Friday Favorites 6/27

Happy Friday!!

I’m all packed and ready for the Pacific Crest race weekend! My dad is in Sunriver already so he picked up my race packed for me, and my mother-in-law is graciously watching our house and our cat for us while we’re gone. I’m just waiting for my hubby to get off work so we can get on the road, so I thought I’d get started on this week’s Friday Favorites. I love linking up with Heather at Housewife Glamour because I really enjoy reading about what other bloggers are currently loving.

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There’s no real rhyme or reason to my faves this week – there just a few things that stuck out to me as amazing or fun or yummy!

Strawberry Protein Dream Smoothie from Blogilates.

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I made this smoothie after a run earlier this week and it’s so creamy, sweet and refreshing!! Plus, it’s a really pretty shade of pink, so that automatically makes it a winner. You can find the recipe and nutrition facts here.

Also really tasty, but nowhere near as healthy…
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Eggs

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Brandon brought these home from the discount grocery store this week and I’m slightly ashamed to say I’ve had one every night since. I don’t even know why, as an Easter product, they were still at the store, but I’m pretty glad Brandon spotted them! They have swirls of peanut butter throughout the ice cream and are covered on delicious chocolate. Mmmm!! They’re seriously amazing!

Coffee Flavored Wine In A Can

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Image credit: Time

Ok, maybe I do have a bit of a theme this week. :p

Seriously?? Coffee + wine + it comes in a CAN = my new best friend. When I saw this on SELF magazine’s Twitter, I had to check it out.

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It comes in Cabernet Coffee Espresso or Chardonnay Coffee Cappuccino. I like white wine a lot better than red, so I’d really like to try the Chardonnay Coffee Cappuccino… Plus, the description says it has a bit of vanilla flavor to it and I loveeee vanilla lattes! Yum! If I can figure out where to get these, I’m thinking they’re gonna be essential for the next girls’ night!

Remodel Progress

There goes my theme…
I LOVE when I can see the progress being made on our house! For awhile, Brandon was working on plumbing and electrical and it just didn’t look like much. Lately, though, we’ve had drywall put in and have been able to start painting. Brandon started painting the living room this week and hung up the light fixture above our dining area.

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It’s so pretty, I feel like we could just move in!!! Except there’s no floor… Or light switches… Or sinks… Or cupboards… Or… You get the picture. But we’re getting there!

Free Clothes

Duh, how would that not be a favorite?

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To celebrate the end of our Girls on the Run season and honor the coaches for volunteering, GOTR teamed up with my gym to offer a GOTR themed Group Centergy class. Since I teach Centergy, they asked if I, along with another instructor, would lead the class. The event started with a little talk about what GOTR is and an abbreviated example of what some of be lessons look like, then flowed into a Group Centergy class. At the end, they had a few boxes of really nice Nike clothing that had been donated. Each coach and the instructors who helped with the event got to pick out a piece of clothing as a “thank you.” Since I taught and coached, they let me pick two! πŸ™‚ Green is color we have to wear in Group Centergy when we teach, so I snapped up the tank top to teach class in. The sweatshirt is super cozy and has thumb holes! I’m taking it to Sunriver to wear the morning before the run while it’s still chilly out.

So those are a few of my favorite things this week (does anyone else get the Favorite Things song from The Sound of Music stuck in their heads when they say that?).

Do you have any favorites from the week?

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Pacific Crest Prep!

The Pacific Crest half marathon is only 2 days away!! I’m getting really excited and feel pretty good about how I trained. I didn’t follow my training plan exactlyΒ and I could have done more long runs but, overall, I feel way better prepared than last year. I did my last workout yesterday – I taught Cardio30 and Group Centergy – so today and tomorrow are rest days. I also got stretched by a Flexibility trainer at work. She loosened up my hips and hamstrings, so I’m feeling fresh and ready to go!

Yesterday, I realized that I’ve been eating like crap this week …a week that I should probablyΒ focus on eating well. Oops! So today I made a big bowl of delicious, clean Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad.

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I adapted the recipe from the nutrition plan we offer at work. The original recipe calls for whole wheat penne pasta, grilled chicken cut up into bite sized pieces, and fresh spinach. I wanted to add a few more veggies to make up for my lack of good eating earlier in the week, so I added red bell peppers and cucumber. The Caesar dressing tastes amazing and is completely clean! I’ll even be so kind as to share the recipe:

Caesar Dressing

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

1 tbsp Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

Mmmm! YUM! I made enough for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow.

Since the run is in Sunriver, 3 hours away, Brandon and I are planning to leave in the afternoon tomorrow and spend the week in Central Oregon with my parents and bros. My oldest little bro is actually working over there for the summer as a bike policeman. Can’t wait to take a pic of him in his uniform! He’ll prob hate it, but that’s what a big sis is for!

Tonight, I started packing all the essentials for race day:

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  • Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer and my Drink Click blender bottle for before the race
  • Clif shots for during the race
  • Gatorade for after the race.
  • Foam roller and rolling stick to baby those muscles when I’m done.
  • Claritin because I have mad allergies and I want to be able to actually breathe during the race (I heard somewhere that breathing is important when running).
  • New running belt! I bought it today because my arm band for my iPhone is too small now that I have the iPhone5 and because I can put my Clif shots in it …. also, having a belt over an arm band will eliminate arm band tan lines – yuck!Β 
  • Peanut butter because you should just never leave home without it!

I’ll pack my clothes for the weekend after work tomorrow, then we’ll be ready to head over the mountain!

Linking up with Katie Did What!

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What are your race day essentials?

Do you have any races coming up?

What are your plans for the weekend??

Catalina Island Vacation Part 2

I know this is long overdue, but it felt like if I wrote the final recap of our vacation then it would really be over. I just haven’t quite been able to admit we’re back to real life. But it’s been over a week now, so time to pull up my big girl panties and move on! Plus, the Pacific Crest half marathon is Saturday and I want to have plenty of blog space to recap what will surely be an awesome weekend!

I already told you all about my first experience with SUP, the battery powered bikes, chill time on the beach, my favorite things about the island and a little lesson I learned (you can read about them here, here and here if you missed out). What else could there possibly be?? Um, well, an 8 mile hike and my stud of a husband get his rope climbing skills on at Muscle Beach!

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I’ll start with the hike… There are several hiking trails on Catalina Island and one of my bro-in-laws is pretty into hiking so me, Brandon and 2 of the bros got up early one morning to hit the trails. We chose the 8 mile trail, the longest, because we’re beasts like that. I though for sure I’d impress my hike-loving bro and my gym-rat bro with my super fit legs (running and cycling have given me some pretty solid quads). What I didn’t count on is the first 2 miles of the hike being straight uphill and my mountain goat of a brother-in-law setting the pace at (what felt like) a slight jog. At first, I kept up pretty well and if I was breathing hard, well, I’d just try to suck in my breath as quietly as possible to not sound like I was dying. Surely the terrain would level out soon and I’d have a chance to catch my breath before anyone realized I’m not as fit as I thought I was. That worked for about the first half mile…

But the terrain never leveled out, and my breathing started sounding like an asthmatic elephant and I gasped and wheezed and tried in vain to keep up. Curse you, legs!! All those high resistance, uphill portions of Cardio30 should make you stronger than this! You run a half mile straight uphill to get home at the end of a 5 mile run. What is WRONG with you! Finally, I couldn’t even see my brothers anymore, they were so far ahead, and I no longer cared if my loud, ghastly-sounding breathing scared off the other hikers and any wildlife that happened to be nearby. My dear, sweet husband, who comes to my Cardio30 class mayyyybe once every 4 months and who has been on a run once in the last year, slowed down to keep me company. Seriously, though, how is it even fair that I worked out regularly and I was the only one dying??

Finally, we reached the top and the trail flattened out. As I gasped and wheezed in relief, I looked out at the view to see if my near-death experience had been worth it.

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It was! The weather was really overcast (something I was super grateful for as I had sweat clean through my t-shirt even without the sun shining), but it was really cool to see the bay and all the boats from such a height. That really huge ship is a Carnival cruise ship that docked at the island for the day. We were all amazed at how massive that thing looked in comparison to all the other boats.

We hiked along the top of the island for awhile, hoping to see buffalo. From what we heard, several buffalo were brought to the island for a Zane Grey film in the 1920s and we’re just left there when the filming was finished. We saw tons of buffalo poop but, alas, no buffalo. I’ll spare you a picture of the poop… Not that exciting. There was a lot of cactus, though. Something I didn’t expect on an island.

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The rest of our hike was either pretty level or downhill (almost as bad as going uphill… But not quite). There’s a series of zip lines on the island, so we got to see those on our way down. I also got some pictures of different views of the island.

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After the hike, we were pretty much exhausted. My mother-in-law asked us how the hike was when we walked in the door and I’m pretty sure no one answered her because we were all half dead. I was grateful for the extra miles towards my half marathon training, but I’m pretty sure my butt is still sore from those 2 uphill miles.

On our last day of vacation, we boarded the ferry to head back to the mainland. None of us were quite ready to leave and we started planning our next trip right away.

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We arrived in LA several hours before our flight had to leave, so we rented a car and explored Muscle Beach and Santa Monica pier.

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The boys decided to show off their rope climbing skills and my monkey of a husband reached the top in no time.

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(Instagram)

He then proceeded to slide down the rope and get a nasty case of rope burn. Bummer.

We didn’t have much time to play in the water or lay on the beach, but it was fun to walk around and actually be on a beach that isn’t freezing cold (the Oregon coast requires layers and a windbreaker all year round).

It was a great vacation! A perfect blend of relaxation and adventure! We talked about going back next year over the 4th of July because we heard that they have some awesome fireworks. Plus, Brandon’s birthday is July 7th and you get a free ferry ride on your b-day! Who knows if we’ll actually go, but the whole family loved the trip and agreed that Catalina is a place worth visiting again!

Where’s your favorite place to vacation?

What’s been the highlight of your week so far?

A Lesson I Learned From Our Vacation

As you probably know, Brandon and I recently returned from a vacation to Catalina Island with Brandon’s family (if you don’t know, you can read about it here and here). I know people have different ideas of what a vacation should be. Some like to cram in as much adventure as possible, while other’s feel that physical activity on a vacation should be limited to nothing more than lifting your tropical drink. I lean mostly towards the R&R camp, but I do like to get a little activity in while on vacation. For instance, I was really looking forward to trying SUP and getting in a few runs along the beach. Mostly, though, to feel like I’ve had a successful vacation, I need to come home with a tan and having read at least 1 good book while lying on the beach.

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Brandon and I were really looking forward to this vacation as a chance to put the stress of every day life behind us and have some together time. Brandon’s been super busy with real estate lately and, of course, the remodel is a constant project. Both are great things, but he’s been one busy boy. I just finished up my season with Girls on the Run, and work has been busy the last few months because we’ve been short a coach. Time together, just the two of us, wasn’t happening as often as we wanted and our marriage needed.

Our week away was exactly the chance we were looking for to spend some alone time together (we’d sneak away from the rest of the fam for a bit each day to go on a walk, shopping or out to get a drink) and take a deep breath to de-stress. At times, I felt like we were on a second honeymoon because we just had so darn much fun together!

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If I’m going to be honest, we did fight quite a bit too. Shocked? I was. We were on vacation, for crying out loud! We shouldn’t be arguing! But when we got down to the root of the issue, we realized that we had these arguments because there was never time at home to connect and communicate the way we needed to. We just watched an episode of The Office where Brian, the sound guy, when looking back on his broken marriage, says “When we were fighting, it felt like the relationship was still alive. It wasn’t until we stopped fighting that we realized it was over.” And everyone always says that make up sex is the best, right? (Don’t worry, I won’t go any further down that road. ;p )Β I’m actually grateful for these opportunities to quarrel because, even though I had to cover my face with huge sunglasses after each one (I’m definitely an ugly crier and I cry during pretty much any serious conversation), we walked away from each encounter closer than ever.

Now that we’re back home, I’ve noticed life starting to ramp back up to the busy speed we left. The remodel still needs work, Brandon has to catch up with his clients, I had a Group Centergy/Girls on the Run event yesterday that I needed to prep for, my half marathon is in less than a week, and my supervisor is going on vacation so I have extra work hours this week. I feel like it’d be easy to slide right back into that pattern of busyness that we were so excited to get away from.

When we were on the island, we had no agenda. We just woke up each day and did whatever we felt like doing and it was great! Obviously, that’s not practical for real life, but I think we can mimic it to a doable extent by limiting things we commit to. My take away from this vacation, in addition to an awesome tan, is the idea of saying “no.” No to the things that are going to fill my days to capacity and make me a crazy stress case wife. There are probably going to be some really great things that I’m going to have to say “no” to – things that I want to do – but my marriage is more important than those things (and so is my sanity). I want to capture a little bit of the island life in my everyday life, and I plan to do that by not filling each blank space on my calendar and leaving time to relax, connect, and communicate with my hubby. Thanks, Catalina, for the sun, sand, and salt water taffy, and for teaching me to schedule a little down time into my busy life.

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How do you make time to connect with your spouse?

Do you struggle with cramming your calendar full?

How do you find balance?

Half Marathon Prep And Playlist

The Pacific Crest Half Marathon is in less than 2 weeks!! I’m getting pretty excited for it! Not so much for the running 13.1 miles, but more for getting it done and redeeming myself from last year. I still didn’t follow a training plan to the T, but I feel much better prepared for this half than I did for the first one I ran… And it’s not supposed to be 80 degrees, so that will help a ton.

I was reading a post by Janae over at Hungry Runner Girl and she had posted her playlist for a marathon she ran recently, which inspired me to create a playlist for my upcoming half. I also stole a few of her songs since she has such good taste in music. Thanks, Janae!!

Before sitting down to make a playlist, I had to get a little snack. Can’t think on an empty stomach, ya know. I made a super yummy smoothie!!

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1 banana
1 scoop Drink Click Vanilla Latte Protein powder
1 scoop Drink Click Caramel Protein powder
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup soy milk
1 t. chia seeds
1 t. ground flaxseed

It was pretty tasty!! I didn’t have any ice cubes (emptied the tray for my iced chai yesterday and forgot to refill it. Oops!) and I didn’t wanna drink it lukewarm, so I put it in the freezer for a few minutes to chill it. Turns out, it was in there just long enough for the chia seeds to plump up and get all jelly too! It was kinda like drinking coffee-flavored tapioca!

Once I had a little something to sip on, I was ready to get started on my playlist. Here’s what I ended up with:

Back In Time – Pitbull
Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore ft. Ray Dalton
Dark Horse – Katy Perry ft. Juicy J
Happy – Pharrell Williams
I Can Transform Ya – Chris Brown
Live Like We’re Dying – Kris Allen
Timber – Pitbull ft. Ke$ha
Toxic – Britney Spears
Diane Young – Vampire Weekend
Club Can’t Handle Me – Flo Rida ft. David Guetta
Next To Me – Emeli Sandi
Counting Stars – OneRepublic

Music is a huge motivator for me when I workout. Having a good beat or great lyrics can really push me when I want to slow down. I’m gonna have to give the playlist a test drive tonight. I have about a week of workouts left before I need to rest up for race day, so I’m planning a few more runs in addition to the classes I teach next week. I’ll run tonight, shooting for at least 4 miles, depends on how hot it is and how motivated I am (evenings aren’t my fave time to work out). Tomorrow, I’m planning around 7 miles, Saturday I teach Group Centergy, Sunday I’ll take off, Monday I teach Cardio30, Tuesday I’ll run again, Wednesday is Cardio30 and Group Centergy, and I’m not sure yet whether to take Thursday off or to go for a short run. I might wait and see how my body feels. If nothing else, I might either just go for a walk or do some yoga.

Linking up with Katie’s Healthy Habits linkup!

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What are some of your favorite running songs? Anything I need to add to my playlist?

How do you usually prepare for a race the week before?

How’s your Thursday going??

Catalina Island Vacation Part 1

Hi all!! I’m officially home from vacation and, I have to say, I was very sad to leave Catalina Island. We were there for almost a week and the weather was gorgeous the entire time.

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My goal for the vacation was to get lots of lying-by-the-ocean-with-a-book time and sprinkle in some activities, like Stand Up Paddleboarding and a run or two. I’m happy to say I met my goal!

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We did a variety of activities: SUP, hiking, biking, a tour of the Catalina Casino, sunbathing, shopping, and I did sneak in one run.

SUP was one of my fave activites – I’ve been wanting to try it for awhile now. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pics of it because I did want to risk taking my phone out on the high seas and loosing it. This is a picture of the beach by the bay we left from, though. Those cabanas look nice, right?? Well, they cost money to rent…so I took my towel and parked myself in the sand right next to the cabanas. Pretty much the same thing.

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I spent quite a bit of time lying in the sand with a book while Brandon swam and snorkeled. I like looking at the ocean, and even dipping a toe in now and then. But, dude, there’s sharks in that things, so I ain’t going in! Seriously, it’s creepy swimming around in the ocean with fish and crabs and sharks and Lord knows what else in there! I’m perfectly content to just look at the ocean. That’s why I was tremendously pleased that, though others in our group (I won’t name names *cough* Brandon) fell off their paddle boards, I stayed firmly planted on mine. Thanks, Group Centergy, for strengthening my balance!

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One thing I really loved about the island is that you can pretty much walk anywhere you need to go. There aren’t many cars on this island and there are golf carts and electric bikes to rent. Yes, electric bikes.

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One my bros-in-law cruisin’ on the beach.Β 

The bikes had batteries on them that powered the bike, but you could pedal also. If you wanted a little extra umph, you could use the throttle. The throttle was super helpful on the winding hills we road up.

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The view from the uphill portion of our bike ride.

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I’m considering suggesting we get these bikes put in our cycling rooms at work for our spin classes. You think they’d go for that?? Nah, guess not. But you better believe my class is gonna be jealous when I tell them that I got to ride a bike that did most of the work. I might just save that little nugget of info for the hardest part of our workout on Monday. Muhahaha!

This is getting a bit long and there’s so much vacation left to cover, so I’ll break the recap up into sections. If you want to read a little more about our vacay, I did an island-themed Friday Favorites post. Here are a few more island pics to hold you over, though….Because I really miss the island.

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What’s been your fave part of your week so far?

 

Friday Favorites 6/13

Today’s Friday Favorites is coming to you from Catalina Island so, of course, it’s going to be island-themed!

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I’m linking up with Housewife Glamour as well.

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On to my favorites this week…

Vacations, of course!!

Especially when I get to go somewhere warm and sunny! I arrived with my hubby and his family in Catalina yesterday and it’s absolutely beautiful here!! The water is the most gorgeous blue and it’s so fun to see all the boats, kayaks and paddle boards out on the water.

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Brothers-in-law

I was trying to get a nice couple photo and my bro-in-law bombed it. Thanks, Jason. Oh well, it’s vacation – what happens, happens. :p

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Laying On The Beach With A Drink

I think this one’s pretty self explanatory. Heaven!

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New Clothes!

We were walking by a cute little shop and Brandon thought I needed this swimsuit. Ok, honey, wherever you say. πŸ˜‰

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I’m sure I will have lots more vacation favorites in the next few days, but these are a few highlights from the trip so far. Everyone’s tucked away in the condo for the evening, resting and getting ready for another fun day tomorrow. I hear laughter coming from the other room, so I’m gonna end this now and go see what I’m missing!

Have you been to Catalina Island?

Where’s your favorite place to vacation?