Things I am Loving This Week-New York Edition

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My Valentines Day weekend was spent traveling out to New York City for a work trip. Nothing like packing a suitcase of bulky sweaters and a wool coat wearing flip flops. All in all my trip was 7 days, a mix of working and fun. The trip started with attending the New York Toy Fair and my first official night in the city was spent at a Women in Toys Event Dinner. The food was delicious, a full 4 course serving. Pair that with a great glass of wine, interesting people, and toys and you have yourself a fantastic nigh. Of course the table decorations were right up my alley.

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Sometimes you just need to take yourself on a date night. After a long day of work, being on my feet all day, and the freezing temperatures outside just made me crave a bowl of warm hearty soup. After a nice dinner alone I took myself to go see the musical If/Then with Idina Menzel. Yes the woman who sang the Frozen song we all know so well. It was about a mile walk from my hotel to the theater and it was invigorating to say the least. I love how with age a night by myself no longer feels lonely like it did when I was younger, instead it now feels empowering.

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After a morning rowing class and a run, I got bundled up and found a whole in the wall coffee shop cafe to settle in and work remotely for a while. The cafe was charming, cozy, and exactly the place you want to walk into after being out in the freezing cold. I ordered egg whites scrambled with a Mediterranean salad, toast, and a yogurt/cheese on the side. Since it was the early afternoon and it was my first meal of the day so I devoured it in entirety. Every bite was simply delicious.

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In my meandering the city I stumbled on this gem of a coffee shop. It had a bookstore in the back with the most beautiful flower arrangements. Book stores and coffee shops are by far two of my favorite places to spend time in the world. Combining them just made it that much more perfect.

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One thing I love about just walking the city is not knowing what you are going to find. This was a painting on the side of a building I came across that made me stop mid-step to take a picture. I loved the color, graphics, and ease of it.

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One of the nice things about freezing cold weather when you are walking everywhere is it makes you hop into random places for a few minutes in order to warm up. This was just one of the many moments like this in my time in the city. I found this little neighborhood market and fell in love instantly. What I love about shopping markets in new cities is seeing all of the different and local items they carry.

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After a hardcore spinning class I made my way to another little coffee shop for my morning breakfast. I brought some amazing yogurt I found at the market and nestled up with a new book. This to me is a perfect morning.

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In the course of my week in the city I ate at least 3 or 4 cheese plates. I don’t recall even eating that many full on meals while on my trip. Instead it was a week of snacking, drinking, and walking. This was just one of the many I enjoyed. Something about being in negative temperatures just makes you crave bread. Luckily since I still maintained my daily workouts and with all my miles upon miles of walking I was able to indulge in the evening without any worry, which was a real treat for me.

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New York City, A Love Affair Explored by Foot

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When I think about moments in my life where I am the happiest, it is when I am moving, exploring, letting my inquisitiveness get the best of me. I have always loved the un-known, the hunt of what could be out there. When I was a kid I was obsessed with ghosts, Halloween, and scary stories. Could it all be real? I would read books upon books on anything that seemed remotely mysterious or scary. Sometimes they would be non-fiction like the sinking of the Titanic or ancient Egypt. Other times it would be just RL Stein’s Fear Street books. Reading became my outlet for curiosity. As I moved into my teenage and early college years I would fill this need with spending hours walking through flea markets, garage sales, and thrift stores trying to find a treasure, hidden or forgotten by others. Who owned it before, what was their story? Was the ship painting I had hanging on my living room wall someones wedding gift, was it bought while traveling, or simply someones hobby?  To this day reading and thrift stores are still  two of  my favorite past times, but I have now added in a new way to  quench my thirst for the new and that is the exploration of cities.

When I used to travel I would spend hours  in advance preparing everything I wanted to do on the trip. I had well thought out agenda’s and all of my time would be getting from one activity to the next. Now that my life is lived in a world where you go from one obligation to the next I have found living that way on a trip or vacation is not what I need. Now I want to just get lost in my surroundings. Find a hip coffee shop off the beaten path, the little corner market that stocks the most amazing gourmet cheeses, the wine bar with the inviting candle light from inside.

This last week I was in New York City for a work trip. I decided to take on a few extra days and work remotely from coffee shops while exploring the city. I have been to NYC over a dozen times, but as anything else it is ever evolving, changing, and constantly new. In just one week I managed to log 163k steps or about 82 miles. Now some of these steps were from running or spinning or the other workouts I enjoyed while there, but the majority of these steps were from just walking.

Now what did I encounter over these 163k steps? I found quaint coffee shops, an over abundance of clothing stores, new spinning, rowing, and barre studios, locals shoveling snow after a big storm, endless amounts of toys, the off smile from a stranger, conversations with friends and colleagues, admiration of fashion choices, but most importantly I found time with myself and my thoughts. As I sit here now typing this from my hotel room on my second back to back work trip I cant help but long for a walk through the cold. Alas, I am on my way back to my normal routine where walking will still be a big part of my day to day, but not like how it was this last week. I guess I will now find contentment in the week by sharing the moments captured from these walks. So stay tuned….

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 02/20/15

A little late with this weeks articles, that is what working on the weekend in NYC will do for you 🙂 Enjoy!

Real Runners Do Take Walk Breaks– I am a runner and I have to say I have the same mentality as the writer of this article does. If you are not running the whole race can you really say you ran it? However now that I am getting older and starting to feel my body more, it just makes sense to approach races with the run/walk mentality. If you end up running the whole thing awesome, but knowing you can walk will just make it easier to approach. “The walk breakers performed well. Runners in both groups finished the marathon with similar times, and the group that took walking breaks experienced less muscle pain and fatigue after the race than their running-only counterparts.”

The Great American Sleep Recession– For anyone who has kids this is a great article on how much sleep different age groups should have along with talking to the preferred age groups for napping. Are you getting the right amount of sleep every night? “While there is plenty of research confirming all that goes wrong when you don’t get enough sleep, there are also proven steps people can take to help fall asleep and sleep better once they do fall asleep. A new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine says mindful meditation helps adults fall asleep and stay asleep.”

The Best Thing You Can Do For Yourself — And All The Women Around You– One of my girlfriends sent this article over to me as a must read. For any woman out there who feels like you are not doing enough, this is a great article. I for one am constantly juggling work, friends, family, fitness, and feel like I am never living up to my full potential, but why? Why do we all push ourselves so much? I really like what the author has to say here, good food for thought. “Can we draft a joint resolution to drop the crazy-making expectation that we must all be perfect friends and perfect mothers and perfect workers and perfect lovers with perfect bodies who dedicate ourselves to charity and grow our own organic vegetables, at the same time that we run corporations and stand on our heads while playing the guitar with our feet?”

Eggs Are Back: The Elegant Simplicity of the New Diet Guidelines– Finally! We now have guidelines that just make sense. Just a good article on overall nutrition.  “according to new 2015 federal dietary recommendations, released today—are the time-tested basics: moderation and a focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”

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Photo From Huff Post

 

Things I Am Loving This Week

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After the holiday’s I have been a little bit of a homebody. Not sure if it was the over indulgence of the holiday’s or if it is the continued cold dark nights, but regardless I find myself nesting at home. So it was nice when an unusually warm Saturday came along and I was invited to go meet a couple of girlfriends at a new wine bar in the mission L’emigrante Wine Bar & Bistro. I had been here once before with some friends for a drink and had looked over the menu in pure lust. Alas I did not get anything to eat the first go round, so I was excited to partake this time. I have to say I was not disappointed. Nothing beats sun, good drinks, food, and amazing company!

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After a long week of work and exercise nothing feels better for the body then a massage. My favorite place in the city is Suchada Thai Massage. I have been going here for years and I have never been disappointed. Who would have thought someone walking all over you could feel so good. The other weekend I made a last minute appointment and I am so glad I did. Part of being healthy is listening to your body and knowing when it needs a little TLC.

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The one good thing about being at home more is being able to spend more time with one of the loves of my life Cooper. Its amazing how dogs know how to make you feel loved, grounded, needed, and can put a smile on your face after a long day. They are also pretty great at snuggling as well.

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It is true, I found myself at another beer bar La Trappe in the city.  Upon walking in the first thing I noticed was the instant cozy feeling this place invoked. The heart of the bar and restaurant was located down a staircase in a dark brick walled basement. It felt like a little taste of New York and Germany combined. The atmosphere just made a beer sound amazing, which their selection was pretty good. Although this place nailed it with the vibe and libations, the food was just mediocre and a little over priced. All in all I did enjoy the experience though.

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Just another day at the farmers market. This time of year the greens and root vegetables are everywhere. This stand of carrots was too beautiful to not be stopped and appreciated. I love the farmers market for the abundance of possibilities in front of you. Nothing beats grabbing a bunch of amazing produce and making it into something so much more.

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 02/08/15

Binge-Watching TV: Sign of Depression, Loneliness?- Ok this article is not ground breaking science. It seems pretty common sense. What I did like about it though is how it made me think about the concept of binge. I have always incorporated this word with food. However when I start to think of bingeing more broadly I think back to my time when I was unhealthy and would binge eat, but it didn’t stop there. I would also binge on TV marathons, I remember watching 8 episodes of the first season of Lost back to back one hungover New Years Day in college. I can recall coming home from work my first year in San Francisco and pouring myself a glass of wine. It felt so relaxing and tasted so good. Next thing I knew I had finished the whole bottle on a Monday night. Looking back now at all of the areas I used to binge I have pretty mush ceased this behavior. I now can hardly sit still for an entire movie let alone an entire season of TV. One glass of wine seems to relax me enough without needing more. I still struggle with the food piece, but I am worlds apart from where I was even 9 months ago. What does this all mean? Well for myself I think once I learned how to eat in moderation it started a trickle down affect across every area. Life is all about balance and once you learn how to balance one area it is easy to apply that behavior to more.

Slow Runners Come Out Ahead– “Plodding joggers tended to live longer than those who ran faster. In fact, the people who jogged most often and at the fastest pace — who were, in effect, runners rather than joggers — did not enjoy much benefit in terms of mortality. In fact, their lifespans tended to be about the same as those who did not exercise at all.”

Is Costco Making Us Fat?– It is interesting to think about if being able to get food for cheaper and in bulk is one of the reasons America is becoming more obese.”Only two of the factors ended up being meaningful drivers of obesity: 1) the proliferation of restaurants and 2) the rise of warehouse clubs, like Costco, and super-centers. Both restaurants and super-centers saw a remarkable growth since 1990, and together they explain about half the rise in class II and class III obesity—the worst varieties”

Why Is Popcorn the Default Movie Theater Snack?– If you are like mean when it is dark, cold, or rainy out I love going to see a movie. What I also love is popcorn, which can be a healthier snack option if you are avoiding the extra butter and salt and eating in moderation. This article is not related to health or fitness, but the history of a snack we all know and love. With the rain pouring down outside this felt appropriate for today.

We Know Why You Are Always Late– This article dives into why people tend to be late. The biggest theme is essentially people are not good at estimating the time certain tasks will take. This article does give some helpful tips on trying to curb tardiness.

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Photo from Huff Post

 

Yoga Sculpt followed by Spinning, Good Morning!

I had originally been signed up to go to Barry’s Bootcamp for my morning routine today, but due to an old back injury starting to flare up I decided running and jumping around would not be in my best interest. In the spirit of me trying to listen to my body more I decided to be spontaneous and try two new places this morning which would be more low impact on my back. Yes back to back new studios!

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First up was Yoga Sculpt at Hot Yoga Ocean Avenue. Class started at 6:00 am, which meant a nice 5:15 wake up call for me. Half asleep I got myself up and ready, then by 5:35 I was out the door and on the road. What I love about working out early in San Francisco is there is no traffic on the roads. You can zip from one side of the city to the other in no time. In a city only 7 miles by 7 miles you can get anywhere in about 15-20 minutes.

Parking was easy, I pulled right on up and was in the door with 5 minutes to spare. I setup my mat, grabbed my set of weights, and waited for the class to begin. The class was 45 minutes and it went by super fast! It was a great combination of stretching, yoga poses, cardio bursts, and weight lifting. I dont know if it was the workout or the fact I was moving around in a very heated room, but either way by the end of it I was sweating all over! Class was done at 6:45 and I quickly grabbed my mat to run out the door to head over to a spinning class which started at 7:00. This class was 8 minutes away so I was cutting it close on time.

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At 6:55 I pulled up to Fit Glen Fit located in Glen Park, a cute neighborhood I had never spent much time in. I was able to park right out front again, which was the only way I was able to pull this double workout off. I jumped out of the car and made my way into the studio. I had only been here once before back in November so I was excited to give this place another try. What I love about this spot is the neighborhood vibe it invokes. If there was a Cheers Bar of gyms this would be it.

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The spinning room is located in the back of the gym, a bright and warming space. There are only a handful of bikes, but it was the perfect amount for a pleasant and intimate class.  The instructor Claudine had a bright smile and a demeanor making you feel like you had been friends for years. Instead of setting her bike up in front of us, she jumped on a bike in the middle, a rider like the rest of us, guiding us through our ride. I appreciated the change and felt like I was riding with a group of friends instead of just sitting in a class being instructed on what to do next.

The spinning part of class was 45 minutes. Claudine had a good mix of music and varied up the routine from sitting, to standing, to hills, and sprints. It was a perfect sweat, not too hard, but not super easy either. The last 15 minutes of class was devoted to ab work on the floor, which was a nice active cool down.

Upon finishing my morning I walked over to the neighborhood market to explore what it had to offer. I could walk around a grocery store forever if I had the time. Next I grabbed coffee at the little shop around the corner, again another local neighborhood spot I was proud to have found. Although I was still in San Francisco, being in 2 completely new areas made me feel like I was on a little pleasant vacation. It is amazing how rejuvenated you can feel just by switching up your workout routine, trying a new studio, and being in a new area.  All I know is this routine might just have to be duplicated next week!

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 02/01/15

For Athletes, the Time of an Event Can Affect Performance– It makes perfect sense to me that we are not at peak performance if it is outside of our normal routine with working out, sleeping, and eating. In this study they also find an athlete can start working on tweaking their “circadian clocks” in order to help prepare of an event.  “Now British researchers are reporting that something completely legal and much less damaging to the body can dwarf the effects of drugs like EPO or testosterone. What really matters, they say, is whether the time of an event is in sync with an athlete’s body clock.”

The Selling of The Avocado– Ok I really enjoyed this one. First I love business. I am a merchandiser for a living, so I know the importance of having the right item, at the right price, for the right market. Marketing and PR play a huge role in an items success. This article is all about how the avocado or “alligator pear” as it was originally called gained popularity due to how it was marketed. The second reason I love this article, well I love avocados. Who does not want to know more about their history? “The story of how avocados went from being an obscure West-Coast cash crop to the juggernaut of the Midwestern produce section is one of extreme feats of marketing and major shifts in ideas about nutrition. It is a story of a desperate renaming, a PR Hail-Mary, and of the changing nature of the Super Bowl.”

It’s All Bullshit– I like this guy. What he states is very matter a fact, no sympathy and just says it like it is. He also happens to be right in my opinion. “The fitness industry loves extremes – going to the extremes sells shit really well. But try being honest, telling people it’ll be at least 16 weeks of dedicated eating and training before they’ll see any drastic changes, and they’ll head somewhere else. This is a lifestyle you need to buy into long-term to see results. If you don’t make a habit of it, the weight loss will revert to weight gain as soon as your motivation falls off.’

A Possible Treatment for Peanut Allergies– I am luck to not have any food allergies, but for my friends who do it is not always easy. Food allergies in children are increasing so I love how research is finding ways to potentially help those who have them. “Using a mix of peanut protein and bacteria found in yogurt, pediatric immunologists from Murdoch Childrens Research Institute temporarily treated 80 percent of their allergy-stricken patients, they reported this month in theJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.”

How Weight Training Can Help You Keep The Weight Off– Maybe because of my personal connection of having lost weight and having to maintain it, I found the research in this article interesting and pretty spot on at least from my experience. “Over all, the data suggest that exercise — and, in particular, weight training — after weight loss prompts people to move more throughout the day. As a result, they burn more calories and, with some discipline about food intake, should stave off weight regain.”

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Photo from Huff Post