Start the Week off Right

I can’t believe January is almost over. It feels like just yesterday we were celebrating the start of a new year. Time really does go by quick.

This past weekend my Dad came into town for a visit. The weather was awesome on Saturday and we were able to sneak in some beach time. Ray, my Dad, and I ventured to Blacks Beach with some of our friends. Blacks is famous for two main reasons –  its surf break and it is a nude beach. Not that I have anything against nudity, but I am happy to report that the other beachgoers on Saturday were not taking advantage of being able to be in the nude. It was a bit of a trek down to the beach, but the hassle of getting there was totally worth it. I can’t believe Ray and I have been living in San Diego for 3 years and last weekend was the first time we went to Blacks.

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It was cool to see the blimp that was covering the golf tournament at Torrey Pines circling above us.

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We spent a few hours hanging out on the beach watching the big waves and the surfers. There was also a game of horseshoes played, but I didn’t partake because I was busy taking a nap 🙂

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On Sunday, we all thought it would be a good idea to move around a little bit so we went for a short hike/walk in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

hike torrey

After our hike, we decided to try a new place for lunch and ventured to Bull Tacos in Cardiff before taking my Dad to the airport. The food was good and very tasty, but the view was awesome. I think I could have easily stayed out there all afternoon enjoying the view and snacking on chips and guacamole.

cardiff bull tacos view

Since my weekend was full of lots of indulgences, I made an extra effort on Monday to get my week off to a good start. For me eating a nutritious breakfast on Monday morning is a great way to help me get back into my normal eating habits. I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping over the weekend so I ran to Green Acres, a cafe by my work, to pick something up.  Even though I was eating out I made sure to pick something that was on the healthier side and decided to get an acai bowl.  The fruit, acai, greek yogurt and granola were very tasty and totally hit the spot. It felt good to eat something fresh and light.

breakfast bowl

My workouts lately have not included much cardio so I thought it would be a good idea to incorporate some into my workouts this week.  On Sunday night, I spent some time looking for cardio based workouts and stumbled upon a few treadmill routines from WedMD and Self.

Check them out:

All of the workouts look awesome and seem like great ways to beat treadmill boredom while burning some serious calories.

For my workout on Monday I used the Gauntlet Workout from Self  as my inspiration.

Self Gauntlet-Treadmill-Workout

I made some modifications to the workout because I am not a fan of kettlebell swings and I wanted to perform more of a variety of strength training moves. Here is what I came up with:

Warm up run at a comfortable pace for 6 minutes 

Complete 3 rounds of Set 1 and then complete 3 rounds of Set 2.

Set 1

Set 2

Cool down – run at a comfortable pace for 5 minutes.

I made a cheat sheet for myself so I would remember what I was supposed to be doing and for how long since there are so many different parts to the workout.  I also setup a mat and dumbbells as close to my treadmill as I could in order to make running back and forth between the two easier.

cardio blast routine

I worked up quite a sweat. My arms felt like jello from performing the arm exercises, which made them feel extra heavy while I was running. A workout routine like this one would be hard to do in a crowded gym or if the treadmills are not located close to an area you could do the strength training moves. It was also a little annoying have to restart the treadmill so many times. Next time I would increase the interval time on the treadmill and limit the number of times I performed strength training moves.

Overall, I enjoyed the workout and I am glad I tried it. The workout was challenging and kept me from getting bored. Plus it felt extra good to sweat and workout after a weekend filled with lots of eating out and rich food.

What are some of your favorite ways to start the week off right after a weekend filled with indulgences?


Is the Weekend Here Yet?

Happy Hump Day! I don’t know about you, but I am really looking forward to this weekend especially since I have Monday off from work for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Three day weekends are the best! I am not sure if it is the beautiful weather we have been having in San Diego or that I had so much fun last weekend, but I have been struggling to get into work mode this week.  Anyone else having that problem?

Last Saturday Ray and I got an early start to our day and since we didn’t have any plans we decided to hike Cowles Mountain with Cooper and enjoy the nice weather outside. Cooper got pretty excited when he saw us break out our hiking shoes and CamelBak pack and started running figure eights around our living room. We had to put him in the pre-walk staging area so we could get ready without him going crazy and trying to steal our stuff.

cooper pre walk

I am not sure why, but letting Cooper hang out in this position for a little bit before a walk or an outing always seems to calm him down.

I guess a lot of people had the same idea as Ray and I because when we got to Cowles Mountain around 10:00am it was super busy. It looked like there was a conveyor belt of people moving up the trail and trying to park was a mad house.  We had not hiked Cowles Mountain since last September and I forgot what a great workout it is. I was huffing and puffing the whole way up.  I love hiking Cowles Mountain because it is conveniently located and the hike is only three miles so it doesn’t take up your whole day.  It isn’t the prettiest hike and it is very popular so it does get crowded and can be slow-moving at times.

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Cooper loves drinking water from our CamelBak pack.

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cowles hike with cooper

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Cooper did much better this time than the last time we hiked Cowles Mountain. He didn’t spend the whole time moving from one shady spot to the next and didn’t go chasing down the mountain after a bird. We are able to finish the whole hike in an hour and ten minutes.

Whenever I hike I always pick a reward that I will get to enjoy when I am done and my reward always has something to do with food or drinks. Whenever I need motivation on the hike I just think about how good my reward will taste and it always makes me move a little faster.  My reward for completing our hike on Saturday was an iced coffee with vanilla powder from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

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I think I drank the whole thing in 10 minutes…it was so good!  Ice coffee might not seem like a great reward, but the vanilla powder makes it extra good and there are no Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf locations super close to our house. After our hike, Cooper took a long nap on the couch, which I guess was his reward.

cooper post hike

He has such a hard life.

We spent the rest of our Saturday watching football, drinking beer, and hanging out with our friends. The night ended with a small fire on the beach, which would have been perfect except we didn’t have all of the stuff to make s’mores with.

fire beach

Sunday was more mellow, but just as fun and included a great strength training workout, a C2 class at CorePower Yoga in Pacific Beach, and watching more football with friends at our house. Only bad part of the day was having to take Ray to the airport for another full week of travel 😦

Hopefully, the rest of the work week goes by fast!

The Benefits of Walking

With the holidays around the corner trying to balance work, getting ready for Christmas, and taking care of Cooper (since Ray is traveling so much) has left me very little time to workout. In order to still fit some exercise into my schedule I have been taking Cooper on lots of walks. Walking might not seem like tough exercise, but you would be surprised at what a difference those extra steps can make.

According to the American Heart Association, besides burning calories and being easier on your joints than running, walking has a lot of other benefits.

  • Helps maintain your body weight and lower your risk of obesity
  • Improves mental well-being
  • Helps strengthen your bones and reduces your risk of losing bone density
  • Improves your blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Reduces your risk of breast and colon cancer and type 2 diabetes

Cooper and I have a few different walking routes that vary in length, but all of them range from a mile to a mile and a half long and include Windansea beach. Recently, I have been taking Cooper on two to three walks a day. In the morning, Cooper pretty much starts barking at his leash the moment I get out of bed and lately has been practically pulling me down the street.

cooper leash

I guess he is just as I excited as I am to get down to the beach. I love walking along the beach because I can watch the surfers and the waves whereas Cooper only cares about watching the squirrels. Here are some pictures from our recent walks at Windansea beach.

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Those black dots in the water are surfers. I am always amazed at how many surfers there are in the morning. It must be so cold in the water!

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Sometimes while we are on our walks Cooper will just plop down and refuse to move. He can be such a goofball!

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cooper walk wallAs you can probably tell I love walking at Windansea beach and look forward to my walks with Cooper there every day. Some of my other favorite places to go for a walk in San Diego are

  • Balboa Park
  • Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
  • La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Seal Beach area
  • Walking/ bike path from Pacific Beach to Mission Beach

If you want to increase your calorie burn or kick your walking up a notch, check out these walking workout routines from

If you try any of the workouts from, let me know how you like them.

Learning to Surf- Part 2

This past Sunday Ray, Cooper and I had a relaxing morning at home. Ray has a lot of travel coming up for work and with the holidays right around the corner we needed to sit down and organize our schedules.  Ray and I enjoyed some coffee and banana oatmeal during our schedule/holiday planning session, which totally hit the spot. I love coffee and oatmeal in the mornings!

Ray and I never mastered how to share our calendars electronically or keep each other in the loop with our plans by sending one another calendar invites. We both use electronic calendars at work to organize our schedules, but for some reason we could never extend it to our social lives. The only way that Ray and I consistently keep each other in the loop about travel and events is when we use an actual calendar. I prefer to actually write out our schedules and be able to flip through the pages to see what we have going on in the upcoming months. Our calendar hangs in the kitchen by the fridge, which makes it easy to update and for us to see throughout the day. While Ray and I were chatting about our schedules and making holiday plans Cooper curled up next to me and fell asleep. I guess we were boring him! sunday morning breakfast

sunday morning breakfast 2I was thoroughly enjoying our relaxing morning at home until Cooper went outside and got muddy and wandered back into the house. He jumped all over the couch before we had a chance to catch him.  dog print on couchOh the joys of having a puppy! Ray and I coaxed Cooper outside so I could clean him up and Ray tackled cleaning the couch. Luckily, we were able to get the stains out of the couch so no permanent damage was done.

The weather was awesome in San Diego on Sunday so Ray and I decided to head back to La Jolla Shores and go surfing. The conditions were much better than the last time we went surfing because the waves were smaller and there was little to no wind.  This time around I felt more confident on the board and had an easier time balancing and paddling. I was even able to sit on the board and practiced turning around to get into position to catch a wave.

I concentrated on balancing my weight more equally between my right and left side and controlling the board by shifting my weight. I was able to paddle into a few waves on my own and I was consistently able to get up and stand on the board. I still didn’t manage to stand on the board for very long, but maybe next time. Now I just need to work on getting my feet in the right position and balancing.  I still took some nasty spills in the water and get tumbled around in the white wash, but I didn’t let my fear of falling off the board or looking like an idiot scare me. I concentrated on what I needed to do and went for it.

From my last surf session I learned:

  • you must have strong strokes and paddle hard
  • it is key to have equal pressure between your right and left side
  • moving your torso up away from the board helps you control the board
  • you need to wait to feel the wave catch you before trying to move into a standing position

Ray and I were in the water together for about an hour before I headed in (by that point my arms were exhausted).  Ray took my board out and surfed for another 40 minutes while I sat on the beach and hung out. It was such a great day outside and the beach was packed with people. It was nice to sit on the beach and feel the sun on my face and the sand on my toes while I people watched. It is days like last Sunday that makes me appreciate the simple things in life – like being outside on a beautiful day, hanging out with my husband, and continuing my quest to learn how to surf.

Learning to Surf

Last week while I was at work I got an email from my husband that contained quite a surprise. Ray bought me a surfboard! SurfboardAt Ray’s work they have a classified email service that people can use if they have items they would like to sell. It is sort of like a mini Craigslist. A great looking 8ft foamie surfboard popped up on the email service and Ray jumped on it.  For the last few months I have been wanting to give surfing a try and Ray thought the 8ft foamie surfboad would be a great board for me to learn on because it would be pretty stable in the water.

This past Sunday Ray and I headed to La Jolla Shores with some friends to hang out and surf. The surfing conditions were pretty good (for me at least) because it was sunny, the water wasn’t too cold, and the waves were on the smaller size. 

I will admit I was pretty nervous about going surfing for the first time. I am a little intimidated by the ocean and I am not the strongest swimmer.  However, most of our friends in San Diego surf and love it and it is something I have always wanted to learn. On Sunday, I spent more time in the water than I did on the surfboard (which I was told by my friends is normal). I definitely got hit in the head a few times with the board (thankfully it is made of foam) and drank about a gallon of salt water.  I believe in total I stood on the board for one second.

Since I was still figuring out how to balance and paddle on the board and didn’t have a great sense of position, Ray helped manuever me into the wave and then would give me a little shove to help me catch it.  We must have done this about a dozen or so times and usually the end result was me sliding off the board and landing in the water. Every time I fell Ray would give me an encouraging smile and a few pointers and feedback, which I appreciated because it was pretty frustrating at times. I believe my biggest problem was that when I would try to transition from lying to standing on the surfboard I was not pushing myself up with equal force. The extra force I applied to one side would cause one side of the board to tilt into the water, which would then cause me to tumble into the white wash. I also think I was a little afraid and too timid, which caused me to over think things and be super cautious when I needed to just go for it.  Next time I go surfing I am going to focus on learning how to properly balance and how to shift my weight to control the surfboard instead of putting so much pressure on myself to try and pop up. Baby steps!

I think it is important to try new activities and not be afraid to put yourself out there. Surfing on Sunday was a very humbling experience. I am in good shape and pretty coordinated so I thought  I would at least be able to consistently stand up on the board. However, nothing about surfing came easy to me and most of the time I felt like an idiot flailing around in the ocean.  However, when you are trying something new you have to start somewhere and you have to be persistent.  Even though I struggled on Sunday, I was proud of myself for trying something outside my comfort zone. I will keep you posted on my surfing progress.  Maybe with lots and lots of practice I will eventually be able to look as good as Ray on a surfboard 😉IMG_6244

 When was the last you tried something new that was outside of your comfort zone?

Running Challenge: Pile on the Miles 2013


I bought Cooper a Halloween Costume to wear tonight while Ray and I hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters. I will post a picture of Cooper in his costume later tonight (that is if he doesn’t destroy it before I have time to take the photo).

 I can’t believe October is already over and that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Part of our Thanksgiving tradition is to run a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. While we lived in Boston, Ray and I spent the Thanksgiving holiday with Ray’s Uncle Joe and Aunt Karen in up-state New York. Every year Joe and Karen participated in the Saratoga Springs Christopher Dailey 5K Turkey Trot and we decided to join in the fun and run it with them.

 When we moved to San Diego we decided to carry on Joe and Karen’s tradition and have continued to participate in Turkey Trots.  We haven’t missed one in four years and it has been fun to introduce the tradition to our family and friends on the West Coast. This year Ray and I will be participating in the Father Joe’s Villages 5K Turkey Trot in Balboa Park.  I will admit I have a hard time getting up early on Thanksgiving Day to run, but once I am at the race I am always  thankful I am doing it.  I love the energy at the Turkey Trot races. Everyone is happy and excited and usually there are a few runners wearing pretty funny turkey costumes. Plus it feels awesome to get a little exercise in before enjoying Thanksgiving dinner.

This morning I found the Pile on the Miles 2013 Challenge, which is being organized by the blog Run Eat Repeat. I have not been running a lot lately and I need to start so that I can beat last year’s 5k Turkey Trot time (about 29 minutes). I thought this challenge would be the perfect way to get me motivated to start running and help keep me accountable. My goal is to run 8 miles a week in November.

 Details of the Pile on the Miles 2013 Challenge:

What: FREE Online challenge to walk or run more during turkey month

Where: Virtual! Sign up at

  1. Complete a form online.
  2. Set a goal at the beginning of the challenge to WALK or RUN x amount of miles or minutes in November. These could be miles or a set time on the treadmill OR outside/inside walking or running or cycling.
  3. Leave a comment on Run Eat Repeat on Nov 1, 10, 17 and 24th with your Mileage/Minutes Goal for that week. All comments on those posts will be  entered into a giveaway. It does not matter if you hit your goal each week but you must check-in and be accountable to be entered to win.

Let me know if you decide to participate!

Weddings & Fitness Goals

Weddings seem to be all around me, which is fine by me. I love weddings!

A few weeks ago we went to Ray’s sister’s wedding and last Friday one of my friends, Jaclyn, asked me to go to with her to look at wedding dresses. Jaclyn and I went to Isis Bridal, which is where I got my wedding dress. Isis Bridal is the best. They have a great selection and their customer service is top-notch. If you live in the San Diego area and are looking for a wedding dress you should definitely give Isis Bridal a try.

Isis 2


It was so fun to watch Jaclyn try on wedding dresses. She is going to be a beautiful bride and I can’t wait to see what dress she picks.

After bridal dress shopping, Jaclyn and I went to dinner at Searsucker in Del Mar. There were so many delicious dishes on the menu we couldn’t decide what to get so we ordered a bunch of small plates and split them. Sometimes when I go to a new restaurant I think sharing plates with your dinner date is a fun way to try out more of the menu without completely over stuffing yourself. While we were at dinner Jaclyn surprised me and asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, which I gladly accepted! Jaclyn was one of the first friends I made when I moved to San Diego from Boston. We always have a great time together and I am excited to be able to help her plan and celebrate her wedding!

Lately, I have been reminiscing about my own wedding. Maybe it was going to Ray’s sister’s wedding last weekend, or watching Jaclyn try on dresses, or because I recently went through all of our wedding photos and printed my favorite ones (yes, it took me almost a year to order photos). Whatever the cause of my recent stroll down memory lane, I thought it could be fun to share some of favorite wedding photos.

Ray and I got married in Monterey, California at the The Clement Monterey on September 29, 2012.  Our wedding day was wonderful and filled with so many great memories.

Getting Ready

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Ray and his groomsmen getting ready (looks to me…more like drinking and eating)

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Us at the ceremony site before guests started arriving. We saw each other before the wedding and I am glad we did. It was nice to have a moment that was just between us.

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My mom (Kim) and my brother (Sam) walking down the aisle

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 I was a little nervous before walking down the aisle and my dad (Alan) said something to make me laugh.

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The ceremony

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My bridesmaids, Kristie, Amanda, Kirby and Jen (from left to right). I had so much fun with these ladies. They kept me laughing and relaxed all day!  A girl couldn’t have better friends.

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 My family

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Ray’s family

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Some fun photos

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The reception

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  Ray feeding me cake!

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Our first dance as husband and wife!

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Dancing the night away

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My wedding was a huge inspiration and motivation to get myself back into shape. Even though my wedding is over, I am happy that I have continued to make exercise and healthy eating habits a part of my daily routine.  After I achieved my goal of getting into shape for my wedding, I decided to come up with a new fitness goal to keep me motivated. My fitness goal this year was to do an unassisted pull-up. I am still working on it, but getting close. Having a fitness goal is a great way to challenge yourself and can help give you the extra push to exercise a little harder.

My wedding vendors (they were all fabulous)
wedding coordinator // Events by Satra
florist // Flor de Monterey
hair // Brooke Dixon