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.

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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.

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

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Picture of the whole group at dinner in Puerto Nuevo.

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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.

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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.

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!

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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.

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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!

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A fun picture of all the ladies!

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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/

 

Camping Adventure in Malibu

Last weekend Ray, Cooper and I headed to Malibu with some friends for a camping adventure at Leo Carrillo State Park. Leo Carrillo State Park is a really cool place to go camping because the campground is nice, the bathrooms are pretty clean (even have showers), it is dog friendly, and has lots to do (hiking trials and is across the street from an awesome beach).

Ray, two of our friends, Cooper and I drove up to Malibu early last Saturday morning to join four of our other friends who were already camping at Leo Carrillo . Given how much stuff you need to go camping our car was packed to the brim, which didn’t leave much room for Cooper. Luckily, Cooper found a good place to cuddle up for the car ride on my lap. About 20 minutes away from Leo Carrillo State Park there is a nice shopping center with a grocery store, which we stopped at to pick up our groceries and firewood for the weekend. Since the car was already packed full the only places that we could fit the grocery bags were on our laps and at our feet.  Thank goodness it wasn’t a long drive from the store to the campground because the car was a little claustrophobic.

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The first time Ray and I ever went camping we planned the trip with our friends at the last-minute and we didn’t have a lot of time to prepare or any of the gear we needed. Ray and I ended up running to Walmart at 10:00pm the night before we were supposed to leave in order to buy everything we needed for our camping trip. There was limited options for tents and we ended up buying one that came in the smallest bag. The package of the tent said it was for two people and that it was over 6ft long. The package totally lied. Ray and I could barely sit next to each other inside the tent let alone lay down in it. It was so small. Luckily, some of our friends had an extra tent that we borrowed for the trip.

small tent

Since our first camping adventure, Ray and I have slowly purchased new camping gear that actually fits us. Last year we bought the Kelty Salida two person tent from REI, which we love. The tent doesn’t weigh much (which is a bonus for backpacking trips), is easy to put together/take down, and is roomy. The tent comfortably fits Ray, Cooper and I.

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After we got to the campground, we ate lunch and then headed right over to the beach to hang out in the sun and to do a little surfing. I didn’t surf on this trip because the waves were a little big for me and I didn’t have a wet suit. We couldn’t have asked for better beach weather. It was in the 80s and clear skies.

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One of the other great things about Leo Carrillo State Park is that there is a large section of the beach that allows dogs on it as long as they are on a leash. Cooper was happy to be able to hang out on the beach with us and spent most of the afternoon napping under the umbrella in the shade and digging in the sand.

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After we got our fill of sun, our group headed back to our camp spot to unpack the car and setup camp. We reserved two spots for 9 people and we had lots of room to spread out.

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Ray snapped a cute picture of my friend, Laura, and I. Laura and I both have a love of playing cards and spent a lot of our time playing Gin Rummy and we even recruited our friend, Astrid, to play Rummy 500.

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We setup a little area for Cooper to hang out by the group. Ray and I didn’t trust him off leash because I am pretty sure he would have run around visiting other campers to see what food he could steal.

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We spent the rest of the night hanging out by the campfire. We had quite the feast – hot dogs, chicken, sausages, vegetables, corn, and baked potatoes. For dessert we had s’mores, no camping trip is complete without them!

The camping trip was a blast. It is always nice to disconnect from cell phones and technology and spend time outside with your friends. Cooper was pretty tuckered out from our camping adventure and when we got home on Sunday afternoon he spent the rest of the day recovering on the couch.

cooper sleep after camping

Ray and I weren’t quite as tuckered out as Cooper and decided to head to Tourmaline beach so that Ray could surf with a buddy and I could go for a run along the PB boardwalk. When I got done with my run I found Ray with his foot taped up. While he was surfing he had to bail off a wave in order to avoid running into someone and during the process the fin on his board cut his foot.  Not a great ending to our weekend! I guess we should have stayed home with Cooper and been lazy on the couch.

Road Trip to Arizona

About two weeks ago Ray and I took a road trip to Phoenix, Arizona for a family wedding. Wendy (Ray’s sister) was marrying her high school sweetheart, Hunter. Wendy and Hunter started dating  shortly after Ray and I did, which was almost 8 years ago.

Our drive to San Diego was pretty uneventful and we made great time. Cooper slept the whole time while Ray and I chatted and listened to music.

photo (79)Being in the car for long  periods of time always makes me want to snack.  With endless signs for fast food and all of the candy and chip options at the gas stations, it makes it hard for me to make healthy snack choices. Knowing my tendencies to want to snack on road trips, I always try and bring a few healthy snack options and lots of water.

Here are some of my favorite things to snack on during road trips:

–  No Bake Energy Bites
–  Apple Slices w/ peanut butter (I scoop out some peanut butter and put it in a small tupperware container to make it easier to handle on the road)
–  Trail Mix
–  Dried Apricots
–  Luna Bars or Kind Bars

Before the wedding on Saturday, Ray and I woke up feeling restless. We had spent the majority of the previous day sitting in the car and before that we had both been sick with a cold, so our eating and work out schedules were all messed up.  We had some time to kill before we had to help setup for the wedding and the weather was great so we decided to go for a hike. Cooper, Ray, Dan (Ray’s Dad), and I went for a 3 mile hike and it felt great to get my body moving and to work up a sweat.

Some of my favorite ways to incorporate exercise when I travel is to go for a hike, walk, or a run because they are great ways to work up a sweat while enjoying and exploring my new surroundings.  After our hike, we headed over to the wedding venue to help setup. Ray, Dan, & Matt (Ray’s brother) were in charge of decorating the tables and putting up lights around the dance floor while Megan (Matt’s wife) and I decorated the arch at the ceremony site.

Here are some fun pictures from the wedding.

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Ray and I before the wedding…all dressed up!

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Me giving a reading during the ceremony

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It is official, Wendy and Hunter are married (notice the lovely arch that I helped decorate ;-))

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Leaving the ceremony as husband and wife!

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Ray and I with Matt and Megan

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Wendy and Hunter had a gelato bar instead of cake. This is their version of cutting the cake.

The wedding was wonderful. It was great to see all of the fun details and ideas that I have heard Wendy and Nancy (Ray’s Mom) talk about over the last year come to life.