New Balance Girls Night Out and MyNB

Hello friends!

I just recapped my west coast trip for you last week, and if you’re following along on Instagram, you can see that I’m off on another trip already! This summer was shaping up to be a whirlwind, and then we found out we had to move and things got a little bit TOO crazy. This trip is a welcome escape from the stresses of packing and moving, and although the timing isn’t great I’m going to enjoy every last second of it! I’m currently road tripping to St. Louis with my coworkers/friends, with a few stops along the way. Jersey Shore, Morgantown, WV, Louisville, and then finally on to St. Louis for a conference (the main reason for this trip).

Hopefully as you’re reading this we’re cruising along with no major mishaps, I’m sure you’ll get some stories from the trip at some point!

Anyway, the point of today is to recap an event I went to about a week and a half ago — another New Balance Girls Night Out event. You all know how much I love these, and this one was no different. The theme of this event was Heating Things Up For Summer, with a Booty and Arm workout from the awesome Sarah Kusch. The night was hosted by Rachel of Healthy Chicks, and both ladies did a wonderful job!

NBGNOJune

As always, there was a 3.6 mile fun run, but this time I joined the alternate workout, which was a hot and sweaty booty and arm blast from Sarah.

NBGNOJune2

DJ Brek One killed it on the beats as usual, and the workout was a killer! We ran to a park about a half mile away, blasted our booties with about 10,000 squats (I don’t even think I’m exaggerating here), and then headed back to the store for snacks, cocktails, sparkly tattoos, photo booth fun, and more.

NBGNOJune4 NBGNOJune5

NBGNOJune6

Guys. This juice was SO GOOD. I don’t know about you, but I love spicy drinks… and is it inappropriate to say that this would make a killer cocktail? 

Although the theme of the night had to do with getting “summer ready”, both lovely ladies stood up and spoke personally about what this means to them. Rachel spoke from the heart about the days when she used to hate summer due to insecurities surrounding shorts, bathing suit weather, etc. She reminded us that we are all “bikini ready” no matter what, and loving ourselves is what is most important. Sarah spoke about the importance of hard work and doing everything you can to take care of yourself, mind and body equally.

Although most of the blogger ladies that I usually see at these events couldn’t make it, I was so excited to be able to meet and spend a little bit of time with the adorable Sherri from Fun Fit Flavor. We chatted for a while, and I can’t wait to see her again at future events. If you haven’t checked out her blog, do it now!

NBGNOJune3

All in all, it was another awesome girl-power night from New Balance, with a kick-ass workout, a great message, and a pretty great party. I can’t wait for the next one!

I also have another exciting announcement for all of you. New Balance has just launched their signature program, called MyNB, accessible on the NB website, and available as an app download for both iPhone and Android devices.  From New Balance:

MyNB members can earn points through different New Balance activities such as online product purchases, event check-ins, social media interactions, fitness activity within the RunKeeper app, and custom shoe purchases, among others. Points can then be redeemed, at the member’s convenience, for unique reward options that enable consumers to meet their fitness and lifestyle goals. Rewards include free race bibs, product reward certificates, RunKeeper Elite memberships, and TeamNB Meet & Greets.”

MyNB also offers 3 different levels — bronze, silver, and gold, each with their own privileges. You choose which one is best for you and your needs, and start earning those rewards! I don’t know about you all, but I’m definitely going to jump on this. Earn rewards for using a brand I know and already love? Especially since I can earn points for checking in at some super awesome events, like NBGNO. Yes please!

Alright, I’m out. Have yourselves a lovely day!

Every photo on this post except for the juice photo is courtesy of New Balance

West Coast Recap 2: San Francisco

I feel like today’s post should probably be fitness related, since it’s been a while, but I’m going to go with the second part of my recap instead. Mostly because if I don’t get this down into a post, I’m just going to forget too many details to give you a good recap!

The first part of our west coast trip was to Portland, OR, which you can read about here. In short, I fell in love with Portland instantly, and although I was excited about San Francisco, I felt like I could have stayed there forever.

I will warn you ahead of time, I think I have far less food pictures from SF than I did from Portland — we were there with several friends and ate a lot of meals with them, so I spent a lot more time socializing and a lot less time photographing my food. I will say that we ate some of the best meals of my life here — so even with few pictures, I’ve been dying to tell you guys about these places.

We arrived in SF early on a Saturday morning, and after dropping our bags at our hotel downtown, we had one goal: breakfast. After a 4 am wakeup time to catch our flight, we were starving and felt like it was already mid-day, so honestly I probably could have eaten lunch at that point. We set off on foot, as always (we are vacation walk-aholics), and really just wandered for a bit before settling on a place to eat.

We ended up at a tiny hole-in-the-wall joint called Farm:Table, which seemed to be the only place fairly close to us that didn’t have an hour wait for breakfast/brunch (it was Memorial Day weekend, so the city was pretty busy!). The reviews we read were great, so we decided to give it a shot, and I am so glad we did. It is quite literally one of the tiniest restaurants I’ve ever seen, with the inside consisting of one communal table and the counter where you order. With a line out the door, we knew we wouldn’t get to sit at the table, but that’s ok because they have an outdoor counter that you can stand at, a couple of tiny outdoor tables, and a little parklet right outside with some funky benches, etc.

FarmTable FarmTable2

I stood outside to snag a spot at the counter, leaving Will to order. In true Will fashion, he decided to order one of just about everything, which meant we were served quite the feast for our first San Francisco meal. We each had an egg sandwich on a freshly baked croissant, and we shared the house made cereal as well as a delicious spinach frittata that was served with fresh fruit. Yes, it was A LOT of food. And yes, we ate it all. And YES, it was absolutely delicious. I kept meaning to go back there for the rest of the week to have that house made cereal again, but never made it. Maybe next time!

FarmTable3

We spent most of the rest of that day wandering around town, checking out some of the “must-see” touristy spots, to check those off our list. We saw Lombard Ave, the iconic San Francisco “curviest” street, we visited the waterfront and spent some time with the Sea Lions on Pier 39, and wound our way back through China Town and Little Italy. After all that walking, it was time for a late afternoon lunch. We stopped at a little sandwich place/bar called Naked Lunch, and I had a Fried Green Tomato Sandwich. It was enormous, but after that giant breakfast I only ended up eating half. It was incredibly tasty, and don’t worry, the second half was taken home to eat later!

NakedLunch NakedLunch2

Here’s where I tell you about an amazing meal that I unfortunately have NO pictures of. We made reservations with our friends to go to Stone’s Throw for dinner that evening. As there were six of us, when we arrived we were informed that the chef’s tasting was available for parties of 6 or more– so of course, that’s what we did? Why order one entree when you can try so many different things?

And try different things we did! I’ve never had such an incredible chef’s tasting before — we ended up with an 8 course meal, all before a 3 course dessert. And that is not an exaggeration! We ate everything from duck liver pate (which I’m usually not a fan of but this was incredible), to a spring pea salad, to squid ink pasta and a bruschetta with bur rata cheese. I wish I had a list of everything we ate, because the details just won’t come back to me, but trust me when I tell you that everything was perfect.

When we were all starting to get stuffed, we were informed that we hadn’t even tried the entree selections yet — perfectly cooked salmon, duck, and steak. I can’t even do this meal justice in text, but please visit this restaurant if you live in or visit San Francisco. It was one of the most amazing meals that I’ve ever eaten, and the icing on the cake (besides our 3 perfect desserts), was when the chef came out to greet us when we were done, and he couldn’t have been more humble or friendly. Stone’s Throw, I officially love you!

On Sunday, definitely still stuffed from the night before, I actually got up to go for a run on the waterfront, which actually ended up being my fastest 5 mile run ever. I guess the secret is eating 11 courses of decadent food the night before a run? I’m not sure I’ll be testing that theory again though. :)

SanFrancisco1

That day we headed out to Presidio Park for Off The Grid, San Francisco’s very own family friendly “Sunday Funday”. There were food trucks and carts galore, a bar, and tons of people just camped out and having fun for the day. Of course we had to try multiple food carts while we were there, but I ordered my food from La Marcha. I ended up with some amazing paella and patatas aoli, which were patatas fritas with a black truffle aoli. Holy yum, I could have eaten those all day.

LaMarcha

Previous delicious food aside, there is one more meal that we ate in San Francisco that I just have been dying to tell you all about. The restaurant is called State Bird Provisions, and this was on Will’s “must do” list from the beginning. As the one who does all of the food research, I can always count on him to find something amazing in a brand new city, and this was no exception.

The deal with SBP though, is that it’s almost impossible to get a reservation, but they do reserve a specific portion of the restaurant for walk-ins. Or should I say, “wait-in-line-ins”. You see, we arrived at 3:50 to get in line, and the doors to the restaurant open at 5:30. Within minutes of us getting there, the line was down the block (we were the 3rd party in line. so we made good timing!). For the beginning of the line, you can choose to get sat right away, or put your name in to come back around 7 or 8 for your table. We chose to sit right away, although waiting until later would have been totally worth it as well.

StandardBirdProvisionsLine

The line for SBP at about 4:30 pm. My favorite part of this picture though is the man with the pups in the stroller! 

The restaurant is American “dim sum” style, with servers and chef’s offering food as they go. Servers bring dishes around on carts, and because we were right at the chef’s counter (my favorite seat in any restaurant), the chef’s were offering us plates as they were plating them. You keep track of everything you’ve ordered on a sheet right in front of you, so although all of those small dishes add up, you know exactly how much you’re spending the entire time. We tried so many different dishes here, and this time I did get to snap a few photos. I wanted to really enjoy the whole experience of this different type of meal though, so I didn’t go crazy with the photos.

StateBirdProvisions1 StateBirdProvisions2

StateBirdProvisions3 StateBirdProvisions4 StateBirdProvisions5

When all is said and done, I would easily say that SBP and Stone’s Throw are both on my top 10 meals eaten of all time. State Bird Provisions was a combination of incredible and interesting food and a different type of experience, which will help it to stand out in my memory for a long time to come. One thing is for sure, if I ever return to San Francisco, both of these will be on my list.

Since we were actually there for Will to be at a conference, I spent a good amount of time during the day just cruising around the city on my own. It gave me a lot of time to just walk and wander, which is one of my favorite things to do when traveling. I was able to visit many different neighborhoods, one of my favorite was Hayes Valley, which had a great vibe and adorable shops and restaurants. I was also able to wander over to see the Painted Ladies, Buena Vista Park (which had the most incredible views), the Mission, Nob Hill, and Haight-Ashbury.

We spent an amazing afternoon at Alcatraz — my #1 must see of the trip, and it didnt disappoint! We also took an afternoon to drive out to Muir Woods and see the Redwoods, which was a beautiful and relaxing excursion from the hustle and bustle of the city. That same afternoon, we took some time to visit Sausolito, and of course go back to view the Goldent Gate Bridge from the other side. It’s amazing how the view of a bridge can be so breathtaking!

GoldenGateBridge

And some other notable foods…

BlueBottleCoffee

My breakfast and coffee almost every morning came from Blue Bottle Coffee. Holy yum! Maybe the best granola I’ve ever had. Be prepared to wait in line if you go here! 

BowldAcai

An acai bowl from a food truck called Bowl’d Acai. So good! 

LovingCup

I have a really weird love for rice pudding, so when we found a place that served Fro-Yo and Rice Pudding as their specialty, I knew we had to go! This was Loving Cup, an adorable little dessert shop in Hayes Valley. (And yes, it was delicious)

Sausolito

When in Sausolito… seafood is a must! This delectable piece of salmon came from Fish, where we sat out on picnic tables right on the water. Just LOOK at that piece of salmon! Perfect! 

Overall, San Francisco was wonderful, and although I can’t see myself ever living there, it was an extremely fun place to visit. Also worth noting is that I had two of the best meals of my life there, and I am positive that we only scratched the surface in terms of what San Francisco has to offer on the food scene.

**NOTE: Although it may not appear to be the case, we did a lot more on this vacation than eat, and each city has so many amazing things to offer. The thing is, this is not a travel blog, and although I’m going a little bit out of my realm to recap these trips, I figure you guys are pretty interested in the food. So please, know that we enjoyed the cities for all they had to offer — not just the food! 

Never Stop Learning

As I’m still working on the second part of the recap of our west coast trip, today’s post will be quick. I just want to share a few thoughts I’ve had lately on continuing to improve your craft.

Whatever it is you do, whether you are a fitness professional, an educator, a medical professional, or anything else in the world, there are always new things to learn about your specific field. Yes, some fields change more rapidly than others, and some of us need to stay on top of continuing education for our professional licensure, etc. but beyond that, there is so much value in continuing to improve whatever it is that you do.

I don’t want to hire a plumber who hasn’t done anything to change or improve his trade in 30 years, so why would I want to hire a trainer who hasn’t done anything to change or improve theirs? I know of fitness professionals who meet their continuing education requirements who don’t necessarily put a lot of emphasis on the “education” portion of that, completing only easy online continuing ed “courses” to meet the criteria. But if all they’re doing is meeting the criteria, and not really trying to find things that will help to make them a better, more educated, more equipped professional, are they really doing any good?

There’s a huge difference between doing enough to get by, and doing enough to get better. 

Yes, as an athletic trainer and CSCS, I have to do continuing education to maintain my license and certifications. But I try my hardest to take advantage of CE opportunities that will not only keep me legally practicing, but that will directly help my patients and my clients.

Last weekend, I went to a really great workshop at a local studio, Iron Body Studios. This studio is owned and operated by the dynamic duo, Eric Gahan and Artemis Scantalides They have built this studio from the ground up, and their passion and expertise are apparent as soon as you start a session with them. This particular workshop was called Kettlebell Fundamentals (I’ll probably be doing a separate post to talk about some of the great things that I took away from the workshop). We went over the fundamental KB movements (deadlift, goblet squat, swing, and turkish get-up), specifically how to do them properly, as well as how to coach them. As soon as I heard about the workshop through Eric’s Facebook page, I knew I had to be there. The two of them are pretty much KB masters, and with my love of KB training, I knew that some specific instruction from Eric could help me to not only better utilize them myself, but to also better utilize them with clients and with patients in rehab.

iron-body-logo

[Source ]

The group at the workshop was mainly athletic trainers, personal trainers, and strength coaches. However, there was one stand-out participant, and he is the main reason why I’m writing this post today. There was an older gentleman who turned out to be a local policeman. When asked what his goal was for attending the workshop, he answered that he just “wanted more knowledge”.

It turned out that he runs a bootcamp for his fellow policemen, and wanted a little bit more knowledge to bring back to them. Now, maybe I’m wrong, but he probably doesn’t need fitness continuing education. He probably didn’t need to be at that workshop, but he was. He was there because he wanted to be better, in order to help his colleagues to be better. How’s that for motivation?

Not only was he there to learn, but he was on the floor with the rest of us, going through the motions of KB swings and turkish get-ups, and he was doing them extremely well. I can only hope then when I’m in my 60s, (I’m just assuming he was in his 60s here), I can move half that well. Heck, I hope that when I’m at that point, I’m still motivated enough to want to keep learning about all this stuff.

The workshop was wonderful, and I came away with a lot of great information and new ideas to use with my patients and clients. But more importantly, I came away with a view of someone who takes the “never stop learning” mantra very seriously. There are plenty of trainers out there who have been training clients for a while, who may think that they know everything. In my opinion, those are the most dangerous ones.  This guy, although not your typical personal trainer, is actively going out of his way to learn more information that will help his “clients” (his colleagues). That is exactly the type of person that I want teaching a bootcamp that I’m taking — someone who realizes that there is always more to learn, no matter how long you’ve been doing what you’re doing.

So the take away today is if you’re a trainer or strength coach, what are you doing to better yourself on a regular basis? And if you’re in the process of looking for a trainer or are one yourself, a little humility goes a long way; someone who knows that there is always more to learn is almost always the smartest one in the group.

West Coast Recap: Food and Fun in Portland, OR

….And I’m back!

If you follow along on Instagram, you got a few glimpses into our awesome trip to Portland and San Francisco, but now it’s (finally) time for a full recap!

We ate far too much delicious food and saw way too many great places for me to recap ALL of it, so consider this more of a highlight reel. And highlights they are — I swear, I’ve never eaten more than I did during the 9 days of this trip. Multi-course meals turned into the norm, and dessert was almost a constant. Good thing we were getting an average of 14 miles of walking per day! (Not kidding). All of that walking probably saved my waistline and my sanity, and I truly believe that walking is the best way to see a new city, no matter how much you’re eating.

WestCoastSteps

Stepping madness! No wonder my legs were tired by day 8! 

The City

If I had to describe Portland in 3 words, I would say Chill, Vintage, and Roses. I know, I know, strange choice of words, but they all fit. The vibe in Portland is so chill that I felt instantly relaxed and at home there. In fact, it was in such a stark contrast to the uppity nature of New England (a place I love, and have lived all my life), I couldn’t help but fall in love instantly.

Vintage, because it seems that everything new in Portland is actually old, and everything old is new again. There are vintage shops pretty much everywhere, many restaurants/bars have a  very vintage vibe, and the general aesthetic was that of days past. Again, this plays into the chill factor.

And now for the roses. Portland is the Rose City, something I never knew until visiting. There are gorgeous varieties of roses everywhere, in most front yards, in parks, even along the highway. They are everywhere, and they are beautiful! And not only were there roses everywhere, but there is so much beautiful vegetation as well. Most people’s front yards were overflowing with beautiful jungles of plants, vines, flowers, and greenery– I was having so much yard envy it wasn’t even funny.

PortlandFlowers

Bottom line is, I loved it and I felt at home in a place that combined my love of the city and also beautiful nature scenery all in one place. I don’t think there are many cities that can combine both so seamlessly!

The Food  

Now for what most of you are interested in, right? Food. Let me tell you — food was abundant in Portland, and all of it was delicious. We ate at a mix of different types of places in all different neighborhoods, trying to get a feel for as much of the city that we could. Ready for some of my favorites?

SweedeedeeThis was an amazing little breakfast/lunch spot on the Northeast side of the city. We actually walked 4 miles there for breakfast the first day — not a bad way to work up an appetite, huh? Everything on the menu looked delicious, so I ended up ordering a couple of what I thought would be smaller breakfast dishes. Boy was I wrong! I got the house-made yogurt and granola, along with a breakfast sandwich. Both were out of this world, but the breakfast sandwich was served on what was some of the best bread I’ve ever had — house made molasses bread. It had the slightest hint of sweet, but was so soft and pillowy it made the perfect base for an egg sandwich.

PortlandFood1 PortlandFood2

Seriously, this breakfast was so good, at the end of the trip we got mad at ourselves that we didn’t go back there a second time! If you are in the Portland area, I HIGHLY recommend this for breakfast or lunch.

Donuts. We knew going into the trip that donuts were going to be a must in Portland. With the famous Voodoo Doughnuts as well as Blue Star Donuts in the city, we knew we had to hit up both. And they didn’t disappoint! Voodoo is definitely more about the experience and the weirdness/”wow”-factor of the donuts, while Blue Star is more about gourmet flavors and ingredients. At Voodoo, I had a “no-name”, which is smothered with chocolate, rice crispies, and peanut butter sauce. It was ridiculous, and also ridiculously filling. At Blue Star I ended up choosing the Coffee Coconut Cheesecake and Will had the Blueberry Bourbon Basil. Both were delicious, but I must say I preferred Will’s over mine, and I’d probably try something different next time!

PortlandDonuts

Doughnuts from Voodoo and Blue Star (description). Bottom left is Will and his Voodoo “doughnut” that was actually bigger than his head.. 

Le Pigeon. One of the best dinners we ate on the trip was at Le Pigeon. We sat up at the chef’s counter, which I love doing because I love watching everything that goes down in the kitchen. Anyway, the highlight of that meal was actually the pigeon breast starter that we ordered — I had never had pigeon before, and never intended to, but it was absolutely wonderful! Not too gamey, in fact to me it tasted more like filet mignon than poultry, which was a pleasant surprise. I also ordered lamb shoulder for my entree, and we finished with a decadent flourless chocolate cake for dessert. We left stuffed and happy that night for sure!

LePigeon1 LePigeon2

Food Trucks. The food truck/cart scene in Portland is out of this world. Sure, in Boston the food truck world is growing, but it Portland it just seems to be a part of their culture. We happened upon so many little “villages” of food cards with open seating areas, they were just everywhere, and they all serve amazing food! It was often hard to choose between them, and we definitely made some good choices when we chose to hit up the food carts instead of traditional restaurants for a few meals. One of my favorites (and one of my favorite things we ate in Portland overall!) was Fried Egg I’m In Love. All I had was a breakfast sandwich, but it was a darn good breakfast sandwich, probably one of the best I’ve ever had.

PortlandFoodTrucks

My FEIIL breakfast sandwich, and another food cart “village”, with some delicious Korean/Mexican fusion. 

Salt And Straw. I’m a bit of an ice cream fanatic, so whenever we travel we try to find the best ice cream in the city. We found it here, and we loved it so much we came back a second time before we left (and we were only there for 4 days, so that should tell you something)! Salt and Straw makes gourmet, unique ice cream flavors with local organic ingredients. If you go there, expect a line down the block, but don’t let that deter you because it is well worth the wait!

IMG_3913

SaltandStraw

Everything Else

As I’ve said a thousand times already, I fell in love with Portland instantly. We stayed on the southeast side of the city, in the Buckman neighborhood, and it was perfect. Wandering through our neighborhood and others, and venturing into downtown, I felt comfortable and at home everywhere we went.

Home to an amazing array of coffee roasters and breweries, Portland also had something to offer no matter what mood we were in. We made it to about 1297 coffee houses (give or take a few), two breweries, two cider houses, and the coolest little smoothie shack where I blended the smoothie using the pedal power of a bike. How cool is that?

The city was extremely walkable, in fact we only ended up taking public transportation once the entire time. The rest of the time we walked (and boy, did we walk!). It was an amazing city over all, and I would go back there in a heart beat. In fact, we both agreed that it is somewhere we could definitely move — it’s just that whole pesky moving clear across the country thing that would stop us.

Portland1

PortlandBreweries

Samplers from Reverend Nats (If you like cider and you visit Portland…GO HERE!!!), Storm Breaker Brewery and Deschutes Brewery 

IMG_3905 IMG_3907

A delicious meal at Pok Pok, an incredible and authentic  little Thai restaurant. 

IMG_3987

Probably the weirdest thing we ate on the trip. Sea Urchin Creme Brûlée at Bamboo Sushi. Dinner here was amazing… this dessert… not so much. Will loved it, but I couldn’t get past the first bite! 

IMG_3910

And the coffee… There was a LOT of coffee. :) 

IMG_3943 IMG_3969 IMG_3974

A few scenes from our hike to Multnomah Falls, and a little bit of the hiking trail beyond the falls, which was breathtakingly gorgeous. 

Readers: Have you ever been to Portland, OR? If you live in Portland or have been there, what are some of your favorite restaurants? And most importantly, Blue Star or Voodoo?

The Stress Chronicles

My oh my. Life is funny sometimes, huh?

I fully intend on putting up some recaps from our west coast trip because we ate some RIDICULOUSLY good food out there,  but things have gone a bit haywire around here. Those might have to wait until next week.

We arrived home from vacation last week to find our letter from our landlord saying that we have 60 days to vacate the apartment.

I’m sorry, WHAT?

We love our apartment. It’s not just some crappy place we found and pay rent for, it’s home. We’ve settled in, and we really thought we would stay there until we bought something. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Our landlord has decided to renovate the entire place (it’s an older house, but it’s charming and lovely!), in order to be able to charge higher rent. I get it, he needs to make money, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating for us!

So since Sunday, I’ve emailed about 9.2 million places, and have seen 7 condos, 11 apartments and counting. Some have been great, some have been horrible, and will someone explain WHY it is so difficult to find a place that has laundry in the building?!? I’m going out of my mind, as you can probably tell. As of now, we have a few leads, but nothing concrete, which means that I’ve been in 100% stress mode since the weekend. My stomach has been in knots, I’ve cried several times, and I’ve started to feel a rage instead of hope whenever I find a new apartment to email about.

I know, I know. First world problems, right? We have a roof over our heads, and when it comes down to it, we will have another roof over our heads one way or another. It may not be perfect, but it’ll work out eventually. I just need to figure out a way to control this stress in the meantime, because I’m pretty sure it’s killing me.

I’ve been seriously fatigued, irritable, sensitive, and not sleeping. Stress is like a vicious cycle that wreaks havoc on your body, and it’s like a horrible Catch 22: Stress is keeping me from sleeping, and the lack of sleep is causing my body a whole lot more stress.

I’ve been trying to stay sane through workouts, and the launch of my new Group Fitness program, Rondeau Group Fitness, and these things are helping! For an hour on Tuesday and Thursday morning, I was able to escape from my buzzing mind and just focus on running the class, which was a total blast. Yesterday I even took a little bit of time right after bootcamp to head out and run some stairs on my own. It was just a little 30 minute piece of time for me, but it was time when I wasn’t thinking about anything but my breathing and the rhythm of my steps. I wasn’t hunched in front of a computer screen, reading apartment listing after apartment listing, feeling the bile rise in my throat as it seems like less and less places are available each day.

Things I need to do include meditating and focusing on positive energy, this I know. Focusing on the positive will help to bring a positive outcome, right? That’s what they say anyway. Keeping my fingers crossed that we find something soon, because as of right now not only do we not know where we’re moving, but we don’t know WHEN we’re moving. Some are available right now, some July 1, some August 1. It really is just a giant cluster.

I just need to remind myself to keep breathing, stay calm, and know that it will work out because it has to. Working out helps to some extent, but I also don’t want to push too much right now because exercise is another form of stress on your body — usually a good stress, but there is a fine line when you’re also going through other stressful life events. Keeping my workouts light and about my sanity is the game plan right now — yoga, easy runs, even just some walking might ease my mind a little bit.

Readers, do you use workouts to deal with stress or do you sometimes feel that it’s too much on top of whatever’s going on? Do you have a “de-stress” routine for these times?

Is Sugar The Devil?

Hi all! I know it’s been a while since I’ve been on here, I’ve been in vacation-brain mode since I was away! I have a couple of full recap posts coming for ya soon, but they’re not quite ready yet. Since it’s been a little too long since my last post, I wanted to jump in today with these thoughts on diet and nutrition.

For the past few years on this blog, I’ve been fighting the good fight when it comes to dietary restrictions. I’ve put my foot down many times in the defense of fat, and even saturated fat and the necessity of these things in your diet. It’s been a very long time since I’ve jumped on the “low-fat” or “no-fat” train, as I’m very well aware that the research backs up the positives of including fats in your diet. Thankfully, it seems that the “no-fat” craze of the 90s has officially fizzled out, save for a few chemical monstrosities masquerading as food here and there.

As the media and general public finally catch on to the ideas that fat and cholesterol aren’t actually the devil, there has been another victim of fear mongering to replace these two. Sugar. I’m not here to break down research studies and tell you what exactly sugar is doing to every cell of your body, rather I just want to have kind of a philosophical conversation about all of this today. Now that fat and cholesterol are “okay”, is sugar really the poison that’s going to bring down the human race? Should we really be demonizing sugar and removing it completely from our diets, or looking at the bigger picture?

There have been a few articles that have come out over the past several months detailing the new food guidelines and the changes between fat, cholesterol, and sugar. I read this one a while ago, and although I’m very happy about the changes, I can’t help but wonder are we just going on another witch hunt?

Again, devil’s advocate here.

I agree that sugar needs to be controlled, I’m all about moderation — but is this really the singular key to a healthier society? Or should we be looking more at “bigger picture” — sedentary lifestyle, posture, time spent outdoors, working too much, etc. I just have a really hard time believing that sugar is everything that is wrong with our society’s health as a whole. I went completely sugar free last year, and stayed very low sugar up until my wedding in July. But do you want to know what happened when I became a little bit more lax with my sugar intake in the months following the wedding? I lost weight. In fact, I lost about 8 pounds which is pretty significant on my frame. And believe it or not, that weight is still off. I kid you not when I say that I even thought something was wrong with my health because I couldn’t figure out why weight was just falling off of me.

Do I think that eating more sugar than I had been previously is what made me lose this weight? Of course not– I think there were a lot of other factors at play– less stress, for example. But the point is, it was the bigger picture that lead to this, not my sugar intake.

Scientific research this is not, in fact it’s hardly even anecdotal evidence of anything at all, but my point is that when I stopped being the sugar police, I saw improvements in my body that I had been striving for until then– and failing. So yes, I agree that as a whole, our society consumes far too much sugar. From sodas to juices to sugary coffee drinks, it’s pretty out of control. But what I don’t want to happen is for people to place more value on sugar than is necessary, and miss the importance of other big changes that may be necessary.

Reducing sugar but still sitting hunched over at a desk for 8-10 hours a day is not going to make you that much healthier, in my opinion. Reducing sugar but remaining sedentary and spending 90% of your time indoors is not going to make that big of a difference in your health. Yes, reducing sugar from an extremely high level of consumption is important, but it’s just one small piece of the health puzzle. There is so much more that we need to focus on, so much more that we need to be conscious of in order to make true strides in our health.

So am I saying that we should all eat all of the sugar that we want? No, of course not, I just don’t think we need to become fanatical about eliminating sugar from our diets. A little sweetness in life is not a bad thing, and as long as sugar is treated as a treat, and not a constant component of your meals, it’s not something to stress about.

Besides, I like cupcakes, and a life without cupcakes is no life at all.

Readers: How do you treat sugar in your diet? Do you eat it without abandon? Do you limit it or restrict consumption completely? How do you feel about the newer dietary recommendations? 

Life Lately: Fitness, Food, and Fun

Hi all! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Mine was so relaxing and reminded me why I someday might want a job where I don’t work every single weekend. Throughout the school year I work almost every Saturday and sometimes Sunday, so for the last couple of weeks go have the entire weekends off I feel like a new human!

With Will and I both off, we were able to spend the entire weekend just doing whatever we wanted (which never happens). We went to the extremely interesting Brimfield Antique Fair with a good friend — we’ve been antiquing lately looking for some unique decor for our new porch, and we had some great finds this weekend! I was also able to go see Pitch Perfect 2 (Loved it — Fat Amy is hilarious as always!) and spent yesterday afternoon lounging with some great friends and their most beautiful baby boy. We spent the afternoon just lounging around on Castle Island, a little beachy oasis right here in Boston, and it was just such a perfect afternoon — I wish we could do that all the time!

Don’t you love it when a weekend is so relaxing it feels like a mini vacation? And now, on to the usual Life Lately topics:

Workouts Lately

My workouts lately have been fabulous, I’m not going to lie. I’ve got myself in a pretty good routine of spin 1-2 times per week (once at Turnstyle cycle and once on my own at the gym), lifting 2-3/week, and running 1-2x/week. My typical week lately has looked something like this:

Sunday: Run, 4-5 miles

Monday: Spin @ Turnstyle Cycle

Tuesday: Light run and full body lift

Wednesday: Stadiums

Thursday: Off

Friday: Full body lift

Saturday Off

It’s kind of a lot of cardio for me, but I’m really loving Spin lately, and I always find myself doing more cardio in the summer anyway — better weather means I just want to be outside as much as possible! There are certainly variations, and some weeks I lift more than others, but as I mentioned recently, I’ve really kind of found peace with not lifting all the time.

IMG_3606
I’ve finally come to the realization that fitness is not all-or-nothing in one category, that it’s ok (and fun!) to incorporate different forms of fitness into your routine. I’m not a running fanatic, but I do enjoy it a couple of times per week, so hey! I’ll keep it up until I no longer enjoy it. Life is too short to just do what you think you’re “supposed to” do. You’ve gotta do what makes you happy and what makes you feel good (while still being a responsible adult, eh?)

Food Lately:

For some reason recently I’ve been obsessed with falafel and hummus. Put the word “mediterranean” in front of anything on a menu and I’ll likely order it! I’ve been making a lot of mediterranean salads at home with spinach, bell peppers, feta, hummus, and falafel (pre-made from Whole Foods), and that has been my go-to lunch lately.

IMG_3770
Is it any surprise that I’ve also been craving ice cream like nobody’s business? I guess that just comes with the changing of the seasons, but self control is in full effect these days! If I had ice cream every time I wanted it, things wouldn’t be too pretty right about now. :)

Snacks that I’ve been loving lately are Picky Bars. I found these through a friend on Instagram and decided to give it a go. I really love most of the flavors I’ve tried — my favorites by far are the “Cookie Doughpness” and “All In Almonds”. They are a date base but still have a little bit of sweetener added, and that I don’t love, but all in all they’re a great on-the-go snack and perfect for my more active days. Add in the fact that they get delivered to my doorstep once a month, and I’m sold!

IMG_3809

Life In General Lately:

All in all, life has been pretty darn great lately. My busy time at work has completely come to a halt, giving me more time to focus on just enjoying life for a little while. We’ve been to a couple of really amazing weddings lately for some wonderful friends of ours, and I  recently hosted the super fun NBGNO event here in Boston.

And now, something I’ve been excited about for months is finally here — our trip to the West Coast! We’re leaving tomorrow for Portland, OR and San Francisco, and I can not wait. I’ve wanted to go to both of these cities forever, it’s going to be a great trip. If you’re from either of those areas, please let me know some killer food suggestions! I’m sure we’ll be spending the good majority of our trip eating, per usual, so we’re open to lots of good suggestions. Follow me on Instagram (stephdrondeau) for the good eats and awesome sights of the trip.

And don’t forget to check out the Group Fitness tab above. If you’re in the area, I’d love to have you join me for a Rondeau Group Fitness workout (or two, or all summer long!).

Alrighty kids, what’s going on in your life right now? Any good suggestions for Portland or San Francisco?