Japan: Embracing All of the Food and Finding Balance

Photo by Dustin Eastment

Two weeks ago packed bags in hand, I headed to the airport for a much anticipated vacation to Japan. In December despite having had time off for the holidays I was still feeling unsatisfied when I happened to stumble upon cheap airfares to Tokyo. Without much of a pause we decided to book the trip for late Feb. From the moment the tickets were purchased I started to get that usual feeling related to vacation, a mix of excitement and anxiety. One might wonder why I would be anxious, its a vacation. Well my anxiousness is not about going somewhere I have never been before, or going to a place where I cant speak the language. Instead it is always related to exercise and how will I maintain my daily routine while traveling. Let’s just say I have a tendency to be a little neurotic when it comes to vacations and fitness. Yes on vacation I will enjoy my time. I eat, drink, relax, but I also make sure I exercise daily in order to keep up with all of the vacation’s pleasures. Now this is not a bad thing and by no means am I saying one should not exercise on vacation or one should only exercise on vacation. What I am saying is vacation is also a time to rest, unwind, and enjoy a moment you do not always get. You need to make sure you are being authentic to yourself, what you need, and finding balance.

I can recall a trip to Portugal a couple of years back where after the 6th day of running in a row piled on top of miles and miles of walking my body ached. It was sore, tired, and hating me. Yet I pushed myself to run everyday until I left, 10 days straight. Why? Because I could not be satisfied with walking being enough for exercise. I was so afraid of being able to enjoy all of the food and drinks unless I did my daily sweat session. I ignored my body and followed my mind. I have struggled for years with embracing rest days. Even though mentally I know we need them as that is when our bodies actually change and physically I can feel when it is needed, but yet I tend to power through regardless.  Over the past 2 years I have been working really hard to find balance in all that I do and I have made huge strides from where I have been.

So where am I going with all of this? I know, I digress. Well after the ticket was purchased, the anxiety bubbled up, I pushed it back down, and I decided this was going to be the trip I find balance with exercise on vacation. I was going to use this time to listen to my body and just enjoy being in an amazing place with my favorite person. But if I am being honest with you all, I think this was also the catalyst and part of the reason I catapulted myself into almost 3 full months of eating Whole 30 and removing booze from my diet. If I could control my food choices prior to my trip it would make me feel better equipped to enjoy my time fully in Japan. See, I am still not perfect 🙂

A surprise at our hotel. A great omen to start the trip!

Now onto the trip! We flew down to LA the night before our direct flight the next morning to Tokyo. We decided spending an extra $80 for a hotel room was worth saving the stress of having to get up at 3:00 am in San Francisco and what a great decision it was. My morning started with a 6 mile run and a 20 minute weight lifting session. One obsession I have before long flights is getting a good run in as I like stretching my legs out before they will be sitting for extended periods of time. I also had been working my body really hard the month leading up to vacation, so after this session I felt fully ready to rest and take the vacation fully on. I pre-packed a ton of food (as per usual) to have healthy options on the plane. We ended up eating everything I brought, plus some, so it was a good use of time and backpack space.

Our AirBnb

The first half of the trip we spent in Tokyo. I took the first 2 days off of working out. My body needed rest, which I had been ignoring for the last month. Plus I wanted to be able to wake up each morning in my bed and enjoy a cup of coffee in sweats with my love. It has been probably 5 years since I have taken 2 days off in a row from working out, so it felt luxurious and empowering. On our first full day in Tokyo we crammed as much in as humanly possible. It started with a trip to the Tsukiji Fish Market, which was by far my favorite experience in Tokyo. There were rows upon rows of stands of food. We tried a bit of it all. Every taste was amazing, eclectic, and different from anything you could find back home. Instead of walking while eating, something we are very accustomed to in the States, you were expected to finish each treat at the stand with where it was purchased. Upon finishing you would say thank you and dispose of your trash. This was just one of the many differences culturally I enjoyed.

As the day progressed we happened to stumble upon the Tokyo Marathon on our way to the Sensoji Temple.  It was an amazing race with various acts of entertainment. You can think of a parade with Geisha’s, dragons, and more. After we had enough of the race we walked through to the temples, obviously trying more snacks from vendors along the way. Our last stop that day was to the Shibuya shopping district with the famous large intersection where thousands upon thousands of people are walking.  For those of you who have watched Lost In Translation this will look very familiar. Seeing the swarms of people was just astonishing and to me this was the iconic image I get in my mind when I think of Tokyo.

Photo by Dustin Eastment

The next day after all of the pure craziness that is Tokyo we decided to do a day trip down to a little coastal town Kamakura to see the Great Buddah among other various temples. The town was quaint and chilly, but worth the trek after the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. We enjoyed the quaintness and charm the town had to offer along with some great shops and cobbled streets.

That evening we came back to Tokyo and went for a drink in the Golden Gai district prior to our reservations at the Robot Restaurant. First let me paint a picture of what the Golden Gai district is. It is all of these narrow, tiny alley ways lined up side by side. If you were to just walk by you would not twice about what was there, but hidden in these small streets are over 250 bars. The bars are small, holding maybe a handful of guests in each, which makes it feel special and private. The best I can equate it to is like finding an entire alleyway built on the premise of speakeasy’s. This was nothing like the neighboring district it was in, which is kind of like the Las Vegas strip. The alley’s were dark and if you did not know what to look for you would completely miss it. We were there on the early side of the evening so most of the bars were still closed, but we did happen to find one open where we enjoyed some sake before heading out to the show at the Robot Restaurant. Now the Robot Restaurant is like stepping foot inside a Las Vegas show, but one that meets neon Anime. When we arrived we grabbed some drinks and were escorted down to our seats to wait for the show to start. The best way to describe the show is being entertained with music, dancing, visual effects, lots of costumes, robotics, and floats. Think if Alice in Wonderland met Dinosaurs met Robots met glitter, and flashing lights. The show was definitely a once in a lifetime experience and worth checking out if you visit. But mind you this is a total tourist attraction.

Our AirBnb

On our 3rd morning in Tokyo I woke up with a ton of energy and felt ready for a run. Plus I always like to run in every city I stay in. I did a 5 mile trek around the neighborhood of our AirBnB. It was a chilly 38 degrees out, but felt good once I got up and moving. After my run we packed up and headed down to Kyoto where would spend the rest of our trip. We took the bullet train, which was a really cool experience. Fun fact is the bullet trains can go up to 350+ miles per hour. We found some delicious treats in the station and had a leisurely brunch as we went.

 

Upon arriving in Kyoto we checked out their Niskiki Market, which if you have been to San Francisco is very similar to going to the Ferry Building. Lots of treats and snacks to taste and buy. This was by far one of my favorite parts of the trip (can you tell I love to snack on food). The food was amazing, with samples of everything. It was similar to the market we went to in Tokyo, but inside and with even more amazing food and gifts. Everything was served either on a stick or in a hand size portion.We went hear starving for lunch and although it took us a lot of little bites, we left feeling full and satisfied from the whole experience. Even as I write this I am yearning to go back and relive that market just one more time. I think I may have to go to the Ferry Building this weekend to fulfill my snacking craving.

Photo by Dustin Eastment

The next morning I decided to do a 30 minute at home barre workout mixed with a little cardio prior to us heading out to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. This was my favorite outdoor adventure we had the entire trip and I can see why it is written up year after year as the best attraction in all of Japan. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates. Very iconic and there were so many visitors with selfie sticks trying to get a photo in. Can I just mention I have never seen so many selfie sticks in all of my life!  The hike was about 2-3 hours with the first half all going straight up stairs. By the end of it I felt I had been on the stair master for a good couple of hours. After the hike complete we grabbed a drink and decided our bodies were in need of some TLC, so we went to a traditional Japanese massage house. I already am in love with traditional Thai massages  in San Francisco and the Japanese style was not too far off.  What was different is you laid on your side in more of a fetal position for the entirety of the massage, alternating sides throughout.  When the massage was done I felt amazing and ready to keep going on for the rest of the night. That evening we checked out an amazing cocktail speakeasy bar owned by a French man and operated by an Irish fellow, a Polish lady, and a German. It was fun to chat with all of them and hear what had brought them to Japan. A common theme you might guess, love for a Japanese girl.

Photo by Dustin Eastment

The next day I woke up and repeated my barre/cardio workout, although I made this one a little longer at 40 minutes. My legs felt on fire from the day before, but moving and stretching helped get me ready for the day. Our first adventure for the morning was to head over to a snow monkey park. What was cool about this place is  the monkeys are not caged and roam freely around you. Thus giving you the experience of almost like being in the wild with them. There was a steep 20-30 minute hike up to the top of the hill where they resided. Upon hitting the summit I was nice and sweaty despite the cold weather.

Photo by Dustin Eastment

After a couple of hours frolicking with the monkeys we hiked back down and walked over to the bamboo grove, another top tourist attraction. Pictures do not do the beauty of this place justice. The bamboo towers over you, making you feel small and insignificant. Light would peak through creating unbelievable picturesque moments. Along the way we grabbed a pork bun and sesame bun, which I only mention because it ended up being one of my favorite meals from the whole trip. That afternoon/early evening we decided to go to the sake brewery district and do sake tasting. One aged sake we tried tasted like pure whiskey. With a little buzz on and  having walked 30k+ steps during the day with little food we definitely indulged in a huge meal for dinner. It consisted of a lot of traditional food with our favorite, rice with a raw egg on top. You have to try! We were home and asleep by 8:30. Two crazy kids living it up in the big city.

Photo by Dustin Eastment

The next morning my legs were still exhausted so I took a rest day and also wanted to be ready for the 90 minute hike we had planned up in North Kyoto between two little towns, Kibune and Kurama. We started in Kurama hiking up the steep steps and meandering through the temples before getting on the path to the next town Kibune. The hike was beautiful and it was nice to be outside with nature. The hike took all morning so after we grabbed a quick bite and hiked back down to the bus station to head back to our place in the city. We had read about a craft beer movement starting to spur in Japan with Osaka becoming a central hub. So that afternoon after we decided to take the train down south and test out a few of the breweries. In my true snacking nature we got a little appetizer at each place with the beer. Allowing us to taste a few various things. After we had our fill of delicious beer we headed back to Kyoto.

Once back in Kyoto we ventured to a ramen shop for dinner. Most of our evenings consisted of sake and ramen for dinner as Dustin was obsessed with the dish. On this night we found an awesome spot where you had to order at a vending machine outside and bring your ticket into the restaurant to get served. A very common practice in Tokyo, but challenging when the menu is only in Japanese. Thank god for google translator. The ambiance of this place was on point and the food was amazing. Perfect end to our last night in Kyoto. This was by far our favorite ramen stop on the trip and weeks later Dustin is still talking about it.

The next morning was my last day in Japan. I woke up with a ton of energy and decided to go for a run. What started off as a quick 5 mile run ended up being 7 miles as my body felt good and it was nice to move it. I ran all around and through the imperial palace, a short jaunt from our place. Next we headed on the bullet train back to Tokyo where I went with Dustin to check into his next AirBnb. I had to be back in San Francisco for work, but Dustin was tagging on a few more days to explore Tokyo. Our last meal together was at a little restaurant I managed to find which had amazing food and was on the oldest gold fish farm in Tokyo. Not bad for a last minute find and a great end to the trip.

Overall our trip was amazing. It consisted of a lot of sake, beer, ramen, markets, outdoor adventures, and a mass amount of walking. When I say a mass amount on average throughout the trip we walked anywhere from 10-16 miles a day, with our average coming in at 12-13 miles. I left feeling in love with the Japanese culture. The way they approach living. Their cities are clean and safe. People ride bikes without locking them up, kids 6 years old take the subway by themselves to school. Everything a big city should be. Their food is fresh. Their people are polite, respectful and I am now constantly thinking about how I can continue to bring a little bit of Japan into my everyday life. If anyone gets the chance I highly recommend checking it out. Also happy to give any tips and tricks I have. Enjoy!

Advertisements

Whole 30 Week 2 and Workouts

img_0698

Just last week I sat perched in one of my favorite neighborhood coffee shops writing my first Whole30 post feeling inspired. As I sipped on my decaf coffee with my Whole30 approved nutpod creamer, now a staple in my oversized purse, I felt confident, in control, and motivated. Sure I had been ravenous with hunger all week and yes I had been snacking way too much, but I was eating whole nourishing foods, most of which was prepared by my own two hands. I looked forward to the days ahead where if history repeated itself I would be feeling amazing and questioning why I ever ate any other way. As I write today, feeling annoyed and slightly discouraged,  I can’t help but think what a difference a week can make.

What happened in a week you might ask? Two words, Orlando Flordia. Yep, I had my first work trip of the year. Now managing eating healthy while traveling is nothing new to me. Years ago I embraced being “that girl” who had almost an entire carry on bag with homemade meals and snacks to last me through a good chunk of my trip. I am also quite skillful at researching what is around my hotels and typically have my workouts and grocery store lined up in order to prep for the week. Going into this trip I found one of my favorite barre studios along with a Whole Foods half a mile from the Hotel. As I boarded my plane on Monday, bag full of food in hand, I thought this week was going to be a breeze!

The first day was just that, a breeze. I had my  pre-made snacks and found an awesome all veggie salad at the airport from one of my favorite restaurants in the city Plant Organic Cafe.  I dressed the salad with my carry on sized coconut aminos, saving some calories from the high caloric dressing included with the salad. Upon arriving to the hotel I un-packed and headed over to Whole Foods. I walked up and down the islets at the hot food bar reading every items ingredients thoroughly as if I was going to be tested on it later. As I passed by each delicious looking veggie or meat dish I found there was either soy, dairy, or sugar hiding in it. I gradually became more and more annoyed with the fewer and fewer options I had to eat. Must we cook everything in soy or add sugar!  But at last I found some good options and went back to my hotel room to eat, watch Netflix, and prepare for the couple of long days ahead of me.

Day 2 started fine. I brought breakfast and lunch with me, a combo of groceries from Whole Foods and snacks I had brought with me. Later that evening my team wanted to go out to dinner. I of course wanted to be a good sport and spend time with them, regardless of my dietary needs. I was determined to make it work! At the restaurant I did my do diligence. I asked for the gluten free menu and after reading it thoroughly landed on the chicken lettuce cups with cashew cheese and a couple of sides of steamed veggies. As soon as the waiter laid down the beautiful plate in front of me I took one look at the chicken and knew there was some sort of sauce on it which would not be compliant. I had to be “that girl” and send it back t to be replaced with plain grilled chicken. I left the restaurant feeling proud of myself, I had navigated through my first dining experience out.

Later that evening as I laid in bed my stomach started to feel off. I decided to go online and look at the menu again just to make sure. Apparently the regular menu had more details then the gluten free and right there with the cashew cheese it said peanuts and soy sauce. Um not ok! What if someone who was gluten free also had a peanut allergy, it would have been nice for them to include that information in the regular menu.  Immediately my heart sank. The Whole 30 rules are very strict. You break a rule you start over, no matter what.

I sat there contemplating and debating back and forth on whether I follow the rules or carry on. Starting over meant the last 10 days would have been wasted. The sauce was on the side and I hardly used it, but rules are rules. However this was not a personal slip or from a lack of trying or lack of willpower. I was annoyed, but finally I decided I would just march on as if nothing had happened. I needed to feel motivated to keep going and giving up the last 10 days was not going to do it. Plus I figured at day 30 I could just add one more day. Then after that day, I will add on one more, and so on until hopefully I could make up the extra 10 days.

The rest of the trip and week ended up being smooth, as I just stuck to the meal prep I had. However I started to feel bored with what I was eating and frustrated in how every restaurant prepared food. As the week started to come to a close my emotions started to take a tole. I was now 13 days into the program and not feeling the amazingness I felt by this time on the last go around. Maybe it was the slip up I had, maybe it was the 3 hour time change with the trip, maybe it was the serious sleep deprivation, either way I was not feeling the ease of motivation to continue. Luckily I am pretty determined so once I set my mind to something I will see it through. Although it does make it a hell of a lot easier when you feel like you are getting something out of it. Oh well, now I am just hoping with this next week the tides will change and my body will become the amazing temple I know it can be.

Workouts:

Sunday: Rest Day

Monday: 55 minute spinning class at Uforia Studio.

Tuesday: 40 minute 6 mile Run. Plus LOTS of extra walking today

Wednesday: 60 minute Pure Barre Class. 1 mile run. 20 minute heavy weight set.

Thursday: 60 minute Pure Barre Class. Was going to run, but woke up with my legs extremely tired after walking 13+miles the day before on top of my workout. I am trying to do a better job of listening to my body.

Friday: 55 minute spinning class at Lavation. This studio is not my favorite, but is only a half mile from my house. Proximity just wins sometimes.

Saturday: 60 minute Burn Class. Burn is a mix of cardio ( burpees, mountain climbers, sprints, etc.) plus weights, and a pilates board with bands. Great full body workout

New York City, A Love Affair Explored by Foot

IMG_0058

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….

Things I am Loving- Colorado Edition

This past week for the first time in the 8 years I have been with my company I was able to go to Denver, Colorado for a work trip! Nothing like being able to fly home for free and see friends and family. My meetings were only for 2 days, so I took a day off and had a long weekend with my family.

Image-1

My meeting’s were held at the Denver Convention center just down by 16th street mall. It was so nice to be at a hotel within walking distance of where we were meeting. I have been in a lot of convention centers over the years, but never one quite as big as this place. Also did I mention the giant bear looking in. Not something you see everyday, but I have to say it put a smile on my face every time I passed by. The highlight of the meeting was a special guest performance from Leann Rimes, which was entertaining even though she is not my favorite artist out there.

Image-3

After my first day of meetings I went to dinner with my dear friend Kerstin at a restaurant called the Squeaky Bean. We split a cheese plate, a side of brussels sprouts, and an amazing seaweed salad. Overall the food was fantastic, but more like San Francisco pricing and portions. I left still feeling like I needed a little bit more to eat. Luckily the next place we grabbed a drink had a bread basket, so I went to bed feeling full and content.

Image-2

After my meetings were complete my longest and closest friend Kristen made the hour drive up to Denver to pick me up before heading back home to Colorado Springs. We did our usual tradition of breweries and salads. On this sunny, summer afternoon we made it over to Great Divide my favorite brewery in all of Colorado, along with the Denver Beer Company. I really wanted to try the Graham Cracker Porter at the Denver Beer Company, but alas it was not on tap. This place had a great vibe and ambiance. It was just a shame their beer was lack luster.

photo 12

The following day I went to lunch with my parents at an  adorable restaurant in downtown Colorado Springs called Shuga’s. Now I am going to be honest here…….Colorado Springs food is not amazing. After living in San Francisco for so long, I have become more of a food and beverage snob. Yes I hate to admit it, but it is true. At least now being in my thirties I can accept where I have become picky. Food is one of those things, if I am going to pay to eat somewhere I am going to love it.

photo 11 photo 13

With all of that said, I have to say Shuga’s is amazing! And not just for Colorado Springs. If it were in San Francisco I would say the same. Walking into the restaurant you automatically get this hip, throw back vibe. Who knew there was such a young, eclectic crowd lurking around. My mom and I split a cuban sandwich and I got a cup of the spicy brazilian coconut shrimp soup. My dad ordered the tomato soup with the Brie and Apple bruschetta toast.

photo 14

photo 15

Just one bite of the cuban and my mouth immediately was enthralled by all of the different flavors. It had roasted pork, black forest ham, swiss cheese, dill pickle, garlic citrus mustard, and all of this deliciousness grilled on a french loaf bread. Lastly there was some sea salt sprinkled on top just for that extra flavor pop. This is one of the best sandwiches I have eaten in a long time. In fact I am still thinking about it and craving it.

Image-0Of course while on my trip I had my daily workout routine still in motion. One morning Kristen and I did back to back yoga classes at Core Power Yoga. We started off with an hour long yoga sculpt class where you use free weights while doing your poses and add in blasts of cardio in between sets. Think jumping jacks, burpees, and high knees. All of this is done in a hot room just in case you were not going to sweat enough as is. The class was awesome, hard, and you would have thought you had just done 2 hours of spinning after walking out. After yoga sculpt Kristen and I did an hour of regular vinyasa yoga, still challenging, but nothing compared to what we just had done. The best part is since it was my first time my classes were free and I received a week long pass. They have locations in the bay area, but nothing close to where I live so unfortunately I was not able to go again.

photo 3

All in all it was a great trip for work, friends, and family. I came home feeling re-freshed and ready to start a new week. Although I am already looking forward to my next trip home.

A Week In Photos In New York City

A couple of weeks ago I went out to the East Coast for my typical work trip to Providence, Rhode Island. I usually make this trip a couple of times a year, but often it is coupled with other work trips so I never get to take extra time and make my way to New York City. This time the trip happened to coincide with my birthday so I decided I needed to tack on a few days at the end to go see two of my best ladies and celebrate in style.

photo 19

Now how is one to get from Providence to New York City? The first option that came to mind for me was flying. However after seeing a one way plane ticket would be over $200 I had to quickly re-consider. After some research I found I could take a train ride to the Big Apple for only $80, I was sold. So after spending a Monday-Wednesday in Providence I embarked on my journey Thursday morning.

photo 13photo 12

I started my morning with a nice 7 mile run before getting ready and heading over to the train station. The train ride was 3 hours and I loved the whole experience. Looking out the windows upon every little East Coast sea town was quite delightful. I fantasized about wearing a striped dress, drinking champagne, and eating lobster at some quaint little bed and breakfast. I also used the time to just enjoy some magazines and get caught up on life. Once arriving at Grand Central station I made my way to my girlfriends office to unload my luggage before walking a mile to the Chelsea Market.

photo 14 photo 15

I love the Chelsea Market. It reminds me a lot of the Ferry Building in San Francisco. The market is all about food, drinks, and people. There are also various shops for local artists, which I appreciate. I wondered from shop to shop just exploring everything the building had to offer. I decided this would be a perfect place to stop and have a late lunch. Of course I could not make up my mind on what to order so I got a soba noodle salad and a couscous salad. Both were delicious!

photo 6 photo 7

The evening consisted of drinking wine back at my girlfriend Lauren’s beautiful apartment in Bed-Stuy where we caught up on life. We then walked to a small neighborhood Italian restaurant for dinner. I don’t let myself indulge in pasta very often, but every time I come to New York it is a must. Nothing beats their Italian Food. We have nothing in San Francisco that even compares in my opinion. I ordered an eggplant bolognese and ate every last bite! After a long day of walking and a run I felt I deserved all the wine and pasta my body wanted. Although I did skip on the bread and olive oil, some regulation still needed to happen.

photo 16

Day two started with a journey over to my favorite workout place in NYC, Flywheel. The 45 minute intense spinning class was just what I needed after a night of good food and drinks. After the class  I found my obsession Whole Foods and got some yogurt and fruit before finding a quaint little coffee shop to sit and read at while enjoying my morning treat. Next I spent the day roaming around the city popping into little shops that caught my eye and of course I had to venture over to Soho for some shopping.

photo 10

Later that evening I met up with my girlfriend Katie at her new apartment in the East Village where we packed a picnic of cheese, bread, fruit, and veggies for a night dinner on her roof. The warm weather was perfect and sitting overlooking the city lights glistening with champagne in hand made for a fantastic start to the night.  Next was a night cap at a neighboring bar which was soon followed by bed.

photo 9

Day Three started with a 5 mile run along the water. Nothing beats an early, warm east coast morning. After getting ready and grabbing some amazing coffee I met back up with my girlfriend Lauren again for a day at the spa.  I was able to find us an amazing deal that included a 2 1/2 hour manicure, massage, and facial all for $130. I checked in on Yelp and was able to get 30% off bringing my grand total to $90! Did I mention they gave us free champagne?

photo 23

Next on the agenda was an afternoon at a wine bar in the East Village where Lauren and I enjoyed some Vino, salad, and cheese. All of my favorite things! The portions were huge so Lauren and I no matter how hard we tried were not able to polish off the plate. After our late and leisurely lunch we made our way back to Brooklyn and relaxed before getting ready for dinner. For my last night  Lauren and I went out to eat at an amazing Venezuelan restaurant in Brooklyn.

photo 11

The next morning I went on a 5 mile run around Lauren’s neighborhood before heading to the airport. All in all it was a great few days and I can’t say how nice it was to spend time with my girlfriends! New York City is always such a special place for me, but I have to say I am always glad when I get back to the city by the bay!