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NOLA Part 2

I can’t believe I’m just posting part 2 of our NOLA trip!  Better late than never I guess. It was just too fun not to share! (Here’s the link to part 1)

We woke up pretty early on Saturday and headed out for about an 8 mile run.  We ran from the French Quarter up Esplanade Ave and around City park before making our way back to Bourbon Street.  I wish I had pictures of Esplanade Ave, it had so many beautiful Southern homes. The miles flew by because there was so much to look at! City Park was also beautiful and there was a nice half mile loop around a lake that was great for adding some milage.

When we got back to the Royal Sonesta to get ready for the day.  We spent a few minutes by the pool taking in the sunny morning and then we went in search of the Gumbo Shop, which had been highly recommended.

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There you have it–authentic new orleans gumbo.  This seafood based gumbo was surprisingly light. I kicked it up a notch with lots of hot sauce.

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After lunch, we enjoyed some jazz in Franklin Square.

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Then it was time for MORE FOOD.  We shared an order of barbecue shrimp from  Deanies. Wow, this stuff is INDULGENT.  Really amazing though, it might be my favorite food of the trip–and definitely the messiest.  Sorry I don’t have a picture–how did that happen?  Instead, here’s a picture of Frank looking very serious.

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Then, of course, more music at Legends Park.

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After some more time around town, we took the street car to Emeril’s Delmonico.   The only other Emeril’s restaurant I’ve been to was Emeril’s in Orlando, which was amazing, so I had high hopes.

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Strawberry fig salad–yum

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I had a white fish crusted in cornmeal and served with a pineapple slaw and plantains.  It was very different but very good.

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Frank’s filet.

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After dinner, we headed to Frenchmen’s Street, which was a really fun, hipster area with jazz in every club, coffee shop and restaurant.  It was a nice change of pace from Bourbon Street.

Our last morning, we did a 2.5 mile to the Garden District, where we did a self-guided walking tour of the homes.  For a history and architecture nerd like me, this was one of my favorite parts of the trip.  While I failed miserably at taking pictures, highlights include Sandra Bullock’s house, John Goodman’s House and the childhood home of Eli Manning. But even the non-celeb homes had really interesting histories. While I’d love to go back and do an expert guided tour of the area, if you’re short on time, I do recommend this free self-guided tour from Frommer’s.

Wednesday I leave for trip to Ireland, Spain and France. I can’t wait! I have some great trips lined up for this summer:

June: Wedding in Ireland, eating and wine tasting in San Sebastian and Rioja, relaxing in Paris.

July: Martha’s Vineyard for 4th of July and Savannah to see Ashley and Bo!

August: Visit upstate to see my family

September: Escape to Miami Sprint Triathlon!

Do you have any exciting travel plans?

 

30 Minute Equinox Quickie Workout

The last major workout of the 1 Week Beach Ready Plan includes a interval circuit challenge and 10 minutes of stretching and relaxation!

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30 MINUTE EQUINOX QUICKIE


Part 1: Wake up and Move 

This do-anywhere circuit requires nothing but your body, hard work and determination, and is grounded by science to maximize your performance levels.

WARM UP                                         2-3 MINUTES

JUMP ROPE                                      1 MINUTE

BURPEE CHALLENGE                     1 MINUTE

BODYWEIGHT SQUATS                  1 MINUTE

TUCK-JUMP CHALLENGE              1 MINUTE

PLANK HOLD                                   1 MINUTE

PUSH-UP CHALLENGE                    1 MINUTE

PLANK HOLD                                   1 MINUTE

BURPEE CHALLENGE                     1 MINUTE

COOL DOWN                                    2-3 MINUTES

Part 2: 10 MINUTE RESET


Memorial Day weekend tips to loosen travel-tight hips, decompress the spine, enhance overall circulation, deepen the breath and calm your body/mind to fully enjoy your time off…

1. Bridge Lifts: lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms by your sides with palms facing down. Inhaling, lift your hips toward the ceiling while arcing your arms up overhead alongside your ears. Exhaling, roll back down your spine while arcing your arms back down to your sides. Repeat eight times. (A Yoga Tune Up(r) pose)

2. Single Apanasana Supine Twist: Start lying on your back with legs extended. Pull right knee into chest. Place left hand on right knee and reach right arm on floor alongside ear. With left hand pull bent knee to floor on the left, rotating the spine, and roll your face in the opposite direction, to the right. Let gravity take over as you exaggerate inhale and exhale in and out of your ribcage. Inhaling, the ribs puff out, exhaling, all your limbs get very heavy, sinking you deeper into the twist. Ten cycles of breath, then switch sides.

3. Savasanap:  Lie on your back and soak in the goodness.  Be still and enjoy watching your breath and your body restore itself.  Feel the air on your skin and imagine the light of the day soaking directly into the cells of your body and giving you instant energy and vitality.  Life is Good.

I hope you have a great memorial day and thanks to Equinox for providing this workout plan!

3 Beach Ready Nutrition Tips

Along with the 1 Week to Beach Ready workout plan, Equinox shared a few easy nutrition tips to help keep my diet in check this week. They are really easy to incorporate and also help monitor alcohol consumption while celebrating memorial day weekend!  Enjoy!

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1) The week leading up to Memorial Day, add more fiber to your diet. Fiber helps diminish the amount of visceral fat that can build up around your belly. Aim for 10 grams that are found in beans, crunchy vegetables, almonds, whole grains, brown rice and berries, says Lisa Wheeler, Director of Group Fitness Development at Equinox.

2) As sweating and increased urination deplete you of fluids, Sue Stanley, Tier 4 Manager suggest fueling up on electrolytes.H2O and electrolyte-rich snacks will help regulate the body’s temperature, ensure proper muscle function, and slow the alcohol’s absorption into the blood stream, says Stanley. Stick to her suggested order of events—Food, Water, Alcohol, Water, Alcohol—and incorporate some of her favorite sources of electrolytes, including coconut water, bananas, watermelon, spinach, kale, avocado, whole grains, nuts and peanut butter.

3) And for Memorial Day festivities and alcohol consumption…pace yourself!

The body is only able to process one ‘serving’ of alcohol per hour, says Cassie Kippert, Fitness Manager, Tier 4 Coach and Registered Dietician. And while that holds true day or night, an early start can dramatically multiply the hours spent tipping them back. Exceed the 1 per 1 rate of consumption, Kippert says, and you can expect to see rising blood alcohol level, decreasing hydration status, and nose-diving judgement calls. If there is any doubt, one serving of alcohol is equal to 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz (a shot) of liquor.

The 1 week exercise plan can be found here! Halfway there!

Beach Ready in 1 Week: Workout Day 2

Hello All!

Just a reminder of the workout for Day 2 of the Beach Ready Workout plan is:

Tuesday’s Workout

45 Minute Indoor Cycling Class (If you are in NYC, I recommend Soul Cycle, Flywheel and Revolve (with Jason or Kira), and of course Equinox has great cycling as well.

Hot Yoga Class (I don’t take hot yoga very often, does anyone have any studio recommendations?).

If you already tried Monday’s workout like me, I’d love to know your thoughts.  The metabolic strength training was tough, but it went by pretty fast! Three 5 minute sets is not too difficult to get through mentally!

I’m so glad I did the interval run because otherwise I would have put off running for a while after the Brooklyn half! It was tough on the quads at first, but 5 minutes in, I was doing fine!

 

UAE 10k and Brooklyn Half Recap!

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For the last 5 years, a fair number of of my spring, summer and fall weekends have included an NYRR race–the last two weekends were true to form.

Last weekend, we ran the UAE 10K.   This race is always fun and festive. When your race has a rich sponsor, you know you are in store for sway–like tech shirts and medals!

It also happened to not start until 9AM, which is always a win!  It was a gorgeous morning for a race.uae

This 6 miler was supposed to be my taper run for the Brooklyn Half, but my training fell off somewhere along the way and it turned into more of a build run to supplement my two longest training runs, which topped off at 8 miles each.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I felt that I had certainly trained enough to successfully complete a 10K without much effort. Or not.   The gun went off and my legs felt like lead. I’m sure most people know what I’m talking about. Sometimes you start a run and have great fresh legs and sometimes  you feel like you are wearing invisible ankle weights.  I plodded along, around mile 3 things got better for a while.  By mile 5, things were bleak–I was feeling a bit nauseous and the lead feeling had returned.  Somehow I rounded the bottom of Central Park South and the end was in sight–sort of. The 800 meters to go, 400 meters to go, 200 meters to go signs seemed just plain mean.   But finally I finished.

Clearly, I made a rookie mistake–no hill training.  The Great Hill seemed somehow greater and the rolling hills on the west side seemed to never end.

I have to be honest, I left the UAE 10K feeling pretty defeated. I wasn’t sure how I would even finish the Brooklyn Half, as it the distance is more than twice as long.

I like to be over prepared in any given situation.  I cook enough for 20 when 10 people are coming over. I make 14 copies for a meeting with 12 people. I triple check work documents before sending them out. I don’t like to leave room for error.  It causes me a lot of anxiety.  But somehow, come half marathon week, I was struggling to complete a 10K.  While I hate to be unprepared, I also hate giving up.  So after much agonizing (which is always helpful), I decided to try and make it through the BK Half, even if I had to walk most of it.

On Wednesday, I went to pick up my race packet at the Half Pre-party.  It was actually a good way to get in a more positive mindset!

Brooklyn Bridge Park is so cute!

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The pre-party was sponsored by New Balance, and they had lots of great promotions going on. There were also other vendors, lots of food trucks, live music and plenty of general merriment to enjoy, which I did. I may not finish the race, but I am going to pre-party with the best of them. Damnit.

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Before I knew it, it was the night before the race. I went out to dinner with friends and then went to bed early, as we had a 5:00AM alarm set.

Race day morning was a flurry of activity, but we were out the door in 20 minutes to catch the subway. While it seemed to go by pretty quickly, it took about an hour to get to Prospect Park.  We went through security and got in the corrals.  Each corral had a ton of port-potties, which was a nice bonus.  I was pretty nervous in the corral, but three things helped cheer me up:

1.) A bunch of girls that were wearing shirts that said, “If found, please drag to the finish.”

2.) When the announcer said, “Brooklyn, are you ready?” and several people yelled no.

3.) When the announcer said, “Are you ready to run?” And a guy said, well, we are here, so I guess we have to.

It was nice to know that I wasn’t the only nervous one there! After what seemed like forever, off we went.  My legs didn’t feel great, but they didn’t feel bad.  The first part of the race is an out and back around a round-a-bout. I saw Frank coming back on my way out.  I knew the out and back was almost 2.5 miles of the course, so I was happy when it seemed to go by fairly quickly.  I saw fast runners zooming out of the park as I entered, and soon after I put on my headphones and just decided to enjoy the nice lushness of Prospect Park.  There was a big meadow with tons of dogs frolicking during off leash hours.  My goal was to at least make it through the park before I decided whether I would need to walk.  Fortunately, Prospect Park is pretty flat, and I was still feeling good when we left at mile 7.   While my favorite part of the race is the park, it’s nice to be on Ocean Parkway, so you can finally stop running in circles start to get where you are going–Coney Island.

Around mile 9, I was starting to feel fatigue in my legs.  I decided to walk for 20-60 seconds at every mile marker to give my muscles a chance to lose some tension.  While there were some moments where I thought I would never make it to mile 12, overall I felt way better than I did at the UAE.  Everything was going much better than expected even though I was probably running 12 minute miles.

As we rounded Surf Ave, I could smell the popcorn and hotdogs.  Soon we were on the boardwalk running the last 200 meters on the sandy planks.

For being a large race, the exit area moved really quickly and I soon found Frank in the finisher’s area.

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We enjoyed Coney Island for a bit before taking the long train ride back home.  We went to a great Yankees game in the afternoon and by the time we got home, I was totally spent.

While my only goal for the half was to finish, I was shocked that I actually finished around my usual half time, 2:14. It certainly wasn’t a PR, but I  guessed I had ran it in closer to 2:35, so I was pretty happy to find out I finished 20 minutes faster than my estimate. I was worried about the 3 hour cut off time for nothing!

I’ll definitely run Brooklyn again. I love that it’s flat!

I hope all the other BK half runners had a great race!

 

Beach Ready Workout Day 1

The first workout of the one week to Beach Ready Workout Plan includes:

From Equinox: Metabolic Strength Session is inspired by Equinox’s Metacon3 workout class. It is based on metabolic conditioning, which  is a system of exercise using the latest understanding of endocrinology, exercise science, and strength and conditioning to fully tax the body’s three major energy systems with the chief goal of maximizing the greatest amount of fat that can be burned both during and after the exercise session.

Equipment: Heavy Dumbbells or Medicine Ball

Athletic Warm-up (5 minutes)

 SET ONE:

  • Do each exercise for 1 minute with minimal rest in between
  • Alternating Reverse Lunges with Dumbbell or Medicine Ball  (description below)
  •  Renegade Row Pushup to Side Plank with Dumbbell (description below)
  • Wide Squat to Jump Squat with Dumbbell or Medicine Ball (description below)
  • Reach and Twist with Dumbbell or Medicine Ball(description below)
  • Tricep Press & Core Crunch with Dumbbell or Medicine Ball (description below)
  • (Approximately 5 Minutes per Set)
  • REST60 seconds after Set is complete

SET TWO:

  • Repeat performing each exercise for 1 min. with minimal rest in between
  • (Approximately 5 Minutes per Set) 
  • REST60 seconds after Set  is complete

SET THREE:

  • Repeat performing each exercise for 1 min. with minimal rest in between
  • (Approximately 5 Minutes per Set)
  • REST60 seconds after set is complete

EXERCISES:

Alternating Reverse Lunges with Dumbbell or Medicine Ball  

Stand holding a pair of dumbbells or medicine ball at sides, with feet together. Keep chest lifted, head up, and knees slightly bent.  Step backward with right leg, landing on the ball of the foot, and bend both knees to lower towards the floor until front thigh is parallel to the ground.  Push off the ground to extend knees and hips and stand back up and return to the start position. Alternate legs with every repetition.

Renegade Row Pushup to Side Plank with Dumbbell

Place two dumbbells on the floor about shoulder width apart. Position forward on balls of feet and hands as if in a push up position .  Keep body straight and extended and hold on to the handles of the dumbbells to support upper body.  Widen feet for more core support. Perform a pushup by bending elbows and lowering body towards the floor. Push back to straight and then continue to push one dumbbell into the floor and row the other dumbbells, retracting the shoulder blade of the working side and bend the elbow, pulling it up to side and past ribs.  Continue pushing the base arm down and reach top dumbbell into the air.  Turn to rotate on feet until body is aligned in a straight side plank line.  Keep core tight and neck and spine aligned.  Return to start and alternate sides/

Wide Squat to Jump Squat with Dumbbell or Medicine Ball

Hold a heavy dumbbell or medicine ball in arms or at shoulders. Place feet shoulder width and lift chest up for starting position. Bend knees and sit back to squat partially down and immediately push off the floor to explode off of the ground, and into the air extending through hips, knees, and ankles. Maintain good posture and keep core tight. Return lightly to the ground, absorbing impact through the legs and continue to repeat.

Reach and Twist with Dumbbell or Medicine Ball

Stand tall and hold a heavy dumbbell or medicine ball in arms.  Begin to sit hips down and back into a full squat position.  Immediately from the full squat position, explode into an upright position pressing dumbbells or medicine ball overhead and simultaneously rotate towards one side to reach dumbbell or medicine ball up towards a diagonal. Be sure front leg stays stationary & back leg rotates, pivoting on toes. Pause and gain control of weight overhead before lowering weight down to starting position. Repeat alternating directions. 

Tricep Press & Core Crunch with Dumbbell or Medicine Ball 

Recline on back with feet on the floor and hold a dumbbells or medicine ball with a narrow grip and lift it over head. Bend elbows, and lower forearms and the dumbbells or medicine ball behind head. Keep upper arms straight with elbows stationary. Press upward, extending forearms back up to the starting position and continue to push dumbbells or medicine ball to the ceiling lifting head chest and shoulders off the floor. Simultaneously contract abdominals to lift legs and pull knees to arms until hips are off the floor and body is in a total body crunch position.  Lower slowly to start and repeat.

Cooldown with the 10 Minute Reset
(10 minutes)

Relax and celebrate—you earned it. move around the environment and stretching or grab a set of therapy balls or a foam roller for some myofascial release/self massage.


 

1 Week to Beach Ready Workout Plan

Hello Lovelies!

I can’t believe we are only a little over a week away from Memorial Day!  Sadly, I’ll be working most of the weekend, but I still want to feel great–and maybe even  sneak to the beach for a couple of hours.

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Equinox offered to send me a Beach Ready by Memorial Day fitness and nutrition plan and, of course, I said yes! It’s a one week plan packed full of workouts and a few tips for optimal nutrition.  It can be hard to commit to long-term workout plans, but 1 week? Sign me up!  I thought I’d share it with everyone, since I’d imagine most people reading this blog love a good fitness challenge.

I’ll share the details of the plan here today, and then I’ll post the individual workouts and nutrition tips throughout the week!  You can either start on Monday to finish the plan on Memorial day or start now and feel fabulous for the well before the start of the long weekend.

Here’s the plan:

MONDAY

  • 20 Minute Interval Run (post to come)
  • 20 Minute Metabolic Strength Session (post to come)
  • 10 Minute Reset

TUESDAY

  • 45 Minute Indoor Cycling Class
  • Hot Yoga Class

WEDNESDAY

  • 20 Minute Interval Run
  • 20 Minute Metabolic Strength Session
  • 10 Minute Reset

THURSDAY 

  • 45 Minute Indoor Cycling Class
  • Hot Yoga Class

FRIDAY 

  • 20 Minute Interval Run
  • 20 Minute Metabolic Strength Session
  • 10 Minute Reset

SATURDAY AM

  • 30 Minute EQUINOX QUICKIE (post to come)
  • Wake up and Move  (post to come)
  • 10 Minute Reset

SUNDAY AM

  • 50 Minute Nature Walk & 10 Minute Meditation

MONDAY

  • Go to the Beach!
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Thanks to Equinox for sharing the plan!  If you aren’t familiar with Equinox, it’s an upscale gym with locations in the US, UK and Canada. In addition to their full-service gym and spas, they also own several other popular fitness brands including SoulCycle, Pure Yoga and BlinkPS. I was not compensated for this post, all opinions are my own.

Weekend in NOLA

A few weeks ago, we went to New Orlean’s for the French Quarter Festival.  It was amazing.  We had so much fun.  NOLA is different than any other city I’ve ever visited. The streets are filled with music, a brass band on almost every corner.  The food is a delicious merging of flavors that you can’t find anywhere else. Perhaps best of all, the whole town seems happy, relaxed and carefree.

While we were there to see jazz, after watching Top Chef New Orleans and watching as many travel channel NOLA shows as I could find,  I also had a long list of foods that I wanted to try:

1.) Beignets

2.) Po’ Boys

3.) Barbecue Shrimp

4.) Gumbo

5.) Muffaleta

We managed to try everything on the list except the muffaleta, plus so much more.

We arrived at around 10:00AM on Friday morning, so we had the whole day to  explore. Frank’s been to NOLA a few times, but this was my first trip, so I wanted to take it all in and see everything. Amazingly, our hotel room was ready when we arrived, so we were able to drop off our bags and deplane a bit. We stayed at the Royal Sonesta on Bourbon Street, which was really nice, centrally located and much quieter than you’d imagine given the location.

We had lunch at Mother’s, which is known for their Po Boy’s.  The service was a bit hostile, but the long line went fast.

My first Po Boy!

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Frank got one with their famous debris.

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Next we took a walk around the French Quarter.  Pat O’Brien’s  bar was really fun, it had a great outdoor space and dueling pianos inside.

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After checking out the Jazz Festival for a bit, we made a stop at Cafe Du Monde, which was highly recommended.

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It was PACKED.  We waited a bit for a table, but the super affordable prices made it totally worth the wait!

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After some time at the pool and some shopping on magazine street, we got ready for the evening.  Our first stop was the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel.

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It was one of my favorite parts of the trip.  The Sazerac  Bar was were the  Sazerac drink was created and the bar was completely preserved in time. I love places that remind me of the past without feeling stuffy or just plain old.  Sazerac was perfect.

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Next up was dinner at the Commander’s Palace, which we had seen in Top Chef.  We took a cab to the Garden District and stepped into one of the largest, most elaborate restaurants, I’ve ever been too.   We were whisked through the kitchen and into a room that overlooked the courtyard.

We started with a spicy shrimp dish.

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Next up was a crafish soup with delicious little dumplings. IMG_7724

Filet

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Garlic cheese grits, amazing. Holy huge portion, right?

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Pecan crusted grouper.

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And a white chocolate souffle that was indescribably good, and oh so gooey.

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Commander’s Palace definitely lived up to the hype.  Our only regret was not trying the .25 cent martini’s, which apparently are actually .25 cents!!!!

 

 

Stitch Fix and NB Brooklyn Half Pre-Party!

Let’s start with the New Balance Brooklyn Half Preparty! Pretty much everyone is running the Brooklyn Half, including me! New Balance is hosting an awesome 4 mile fun run on Thursday, May 15th at 10:30AM for anyone who wants to really live it up!  You’ll run from the 5th Ave New Balance Experience Store to packet pick up, but all fun runners get early access, so no waiting in line! Plus, they’ll pay for your metroride home! You can sign up on NB’s facebook page.  I’m seriously considering taking a vacation day to attend!

I can’t believe the half is in two weeks! I hope I’m ready.  My best long run was definitely in New Orleans–a trip I really need to post about. So hopefully warm weather is my key to success!

In other news, my birthday stitch fix came!  I waited almost two months for this box of joy to arrive! The best part of stitch fix might be the anticipation!  While I’ve really liked my first two boxes, I’m not sure what to keep from this box…and I need to decide soon.

First item, blue top with a deep v-back.

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The color is great and it’s nice and light, but the front doesn’t seem to fit perfectly.  It actually looks better on backwards.  It’s too bad because I love an interesting back!

Item 2: Paloma Top.

 

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Another fun back with scooping and buttons.  I love the scoop back , but don’t love the buttons or the way it gathers at the bottom of the back.  I could overlook the buttons, but I think the gathering calls attention to my butt.  But I do love the color!

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Item 3: Mint green pants.  So pretty, but not flattering on me.  I wish they were!  I will say that I get a ton of wear out of my black floral stitch fix jeans.

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Piece 4: Polka Dot, striped navy tee.

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Totally nautical, which is totally me.  That said, I have a lot of similar tops.

Piece 5: Anchor Necklace.

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I love all things nautical, so at first, I loved this necklace.  However, I’m not sure the quality matches the price.

I’m definitely keeping something, I’m just not sure what.

What did I love about this stitch fix?  I think they nailed my style, I like interesting backs and details, I like things that are kind of nautical, cape cod-ish.  I love the idea of colored jeans, but as I suspected, they don’t actually look good on me! Also, this was by far my cheapest stitch fix!  I could have had the whole box for $160!

What didn’t I love?  Well, these pieces weren’t particularly flattering on me. I also  don’t really need super casual pieces, I own plenty.

 

Yay Boston and Soul Cycle

The Boston Marathon had so much meaning this year. It was great to see all the support and have the race come back this year stronger than ever.  Congrats to all the amazing runners yesterday!

I was so thrilled to hear that Meb had won!  He is such an amazing runner and person; I always watch for him in the NYC Marathon, but this year it was even more exciting to see him win Boston.  I’ll always remember that while I was running the NYC marathon in 2009,  it was announced that an American had won and it was Meb!  I’ve been following his career ever since.

Frank and I even got to meet him at an NYRR gala a few years ago!

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In other exciting news, I finally tried Soul Cycle.  Verdict: loved it! It reminded me of the first spinning classes I ever took in college, just pure addiction.  It actually had a lot less “soul” than I expected. The workout was very high energy, most of the class was spent out of the seat and there was only one climb in the entire class.  They only thing I wish they had was some kind of monitor to measure RMPs or torque.  That said I’ll definitely be back–most likely after I get my next paycheck. $36 a class–ouch!