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Oh hey, it me!

It’s been a long while since I’ve actually written something and haven’t posted a sponsored post. I’ve tried to blog thought about blogging but haven’t been able to nail the words down.

In fact, this was my start way back in July — “Moving to Bend has been nothing short of amazing. Every couple of days (or 30 minutes) I just have to tell Kevin, “I love it here!” Aside from having one of the last standing Blockbuster stores…” That’s right, one of THREE Blockbusters exists in Bend.

It’s been about 4-5 months since we moved, and we couldn’t have lucked out more. Our house is 2 miles from downtown/work, and I’m seriously spoiled. Driving 15 minutes plus seems like SUCH A TREK. Man, if only I could transport back to my Little Italy days commuting 1 hour or more, one-way.

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Right now, it’s 32 degrees and I’m sitting at a local wine bar with Kevin, down the alley from our work, working on a side hustle. We had our first snow in town this past Sunday that actually stuck. I love winter clothes, and feel like it’s easier to dress in layers than San Diego “fall” aka summer clothes.

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We signed up for 30 days of yoga at The Yoga Lab. I also signed up for Orangetheory Fitness (finally opening next week) a couple months ago at the Farmers Market for the “founding fathers rate” on one of those days when I felt “so fat.” I really got back into running, waking up at 6:15am and doing a 5 mile trail loop nearby our house. But then 1.5+ months of forest fires and hazardous air-quality ruined that. I bought a new-used mountain bike and I’ve been bouldering a few times, but other than that, just getting acupuncture and seeing a functional medicine doctor after experiencing excruciating and consistent abdominal pain. After a breath test, stool test and blood test, I’m still waiting to hear the results – SIBO, leaky gut, etc. For the time being I’ve been eating gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free — so essentially GF and vegan plus meat.

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SO…I have A LOT to catch up on — hikes, camp spots, coastal trips, restaurants, recipes, etc. This blog isn’t dead it — not when I’m still paying for the domain :-P. More to come…

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Recently, Kevin and I have realized we’ve gotten our hiking lunches down to a science.  These 3 ingredients pack so easily and do not require a cooler or refrigeration.  They’re easy to stuff into a sack and prepare on the trail.  This has led to some of our most epic lunches.

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What you need:

  • Stick of Hard Salami (or package of salami)
  • Package of Babybel Cheese
  • Bread (ciabatta or Sprouts sometimes has these sliced half-loaves)

Other tools:

    • Swiss Army Knife
    • Summit beers (definitely necessary!) 😉

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November was a month I didn’t seem to sit still. The first weekend of November was spent down in Mexico in the gated community of Las Gaviotas for Deb’s birthday. I successfully baked and transported a rainbow layered cake, and successfully made it back over the border in less than 2 hours!

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The next weekend London and I took another trip up to Venice for our friend Jhoel’s birthday where we celebrated at the LA Beer Fest. With Hawaii on our mind for Christmas/New Year’s, we buzzed-ly decided, ya we “co-habitate”, and signed up signed up for a timeshare presentation (which we ended up getting too sketched out to go to). We also ran into our friend Hoppy Beer Hoppy Life who had a booth and scored some newly designed hats.

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Fast forward to the next weekend we celebrated Friendsgiving and I made my favorite German Chocolate Pecan Pie. Time seemed to fly, because the next week was already Thanksgiving. I went to Jen’s Thanksgiving for the third year in a row and brought a brown butter sage roasted sweet potato dish (recipe doubled). And on Black Friday, I decided to #optoutside again this year with a hike at Palomar Mountain while simultaneously “dealing with the past” (which surprisingly ended up being and has become a good thing).

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Leading into December, London and I went back up to LA (ironically the day we were supposed to go to our time share presentation in Encino LOLOL) for the Unique LA holiday market where London’s friend had a booth. We made sure to stop somewhere truly LA to eat where we saw someone insta-famous and simultaneously turned to each other and said “that’s @___!“ We immediately we felt better about our choice to devour brunch at Urth Cafe including breakfast “apps” (appetizers), an establishment where someone Insta bikini famous ate!

Weekly Workout Recap (10/31-11/6):
Mon – 3 mi + Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Tues – Rest
Wed – 4 mi + Power Flow @YogaSix
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Rest
Sat – Rest
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 7 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 2
2016 miles: 768.5 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (11/7-11/13):
Mon – The Mixed Level @ The Bar Method + 3 mi
Tues – Full Body @ Core40
Wed – 4 mi run
Thurs – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Fri – Rest
Sat – Rest
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 7 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 3
2016 miles: 775.5 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (11/14-11/20):
Mon – Mixed Level @ The Bar Method + 3 mi
Tues – Full Body @ Core40 + Bootcamp @ YogaSix + Climbing
Wed – 3.5 mi run
Thurs – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Fri – Rest
Sat – Sculpt @ BodyROK
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 6.5 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 5
2016 miles: 782 mi
Weekly Workout Recap (11/21-11/27):
Mon – Hot Yoga @ Yoga Tropics
Tues – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Wed – Rest
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Hike @ Palomar Mountain
Sat – Rest
Sun – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Total Weekly Mileage: 0 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 4
2016 miles: 782 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (11/28-12/4):
Mon – Hot Yoga @ Yoga Tropics
Tues – Full Body @ Core40
Wed – 4 mi
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Mixed Level @ The Bar Method
Sat – Rest
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage:
Number of cross-training workouts: 3
2016 miles: 786 mi

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Biggest question for 2017: do I still want to be a blogger?

In 2016, this blog slowly started to die.  The concept of “daily cup” and “daily doses” doesn’t really seem to fit anymore.  When I first started this blog circa 2013, I read a lot of running bloggers who ran race after race, leaving me feeling inspired, but also like I needed to race frequently to build content.  Last year, I ran 2 whole races, which left me with not so much content.  I don’t really run and I don’t really write.

Long gone are the days when I’d spend Sundays meal prepping an entire week’s worth of food – breakfasts, snacks, and lunches, always with a plan/recipe for dinner. Meal prepping is no longer in my vernacular. It’s more like make 1 recipe a week to spread out 5 days for lunch. And I never plan for dinners anymore because it’s something I just can’t really plan.

In a way, I feel like “blogging” has become so predictable.  It’s hard to be creative and innovative when it feels like you can Google something and find it on someone else’s blog. Blogs are like the new half marathons (everyone’s done one) and half marathons are the new marathons.

So what do I want? I want to share things and experiences that I can’t find online when I do my research (for example, backpacking Cactus to Clouds, La Croix can costumes, and pieced together layer cake recipes).  I want to rebrand this blog (because the title and tagline just don’t make sense anymore). And I want to write more in general (just maybe not about myself on a weekly basis).

So…let’s see what happens in 2017!

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The best gift I received this year (and maybe ever) is my Nespresso.

It’s the gift that never stops giving. Not only do a I enjoy a warm cup of a FROTHY latte first thing in the morning, EVERY MORNING, from the comfort of my own home…but I’m also saving money.  This is why you need to get your loved one THE GIFT OF ENDLESS COFFEE.

For 70-80 cents per pod…I just purchased 70 capsules (aka 70 cups worth) for the equivalent of 8-10 of my “fancy coffee” drinks (and allows me to drink 2-3 cups guilt-free daily…)

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And not only do I enjoy my Nespresso at home, we recently just bought one for the office from William’s Sonoma at Westfield UTC (the whole store smelled like one big holiday pie).

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Now purchasing Nespresso pods is even easier with the new Nespresso store at Westfield UTC. PLUS it’s equipped with a tasting station where you can “try” those brand new holiday flavors you’ve never ever tried before (or maybe just have 3 sleeves of waiting at home… ;-)).  When you’re thinking of what to put on your wish list or what you should get someone this holiday season…trust me and GIVE THE GIFT OF NESPRESSO!

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One of my favorite things to do the first of every month is to read my Susan Miller horoscope. Since Mercury will go retrograde during the holiday season, it’s suggested I get my holiday shopping done this month. While it might seem early, that’s what has me thinking already.

This Christmas I’m looking to shop Uncommon Goods. I love how everything is handmade and artisanal, making each gift feel like it’s one-of-a-kind.  Uncommon Goods also makes shopping easy, with Christmas Gifts for Women and Christmas Gifts for Men collections.

Here are some of my favorite finds on Uncommon Goods —

uncommongoods_plantsRight now, one my favorite things are home accents, especially indoor plants. They can add so much vibrancy and completely change a space. This hanging planter is really cool and so is this succulent living wall planter kit!

uncommongoods_kitchenThe kitchen is also another important place where gifts are always welcomed. This reclaimed wood cookbook stand ads just a bit of rustic flavor to the kitchen, and I like how raw and natural these stoneware pieces look.

uncommongoods_babiesAnd even though I don’t have any babies, and don’t really have too many friends with babies yet (Kendall said I can get these for her in 4-5 years…) I’m obsessed with these swaddling and bootie collections that look like food!!

While the gifts on Uncommon Goods are unique, the company is also different in that it’s a B Corp meaning it’s been evaluated based on areas including company governance, environmental practices, and impacts on the local community.

Where are you planning to do your holiday shopping?

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Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Uncommon Goods. However, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Amazon Books is NOW OPEN at Westfield UTC. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. At first I thought, kind of weird…Amazon opening up a physical store when most brick-and-mortar bookstores are almost non-existent. However, this might be my favorite new store, and a reason I might have to visit Westfield UTC at least once a week (I’ll tell you why…).

Amazon Prime members receive Amazon.com pricing in the store. That means no more visiting Barnes & Noble only to look on Amazon.com for cheaper prices, place an order and wait 2 days (I’m seriously guilty of doing this with the last book I read). Amazon Books = Instant gratification!

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All of the books in the store all have 4 stars or above. The selection of books come from Amazon.com customer ratings, sales, popularity on Goodreads and Amazon curators’ assessments. They also have books based on suggestions just like the website (“Love this? You’ll like this!”) and staff picks.

And, every Tuesday they receive a shipment of new releases.

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I found the store to be so well executed. You can check pricing with the scanners located around the store, and you can even pay with the app eliminating the need to pull out your credit card.

In the past couple of months I’ve become the ultimate book worm. I am seriously addicted to reading psychological thrillers. Even though I’m the biggest baby when it comes to scary movies, for some reason I love the suspense and thrill of how fast-paced these books move.

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Just purchased (from the Amazon Books Store):

Find Her

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Just finished last week:
I’m Thinking Of Ending Things — This book is more of a psychological horror. It’s so creepy because it reminds me of a scary movie that could actually very well be real. And it gives me so much anxiety because it’s written in staccato sentences. It was the type of book you just want to know what happens because you know something bad is going to happen, but you can’t read fast enough. I couldn’t quite figure out the ending so I started reading reviews and you either love this book and might even try re-reading it to understand it better, or absolutely hate it. I’m of the first sentiment and plan to give the book another go now knowing the outcome.

In A Dark, Dark Wood — I found this book to be a little predictable, but still enjoyed the predictability because my assumptions were correct. It was still captivating and a quick read (finished in one day/during my flights). Also, soon to be a movie.

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Past reads and recommendations (order suggesting hierarchy of read):

  • Pretty Girls
  • All the Missing Girls
  • The Good Girl
  • The Woman in Cabin 10
  • The Girls

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

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On Christmas Day I selfishly went out for a long solo run/hike in Palm Springs. I had done some research prior on trails in the area, and decided on the Garstin Trail. This trail looked like a good one because it meets up with 9 other trails. My plan was to do Garstin to Berns to Araby (where you can see Bob Hope’s house), and hopefully link up with Fern Canyon and/or Murray Peak if I was lucky.

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I parked in the residential neighborhood by the Garstin Trail Trailhead. The first stretch are narrow switchbacks with a pretty fast ascent. However, once at the top, it turns into a plateau of single track with slight rolling hills amongst the red dirt and desert plants.

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I easily found my way through Garstin to Berns. Then I found signs leading to Araby. So I ran down a highly trafficked trail, viewed Bob Hope’s house, and realized I was getting to an RV park where another trail entrance was, and essentially the end of the road. At this point I was around 5-6 miles, so I decided to eat half of my PB&M (marmalade) sandwich. Eventually I wanted to get to Murray Peak, however, Google maps made it appear as though I would need to drive or take a completely different route to achieve this.

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Feeling a little down even though I basically accomplished what I set out to do, I decided to turn back to the top. Back here I found the sign that pointed for Garstin, Berns and Araby, however, there was a trail leading off with no markings. I decided to run on this for a bit, and kind of randomly started following other offshoots from this trail. Just when I was about to turn back, I saw a family roaming around and a larger brown sign. It was just the thing I was looking for, the Clara Burgess trail, aka the route to Murray Peak.

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All of the trails (minus Araby because it was so populated) were so enjoyable.I loved how desolate and alone I felt.  It felt so liberating to barely have anyone around.  Just being surrounded by endless trails and expansive mountains that felt so removed from the housing developments and golf courses below.

I ended up running 12 miles and being out there for close to 3 hours 45 minutes.

Garstin Trail to Murray Peak

Entrance: Garstin Trail Trailhead, Palm Springs, CA 92264
Route: Start at the Garstin Trail Trailhead.  Follow the trail up the Shannon trail until you meet Berns.  Follow the Berns loop until it pops out to Garstin again.  Option to descend down Araby to view Bob Hope’s House.  Come back up to the fork and follow the unmarked trail (I think this is still part of Garstin).  This will become the Wild Horse Trail, which will become Clara Burgess.  Clara Burgess will lead you to Murray Peak.   Retrace your steps to get back to the start.  (I got kind of lost but remembered that I originally came from the Garstin Trailhead, so although it might of cut off some of the loops I did earlier, I still made my way back down).  For more information on these trails visit here.
Miles: 12 miles

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Happy New Year!!!  2015 has come to a close, with a final count of 1,493.15 miles.  I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings in terms of running and racing.  For now, here’s a recap of running in 2015.

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Best race experience? Originally I was going to say NOTHING can top NYC. Seriously.  But the Malibu Canyon 50k was such an eye-opening and self-affirming run that I’d also have to say that in addition to NYC.

Best run? Any trail run, but specifically at this point, Noble Canyon.

Best new piece of gear? Trail running shoes!  The grip and traction makes all the difference.  Currently running in the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 3.

Best piece of running advice you received? I can’t think of anything new or unique I’ve received in terms of advice for this year.  So I’m going to be cheesy and say listening to myself/my body has been the best advice.

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Most inspirational runner? My newest running partner, KATE (aka So Cal Runner Gal), who ran a 3:13 marathon at St. George this year, runs whenever, wherever and however long I want, and loves to eat!!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? I think the word “varied” would encompass it all (in terms of focus, goals, terrain).

In just a few words, how would you sum up your year of running?

See my year of running 2014 & 2013.

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This is a post I did last year, looking back at 2014. I thought it would be fun to take a look at what I wanted to achieve in 2015, and set some goals for 2016.

This year seriously flew by.  But looking back I feel very satisfied and accomplished.  I qualified for Boston, got to experience a big city marathon, and ran my first ultramarathon.

2015 Goals:

  • Qualify for Boston (3:35 marathon): Mountains 2 Beach Marathon
  • Qualify for NYC Marathon (1:30 half): I didn’t qualify but I did end up running the NYC Marathon this year!
  • Start swimming again: this lasted for about 1-2 months in the beginning of year…
  • Do a (sprint) tri: No, lol. Maybe next year
  • Find balance with working hard and having fun!: always a work in progress, but pretty happy with my current state.

And recently, outside of blogging, I found on my computer notepad my “bucket list” for 2015 (which I apparently only got around to putting two items):

  • Learn how to surf: success
  • Go camping: success

(both captured in my post, The Summer I Didn’t Run)

2016 Goals:

  • Have more weekend adventures
  • Get outside more than just running
  • Do more yoga
  • Read more books
  • Qualify for Boston, again (this time with 3:32 or sub marathon)
  • Run more ultras!!!

What are you goals for this new year?

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