on the clever name. The menu offered an extensive wine list and lots of small plates of food to share. There were so many tasty options to choose from that we had a hard time deciding what we wanted to share for dinner. We ended up splitting the farmers market salad and sliders. The salad was light and full of fresh vegetables and the sliders were cheesy and delicious. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and crawled into our beds and watched the movie, Begin Again.  The plot is simple, but it is a great story about friendship and starting over. I highly recommend it.

The next morning Laura and I headed to the Hyatt for our spa day at Agua Serena Spa. The spa facilities were fabulous and the staff was friendly and super helpful. The spa had an outdoor area with a jacuzzi, a sauna, a steam, showers (including a few private outdoor stalls), lockers, and plenty of room to get ready and lounge.

This may sound dorky, but one of the things I love about spas is enjoying the water they have out for their guests to enjoy.  Spas always have water infused with the best combinations of fruits and this spa didn’t disappoint. Their combination was grapefruit and orange.

We both enjoyed our treatments and took full advantage of the spa facilities. I felt like a new woman after a day of pampering. Sometimes you just need to do something nice for yourself!

After we enjoyed our lunch, we decided to check out the rest of the resort. The hotel has a large main pool and a smaller adult pool. The adult pool had a live reggae band playing, so we decided to hang out there.

Palm springs2

We spent the rest of the afternoon sipping cocktails and enjoying the sun before we headed back to San Diego.

palm springs laura and i

Hope you have a great rest of the weekend! Anything exciting planned?

Shake Up Your Cardio Workout

Happy Monday! Not sure about you, but Cooper and I had a tough time getting out of bed this morning.

photo 2

He wasn’t very happy when I started to stir. Those eyes were begging for 10 more minutes of sleep!

photo 1

I would have loved to stay in bed this morning and cuddle with the covers for 10 more minutes, but I had a busy day of work ahead of me so I needed to get up. Since I was struggling to get going today, I decided to treat myself to one of my favorite breakfasts, an acai bowl and ice coffee from Brick & Bell.

Brick & Bell has the best acai bowl and it is my favorite place to get one in San Diego. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

9.29.14 breakfast

I won’t be working out today because Ray and I have a special date night planned to celebrate our 2 year wedding anniversary!

However, I did the below cardio workout from Tone It Up last Monday and loved it. The workout was fun, challenging, and went by really fast. My legs felt like jello by the end of it.

Untitled 3

I still can’t believe that Ray and I have been married for 2 years.

0435_j u l i e c a h i l l PHOTOGRAPHY

It felt like just yesterday that we were exchanging vows in front of our families and friends.

0207_j u l i e c a h i l l PHOTOGRAPHY

As a wedding gift, Ray gave me a framed photograph that shows the view from the beach where he proposed. I love the photo and every time I walk by it I can’t help but smile.

9.29.14 photo

Since the traditional first anniversary gift is paper, Ray and I bought some of our favorite photos from our wedding and had them framed last year.

It is a good thing that the traditional second anniversary gift is cotton because from the looks of things Ray is in need of some new socks.

photo 5

Cooper strikes again!

The Great Disappearing Act

I am sorry I have been absent for the last few months. I pulled quite the disappearing act, so I thought it would be a good idea to fill you in on what I have been doing with my life lately.

In April, I ran the La Jolla Half Marathon. I  ran the race at the end of April with Ray and my brother-in-law, Matt. I am happy to report that I achieved all of the goals I set for myself. I ran the entire race without stopping and finished it in 2 hours and 9 minutes (just under a 10 minute mile).

The three us before the race started.

La Jolla Half Marathon Start line 2014

I have been a beach bum.

sara beach day aug 2014

Did you happen to notice the huge chunk of my towel missing. I have Cooper to thank for that. He is still quite the chewer.

I traveled a ton. Cooper wasn’t too thrilled that we went on so many trips over the past few months. Now whenever he sees the suitcase he gets completely depressed.

Cooper sad packing 2014

Our travel has ranged from backpacking trips with friends, to hanging out in Cape Cod, to a road trip up the California coast.

In May, Ray and I went on backpacking trip to Havasupai Falls in Arizona along with 4 of our friends. Simply put, Havasupai Falls is magical. You hike 10 miles in the middle of the desert, through a canyon, past the Indian village of Suapi, and then out of nowhere there is lush greenery, waterfalls, and pools of crystal clear, blue water.  We spent three wonderful days exploring waterfalls, hiking, playing cards, and just overall enjoying the simpler joys backpacking has to offer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In June, Ray and I along with our friends, Brian and Laura, hiked to the top of Mt. Whitney. Mt. Whitney is the highest summit in the 48 states on the North America continent and has an elevation of 14, 505 ft. The hike to the summit of Mt. Whitney starts at Whitney Portal and from there it is an 11 mile climb to the summit with an elevation gain of 6, 100 ft. Round trip the hike is 22 miles long and took us two days to complete.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The hike to the summit of Mt. Whitney was grueling and was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It was worth every step to see the view from the top and being able to take a celebratory photo at the summit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In July, I turned 30! My birthday celebrations included beach days and fun dinners with friends and family in San Diego as well as a weekend away in Los Gaviotas.

Jen, Kristie, and I having a cocktail before dinner at George’s Ocean Terrance. Of course, I had to have a lemon drop martini!

Jen, Kristie and I San Diego 2014 2

The weekend before my birthday Ray and I headed to Los Gaviotas with a group of friends to celebrate my birthday, his birthday and our friend, Martyn’s birthday. Since all three of our birthdays are within a week of each other, we figured what better way to celebrate than a weekend in Mexico. Los Gaviotas is gated community in Baja that is just south of Rosarito.

Mexico 2014

The gated community includes a private beach, which has a beach volleyball court and a great surf break. I didn’t surf but I did play my share of beach volleyball.

Mexico 2014 2

Picture of the whole group at dinner in Puerto Nuevo.

Mexico 3

In August, we went to Cape Cod to visit my friend Farah and her family. When Ray and I lived in Boston it was our tradition to spend a weekend on the Cape with my friend Farah at her house in Eastham. Even though Ray and I live in San Diego now, we still make it back to Boston at least once a year for our annual Cape trip.  I have only missed one year since we moved, but that was because I was planning my wedding and was a bridesmaid in two other weddings. The Cape weekend is always full of great company, tasty food and wine, plenty of time lounging in the sun, and runs along the Cape Cod Bike Path. Even though Ray and I went last month, I am already looking forward to my trip next summer.

Farah and I in Chatham before dinner.

Sara and Farah Cape Cod 2014

In September, we took a road trip from San Diego to Berkeley. Our first stop was Santa Barbara. We explored the Santa Barbara Harbor and had the best fish sandwich and tacos from On the Alley.  The fish sandwich and tacos were so good that we made a special trip to Santa Barbara on the way back to San Diego just to eat there again! Of course, a meal full of fried fish wouldn’t be complete without ice cream.

Cooper and Sara Santa Barbara 2014

Ray and Cooper SB

Our second stop was San Jose to see my Dad and Mom. We celebrated Labor Day by going on a hike with my Mom and eating Chinese food and watching a movie with my Dad. The Chinese food was good, but the movie, Neighbors, wasn’t our cup of tea. I swear every time the three of us see a movie together it always ends up being horrible. Maybe we will have better movie luck over the holidays.

Mom, Cooper and I San Jose 2014

Our third stop was Samuel P Taylor for a two night camping trip. This was the first time Ray and I went camping with Cooper on our own. We (and by we I mean Ray) cooked great food, had s’mores for dessert every night, and went on a really fun hike.

Camping Samuel P Taylor 2014 4

Our last stop was Berkeley to see Ray’s parents who rented an apartment for the summer in order to avoid the Arizona heat.  One of the days the four of us ventured into San Francisco and we went to the Ferry building for lunch (I might have sneaked in a little shopping), we trekked to the top of Coit Tower, and we stopped by Pier 39 to see the seals.

View of Alcatraz from Pier 39.

SF 2014

Three of my good friends, Kirby, Kristie, and Jen, live in San Francisco and I was happy that Ray and I were able to squeeze in some time to see them. Jen and her boyfriend cooked us an amazing dinner of salad, steak, and pasta.  It is always so much fun catching up with them, especially over good food and wine. Even though I don’t see them all the time we are always able to pick up exactly where we left off.

When we haven’t been traveling our home has been a revolving door of family and friends visiting us in San Diego. Things have been busy, but I truly have enjoyed every minute of it. I only have one more trip planned – a girls night in Palm Springs this weekend. After that Cooper can rest assured that my suitcase will be safely stored in the closet (well at least for a little while) .

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting about my trips and adventures in more detail as well as my experience running the La Jolla Half Marathon. I promise not to disappear again.

Listen to Your Body

Hello! Things have been pretty quiet in the Moellering household this week.

After I completed jury duty on Monday, I worked from home for the rest of the day. It was nice to be able to relax on the couch while I answered emails and finished up a few projects. While I was working, Cooper spent his time grilling me from the other couch. Sometimes when he really wants to go for a walk he just sits and stares at you with this pathetic look on his face. I guess he didn’t understand what we were doing inside when the weather was so nice outside.

Cooper on the couch 4.7

After awhile he started grumbling and barking at his leash, so I gave in and took him for a walk. Cooper and I had a fantastic time walking along the ocean and checking out the beach scene, which was pretty packed for a Monday afternoon. It felt good to be walking outside and getting some fresh air and sun, especially since I had spent the majority of the day sitting in the jury lounge and courtroom.

cooper walking 4.7

Ever since my 9.5 mile run on Saturday my left hip has been bothering me a little bit. During my run I felt fine, but I noticed afterwards that my left leg/hip was pretty tight and felt a little sore.

In order to give me legs a break this week, I did a strength training workout that focused on upper body on Monday and I didn’t exercise at all on Tuesday. I was feeling pretty good on Wednesday and I had little to no pain in my left leg/hip area, so I decided to go for a short run.

As soon as I started running my left leg/hip immediately started to bother me. I should have stopped running, but I was an idiot and didn’t. I figured that if I slowed my pace down and stopped at the halfway point to stretch that I would be okay. I was wrong. My run was a complete disaster. My iPod shuffle ran out of batteries, my body never loosened up, and I was super hot because I was wearing too many layers. Like I said it was a complete disaster.

I should have listened to my body and stopped running. However, I am a fairly competitive person and I hate when I have to bail out of a run or workout. I always think I can push through the discomfort and pain, but sometimes I shouldn’t and by moving forward with the workout I end up doing more harm than good.

I think the hills combined with the increased mileage has finally started to catch up with me a little bit.  In fact, I think the training for the half marathon is starting to get to all of us. Both Ray and Matt have been having some knee pain and Ray has also been dealing with plantar fasciitis.

I love this photo. Notice that Ray is icing his foot, playing with Cooper, and trying to find something to watch on TV all at the same time.

ray multi tasking

I am pretty sure that the culprit behind my leg/hip pain is a strained IT band, so yesterday I went to the gym to do some stretching and foam rolling. I am hoping that if I take it easy through this weekend and I continue to stretch, ice my leg/hip, and take Advil that my legs will be as good as new and I will be back to running next week.

 

 

 

 

You are not a dog

Some Mondays I dread more than others. It is always hard to get back into the work week after a fun weekend, but I was particularly not looking forward to today because I had been summoned for jury duty. Until today I have never had to report for jury duty, but from what I gathered by talking to those who had, it didn’t sound like a fun experience. I was at the Hall of Justice bright and early this morning armed with two books and my computer to help keep me busy and entertained while I waited to see if I would be selected for a jury.

While I was serving my jury duty, I spent some time searching for a quote to use for this weeks Monday Motivation and during my search I stumbled upon this quote:

Dont reward yourself with food quote

I started laughing as soon as I saw it because I do this all of the time.

Run 6 miles and enjoy a huge plate of french toast from Cody’s La Jolla (which, by the way is the best french toast I have ever had).

french toast

Go for a hike and enjoy a large ice coffee with vanilla powder from The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

ice coffee

Complete a strength training workout and enjoy a bagel and cream cheese with bacon (this also happens to be my cure for hangovers).

IMG_1932

And I can go on and on. To be honest, sometimes when I have a reward in mind it helps motivate me to push through a challenging workout or is my incentive to do something active on the weekends instead of sitting on the couch. Although I think the quote is funny, it is something that I obviously don’t follow in my own life. I don’t think there is anything wrong with rewarding yourself with food as long as you are thoughtful about it. The key is to find a balance and strategy that works for you.

The first time I trained for a half marathon I used food as my rewards for completing runs a little too often, which I think was the culprit for why I gained a few pounds while I trained. This time around I am still using food as rewards during my training for the La Jolla Half Marathon, but only for completing  long runs and I am incorporating other types of rewards in as well.

Like getting a pedicure.

pedicure photo

Or treating myself to a Stitch Fix…check out my cute leggings from a recent fix.leggings

 

Sometimes my reward for working out hard or challenging myself is just knowing that I pushed myself and I made it through. Last Saturday Ray and I ran 9.5 miles and I completed it in one hour and thirty minutes, which is an awesome pace for me. We ran the middle part of the La Jolla Half Marathon course, which included the Torrey Pines Monster Hill (~1 mile at a constant 10% grade – and this is just one of the hills featured in the La Jolla Half Marathon).

This is a picture of the start of the Monster.

Torrey Pines Hill

When I finished I couldn’t help but think about how far we had actually run and how far I have come since we first started training. Just the idea of running up the Torrey Pines Monster Hill made me nervous and was enough of a reason for me not to do the race.  With a little time and work I have started to tame the Monster and I am feeling confident that I will be able to run the entire half marathon at my desired pace.

warm up quote

Previous Monday Motivation Quotes:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Girls Weekend in Phoenix

This past weekend I traveled to Phoenix, Arizona for a girls weekend with my college friends. Amanda, Carlie, Meredith and I met at the University of Arizona during our freshman year and we became fast friends. The four of us had a ton of fun together and I am lucky that even though we all don’t live in the same area we are all still friends. Meredith and Carlie live in the Phoenix area and Amanda lives in Huntington Beach.

Last November Meredith had a baby, Caroline, and neither Amanda or I have had the chance to meet her, which gave us the perfect excuse for a girls weekend.

Amanda and I arrived in Phoenix last Friday and right after we checked into our hotel room we headed over to Meredith’s house to finally meet Caroline and enjoy some appetizers and drinks. She is the sweetest baby and has the biggest smile.

Amanda and I with sweet Caroline!

phx photo 2

Last Saturday morning the four of us headed to Camelback Inn Resort & Spa for massages and some pool time. My legs were sore from running earlier in the week and my shoulders had a few knots in them from traveling, so my massage felt extra good. I haven’t had a massage in a long time and I forgot how amazing they feel. I think I might have to book one for the day after I run the La Jolla Half Marathon!

The spa facilities at Camelback Inn are top-notch, but the best part is that if you have a spa treatment you can hang out by the pool (which is for spa guests only) for the day.  After our massages, the four of us snagged some lounge chairs and a few umbrellas and spent the rest of the morning talking and soaking up the sun. It was such a relaxing day.

phx pic 1

On Saturday evening, Carlie had everyone over at her house for a BBQ. Berkeley, Carlie’s daughter, is so funny and I loved hanging out with her. We took photos everyone at the BBQ with my iPhone, played in her sandbox, and pretended we were characters from the movie Frozen.  The last time I saw Berkeley she was a newborn and I couldn’t get over how big she had gotten and talkative she was. Carlie is pregnant with her second child and is having a baby boy in June. I can’t wait to meet him!

phx photo 4

A fun picture of all the ladies!

phx photo 3

I had so much fun in Phoenix and loved being able to spend some quality time with my college friends. It is always sad to say goodbye, but I am looking forward to our next girls weekend.

My schedule lately has been packed full of travel, which can make it more challenging to squeeze in some exercise.  Below are my three go-to workouts when I am traveling because they don’t require a ton of time, but still give you a great full body workout.

10 Minute HIIT Workout from Carrots ‘N’ Cake

10 exercises in 10 minutes that you can do anywhere. I love this workout because it is short but brutal.  Sometimes I switch out some of the exercises and choose different ones depending on my mood. I always keep the timing format the same (perform each exercise for 45 seconds with a 15 second break in between).

Hill Run on the Treadmill

Every quarter-mile you run or walk increase the incline on the treadmill until you have completed 2.5 miles. I usually run the first quarter-mile with no incline so I can warm up and work up to my pace.  This workout is great if you are traveling and have access to a treadmill because it allows you to work up a great sweat while giving your cardiovascular and legs an awesome workout.

On the Go Workout

Set 1 (perform set 3 times)

Push ups – 16 reps

Plank Jumping Jacks – 20 reps

Tricep Dips  – 16 reps

Cardio Set (perform once)

Jumping Jacks – 30 seconds

Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds

Set 2 (perform set 3 times)

Lunges – 10 reps on each leg

Superman – 16 reps

Punches  (without dumbbells) – 30 seconds

Cardio Set (perform once)

Jumping Jacks – 30 seconds

Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds

Set 3 (perform once)

Wall Squat – 45 seconds

Squats – 20 reps

Squat Jumps – 30 seconds

I provided links below of some of the exercises that are less commonly known for your reference.

Plank Jumping Jacks/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdx8r3FIvvU / To modify the exercise, instead of jumping just step one foot out to the side at a time.

Tricep Dips/http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/tone-up-your-arms-with-the-tricep-dip.html/ To make this exercise more challenging try performing it with one leg straight up in the air (perform 8 with right leg up and then 8 with left leg up). You can also perform this move using a bench.

Mountain Climbers/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1J4hRICVjRo /

Superman/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc6UVRS7PW4 /

Punches/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78lvCPd3fsk/ Link shows exercise with weights, but you can perform it without them if you don’t have access to dumbbells. Make sure your hands don’t go above shoulder level.

Wall Squat/ http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=66/ The lower you sit the harder it is!

Squat Jumps/ http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness_programs_exercise_library_details.aspx?exerciseid=116/