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Show the Love

I cannot stop thinking about Clare. She passed so unexpectedly, and it’s just so difficult to process that she’s really gone. She was such an inspiration, so full of life. The fact that we don’t know what happened yet makes it even more difficult to process that it’s real. I won’t be able to stroll into SoulCycle anymore and listen to her telling me to crank up the resistance because she knows I can handle it; I won’t be able to simply close my eyes and hear her voice move perfectly in sync with the beat she’s brilliantly selected for that exact moment. Things like these, you just don’t realize how great they are until they’re gone. I wasn’t even a close friend of Clare’s and my heart physically aches whenever I think about what happened. It’s just so sad.

Over the last few days, I’ve thought a lot about what it would be like if I lost someone who was extremely close to me. I can’t even process it; it hurts too much. So I’ve found myself hugging my loved ones a little longer, letting go of unimportant frustrations more often, and telling my friends and family how much I love them every single day, multiple times a day. Because God forbid, if something happened to me, I don’t ever want any of them to doubt how much they meant to me or forget about how much they changed my life. So many people leave footprints on your heart, and you should always take the time to let someone know just how much you care. Believe me, it’s things like this that really matter in life.

I’ve also thought a lot about happiness, and whether or not it’s ok to feel that emotion after someone passes. It kind of feels wrong, don’t you think? Smiling, laughing and cracking jokes when someone you love can’t do it anymore. Sometimes I’ll catch myself laughing, like I did yesterday when out to dinner for Dustin’s birthday, and halt the joy in its tracks. “I shouldn’t be doing that,” I thought to myself. “It’s disrespectful.” I even thought about postponing the rest of my busy travel plans for the rest of the holiday season.

But that would be so, so wrong. Especially when the person who passed was so joyous, full of life and energetic. Giving in to those thoughts would be like halting life. Canceling my travel plans, especially when I’m going to visit my best friend, wouldn’t benefit anyone, nor would it change anything. A part of me believes I would be looked down on with sadness and disapproval, and that’s something I don’t ever want to happen.

So I enjoyed the rest of my evening with Dustin and chose to celebrate life and the fabulous fact that he was born and came into my life a little over three years ago. It’s been amazing. And then I packed up my bags and boarded my first of two planes that will bring me to Oklahoma (I’m currently in Chicago), where my best friend awaits me. While I’m sure more sadness and reflection will come, I know that I’ll also laugh about inside jokes we made when we were 16 while watching countless episodes of Friends. Because that’s what we do best and it makes us happy. It’s about the little things, like being perfectly comfortable in silence, sitting next to one another and just enjoying each others’ presence.

I know the last two posts have been text-heavy, but writing is therapeutic for me. But I do have some photos! While I’m in the air, you can (hopefully) enjoy these photos from the last few weeks with a few really important people in my life. And if you’re not in these photos, please know that I genuinely hope we can spend more time together soon ❤

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I also thought I’d share a song that I’ve been playing a lot since we learned about Clare. It’s a favorite of mine and I really think the lyrics say it all.

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Workout Windup: Half-Marathon Training Week 5

Hey guys! So sorry I’ve been off the radar the past few days. Things have been crazy busy at work and I’ve been working on some behind-the-scenes stuff for the blog, but I haven’t forgotten about you, I swear! So let’s hop right to it and see how my workouts went for week five of half-marathon training!

Goals:

  • 1 strength workout
  • 1 yoga class
  • 1 spin session
  • Run 27 miles

How I fared:

Monday: Ran 2 miles

I was supposed to do more, but it was one of those days when I couldn’t shake a headache, no matter what I did. Tried to pound out more, but this is as much as my body could take.

Tuesday: Ran 3 miles + SoulCycle Madonna Ride

Laced up my sneaks in the morning to make up the missed miles from Monday, then headed to SoulCycle for my cross-training at night! Amazing class!! Check out the recap I wrote about it for FITNESS here.

© SoulCycle

Wednesday: Speed Work –> Yasso 800s 4.71 miles

This was my first time doing speed work. I think I did well, and I’m excited to incorporate it into more workouts!

Thursday: Ran 6.5 miles

Friday: Off

Saturday: Ran 11 miles

Sunday: Yoga DVD

Totals:


Miles run (this week): 27

Miles run (total): 96

Strength workouts: 0

Spin classes: 1

Yoga sessions: 1

Thoughts:

I met nearly all of my goals this week, but I’m still very happy with my training for the week because I put in all the time on my feet that I needed! It’s race week now, so it’s the final countdown!!

Back to work I go — I have run club again tonight with Lululemon, but pop over later…I’ll be back with a fun giveaway!

Feel-Good Friday, Even Though It’s Saturday

It’s Feel-Good Friday! Err, sort of.

I know I missed posting yesterday, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t talk about all of the fabulous things going on in our lives! I’m a firm believer that positivity is going to get your through life much better than negativity ever will, and I also believe that you need to take time out of the day every once in a while to appreciate the little things. Sometimes, the little things are what matter the most to someone.

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So here’s what’s been making me feel good this week:

Manicures. I got one early in the week and my little fingers have never been happier. The nice manicurist lady soaked my fingers in lemon water and gave me a fabulous hand massage that relieved all of the tension lurking in there. Nobody ever thinks about it, but your hands take a beating. Mine work away all day long at a keyboard, and when they’re not doing that, they’re either carrying things or doing their best to stay loose when I’m out on a run. It was nice to give them a little TLC this week, plus my nails look pretty now.

SoulCycle. I missed spin class for a week and a half because I was sick and my booty was more than ready to get back in the saddle this week. Roarke took me through a sweat-tastic class that really got my head back in the training game, and my legs felt fantastic the entire time. Fabulous.

Cooler weather. I know I keep bringing up fall weather, but it really is my favorite season. The temperatures were perfect for today’s lung run, and I had a later start. Not once did I feel too hot and boy is it fabulous. Cooler weather is also great because it means I get to cuddle up with a hot cup of tea in one of my favorite sweatshirts.

Told you I love SoulCycle.

Chocolate. Is it just me, or does chocolate sound even more appealing in the fall? I received this batch of goodness at the office this week right when I needed a 3pm pick-me-up. It was delicious. Don’t worry, I shared with my co-workers. Promise.

Pictures. It’s no secret that I love taking photos. I love taking them, I love looking at them and I love being in them. So it made me feel extra good this week when I took the time to decorate my cube a bit, bringing some of my favorite people into my work space.

You know what’s coming next…your turn! What’s made you feel good this week? 

Mexican Love at El Cantinero

The other day Libby and I exercised our rule to test out a new restaurant per week. We’ve been really good about following our respective budgets, and we haven’t even been dining out every week like we originally set our limits at. But after some time at the farmer’s market, our tummies started rumbling and we decided to check out a new-to-us Mexican restaurant with some friends.

Welcome to El Cantinero near Union Square, my friends.

We got a table in their garden rooftop, which was nice and breezy on the warm summer day we were having. I love all of the decorations and I love that it was in a garden, as opposed to another plain ole’ rooftop. This one had some spunk and I liked it 🙂

I also liked the company I had with me.

Shh…Libby says she loves making appearances on my blog. I keep telling her to start one herself so we can show her some love too!

We also had some of Libby’s really good friends, Jane and Darly, join us.

We kicked off the meal by ordering a pitcher of sangria to share. I love sangria simply because I love eating the fruit after my glass is empty. Am I the only one?

Either way, we all thought the sangria was delicious. We each had two glasses and left fully content.

Our food was good too! It wasn’t the best Mexican food I’ve had in my entire life, but it satisfied my cravings and the price was just right.

I ordered a beef taco with rice and black beans. The meal originally came with refried beans, but I swapped those out. I tried to switch my cheesy rice out for brown rice, but for some reason they wouldn’t let me. That’s my only real complaint. But I gobbled up the rice anyway. Love me some rice.

The other girls also ordered tacos and enjoyed their meals just as much. The waiter was really accommodating for Libby’s diet restrictions (no dairy) and she got exactly what she wanted too. We’ll be back!

In other news, I got to spin with two of my favorite Biggest Loser girls again tonight, with one of my all-time-favorite instructors, Jenny!

After we got nice and sweaty © SoulCycle

The FITNESS staff took a little field trip to SoulCycle to spin with our September cover girls. We were able to bring along some readers too, and I finally got to meet Theodora, Margo and Jess in person! Unfortunately, I didn’t snag a photo. Bad blogger. Next time, I promise! But the class was still awesome. Jenny knows what beats to play and she won my heart when she played a Backstreet Boys throwback to tackle a hill. Holla at my boy bands!

Anyone else love boy bands? I still can’t get enough of the Backstreet Boys, and am not ashamed to admit I still listen to N*SYNC and NKOTB now and again. 

Facing Fears + College Reunions

Happy August! I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend and is ready to kick off August on a great note! I know I sure am…but man, where did summer go?! I can’t believe how fast it’s flying by. Why does summer seem to disappear so quickly when winter always drags on? I’m not a fan.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some fabulous things that I did over the weekend. First up, my Friday morning at SoulCycle.

Before I whipped off my shirt. © SoulCycle

I went to the Sports Bra Challenge in Union Square for the 9:30 a.m ride. To give you the short summary, I’ve always been terrified of working out in just a sports bra. I always think I’ll be judged and am just not confident enough in my own skin to get my sweat on sans tank top. With the help of instructor Jenny Gaither, Biggest Loser season 11 winner Olivia Ward and her sister, runner-up Hannah Curlee, I put my fears aside and rode it out with a whole room full of women who were only wearing sports bras!

Sweaty beasts! © SoulCycle

It was fantastic. Invigorating, inspiring, energetic, motivational. I could go on and on describing this class. The energy pulsating throughout the room was insane. The music was perfect. Jenny was incredible. Everything about this class was great. I haven’t pushed myself this hard in a class before (seriously, I left sooo much sweat on the bike) and I felt so accomplished and beautiful at the end.

Hannah, Jenny and Olivia rocked it out with me. © SoulCycle

If you want to check out my full recap, you can read my blog post about it for FITNESS.

After my class I hopped on a bus with Dustin and made my way to Oswego for the annual Harborfest festival! A bunch of my college friends were up visiting for the weekend and Bare Naked Ladies were playing a free concert, so I was able to have a ton of mini-reunions, listen to great throwback music, and stay with my old roomie Meghan! Thanks for housing us, Meghster!

Love this girl.

Meg and I go way back. We lived right next door to each other freshman year and became fast friends. After that, we were roommates for three years! We lived together in the dorms for sophomore and junior years, then moved off campus with a third roomie (Kayleigh!) senior year. We’ve made a ton of memories, this girl and I!

They're friends, too.

It really was great to be away from technology for the weekend and just enjoy being around friends for the weekend. I got back to my country roots for a bit and soaked in all of the nature. Being back by lake Ontario was awesome too.

Can you spot the lighthouse?

Perfect summer day.

The weather was perfect summer weather! I spent the majority of my time outside and soaked in my fair share of rays (with SPF). I even enjoyed the three fabulous B’s.

Pure bliss.

Harborfest is also extremely well-known for their fireworks display. Seriously, they rival the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Show in NYC. I was at both this year and honestly, Harborfest won this time around. Sorry New York, I love you, but I have to be honest!

I ran some errands on Sunday, visited some more friends, then boarded another bus back to the city. After an extremely frustrating trip back, I happily collapsed into my bed. Overall though, it was a glorious weekend. Many great memories were made and I’m so glad I went.

What fun things did you do this weekend? Can you believe it’s August already? I’ll have a goals post up tomorrow!

Britney Spears Workout

Ever since I realized that I missed out on the Britney Spears spin class at SoulCycle tonight, I haven’t been able to get the queen of pop out of my head.

I grew up watching Britney and was an obsessed teeny-bopper when hits like “Drive Me Crazy” and “Baby One More Time” hit the radio. I remember my older brother thought she was smokin’ hot and would record her concerts on VHS (throwback!), and then I would play it over and over again to try to memorize the dance moves to “Oops..I Did It Again.” Wow, did I really just admit to that on the Internet?

But just because I couldn’t go to the class and spin my heart out to Britney doesn’t mean I can’t sweat it out to her tunes! After perusing YouTube for a bit, I also rediscovered how awesome this girl is at making music videos…she knows how to bust a move! So I now have my Britney playlist ready to rock tomorrow morning’s run. Check it out!

“(You Drive Me) Crazy”

“Oops!…I Did It Again”

“Toxic”

“I’m A Slave 4 U”

‘Till the World Ends”

“Baby One More Time”

“Me Against the Music”

“Stronger”

“Gimme More”

“Hold it Against Me”

And there ya have it! I think these songs would definitely power me through a spin class better than a run simply because the beat is perfect for different portions of a spin session, but I’ll let you know how the run goes tomorrow!

Can we all please take a minute to acknowledge how rockin’ Britney’s body is in every video, too? Even through all of the crazy antics, she still knows how to move and look sexy while doing it. Dang, girl!

Are you (or were you ever) a fan of Britney? What’s your favorite song? 

Sweating with Brett Hoebel

Guess who went spinning with Brett Hoebel this morning? This girl did!

Brett Hoebel and muah.

Side note: I told you I’d bring you some sweaty goodness today. I’m the sweaty, he’s the goodness. 

As you already know, I’m a huge fan of The Biggest Loser and absolutely loved watching Brett on the show every week in season 11. I love that he has a strong science background and his experience with Capoiera (a Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts and dance) was fascinating and definitely brought a new element to the show. I was extremely disappointed when they revealed that Anna Kournikova would be joining next season, effectively replacing Jillian Michaels, Brett and Cara Castranova. I just don’t think she should be on the show because she is not a certified trainer. It’s clear that this decision was based on an attempt to improve ratings.

She has a pretty smile, but she's not qualified.

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Anyway, Brett came to a SoulCycle class and then he hung out with Jenna and I for a bit (he’s friends with her). He’s a total sweetheart and very humble. I loved chatting with him and learning more about his career path. My final opinion: he’s a great guy and I really hope he succeeds in whatever he decides to do. Not to mention he’s very, very easy on the eyes!

Like I said, he's nice to look at.

The rest of the day was filled with work and yummy eats. My lunch was a whole wheat pita layered with hummus, cucumbers, feta cheese and chickpeas. Delicious! I followed it up with a strawberry Chobani.

Quite a tasty lunch.

Closeup action.

I plan on having that lunch again tomorrow.

On to fashion shot number two! I wore another new dress to work today and quickly realized this is going into my favorites pile.

Got this little number from Kohl's.

Isn’t it cute? I love the pattern.

I’m off to bed to try and get a good amount of sleep before another spin class tomorrow morning (lots of spinning this week)! Have a great night!

If you could work out with any celebrity, who would it be and why? I’ve met Brett and Jillian Michaels, so now I need to get my hands on Bob Harper! 

SoulCycle is Cathartic

Happy Monday! I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing like kickin’ off the week with a fantastic workout.

That’s exactly what I did this morning when I trekked down to Union Square for an 8 a.m. spin class at SoulCycle.

Therapy.

I met up with my friend Jenna bright and early to get our sweat on. She loves SoulCycle and I enjoyed it when I went for a class last summer, so I figured I’d pair up with her for my next few sessions. I got some gift certificates for the studio, so I’m putting them to good use! Plus, I need to get as many free workouts as I can…I simply can’t afford a gym membership right now.

Anyway, it felt great to do something other than running! I’ve always loved spinning, but haven’t been able to take a class since I graduated from college back in May. I love that SoulCycle turns off the lights and the whole class is lighted only by candle light. My instructor, Clare, had the perfect amount of intensity, encouragement and mental grit pulsating through the room and I really pushed myself to the limit.

Random photo of my yummy lunch. Lots o' veggies.

Everything about this class was great. The upper body exercises we incorporated into a few songs, the music itself, the energy in the room and the level to which I pushed myself. It was all phenomenal. I felt like I was letting go of all of the stress I had been dealing with and just focused on the burn in my muscles, the sweat dripping down my face and the force of my legs pushing the wheel round and round. It was cathartic.

Whoever thinks spinning is just a workout is crazy.

Or maybe I am. I’m not sure which one is right, but I’m going to say the former.

Regardless, I felt amazing after the workout. I forgot to take a picture, but I’ll be sure to include some sweaty goodness for you tomorrow.

However, I did remember to take a picture after I was dressed for work. I get ready so much faster when I don’t have my computer distracting me.

I love new work clothes.

This is new dress numero uno! I’m in love with it and got it at H&M for only $34.95!

How was your Monday? How do you feel about spinning?