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In collaboration with my fellow healthy living blogger London, from London, Like The City, I’m excited to introduce you to our brand new blog series- Happy Hour Made Healthy!

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We created Happy Hour Made Healthy to inspire you with ways to get more out of your happy hour than say, just vodka sodas. Whether it’s hunting down the freshest cocktails and healthy bites or switching it up with alternative after-work activities, we hope to show that enjoying happy hour can fit into every healthy lifestyle!

Today we’re highlighting a local San Diego favorite, Fig Tree Cafe, with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. They’re truly committed to quality and even grow their own rosemary (you’ll definitely see this sprinkled throughout our experience!). We sat out on the rustic patio (chatting like young professionals!) as another gorgeous summer evening unfolded.

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Drinks -

Rosy Watermelon – Chunky watermelon with vodka, lemonade and a sprig of fresh rosemary. This is the type of drink you’d want to sip all day, say, out on your nice wide-open front porch. It was soooo refreshing; the main highlight was definitely the watermelon. The rosemary brought out more flavor from the watermelon (which can sometimes be subdued/watery -just in general) and the splash of lemonade provided that zest and “hydration” factor.

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Blackberry Bliss – Bursting ripe blackberries mingle with mint, vodka and a splash of champagne for an ultra-refreshing (and gorgeous!) cocktail. Stronger than our first round with just a hint of sweetness and a touch of bubbly, this is a drink London can’t wait to recreate at home!

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Small Bites -

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Portobello Fries – a light, panko battered veggie “fry” provides more substance than just regular French fries. These were super meaty with a smooth bite, and we loved how you could taste the fresh rosemary in the dipping aioli.

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Vegan Napoleon – Another great showcase of fresh and seasonal summertime veggies. The layers of eggplant, bell pepper, portabella mushroom and asparagus were substantial enough to withstand the balsamic glaze, but sliced thinly enough to really enjoy.

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Roasted Tomato Bruschetta – if you’re going to get a bruschetta, make sure it’s the best. And this one definitely had us. The cherry tomatoes were blistered and bursting with juice, the basil intoxicatingly aromatic, and all topped with Manchego cheese – a London favorite. But really, let’s talk about the bread. Homemade, thick yet fluffy, and just the right amount of crunch/toast to support the weight of the fresh vegetables on top.

Baby Kale Salad – Ashleigh’s had this one before and has even made a copycat recipe. The curls of kale were brightened up with citrusy vinaigrette and complimented by the sweet slices of green apple and the saltiness of the “man candy” bacon (we love the name! Lol).

Entree -

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And if you find yourself lingering after happy hour (as tends to happen with great atmosphere and even better company)…. the catch of the day is sure to be the freshest in the restaurant. We shared the yellowfin tuna, which was light and clean, yet rustic paired with the bursting cherry tomatoes and hearty herbed mashed potatoes.

Fig Tree Cafe Liberty Station
2400 Historic Decatur Road Suite 103
San Diego, California 92106
(619) 821- 2044

Happy Hours:
7 days a week, 4-6pm

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Don’t miss the: dishes with homegrown rosemary! We recommend the summery Rosy Watermelon. Cheers!

Take-away tip: “indulge”/celebrate the healthy way with fresh, local ingredients.

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This past Sunday, I went to a special Orange Theory Fitness class that Gina set up for some local San Diego bloggers. Funny, the crew looks pretty familiar ;-)

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Orange Theory Fitness is a 60-minute, interval based workout that works between the treadmill, rowing machine, and weights. The goal is to work at least 12-18 minutes in the orange (plus red) zone, for optimal calorie burning after class (or post-exercise oxygen consumption).

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Each class is taught on an on-class basis, meaning you probably won’t do the same workout twice unless you’re going there pretty consistently.

I feel like reading about the workout is completely different than actually doing it, because even though I had heard of Orange Theory Fitness, I honestly had no idea what to expect.

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Our workout moved from treadmill, to rowing, to floor work and plyometrics. We completed 4 different blocks of this, with an emphasis on short bursts of power.

For the treadmill, we moved from walking, to a base, push, to all out sprint. For example, my base was 6.3 mph, push was 8mph and my all out sprint was anywhere between 9-10mph.

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On the rowing machine, we tried to achieve either a certain wattage or distance in meters.

And for the floor work, it was segments of 10 or less reps of anything from jump squats, hip thrusters, power planks, etc. The goal was to see if you could complete these rounds anywhere from 2-5 times, or even more.

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At the end of the class, I had achieved around 38 minutes in the green zone (moderate/base), 7 minutes in the orange (hard), and about 25 seconds in the red (maximum).

After taking the class, I realized it’s a great workout concept, tailored to each individuals fitness level (and heart rate). It makes you competitive with yourself, and challenges you to work your way up each heart rate zone.

It really motivates you to want to go in again and do better than you did before.

2 days later I can officially say I’m S O R E.

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Have you ever heard of or tried Orange Theory Fitness?

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I never thought I’d be saying this, but I need more frozen food in my life.  Because while I’ve gotten really good at buying exactly what I need for the week (nothing more), I’ve also gotten really bad at having things on-hand for times when I don’t have a meal planned.  My Monday-through-Friday- morning-through-afternoon meals are easy, but when I don’t plan for a night, we’re screwed.  Or eating oatmeal…

So I’ve given up my qualms about frozen food and have submitted — but not just to Lean Cuisines or frozen pizzas.  I’ve purchased things like turkey burgers, whole wheat vegan pizzas, and random veggies that I can use to create something or doctor up.

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Here’s what’s on the menu for Monday through Friday, AM to afternoon-PM.  I’ll make sure to share some of my TBD-dinner options along the way.

Breakfast – Green smoothie + iced coffee 
Snack 1 – Cantaloupe with cottage cheese
Lunch – Cucumber Basil Egg-Salad Salad with chicken
Snack 2 – Greek yogurt with frozen berries
Dinner – TBD

Green Smoothie – simplified
INGREDIENTS:
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 large handfuls of spinach
1 cup frozen tropical fruit
1 handful ice cubes
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place everything in a blender and blend until you reach a nice and smooth consistency.
  2. Optional: top off with a sprinkle of granola (as pictured).

Cantaloupe with cottage cheese
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cantaloupe
1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Remove seeds from the cantaloupe.  Add in a scoop of cottage cheese.

Cucumber Basil Egg-Salad Salad
INGREDIENTS:
For the egg-salad:
12 hard-boiled eggs (cooked using this recipe)
1 cup 0% Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tsp. Dijon mustard
1 cucumber, chopped
6 Tbsp. basil, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
For the salad:
1/2 cup grain (quinoa, barley, farro, etc. — I used Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend)
1 heart of romaine, chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar.
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Remove shells from eggs.  Then, in a large bowl, mash the hard-boiled eggs.
  2. Add Greek yogurt, lemon juice and Dijon mustard, and mix until well incorporated.
  3. Stir in the cucumber and basil.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Set aside.
  4. Cook grains according to directions.  Add 1/2 cup to the bottom of your container.
  5. Top with romaine lettuce and cherry tomatoes.
  6. Dress with olive oil and balsamic.*
  7. Add 1/2 cup of egg salad mixture to top.*
  8. Optional: add additional protein such as chicken.

*Fresh tip: To keep this salad fresh, I add the dressing (olive oil and balsamic vinegar) and egg salad the night before, or morning-of.

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Geez, another week has already gone by and I’m having a hard time even remembering what I did last week…  This past week was a rest week, and although my running was down, I failed to take a rest day.  Instead, I filled everyday with some kind of activity, from Pilates on the Megaformer, to more yoga sculpt classes, to finally, a heart-rate-monitor based interval training workout called Orange Theory Fitness.

Here are a few of the highlights:

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Monday night I won a Zoot hat at the summer series run group raffle. I’ve been wanting a new hat for running, and this trucker hat works great for casual early morning runs by myself, when all I want to do is not be awake…

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Tuesday night I went to a menu-tasting event for work at the Hotel Indigo. They recently hired a new chef who formerly cooked for Bill Gates’ wedding. Everything was very hawaiian-inspired and unique (such as KFC – Kona Fried Chicken).

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Wednesday night we had a low-key speed workout for run club, and capped the night with some grub at Pandora’s Pizza. I’m really loving the Under Armour Speedform’s for speed work and light recovery runs (full review to come).

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On Thursday night London and I dined at Fig Tree Cafe for our new blog collab, Happy Hour Made Healthy. Make sure to keep an eye out this Thursday!

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Saturday morning I struggled with 9 miles, and then struggled to keep my eyes open in the salon chair. I went back to my hairdresser to make my ombre a little more drastic. I didn’t do much else when I really should’ve taken several naps and made my Saturday more productive. Instead, I ate out (or rather in) three times (Naked Cafe, The Big Door deli to-go, and take-out sushi). Being lazy/completely drained at it’s finest.  I guess that’s what not taking a rest day will do to you!

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On Sunday I did the usual (grocery shopped, food prepped) but I also attended a special Orange Theory Fitness Class with some other SD bloggers/some real familiar faces (recap also to come!).

Basically, you’re going to have to wait for all the good stuff to come :)

Weekly Workout Recap:
Sun – Core40 Pilates class
Mon – Yoga Sculpt + 6 mi
Tues – 3.2 mi
Wed – Yoga Sculpt + 4.5 mi
Thurs – 4.2 mi
Fri – Yoga Sculpt
Sat – 9 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 26.9 mi
Total Miles with Piper: 7 mi
Hours cross-training: 4 hours
2014 Miles YTD: 881.2 mi

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I feel like progressively more and more, my days have become packed, my weeks have become busier, and my months become the next before I know it.   Somehow, I’ve managed to keep everything a priority, from working, to working out, and even maintaining a blog.

Here’s how I’ve been able to “do it all”:

  • Sleep! – I try to get adequate, restful (for the most part) sleep.  My biggest goal is still to get back into the routine of getting into bed at 10pm and waking up around 6am.
  • Schedule workouts - on days that I don’t run with a group, I try to do my recovery runs in the morning.  I find it easier to get it over with than have it hanging over my head after I get off work (especially during the warmer summer months!). Figure out when you enjoy working out — and if there’s a certain time for a specific class you like going to.  Schedule it like an appointment and stick with it!
  • Drink coffee - where would I be without coffee? I swear it runs through my veins, and I probably wouldn’t be a functioning human being without it.  Coffee over everything.
  • Organize - spending a little extra time preparing ultimately saves me time in the long run.  This includes prepping my meals for the week and laying out my workout clothes for a couple days in advance. This way, I won’t forget!
  • Eat! - eating adequate amounts of nutritious food and intaking enough calories to compensate for my caloric expense helps to keep my energy levels up and keeps me moving.
  • Get an extra boost - ever since my Advocare cleanse, I’ve been using Spark. It’s provided me with a more subtle yet refined boost of energy. I makes me feel focused and it really helps me to power through an intense yoga session followed by a hard run.
  • Sleep! - rest and repeat.  It’s all a full circle.

When it comes to blogging, I find a couple things help:

  • Make a calendar - I use the Editorial Calendar plug-in for WordPress, and it helps me visualize what I’ve planned for the week. It also lets you move around your drafts and posts, so nothing is set in stone until it’s published.
  • Think ahead – I am constantly looking ahead, figuring out what content I want/needs to be published down the line.
  • Draft posts - when I get an idea in my head and a few words to follow, I like to jot these down. Maybe I don’t have the inspiration or motivation to write a full post all at once, but keeping these few bits helps me to get going when I come back to it.
  • Utilize Siri - and notepads on your iPhone.  Sometimes when I’m driving, I’ll come up with an idea, so I’ll recite it to Siri.
  • Write tired - I always feel like I’m the most creative late at night, when I’m too tired to think too much about what I’m writing. Pros – gets the job done. Cons – too tired to proofread.
  • Stick to a routine - I try to post 5-6 times a week, with 4-5 posts on week days, leaving the weekend flexible and open for my weekly recaps whenever they might happen.  Sometimes life gets in the way/just happens, or I feel uninspired, but I try to not let 2 or more days go by without a post.
  • Create deadlines - another thing I find is that I work better under deadlines.  When I set a post date in my editorial calendar, I try to stick with it, to the best of my ability.  Promising to have a post up, even if it’s just a promise to myself, helps me stay punctual and on top of my deadlines.

Happy Friday!  Have a great weekend, friends.

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Hey, hey. It’s Tuesday. But I haven’t had the chance to recap last week…so here we go!

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Monday was a fabulous day/night at the Nike Track Club. See recap here!

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Tuesday, after work, Erin and I treated ourselves to some fresh pedis and new shoes. Originally I was going to exchange my Mizuno Wave Riders for a larger size (8 to 8.5), but ended up trying on a pair of Adidas Supernova Glide 6 Boost (in lavender), and they felt almost too good to be true. I decided to switch it up and try these for a bit.

On Wednesday London convinced me to get my first Vitamin B(utt) shot. So in between Yoga Sculpt and running, I met up with her and Kelli (who just spectated) at Spark Health for some “Be Happy” vitamin shots. Normally, I HATE shots, to the point where I pass out. But the benefits and the effects convinced me so much – that, and the fact I’m always looking for more ways to gain energy.  Afterwards, I proceeded to my running workout, and although it was very tough, afterwards I didn’t feel like it was that bad (although I definitely felt it throughout).  I’ll attribute that to the “Be Happy.”

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On Thursday, even after working in Del Mar for the past 2 years, I went to my first Opening Day at the Races! I am thankful to Jen (my “bossosciate – just kidding!), Tyler and Papa Coppo who allowed me to tag along with them, in style! It was such a fun day as we bet, drank and watched the races from a table in the Turf Club directly in line with the finish line!

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Saturday we had a long and hilly 14 miles. Although it was physically hard, mentally it was a breeze running with our newly formed trio – Erin, Andy and me. Afterwards we hit up Naked Cafe and I surprisingly changed it up from my usual Plate of Prosperity to the Naked Crossanwich. It was HEAVEN.

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Then I took an Epsom salt bath, got my nails done (aka tried to stay awake in the chair), grocery shopped, got coffee and attempted to make a movie after picking up my bf who Uber-ed to the racetrack (yes. Uber. p.s. we live over 30 miles away). Unfortunately a movie didn’t happen, but a bomb-ass dinner at True Foods Kitchen did. Later I tried to pick up dessert from Extraordinary Desserts to continue the “I did a long run today” celebration. However, the take-out line was even longer than the dining line, and it was 9:30pm. So instead, I ended up going to 7/11….

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Sunday I went to my first Pilates class ever! It was a free class at Core40 sponsored by Lululemon.  And it was so challenging! It engaged muscles in a different way from how I normally use them. I also liked that it wasn’t super intensive like a bootcamp or HIIT, but really refined and focused. It worked my muscles to the point of shaking and made me break a minor sweat.

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Then we BBQed and grabbed some afternoon iced coffee, and the BEST chocolate chip-pecan-shortbread bar. Later I finished up the day with some Sunday meal prep.

How’s your week going?

Weekly Workout Recap:
Sun – Rest
Mon – Yoga Sculpt + 6 mi
Tues – Rest
Wed – Yoga Sculpt + 7.5 mi
Thurs – 6.5 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – 14.3 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 34.3 mi
Total Miles with Piper: 3 mi
Hours cross-training: 2 hours
2014 Miles YTD: 845.3 mi

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It’s official. I’ll be running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco this October!

Let me back track now.

On Monday night, Andy and I made the 2 hour drive over to Torrance to participate in the “14 Ladies Night at Nike Track Club.” The Nike Track Club store is an extension of the Finish Line Store at the Del Amo Fashion Center. It’s a really cool concept, totally geared towards the LA Runner.

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We left San Diego at 3pm and only hit a slight amount of traffic. We had no idea what to expect for the Nike Track Club event. We arrived early, but luckily the event was at a mall so it wasn’t too hard to kill time ;-).

We checked in around 6:30pm, got taped up with Muscle Aid Tape, and waited for the event to officially begin at 7pm. All of the attendees were able to try on a pair of the new Nike Lunarglide 6’s for our 2-3 mile run.

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The run was intended to be easy, at a conversational pace, but that quickly changed as we hit the ground running at a 7 min, sometimes sub-7 minute pace.

It was hot and humid, and what most likely was supposed to be a light jog turned into a total 2.85 mile sweat-fest! The Lunarglide 6’s worked really well, and I completely forgot I was wearing a brand new pair of shoes!

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As we returned to the store, we ran into a table filled with Nuun (YES! – grape), Nuun bottles, brownie brittle and Suja smoothies. If this wasn’t enough, we were told the real surprises were about to begin. My first thought was that we would be able to keep the shoes on our feet. However, the surprise ended up being even bigger and better than that.

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In true Nike style, guys in suits came out with the new Lunar Max 1 on silver platters…that would soon be shipped to each of us!  Next flutes of Suja Spark were delivered to toast what would soon be revealed as the big celebration…

We got entries into the sold out Nike Women’s Half Marathon!

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Ecstatic, Andy and I spent the rest of the night on Cloud 9. With massages that made us fall asleep, and other special gifts like swag bags and Nike outfit styling, the night was a complete treat.

We ended up leaving around 9:30pm, and honestly, I was so hyped on excitement and adrenaline I could’ve easily stayed there until midnight! I keep reliving Monday night in my head, it almost seems too surreal!

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A big thank you to Nike and Finish Line for an amazing event and for letting me be a part of it!

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Happy Sunday night! I’m behind in everything else I need to blog – week in review, Nike Track Club event, etc., so bear with me!

Right now I’m finishing up my meal prep for the week so I just decided to share what’s on this week’s menu.

One of my goals this week is to eat less carbs. I feel like lately, everything I eat is just laden with carbs – oatmeal, bananas, english muffins, potatoes, etc. To achieve my goal, my first idea was to replace my breakfast/snack 1 (usually oatmeal with bananas, pb and walnuts) with an egg dish. Another idea was to have my snack 2 be something other than the usual bananas with pb (I have an obsession with this combo!). Instead, I’m going to have greek yogurt with fruit (because I think I forgot this option even existed).

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Alright, here’s the meal plan (see below for recipes for everything!):
Breakfast – Green smoothie + iced coffee (not pictured)
Snack 1 – Scrambled cottage cheese eggs with spinach and smoked salmon
Lunch – Grapefruit and avocado salad with baked BBQ chicken thighs
Snack 2 – Greek yogurt with frozen berries
Dinner – TBD

Green Smoothie – my go to as of lately.
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1-2 big handfuls of spinach
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup frozen tropical fruit
1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed meal
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place everything in a blender and blend until you reach a nice and smooth consistency.

Scrambled Cottage Cheese Eggs with Spinach and Smoked Salmon
INGREDIENTS:
Non-stick cooking spray
3 egg whites
1 extra-large whole egg
1/4 cup fat-free cottage cheese
1 big handful spinach
2 oz smoked salmon
DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small-medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, whole egg and cottage cheese.
  2. Over medium heat, prepare a pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Pour the egg and cottage cheese mixture on the pan. Let it sit until it begins to set.
  4. Once it sets, mix around with a spatula, making sure that the cottage cheese doesn’t over-cook.
  5. Once it looks about done, add a handful of spinach to the mixture. Stir around until it begins to wilt.
  6. Remove from heat and top with smoked salmon.

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup barley
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. avocado oil
1 heart of romaine, chopped
1/2 ruby red grapefruit, cut into segments
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/2 avocado, cubed
handful of walnuts
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Follow the instructions to cook the barley (I use Trader Joe’s semi-cooked barley).
  2. In a tupperware, layer barley and pour in the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and avocado oil*.
  3. Top with romaine, grapefruit, cucumber, avocado and walnuts.
  4. Cover and store in fridge. When ready to eat, mix everything well to coat the lettuce with the dressed barley.

*Adding the dressing to the bottom ensures that the lettuce does not become wilted over the course of the week.

Baked BBQ Thighs
INGREDIENTS:
10 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
1 cup BBQ Sauce (more or less)
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Toss chicken thighs in a ziploc bag with BBQ sauce. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Once the oven has heated, lay out the chicken thighs on the prepared baking sheet, skin-side up.
  4. Cook for 1 hour. Flip the chicken thighs and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside or serve.

Greek Yogurt with Frozen Berries
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup frozen berries
Honey, amount desired
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Layer greek yogurt with berries and drizzle honey to your desired amount.

What’s your meal plan for this week?

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If you know me, you know, I am not a morning person.  As hard as I try, and as much as I want to be, it’s nearly impossible.

I will try anything to get me going in the morning.  That includes adding a new (to me) supplement into my daily routine, Sol Raiz Organics Maca.  Maca is a Peruvian superfood that comes from a root (that looks similar to a radish) and has a slightly earthy yet nutty flavor.

Because maca provides a good source of natural energy, I’ve been playing around adding it to anything I might encounter in the morning.  So far, it’s been a great addition to oatmeal, iced coffee, and smoothies.

I think this shake is perfect for breakfast or whenever you might need a little boost of energy.  Plus, the flavors are mild and complimentary so it’s a subtle way to introduce maca into your diet!

Have you ever tried maca before?
My first experience was a Whole Foods “Mighty Maca Malt” from their smoothie bar.

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Naturally Nutty Maca Shake
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 banana, frozen
1 Tbsp. natural crunchy peanut butter
1 tsp. Sol Raiz Organics Maca powder
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place everything in a blender and blend until you reach a nice and smooth consistency.

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