Long Weekend Packing

I’m all packed for my long weekend starting on Friday.  To say I’m excited wouldn’t be wrong.  I actually don’t mind packing; it’s unpacking that I loathe.

I was inspired to kick off packing by an article I saw on Laura’s blog. The article shows how to pack 30 outfits in your carry on. This girl has the exact same carry on as I do, and boy can does she make every inch count. It’s a Tommy Hilfiger suitcase from this collection that meets most airlines’ regulations for overhead luggage size.

I tend to love all posts related to packing. I guess I’m weird like that.  While I’m at it, this is a great video about in flight essentials.

The main thing I took from the article was to limit my color palette. This wasn’t hard since I wear mostly black and beige anyways. As trips go, this was an easy one to pack for, I really only need casual clothes and once nicer outfit for a dinner out.


Where I am going, the weather can be unpredictable, so I have lots of wraps and cardigans for layering.

  • Jeans (white house black market)
  •  Long sleeve patterned top (banana-similar)
  • Short sleeve striped top (gap)
  • Black turtleneck top (mexx)
  • 3/4 length gold polka dot sweatshirt (limited-similar)
  • Black wrap dress (WHBM similiar)
  • Black jumpsuit (easily by best buy of 2015-Banana- similar)
  • 2 cardigans in black and navy (similar)
  • wrap and infinity scarf both in shades of beige (similar)
  • Large tan bag (carry on 2) and small black bag/clutch

Workout Clothes (I’m being optimistic that I’ll be able to do something by then.)


  • 2 tops (new balance)
  • capris (new balance)
  • sports bra (under armour)
  • socks (adidas)
  • jacket (new balance-similar)

Make Up and Toiletries 



I’m pretty basic with make up and toiletries.  The Naked on the Run palette is perfect for travel if I all I need is every day looks. I think everything else is self-explanatory.  If you want to know specific products, just let me know.



Given the ankle situation, I’m keeping shoes simple–sneakers and flats. I’m hoping I can manage the wedges if I wear the jump suit. I always wear sneakers on board if I’m not bringing boots.  My best travel tip is to wear your heaviest/bulkiest stuff on board. I’ll probably also bring a jacket that I’ll wear to the airport.

All Packed



This suitcase does fit a ton.  The only things I snuck in that aren’t shown above are underwear, a bathing suit, 1 pair pjs and a tiny Tiffany pouch with a bracelet and necklace.

I’m a fan of rolling VS folding because I think it helps prevent wrinkles.

That should get me through 4 days no problem.

If you have any packing tips, I’d love to hear them!


The Ups and Downs of Marathon Training

I plan for the TSC NYC Marathon to be my fourth and final marathon. I’d love to do halfs and triathlons in the future, but I’m not sure that full marathons are my bread and butter.

Early Triumph

That said, this year’s training really started off amazingly well. Better than I ever expected.  I enjoyed my first few 5-8 mile runs over the Williamsburg Bridge.  The longer 11-13 mile summer streets runs were also fabulous.

August started off great against the odds. I had to work every weekend day of August expect 1, so all my long runs were before work. That said, the 5:30AM wake up calls weren’t so bad. I loved running on nearly empty streets.


Bump in the Road

Things hit a snag when I got food poisoning the day before my long run on August 22nd.   I felt like garbage and was so nauseous, there was no way to get up early and squeeze in a run on Sunday, it was all I could do to make it through the work day.  From that weekend on, things haven’t been the same.  The next week I got in a good 14 mile run, but it wasn’t easy.

Last weekend, I had the worst run of all, I barely made it through 12 miles before throwing in the towel. I couldn’t get my head in the game.

I had kind of psyched myself up for this weekend by properly hydrating and buying all the necessary supplies (Gu). On Friday, I took Pettitte out for a short run of about 3 miles.  This has been our routine for about a month. Once a week, I’ll take him with me to get him tired out for the day.

IMG_1664 IMG_1665

We run along the East River.  Pettitte’s a beagle, so he loves to sniff and I usually indulge him once or twice on the run.

On one such occasion, I told Pettitte we had to get going and I started running from the grass and rolled my ankled onto the pavement. It was a big roll. My ankle felt weird for about a minute, but I kept going and it felt normal soon thereafter.

Three hours later, I was sitting in a meeting and my ankle began to throb. I couldn’t even concentrate. When the meeting was finally over, I went to stand up and I couldn’t put any weight on my ankle without a lot of pain. I managed to hobble out of the building and get to an urgent care less than a block away.

I was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain and told to use crutches through the weekend and then use an air cast for 4-6 weeks after.


Honestly, the crutches were almost worse than the pain. I think I overcompensated so much that my other started hurting.  In any event, I think my diagnosis was super cautious and I’m still confident that I’ll be able to get through the NYC Marathon one way or the other.  Until then I’m going to ease back in with low impact cardio and get to a PT for more advice!

PS I’m finally on instagram! follow me at melissanyny

Summer Workout Playlist

Ahh…summertime.  Could there even be a better summer song than Summertime by The Fresh Prince? I was originally going to post the songs that I am currently listening to on repeat; however, I think some summer-themed hits may be in order before the last precious weeks of summer slip away.

But if you are  curious, I’m listening to a lot of Worth It, Fight Song, Style, and I Can’t Feel My Face

Songs of Summer Workout Playlist 

Summertime – The Fresh Prince

Summertime Sadness ( Remix Version) – Lana Rey

Summer – Calvin Harris 

California Gurls – Katy Perry

I’m in Miami Bitch – LMFAO

Summertime – New Kids on the Block

Summer Love – Justin Timberlake

Hot in Herre – Nelly

Summerthing – Afrojack

Summertime Clothes – Animal Collective 

This Summer’s Gonna Hurt Like a Mother – Maroon 5 


Chardonnay Run Recap

Wine at the Finish Line. I could probably end this post right here.

The Chardonnay Run is the race that asks, turn down for what?


A few week’s ago, people at the Chardonnay Run sent me information about their first NYC race.  I said that I’d be happy to post about it since, I think we can all agree that a race with a wine bar at the end is awesome! Chardonnay also happens to be my favorite white! They generously offered to comp my registration.

I had to do a long run on Saturday, so I decided to run 9 miles during Summer Streets and then finish the run with the 5K.  The Chardonnay Run offers the option of 9AM, 9:30AM or 10:00AM start times, which gives you lots of flexibility–and the option to sleep in bit if you like.

I ended up running from Union Square to 72nd Street and back down to Canal before crossing over to the west side highway.  As I made my way south on the west side, I saw a lot of activity on Pier 26.


I loved the set up of this race. Everything-registration, startline, expo–was easy to get to, so you could walk around and check things out before and after the race.

I arrived at Pier 26 around 9AM and collected my bib, expo bracelet and t-shirts. It was about then when the first wave took off, the announcer really got everyone pumped and there was great energy in the corral area. FullSizeRender_2FullSizeRender_1 copy

Waves took off every few minutes, which was nice and orderly and kept the course from being too crowded.  Here are a few things to know about the run…

Great course: I loved the course up along the Hudson. It was very well marked and there were tons of volunteers cheering you on.  It’s sort of an out and back, but you run back closer to the highway rather than the water, so it feels more like a loop and you aren’t running out right next to people coming back, which is great.  It was pretty hot for the last mile, so early start times are advisable!

Fun Run:  This is really meant to be fun, not competitive. There are fun groups wearing shirts that say “Wine-Ho” and “Yes Way Rose.” There were people that were there to run all out, but I’d say that was the minority as there were plenty of people walking as well.  I certainly enjoyed being able to just enjoy the course and felt no pressure whatsoever to kill myself.

Fun Swag: In addition to a great t-shirt, wine and cheese plate, there were also fun food trucks and vendors along the pier.

FullSizeRender copy


Price:  Register early!  Prices get really steep toward race day. D.C. and San Jose are next, so make sure to sign up now! Also, in NYC, bag check cost $5. I was hoping to check my fuel belt, as I felt like an idiot running a 5K wearing one, but I wasn’t going to pay  to check it.

All in all, it was a really fun race that was well organized and had a great course.  I’d definitely like to run it again with a group of friends.


6 Reasons I’m Excited About Running

I’ve noticed some runners passion never wanes.  They are just as excited about their fifth marathon as their first. Personally, my relationship with running has highs and lows.  But I’ve found, running is very much a mental game. If I am dreading my long run, it’s usually pretty painful. I find myself wanting to walk a lot or cutting off a mile or two from my plan.  On the other hand, if I intentionally get excited about training and long runs, they seem to go 10x better.

I’m coming off a good 11 mile run this weekend and I am already looking forward to 12 next weekend.  Here are a few reasons I’m excited about running:

Chardonnay Run 5K in New York


One of my biggest tips to get motivated to run is to sign up for a race. I’m excited to be registered for the Chardonnay Run this Saturday.  I’m so excited for my first race that ends with wine!  I’m planning to get up early to run 9 before hand and this will finish off my long run.  The race entry includes a t-shirt, bib, wine and food pairings!  Is anyone else running?

Run Clubs

Running is so much easier when you have support–and some accountability. I’ve found training with charities to be incredibly helpful, but since I’m not planning to fundraise for NY this year, I’m planning to take advantage of some of the great running groups in NYC.  I definitely want to check out the November Project, but a bit closer to my downtown home Paragon, Jack Rabbit, Nike and North Face all have training groups.

No Slack Speed Work

Speed work is not something I have much success doing on my own outside.  My cheat is to use run workout classes as my speed work.  Barry’s and Fitness Runs are my favs, but I want to try Mile High Run Club and The Run too!

New Shoes


I’m in love with my New Balance Vazee Rush shoes!  I love them every bit as much as my beloved Fresh Foams–and that’s saying something.  They are super light, but they hug the foot providing a lot of support! The Vazee’s have three    different options within the collection. The Pace, which is designed for training and races, including long distances and marathons–and speed!  The Rush, which is designed for speed and training of all kinds, even the gym.  I can totally feel how much faster the heel to toe transition is in these shoes than my other running shoes. Finally, there is the Coast. This is a more recreational shoe, great for the gym or just looking cute in jeans as your run errands.  Honestly, the genius behind this line is how cute the shoes are for so much function! New Balance sent me a pair for free, but opinions are my own and I love them!

NYC Marathon Emails

I find that reading all the emails the the TCS NYC Marathon sends is a great way to stay motivated. It’s so exciting to feel a part of something so special.  Reading those emails helps me keep my head in the game without even running a step.  That said, I’m sad that I waited too long to sign up for transportation and baggage and I missed my change to get a poncho. I guess they really meant July 31st or while supplies last!

Summer Streets


If Summer Streets isn’t one of the best things about NYC in the summer, I don’t know what is.  For 3 beautiful Saturdays, starting August 1st, you can run from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park without getting hit by a car!  In fact, the best part of all may be running through the tunnel area around Grand Central, which is usually cars only. The highlight this year, WATER SLIDE.  What???

Let me know if you have tips to get motivated to stick to your training plan!

June–Here and Gone

June is almost officially over and it’s always sad to see it go.

The month was super busy at work and I’m still waiting for the summer slow down to hit.  Hopefully July will be the month.

So here’s what happened in June….


It was pretty relaxed until we had a wedding in Park City, Utah.   I probably never would have gone to Utah, but man was it gorgeous!  We went on the most beautiful hike–I could do it everyday and never get tired of the view.


The wedding was really neat at the top of the Canyons Resort, accessible only by gondola!  If you are ever in Park City, the Waldorf Astoria is lovely and has exceptional service!

Last weekend, we had a double header wedding weekend, one in Westerly, Rhode Island and one in Jacksonville, Florida. Both were a ton of fun!

The Ocean House was a great place for a wedding. I love when hotels have activity schedules–I can’t get enough. I took advantage of the Westerly bike tour!FullSizeRender-2


I also went an a great beach run. It’s officially time to kick off marathon training.




Pettitte’s Birthday

Back in NYC, Pettitte turned one!  We went all out with invitations, favors, and poochinis.  A few of Pettitte’s dog friends met us a the Madison Square Dog Park, which was followed by poochinis at Shake Shack.


A poochini is dog soft serve with peanut butter and dog biscuits.  Pettitte was in heaven!


I can’t believe my baby is already one! I  want him to stay a puppy forever.


It’s rare I go see movies in the theaters, but this month I saw two!  Jurassic World and Entourage.  Both were silly fun, the later being the perfect antidote for a rainy day.  I also watched Still Alice on the flight home from Utah–it was beautiful.

I guess I should start packing once again–we leave for Martha’s Vineyard tomorrow!  I can’t wait–it’s still my favorite place. :)

Did you do anything fun in June?

Fhitting Room Flatiron Review

I think I’m in love.  Yes, that’s how I feel about the Fhitting Room.

To quote Cher Horowitz, “I am majorly, totally, butt crazy in love” with the Fhitting Room.

I’ve now taken 3 classes at the Flatiron location, thanks to a GILT city special.

fhitting room

The Fhitting Room workout looks something like this:

  • 10-15 Minute Warm Up and Workout Overview: Jumping jacks, lunges, etc.
  • 20 Minute Main Workout:  You rotate through 6 stations with 3 other people, you workout about 2 minutes per station with 1 minute rest in between. (Rowing machine, box jumps, trx bands, kettle bells, etc.)
  • 10 Minute Challenge (think lots of burpees)
  • 5-10 Minute stretch

Why am a such a fan? Let me count the ways…


1.) Great, clean studio space: It’s a really nice studio that is well designed and organized.  The locker facilities are stocked with top of the line toiletries and plenty of lockers.

2.) Killer workout in 50 Minutes: I’ve definitely felt each fhitting room workout for days after and the workout is over in less than an hour.   I’m all about exercise efficiency. Hail to HIIT.

3.) Great Trainers: For every class, the trainers have been great.  I also love that they have TWO trainers in every class, so you get lots of personal attention and you can’t get away with sloppy form!

4.) Variety: You only spend about 2 minutes doing any given exercise, so you never get bored and the class flies by!

5.) Music The music is on point at the FR. There is lots of rap and hiphop which I think goes perfectly with any workout, but particularly strength based ones.

I really don’t have anything negative to say about the Fhitting Room.  I guess that a downside is that, like all boutique studios, it’s pricey at $35 a class. But you do get two trainers for that price.  This summer you get a free class for every person your refer and your first class is buy one get one, so that’s something!

NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon Weekend!

As always, the weekend is going by far too fast.  But it’s been a great one and I’m going to enjoy the few hours I have left!

Friday after work, Frank and I went out to Pier 3 in Brooklyn to pick up our bibs for the Air B and B NYRR Brooklyn Half.  The pre-party presented by New Balance was awesome. They do such a great job with music, mini golf, food trucks and more.




Free Van Leeuwen’s cones–this was the vegan cherry–yum!




After a long walk along the water, we headed back to Manhattan.  We ordered some pasta for Piccolo while watching Pitch Perfect. I’d never seen it, it was cute, but I’m not rushing out to see PP2 while it’s in the theaters.  Then it was early to bed for our 5:15 wake up call.

When I got up in the morning, I just had to get dressed. I was shocked and thrilled that my outfit color coordinated perfectly. I did nothing to encourage this, as I don’t care about such things, but it was indeed serendipitous.

There was a chance of rain, so I wore the NB race top, under armour capris, a brook’s jacket and my asics <–very brand diverse. I decided to forgo a hat and just took sunglasses.  I pinned on my bib, put my gu chomps in my pocket and metro card in my pocket and we were off.

We got on the 5:59 4 train and were getting off at Franklin Ave by 6:22.  We basically exited into the metal detectors, which we breezed through.  I had a lot of time in the corral before my 7AM start, but the porta potty line was hopeless, so I gave up on that.  Even when the BK Half started in the park, the bathroom lines were the worst I’d ever seen. Fortunately, this is the only negative thing I can say about the BK half organization.

Finally, the gun went off and so did I, sort of. I crossed the start line 17 minutes after the gun.  The first mile was great.  I just wanted things to stay exactly the same for the next 12.1 miles.  My first 5K was the fastest at a 9:55 pace.  While the next 3 miles felt pretty strong, they were actually my slowest at a sluggish 11 min/mi pace. I tried to enjoy the park since I knew that a whole lot of highway was ahead.

I had only done 3 long runs and the longest was 7 miles, so I knew I would probably want to walk a little bit. I decided to do a modified Galloway method and I walked 15-30 seconds at every  water station.  If you are going to walk, I think it’s always smart to have a plan, otherwise, you can be walking yourself into a dark hole.  Fortunately, the small walk breaks seemed to help my pace, which went back to just over 10 minute miles.

Around mile 9 it started to rain.  I don’t usually like running in rain at all, but it actually wasn’t so bad. My Brooks jacket had a hood, which was a lifesaver, even if my sunglasses spent the rest of the race on my head.

Theodora had mentioned in a blog post that the streets go up from A to Z, I remembered this at Ave M and it kept me occupied until we were almost to mile 12.  Backing up, around mile 11, I realized that if I kept it together I could finish around my usually time of 2:12-2:14, as opposed to my goal of just finishing under 3:15.  My goals was literally just not to be swept up and driven to the finish line, which happens if you fall below a 15 MPH pace.  I set the bar real high, I know.

Unfortunately, the last mile was tough. I was mentally falling apart when usually I can summon what’s left inside for the final 1600 meters.  I ended up finishing at 2:16:27. While it’s nothing to write home about, I was fine with it. My actually race training will start in June when I start focusing on the NYCM.

The finish had all kinds of fan fare.  Even if you only run on the boardwalk for .1 miles, it is really fun and exciting.  After exiting the course, I found this guy!


When we finally got home 21 stops on the Q train later, I took a short nap before meeting Frank at the Brazen Fox to watch the Ranger WIN.   We lazed about the rest of the day until we met friends for a late dinner at Upland.  Thanks for the recommendation Pete Wells.

Sunday started early with a trip to the dog park followed by a trip to Petco.  I let Pettitte pick out a bag of treats and he selected a duck and potato combo which he seems to enjoy immensely.  I also picked up his usually Blue Buffalo treats, a ball and two other bags of treats. Petco is my new target.  Can’t stop at one item.

If that wasn’t exciting enough, Ashley and Bo invited Pettitte to join them for brunch at the Pavilion, which is one of my favorite warm weather spots.  The restaurant was so nice about Pettitte, and Ashley managed to snag a table right next to a big patch of grass.


It was a lovely brunch.  The iced lattes were to die for and I loved my salad/fry combo.

IMG_0877 IMG_0878

Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend! Summer is off to a great start.

Super Fresh Salad

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of enjoying a fun event with Panera Bread at a lovely venue called The Kitchen.

Panera has been working on eliminating all preservatives and artificial ingredients from their food for several years and they recently  announced their commitment to removing artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, sweeteners and meat from animals raised with antibiotics from all of their products by 2016. The NYTimes released an article about it last week.


Panera invited bloggers, nutritionists and health professionals to meet their Head Chef David Kish and some of their nutritionists to discuss how they are making the move to 100% whole foods.  Honestly, it was really amazing to see such a large company so committed to putting health above the bottom line.  Panera was actually one of the first companies nationally to put their nutritional information on their menus even in cities where they don’t require it by law.

Chef David was extremely personable and he explained that as they went through the menu item by item looking at the ingredients, they quickly realized that removing fake sweeteners and preservatives was pretty easy.  Often ingredients are just unnecessarily placed in a product and if it’s never questioned those yucky ingredients tend to stay there.

We started out by making flatbreads–either the tomato mozzarella flatbread or the Mediterranean chicken flatbread. IMG_0722The chicken flatbread had cabbage, carrot, cucumber, lentil hummus, tzatziki and feta.

The tzatziki was one of the ingredients they had to revamped to make it free of preservatives. To accomplish this, Panera continued to use their organic yogurt, but they packaged the herbs and spices separately so they could be mixed with the yogurt in each store in small batches.  Maybe I’m a nerd, but it was fascinating to hear the different ways they changed their dressings, breads, sauces and recipes to eliminate unnatural ingredients.  Most chains use a ton of salt and sodium in their products, but Panera has eliminated the majority of salt from their recipes and rely on the salt that occurs naturally in foods.

After the flatbread snack, we watched Chef Dan make and beautifully plate three salads: the Strawberry Poppy Seed, The Mediterranean Chicken Quinoa Salad and the Power Kale Caesar Salad.

I have to say, watching a salad be made is surprisingly excited.  Salad are just so gorgeous and full of goodness.  I love light, fruity summer salads!


IMG_0748 IMG_0734 IMG_0781

I need to learn to plate salad like that! After watching the prep, we sat down to enjoy a leafy feast and panera’s lovely sprouted grain rolls.

IMG_0785It was a really great evening. I’ve always liked Panera, I’ve been going there for years, and now I feel even better about choosing them when I need a meal on the go.

What else is going on? I’ve completely unprepared to run the Brooklyn Half on Saturday, so that should be scary.  I also just tried the Fhitting Room and I think I’m in love, so more on that soon!

Panera invited me to attend this event.  All opinions are my own. 


A Girl and a Meal Plan

First of all, congrats to all the Boston Marathon runners–Meri, Tina,  Sarah, Anna, Katie S. and the loads of people who I am forgetting!  Amazing job out there! Marathons are just so inspiring!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on the blog, but a few years ago, Frank got me the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan for Christmas. I really like the tips, workouts, recipes and motivation.  Their most recent plan, the Bikini Series Plan, is easily my favorite.  Some of the other ones were just not enough food, but this one is generally realistic and there are many delicious meal ideas.  That said, it requires preparing 5 meals a day, which is just not a reality for me.  Even so, it has inspired me to make more meals at home.  Sadly, some weeks I only make 2-3 meals at home.  Believe me, this is embarrassing to admit on the blog. I’ve been hiding it from you and I can’t live a lie any longer. I often grab something at the deli for breakfast, my employer generally provides lunch or I get a salad at Fresh and Co, and dinner tends to be ordered from seamless or eaten out most nights. My only pathetic defense is that I don’t have a dish washer and I hate spending hours (and it does take me hours) washing and putting away dishes all week-long.

Clearly, there is serious room for improvement.  This weekend I challenged myself to break my ordering trend and spend some time in the kitchen.  With a tone it up inspired plan, I headed to Whole Foods with my shopping list and started filling my basket.

Here’s a look at the haul:


Lots of produce.  The only things I didn’t get from my list were ground turkey, broccoli, frozen vegetables and almond butter.  The turkey and broccoli selection was dismal; I got distracted by goat cheese on my way to the frozen veggies; and I couldn’t bring myself to pay $9 for almond butter.  The PB is for Pettitte who gets a PB and dog food filled kong every morning when we leave.

I picked up my missing items from Westside Market on Sunday.

So what was on the menu?

Saturday Night: Salmon Stuffed Avocado

Sunday Night: Southwest Turkey Burgers with sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli

Monday Night: Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes

Breakfasts: Fage and berries

Night one was the Grilled Salmon Stuffed Avocado. This was the fanciest looking meal and hands down the easiest to make.  12 minutes people!  I came across on youtube and there is a great video that explains exactly how to make it!



I made a few small substitutions to the simple recipe. I skipped the olive oil for grilling the salmon since three fats is a lot of fats, even if they are all healthy. I also subbed greek yogurt for sour cream since it’s the same thing and I always have greek yogurt on hand.  I also added shredded carrots, since they were already in my fridge.  The recipe suggests using a whole avocado, but I had some guac for a snack and went with just a half



In the end, I actually had some extra filling, so I dumped everything onto a plate and sliced the avocado on top.  If I was serving to guests, I would have definitely left the salad in the avocado cup.



This was amazing. I’ll definitely make it again. So darn easy

Night two was Southwest Turkey Burger Night.  I was looking for a turkey burger recipe and this one from Rachael Ray had great reviews.  Sorry for the less than appetizing photo, I totally forgot to take it until I had eaten half my meal!



The turkey burgers were delicious. I skipped the bun and used guacamole and salsa for toppings instead of the bacon suggested.  I am so into roasted broccoli lately, just a tiny drizzle of evoo and it’s amazing.

Tonight I had Super Loaded Sweet Potatoes. 

Sweet potato, goat cheese, black beans, salsa and mixed vegetables.




I realized that I forgot half a left over turkey burger and some garlic powder because clearly I needed more toppings.



Honestly, this was divine.  So easy and so good. I couldn’t even finish it!

I’m pretty proud of myself for making three dinners in a row!  As long as I can find recipes that don’t require tons of dishes and allow me to recycle ingredients so I don’t throw tons of things out at the end of the week, I could definitely get back on the made at home bandwagon.