Family Trip to Atlantic City

Proceeding my trip to D.C. was a day of rest followed by a mini trip to Atlantic City. Booking Atlantic City was much more challenging then D.C. … 2 hours and 15 phone calls later, we landed at the Tropicana through PriceLine.com. It turns out the prices are much higher when you call the Tropicana directly and going through PriceLine saved us one hundred and eleven dollars and turned our king size bed plus cot into two queen size beds. It was a win / win situation.

Atlantic City started off the same as Washington … a quick three mile run and one of my mom’s green smoothies consisting of spinach, whey protein, lemon, unsweetened almond milk and blueberries … I tried to get my mom to participate in blogging with me as she loves to cook and take pictures, but she has yet to contribute … stand by. We drove down to 58th street beach in Ocean City to spend the day at the beach before heading to the Tropicana, 58th street beach has a bathroom and place to rinse your feet, plus it is never overly crowded. It is just a nice place to be.

The water was perfect … big frequent waves and warm water, but not to warm! It was refreshing! After a day of swimming and relaxing we headed to the Tropicana, which was a bout a half hour drive through Margate and Vetnor .. it was a Sunday night … the highway would have been packed with traffic. Our room at the Tropicana was beautiful … spacious and comfy with an excellent view. The Tropicana is like a small city below. You don’t have to go outside for days, which is a good thing because it started to pour right after we arrived. Despite the small city at our finger tips, finding a place for dinner proved a challenge. We started at Casa Taco where we were squished in a corner next to a large family with a screaming baby. Apparently all the other tables were being held for reservations, we promptly downed our margaritas vacated the restaurant and headed to Carmines … a family style Italian restaurant. i have been to the once in D.C. and loved it, but Carmines is not really a place for my parents … they a finicky eaters. My mom kept saying “we could never agree on one thing.” I explained I would eat whatever they wanted and quickly figured out they did not want anything on the menu. I downed my double glass of wine and we headed to our third restaurant … PF Changs. The wait was too long and we were too tipsy at this point to have another drink without any food, so we left. We ended up grabbing a quick bite at Marketplace Express. We are wackos!! Four restaurants in one night? Traveling with parents presents it’s challenges! But, it was perfect. Everyone got what they wanted and it was delicious. Since it stopped raining, we we exploring the boardwalk … it was a lovely way to end a lovely day!!

The next morning, I was too tire to go running on the beach as I had planned. Instead, we packed up and started our day with brunch at Bungalow Restaurant and Lounge. It was beautiful and tasty. We all got the same thing ….an omelette filled with feta, spinach and mushrooms. My mouth is watering just thinking of it now. Proceeding our meal and a heavy application of sun screen, we headed back to 58th beach in Ocean City for the day. The Atlantic City beach looked just as lovely. It has bathrooms and a shower as well, but I grew up going to Ocean City beaches and it just felt like an Ocean City kind of day.

Upon arrival, I immediately jumped in the water. It was freezing and completely flat from the rain the night before … not a single wave. It looked like a lake. We spent the day lounging on the beach reading, taking walks and swimming! It was such a happy day we didn’t end up home till 10pm that night and I am still yearning for more … Can’t wait for my next excursion, stay tuned!!

Birthday Weekend!! Nectar, D.C.! I am one luckly chick!

Last Thursday was my birthday!! I’m 35. I love my birthday. This year when my aunt sent me a happy birthday text, I got so excited that, instead of saying thanks like a normal person, I wrote “Happy Birthday!!!” back to her …. what a goofball!!! I am like a child, it’s embarrassing …. Anyway, it was a great day. At work, my office made me feel special ….
office
I am one lucky chick!! After work, John Paul, my family and I went to Nectar. Delicious. I love that the website is tastenectar.com … I don’t know why? Maybe because it reminds me of skittles … “taste the rainbow.” Nectar has a shockingly low yelp score that I completely disagree with. It’s not really that low … a 3.5, but I would give 5 stars all around …the ambiance, food and service were fantastic. I would have sat there and tried everything on the menu if that was feasible. Since a tasting of the full menu was not provided as an option, I started with the Grilled Calamari Salad: Chorizo Sausage, Parmesan, Frisée, Arugula tossed in a Lemon Vinaigrette. I need to work on my picture taking .. I think it’s my camera. This is what I have for now:
Calamari Salad
And, honestly, that was plenty for me. The dish was very decieving. It looked small, but was very filling. However, I did not stop there. I continued with the Spider Roll Tempura Soft Shelled Crab, Cucumber, Flying Fish Roe. Soft shell crab is one of my favorites. I try and get it whenever possible. My picture did not turn out that well, which means I’ll have to go back for another picture for the accuracy and thoroughness of my blog!!

To finish I had the Chocolate Peanut Butter Martini:
dessert
That plate behind my martini is the Café Mocha Bento: Tiramisu, Chocolate Caramel Truffle, Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookie, Praline Ice Cream … I had a few bites of that as well. It is meant to be shared.

The following morning, I forced myself out of bed super early for a three mile run and one of my mom’s green smoothies (spinach, whey protein, lemon, unsweetened almond milk and blueberries … I’m feeling very happy because I thought almond milk was making my stomach bloated. However, after consuming this smoothie, I learned I was wrong. I am fine. Upon reflection, it’s probably always beer.) before heading down to Washington DC with my family. Actually, it was Tysons corner. My brother was in town from California on a work trip. I took the day off for a quick visit before he headed back to the other side of the country.

I always think I’m in really good good shape until I talk to my brother. During our visit, he told me he runs 40 miles a week. Hahahaha, I’m not even close. Last week, I ran 4 times … one 5 miles and the rest 3 … that’s 14 miles, plus one core power yoga class for strength training. Moreover, I learned, he runs 8 miles am hour. That’s fast. I have decided to resort to a yoga like mentality and keep my eyes on my own mat. In this case, my own shoes.

I love going to DC because I always have ridiculously delicious food. Upon arrival, we grabbed a lite lunch in the Marriott hotel. Couscous, chickpeas and salmon tossed in a lite vinaigrette … scrumptious and light. Note to self: figure out how to make this for my work lunches. Later, we headed to Founding Farmers, a beautiful family owned restaurant … the website has a video explaining the history and purpose of the restuarant… it’s nice. On the way there, we happened by a court yard with games such as corn-hole and over-sized jenga. We stopped to play jenga. It did not last long!

Founding Farmers is known for their breads and dips, as a family, we shared the CLASSIC: pimento cheese, green goddess, romesco and churned butter served with a variety of breads including biscuits. I have noticed biscuits are everywhere in D.C …. I love biscuits. I never find them in Philly? For my meal, I had the BLUE CHEESE STEAK SALAD: bacon, egg, balsamic onion, crispy shallots … fantastic choice. However, again, as I looked around, everything looked delicious. I wanted to try everything I saw. As our succesfull food adventure came to an end, the manager came to our table with Caramel Popcorn and Turtles. Apparently my brother goes there a lot when he was working and we were reaping the benefits … It was an excellent end to an excellent trip!

Beating the heat!! Working out in a heat wave is hard!!

This heat wave has got to go! Usually, I am a summer chick, but 99 degrees feels like 107 is too much. I don’t remember ever having a summer this hot in my entire life. It is really hindering my work outs … I feel awful. Lethargic, lazy, and cranky. Wednesday and Thursday, I skipped the gym because I was so hot, I could not bare the thought of sweating. And Friday, well Friday turned into a mess. John Paul and I went to the Craft Beer store for a flight and ended up trying all thirty beers on tap. It’s as bad of an idea as it sounds. ‘
Finally, today, Sunday, I dragged myself to the gym for a five mile run. It was fantastic. I felt like I could run forever!!
running

Running in the heat.

I must remind myself of the following to not fall out of working out in the future …. I know what to do. I just have to do it.
This blurb is nothing scientific, just a few things I have figured out through the years that make me feel good.
1. Drinking lots and lots of water, but not too much water … too much makes it hard to run. I start sipping 16 ounces of water before running and continue with a 24 ounce squirt bottle during my run and as much as needed after to no longer feel thirsty.
2. Electrolytes… water is not enough. A Gatorade or v]Vitamin Water post workout does wonders. The calorie free ones … don’t want to undo my workout.
3. A scoop of peanut butter after each workout, but just one scoop. Not the full jar.
4. Sweating cools the body down. My comment above about not wanting to sweat anymore is silly and ridiculous. Just an excuse to be lazy. I would have felt better in the long run if I sweat more.
5. A cool shower. Always amazing after a hard workout.

Runners Beware!! Put Safety First!!

On my way to work this morning, I was horrified to read of two young women among the running community were brutality attacked, raped and murdered while out running near their homes this past week, one only 27 visiting her family in Massachusetts and the other just 30 in Queens New York …. I am deeply saddened for them and their friends and families. As an avid exercise enthusiast, I love running … it is a time dedicated to me. A time to clear my head and just live in the moment! Any attack is awful, however, to be running, free and happy and suddenly, out of nowhere, stopped by a vicious, brutal attack is devastating and so very scary … I shutter at the very thought.

Over this past weekend, there was a run dedicated to these women in New York. Obviously, I missed that, plus it was a little far, however, I wanted to use my blog, which I absolutely love, to make my own small tribute.

According to the Philly Metro, in regards to running, Philadelphia has not encountered any recent brutal attacks … knock on wood. However, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared with resources available to us as women in the running community.

Mace

Is Mace legal in Philadelphia and in PA, yes! According to the most recent article I could find, Pepper Spray Laws in the United States, PA has no restrictions. Mace kind of scares me … what if I spray myself in the face? I did some research and didn’t find any tips on avoiding self inflicted harm other than common sense … do not point spray at self and keep the safety on at all times. However, in my search I stumbled upon Pepper Spray for Self Defense … no safety tips, but a very thorough article on the history and effects of pepper spray in addition to a plethora of helpful facts … It’s good. Give it a read.

Where to buy Mace in Pepper Spray in Philadelphia

I Goldberg Army & Navy
1300 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 925-9393

Rittenhouse Hardware
2001 Pine St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 735-6311

Dicks Sporting Goods
Purchase online

Self Defense

Self defense classes are frequently offered through out the city. Here are the first nine I found on Google:

Browse around … check them out! Pick what is right for you.

In the interim, stay safe, pick up some mace and, as always, Happy Running!!

Eating, Drinking, Walking, Exploring Williamsburg, NY

John Paul and I just finished a fantastic weekend eating, drinking and walking with our friends through Brooklyn … I miss it all already!!

We began our excursion reuniting with our friends from Boston and settling into an Airbnb in Williamsburg, NY. With no plan except to find food, we set out to see where the night would go … A bit of exploring, landed us at The Brooklyn Star. Excellent find … the food was incredible! As a table, we shared homemade Corn bread with chunks of bacon. For dinner, John Paul and I split fried steak served with creamy mashed potatoes, bacon and cole slaw. It was perfect. I sort of wish we had ordered the mac and cheese as a table .. I was the weirdo staring at another table sharing it … It looked so good. However, honestly, another dish would have been ridiculous. We had more than enough food. No one even finished what we had!!

Saturday, I got up early to go to Abhyasa Yoga, but missed the 8am class due to lazziness and didn’t want to to be the jerk holding up the rest of our group by going to the 10am class. I settled for a run … just a thirty minute jog … it was like a getting to know the neighborhood during the day jog. The morning continued with a breakfast at Bagel Smith, a bagel shop around the corner. I scarfed down lox and cream cheese on an everything bagel with an iced coffee … it was delicious, but, the best part of this stop was the woman handing out cookies at the door. She barely spoke english and wore no type of clothing indicating who she who she worked for and was accompanied by a strange man lurking in the corner. She handed out scrumptious light wafer cookie in the shape of a tube filled with caramel … I have no idea if her presents was authorized by the Bagel Smith, but I am glad she was there.

Following breakfast, we began wandering though the Hasidic Jew section of Brooklyn towards Fort Greene Flea. It was an awesome walk. Being the Sabbath, everything was closed, but it was interesting to take in the culture of the neighborhood … buildings and buses with Yidish writing, heavy traditional clothing even in the heat of the summer and children’s toys strewn through the safe streets of this seemingly tight nit community. After winding our way for about five miles, we took a break at Moot Bar for a round of Megaritas. They were strong. Very strong. So, a now slightly tipsy adventure team made it to Fort Greene Flea. It was alright. A parking lot partly filled with random abandon items. I know that is what a flea market is, but I was more expecting a closed off street with a lot more of something.

2016-08-08 21.09.45

Anyway, after the flea market, we ended up at a record store, where John Paul found a record with a magic eye cover for our Airbnb host … no, we do not know him, but it just seemed like the perfect addition to our hosts decor. And, we purchased a smurf album for 1 dollar that we will hang in the blue room of our house. It is perfect.

smurf

Exhausted, we ubered it to our next stop, Zona Rosa!!! Amazing. I had Tacos De Pollo con Mol, which I selected because the menu description mentioned “chef secret family mole recipe” and I feel like it’s difficult to go wrong with secret family recipes … I was correct!

tacos

We all accompanied our meals with the special, frozen watermelon margarita served in a watermelon. Very refreshing. And, at the end, we scrapped the margarita soaked watermelon from the grind … good idea!

watermelon

We spent the rest of the evening in the airbnb drinking Titos and playing games!!

The next morning, we slept in and started off the day with a Bells Two Harded. We weren’t going to carry it around and couldn’t let them go to waste. We continued on with Brunch at 10 Devoe Pizza. Another gem we randomly stumbled upon on our Brooklyn adventure. The whole menu looked fantastic … I went with 10 Devoe Hash: slab bacon, roasted brussel sprouts and onions, and two sunny eggs over a thick slice of spicy toast and washed it down with a mimosa. It was even better then it sounds.

Sadly, the conclusion of brunch, meant the departure of our friends. It was time for John Paul and I to go our separate way. Left to our own devices, we opted to walk from Brooklyn to Penn Station via the Williamsburg Bridge … with our suit cases! Our walk included crazy stares from fellow pedestrians and honks from cabs both perplexed by our decision to truck around the city with rolling suite cases. But none of that mattered … the walk was gorgeous and we had a blast!! It was the perfect ending to a fantastic weekend!

bridge

No rest days in August … #cfgstreak

This week has been a really fun!! I didn’t make anymore new dishes after my sucessfull smoothie and salad endeavors on Monday, but, as previously mentioned, I’m doing the City Fit Girl Challenge (#cfgstreak)…. 31 days straight of physical activity through the month of August. I’m not going to lie, it has helped me immensely. I understand this may sound dramatic as it has only been five days, but there have been several occassions throughout the week where I would have taken a rest day and didn’t. I pushed myself to get up and keep moving. It also got me to take more pictures, which I often forget. But, in this instance, I was motivated by fear. Fear of being the chick with the boring tweets .. Worked like a charm!!!

I previously shared my Monday workout, so I begin my post with Tuesday … my girlfriend and I had a dinner date. I was lucky, ordinarily dinner after work means an early morning wake up to exercise, but she is a workout machine. We decided to go to go to CorePower Yoga before our outing… we took corepower 2. It kicked my butt. By the end, I was dazed from the intensity of the workout … my hands were waterlogged and my hair drenched in sweat. I loved it, but was sure I would be sore in the next day or two.
20160802_171814
Wednesday, I wasn’t sore at all!! However, as the day moved on, I got tired. So much so, I may have ordinarily taken a I rest day, but I pushed through and took a little two mile run after work. I’m so glad I did. I didn’t need a rest day at all. Three minutes in, all the tiredness washed away and I was trucking!!
Screenshot_2016-08-03-19-49-30
I celebrated Thirsty Thursday with a post work happy hour. However, this time, I was with folks unwilling to join me for an intense sweaty yoga class before the bar … that means I had to get up at 5:30 am for kettlebells in my family room. This serves as another example when I may have nixed the workout, turned over and gone back to sleep, but I’m too damn competitive for that… Sadly, my kettlebell photo is not uploading … http error. I can’t fix it now as I’m on a train, but I can describe what I did… I used a routine previously mentioned in this blog from Be Well Philly.
Try it!! It’s full body … My favorite:

20 kettlebell swings
10 squat thrusts with high pull
20 reverse lunges with kettlebell
10 pullovers
20 kettlebell crunches
10 lateral lunges with overhead press
20 kettlebell chest presses
10 lunge rows
20 ab twists
Repeat!!

This morning, I got up for a quick mile run … that counts according to the CFG Streak criteria …
20160805_061257
Now, John Paul and I are on our way to NYC to visit some friends. I brought my workout clothes in hope the opportunity to exercise presents itself. Im looking for a yoga class or quick run … maybe even my own workout in the airbnb, otherwise, I will pick up where I left off Monday … looking forward to a fantastic weekend!!!

City Fit Girls Work out Challenge … #cfgstreak

It’s Monday and my week is already off to a fantastic start! Yesterday, I dragged myself to the gym … I did not want to go. It has been so hot that I just want to lounge in a pool and drink margaritas. But, I forced myself to go to the gym and, as expected, I’m thrilled that I did … I started week six of the couch to 5k program … Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then: Jog 5 minutes, Walk 3 minutes, Jog 8 minutes, Walk 3 minutes, and Jog 5 minutes … I cooled down with a walk home from the gym.

Today, I began the thirty one day fitness challenge from City Fit Girls. The goal is to workout every day in the month of August and then post your workout via social media with #cfgstreak … workouts include running a mile, a half hour tabata, an hour of yoga, a spin class, boot camp, kickboxing etc. So, after work, I went back to the gym where I was supposed to start with a brisk five minute walk followed by 10 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, and ten minutes running, however, I felt so great after 10 minutes that I just kept going … 20 minutes total. No walking. I proceeded to a 60 minute still yoga at Soujourn. First day of the CFG challenge down, thirty more to go … I posted both my workouts together on twitter.

In addition to a couple of great workouts, I started Monday off with a smoothie of kale, cucumber, celery, lemon, blueberries, pear and a tablespoon of honey. It looks disgusting. I tried to make it more appealing by garnishing it with a few blueberries, but they kept sinking.

smoothie

Regardless, this smoothie was delicious. And, I have left over ingredients to make more tomorrow … John Paul doesn’t like green smoothies so it is all for me!!!

For lunch, I made my own version of a super food salad…..

chicken

Kale, romaine, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, blueberries, dried cranberries, a quarter of an avocado, and four ounces of chicken. I mixed in Bolthouse Farms Cilantro Avocado dressing. It was awesome!

Couch to 5K …. Week Five. Four weeks to go!!!

Thank goodness it’s the weekend. I am ready for some relaxation after a busy week. Workout wise, I finished week 5 of the couch to 5k. Day one was described in my earlier blog post … day two was a brisk five minute warm up walk, 8 minutes of running, 5 minutes of walking and 8 minutes of walking. I walked home as my cool down and did a lot of stretching. The third and final day of week five had to take place at 6am Friday morning #dedication. It’s actually because I bailed on working out on Monday, which messed up my schedule and I needed to squeeze in my workout … Day three was a brisk five minute walk followed by twenty minutes of running and a five minute cool down walk. While i made it through just fine despite some muscle stiffness of the early morning, I felt like this was a large jump if you have never run before. I am used to training programs that start with running as much as I can whether it be three minutes or three miles and slowly add on more time every week. This training schedule has been effective for me in the past, but I wanted to try something new so I am sticking to my current regiment.

In other news, I went to Apollo Grill in Bethlehem Friday. It was fantastic. I had the Superfood Salad and my mouth is watering just thinking about it now …. Spinach, kale, pomegranate seeds, strawberries, blueberries, toasted almonds, crumbled blue cheese, strawberry- and a light lemon vinaigrette. I wanted so very badly to take a picture, but I was at a work lunch and felt it may be inappropriate. I will just have to try and recreate this salad in the near future and take a picture of my own salad then!!

As the week ended, I promised myself I would relax all weekend, however, it occurred to me this morning that I did no weight training this week. So, I felt obliged to make it up with early morning Flow at Sojourn. It was hard …. dragging myself out of bed early, but completely worth it. I feel great. Now, I plan to add some bailey’s to my coffee to take on a walk with John Paul … it is that kind of day.

Spinach and Tortellini Salad

On Monday, I got up at 5:30am to start week five, day 1 of the couch to 5k workout, but a severe thunderstorm hindered my ability to get out of bed. I tried to get up so early because I was supposed to play tennis with my dad after work, but, due to excessive heat, we ended up drinking wine and eating sushi … it was fun. So, since, due to excessive weather trouble, Monday turned into a rest day, I went to the gym promptly after work Tuesday for for a brisk five-minute warm up walk proceeded by the following: jog 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, jog 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, jog 5 minutes. This puts me at 15 minutes of running … half way to a 5k … exciting!! I cooled down with a walk to the Craft Beer Store to meet up with John Paul for some wind down beers.

beer

After a beer or two, I had every intention of going home to make Spinach and Tortellini Salad from the website, 3 Boys Unprocessed, but it turned into something more like this ….
Ingredients:
1 package of Sausage Tortellini
1 carton of Cherry Tomatoes
1 bag of Spinach
4oz log of goat cheese
3 tbs Bolthouse Farms Cilantro Avocado Dressing

Directions.
Cook Tortellini according to package. My package called for salt … I left it out as I am trying not to put extra salt in my diet … the tortellini was still delicious. Drain pasta and let cool in fridge. While pasta is cooling, cut cherry tomatoes in half, chop spinach into bite size pieces and crumble goat cheese. Mix all mentioned ingredients thoroughly. Add Cilantro Avocado Dressing, or any dressing of your choice and mix thoroughly.
Finished product (dinner and lunch):

Finished productLunch

It was fantastic! And, I had plenty of left overs for lunch for me and John Paul for the rest of the week. I don’t ordinarily like having pasta for lunch, especially tortellini, but tortellini mixed with spinach and tomatoes and a minimal amount of cheese is a perfect mid day meal! I would love to try the originial recipe provided by Dana, the author of 3 Boys Unprocessed, but for now my altered recipe is another idea to store in my recipe index!

Lunch at Terrain

The second half of my week was jammed packed with physical activity. Wednesday was my rest day, but my building at work had yoga at lunch. I attended with my co-workers. It was more like bed yoga … relaxing, stretching yoga, but it got me away from my desk and moving in the middle of the day.

Thursday, I got up at 5:30am and went to the gym to complete day two in week four of the couch to 5k program Brisk five-minute warm up walk, then: Jog 3 minutes, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 5 minutes, Walk 2-1/2 minutes, Jog 3 minutes, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 5 minutes. I warmed down with my walk home from the gym. I wish I had the motivation to get up that early everyday … once it is over, I feel great for the rest of the day.

Friday, after work, I went to Yoga Sculpt at Corepower Yoga. Amazing class that combines, weights, yoga and cardio in one quick hour. And, it was the third yoga class I was able to attend this week.

Saturday, I completed day three of week four in couch 2 5k. Then, my mom and I went to Terrain in Glen Mills for lunch. The food and atmosphere we perfect. We sat inside and shared the Quinoa Salad (spinach, olive, feta, olive oil and salmon) and the Heirloom Tomato and Peach Salad (burrata, arugula, white wine vinaigrette and shrimp). We completed our meal with Triple Berry Buttermilk Cake (lemon curd, vanilla bean buttercream). Way too much food, but worth it all!!

SALMON2 Shrimp 2

Post lunch, I went too burn some of it off with swim in my friend’s pool … it started raining shortly after I arrived, but it was fun while it lasted.

I didn’t cook or prepare or make any food for the week except for overnight oats. Instead, I finished off the weekend with a swim on Sunday afternoon followed by a long walk to hit my 10,000 steps on fitbit.