Lululemon Love

Although I have a Monday through Friday job that requires business casual, even more of my laundry is constantly filled with workout clothes. However, I have been noticing more of my workout clothes starting to get old and/or become worn out. As I have shared in the past, my love of workout clothes (especially Lululemon) is strong. Well this weekend I decided to update my workout wardrobe. With my new job at Orangetheory, which requires a lot more demonstrating, more than ever I need to make sure my workout clothes are in great condition. Over the weekend I utilized my fitness instructor discount and went a little crazy at my local Lululemon store. After working out in most of my purchases, I had to share some of the Lululemon items I bought:

Energy Bra – My new favorite sports bra. I got this bra in white as well as grey striped with colored straps and love the fit. The multi strap back looks adorable under tanks and offers strong support when working out.

Lululemon Energy Bra

Sun Runner Crop – The details on these crops are perfection in a pant: three pocket waistband, zipper pocket and mesh panels! The fitted crops hit just below the knee and offer mid rise so I feel completely covered when working out.

Lululemon Sun Runner Crop

Run With The Sun Bra – This sports offers a little more support and coverage which is better for some of the HIIT workouts. The bra comes in many colors and still plays up the cute factor with a more unique back.

Lululemon Run With the Sun Bra

Twist and Toil Tank – The only tank I have yet to wear but my favorite tanks are the ones with a cute back. Especially when teaching cycle, the mirrors make it so the students have to look at my back for an hour, might has well have a cute design!

Lululemon Twist and Toil Tank

Compassion Tank – This tank is so flattering and feels amazing on. It reminds me of compression workout clothes that are extremely fitted and stay in place while you run, jump and move about.

Lululemon Compassion Tank

Goal Crusher Tank – This tank is so lightweight and offers a sexy, see-through design on the back which allows me to show off my new sports bra!

Lululemon Goal Crusher Tank

Tell me: Do you have more sports bras, tank tops, shorts or leggings in your closet? I have tank tops galore and probably two plus weeks worth of sports bras.

 

Delos, Greece

While staying in Mykonos, we took a day trip to the island of Delos. When we started planning our trip, Delos was one of the spots I was most excited to visit. Our trip included not only an educational tour by an archeologist who showed us some of the “hot spots” of the island but an additional hour to explore the rest of the island and/or the Delos museum.

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The beautiful island offers scenic views of the Aegean sea is a short boat ride from Mykonos Island. Delos is the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Delos is one of the most historic spots in Greece. The history spans from the Greek mythology to the Byzantine era. The island is now an archeological site being restored and preserved by archeologists.

Some of my favorite historic landmarks on the island included:

  • The House of Dionysus– a high class 2nd century private house which had a mosaic floor of for the floor mosaic of the God of Wine riding a panther.
  • The Theatre – a marble theatre, much still intact, which hosted plays and musical acts.
  • The Terrace of Lions – the well known lions are dedicated to the God of Light and stood guard to Apollo’s Temple. Originally stood 12 lions where only seven of the lions remain now.
  • The Temple of Hera / Heraion Temple – temple of Hera, queen of the Greek Gods.

 



Note: When visiting, make sure to wear comfortable shoes as some of the spots (i.e. Heraion Temple) require walking on uneven terrain and can be on loose steps / stones. Bring sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat as the island offers little shade.

Check out the other Greece recaps on the Travel page.

I love fitness. I love travel. Therefore, the best combination is when I get to travel for fitness or enjoying while traveling. As I have shared before, when the husband and I travel we always do our research before we visit a new city. By planning before we visit, we are able to plan how we will work in our exercise whether it be dropping into a local class or finding a great spot to run. Websites like Eventbrite, help to make it easy to find, schedule and even create events and that had me thinking about where I would have my dream yoga retreat! Of course it is easy for me to start dreaming of the perfect summer vacation to enjoy a yoga retreat. On a beach, overlooking the ocean? Perched on the top of a mountain, breathing in fresh air? In the snow or the heat? There are so many options that offer my perfect combination of travel and fitness.

Where would you go for a yoga retreat?

Here are the top five places around the world I would pick to go on a summer yoga retreat:

  1. Limon, Costa Rica – Costa Rica has long been on my list of places to visit because of the large fitness influence in a country that thrives on being outdoors. While I have longed to zipline, bike through the nature or raft through a river, the perfect compliment to a long adventure filled day would be winding down through yoga.
  2. Bali, Indonesia – Bali is currently the home to many yoga retreats making it one of my top choices for a yoga retreat. Although Indonesia is an island, the scenic background would offer not only ocean views but mountain escapes as well. In addition,  the heavy influence of yoga and spiritual growth would offer exactly the foundation wanted for a yoga trip.
  3. Kauai, Hawaii – This is the probably the easiest to picture. White beach and blue waters to look at while you breath in the salty ocean air as the sun warms you up. If you love the beach then yoga on the beach is a picture of relaxing perfection. My love of paddleboarding is strong and my dream retreat would involve trying yoga on a paddleboard in the middle of the ocean.
  4. Whistler, Canada – While most people think of Whistler for snowboarding (which I also want to go to Canada for) there is much to offer in the summer that many people look over. Life can get so fast paced, resulting in me sitting around wondering where the time has gone. Therefore, going to a yoga retreat in the middle of a rainforest or overlooking a lake are an ideal summer trip.
  5. Aspen, Colorado – Again, another city most often thought of for their ski lifts, Aspen offers amazing mountain views with clean crisp air. When snowboarding in the winter, I always feel like my lungs can expand much better being in out of the city and in nature. Enjoying the air while doing yoga would only help to enhance your breathing while practicing as well as offering a serene mountain backdrop.

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Looking for a yoga retreat or fitness event in your area or at your next travel destination? Check out Eventbrite’s page for yoga and fitness events around the world. Can’t find an event in your area? Create one using Eventbrite’s RSVP page to host an event in your area.

Tell me: Where would you want to go to attend a yoga retreat?

Top 5 Places To Visit in Santorini, Greece

Our honeymoon in Greece started off on the island of Santorini. Short and simple – the husband and I both agree Santorini was the highlight of our trip as well as the best place we have both visited. The island is a blend of adventure, relaxing, flowing wine and delicious food. The flight from Athens to Santorini was extremely short (less than an hour) and the people on the island were extremely friendly. We stayed on Kamari / Black Beach, enjoying the calm beach and the boardwalk filled with shops and restaurants. Today I am sharing the Top 5 Places To Visit In Santorini, Greece which should show you that the island is a stop you must make when in Greece!

TOP 5 PLACES TO VISIT IN SANTORINI, GREECE
1. Santos Winery – Before visiting Santorini, we read a lot of recommendations to watch the sunset in Oia. However, when we arrived in Santorini, we were told by many locals that we should check out other spots for a better sunset. The top recommendation was at the Santos Winery. We arrived before sunset to enjoy a glass of wine and some appetizers (both delicious). The service was amazing and the views were incredible. Watching the sunset over Oia and the Nea Kameni volcano was one of the best moments of the trip. Of course pictures can never really capture the beauty of a sunset but I would highly recommend you check it out for yourself.



2. Nea Kameni volcano – I am so glad we went to the Santos Winery the night before we went on the Nea Kameni volcano tour. We took a quick boat ride over to the still-active volcanic island of Nea Kameni before exploring the island by ourselves. The island offered remarkable views of Fia and Oia with the green and blue ocean in the background. We were able to hike up to the top of the island and see the land formations that have been created over time. It was extremely warm as we hiked up to the top but it was worth the views. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes because there were many loose rocks and uneven terrain.

3. Hot Springs – Located at Palia Kameni, off the side of the volcano island, you can access the hot springs which was like a large open spa in the middle of the ocean. Our guide advised the water along the coast has a temperature of about 30 degrees Celsius and contains sulfur that is good for the skin. Unfortunately, since boats are not allowed on the coast, in order to swim up to the hot springs, we had to jump in very cold water. Since we had just hiked along the caldera, we were sweaty and warm so the water was refreshing. Floating throughout the water you can see pieces of sulphur that people were even putting on their faces! My skin did feel amazing after though.

4. Fira to Oia – One of the highlights of our time in Santorini was hiking from Fira to Oia. We started early in the morning in Fira to avoid the heat. As we hiked through homes and hotels along the coast, we got to enjoy some of the best views of the island, ocean and volcano. We passed two monasteries on our adventure and were able to enjoy spectacular views of Oia that you could not get anywhere else on the island. If you do make the hike, make sure to bring sunglasses, sunscreen and water because a long stretch of the hike is uncovered which can get pretty warm.

5. Kamari / Black Beach – The island of Santorini has many beaches but we spent a large portion of our time at the Black Beach. Most afternoons were spent sitting on the boardwalk, enjoying a glass of wine, the slow pace of the Greeks and the beautiful ocean view. Our hotel was right on the beach which made it even more convenient. The sand was exquisitely unique with blue, calm waters.

Check out other Top Travel Lists and past Travel Thursday posts on the Travel page. 

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World Map Wedding Seating Chart

Although wedding planning can be extremely stressful, one of the easiest decisions for the husband and I was the theme of our wedding. Our love of travel made it an extremely easy one. We wanted our love of travel and the influence it has had in our relationship. When picking our table names, we decided to name each table a city that was important to us. We used Athens, Greece for our honeymoon, Malibu, California for where we got married, Bangkok, Thailand for our first international trip, and of course New York, New York for our sweetheart table. Today, I am sharing how to create this easy but memorable world map seating chart that could be used for a wedding or any party.

How to Create a World Map Seating Chart

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Items Needed

  • World Map (36 X24″)
  • Cork Board (36 X24″)
  • Double sided adhesive/tape
  • Push Pins (I purchased the colors of our wedding: grey and pink)
  • Cardstock Paper – 8 1/2 X 11″ (Two colors, I used grey and pink)
  • Printer
  • Scissors / Paper cutter
  • Twine (at least 180 inches)
  • Sticker letters (approx. 1″)

Instructions

  1. Since the cork board and world map are the same size, line them up before taping. Taping one side first with your double sided adhesive, make sure the map and board are exactly where you want before pressing the tape down firmly.
  2. Printing on the cardstock, the best size for printing is to split the paper into 4 equal sections (4 1/4 X 5 1/2″). Print each table name with guest’s name centered alphabetically underneath. Cutting them evenly can be extremely easy with a scrapbook paper cutter so I would highly recommend borrowing or purchasing one as they are fairly inexpensive.
  3. Start laying out the table assignments near the city / country where you plan to lay them. This will largely depend upon the number of tables and where your tables are on the map. From there, play around with the tables across the oceans you do not want to hide the land portion of the map. Once the table assignments are evenly spread, start taping them down.
  4. Stick the push pins in each city of your table assignments. Tie a knot of twine around the pin. Pull the twine to the table assignment card, cut where needed and tape behind the . Secure the twine to the map by applying double sided tape in a few spots on the twine.
  5. To create the title “where in the world are you sitting?” cut out 1 1/4″ squares to put your sticker letters on. Make sure to layout the title before you tape the blocks down to ensure it fits and it is lined up evenly across the top. Once the letter blocks are laid out, tape each block down.

Notes:

  • We had a total of 14 tables with plenty of room to add more tables. If you have less tables, then increasing the size of the table assignments would ensure the map doesn’t look bare.
  • For the map title, I used a cricut to cut the 1″ letters out. It however was much harder and required more work. I would definitely save yourself time by purchasing 1″ letters in your colors.

Tell me: Where would you want to sit if you got to pick your favorite city? Mine will always be New York! :) 

 

 

Cycle Instructor Recertification / Updates

One of my goals for 2016 was to complete my cycle re-certification. I needed a lot of the units so I opted for Maddogg’s full re-certification course. The course from Spinning gives you an Instructor Essentials Manual and covers all the CEC’s needed to be certified for another 2 years. For a second I thought about taking the test and seeing if I could pass without reading the manual but when I saw that the manual included updates, I thought better of it. I am glad I read the entire manual because not only was there new information, there were some great reminders about teaching a cycle class.

Cycle

The new updates included:

  1. New hand position –  Since I have taken my instructor certification, a new hand position has been added. Hand Position 2.5 offers an additional option for comfort with grip during a class. It is particularly beneficial to students who require a longer reach but I find that a large number of students normally gravitated towards this position before it was officially added.
  2. Update on spinning energy zones – The energy zones were updated to include that the upper limit for Race Day and Interval energy zones is “maximal effort” rather than the previous 92%. The reason for the change was due to the additional update to the age predicted heart rate formula.
  3. Maximum HR calculation – 208 – (0.7 x age) = age predicted HR

In addition, there were other things I noticed about the manual especially the emphasis on the kinesiology of cycling. There was a much larger portion on specific muscles and body parts. However, for myself a lot of it followed my ACE Group Fitness studying so it was a good refresher. There was also a strong focus on heart rate monitoring. Only one of the gyms that I teach cycle at focuses on HR and I find it makes a large improvement for students. Therefore, the focus on how to calculate HR as well as the benefits of monitoring while exercising such as preventing overtraining, provides an indicator of exercise exertion and improves fitness level.

Once I read the manual, I took the test online and passed  on the first try. Just like the first test, you require a minimum of 80% to pass the test. If you were able to pass the first instructor certification exam, the second should be fairly easy. The format is the same with a total of 50 questions on the exam. Overall, the re-certification manual provided the necessary updates as well as usual reminders to teaching cycling. The re-certification was worth two more years of teaching cycle!

Looking for cycle playlists? Check out the fitness page.

 

Friday Favorites #28

Can we all just agree that 4 day weeks are amazing! This week flew by and this weekend is going to be packed with 2 cycle classes, an Orangetheory class, my first class as an Orangetheory instructor and a night concert at the lake with friends. It has been quite awhile since I posted a Friday Favorites but this week was one filled with some definite highlights so I had to stop in to link up with Heather & Katie.

Friday

1) Planning our travel themed home has been a stress reliever! While the entire house will not be travel themed, it will be heavily present across all rooms. We already have a lot of travel themed decor as well as souvenirs from trips that we want to display. I have been scouring the internet and found so many great ideas to use things like maps and pictures from past trips. Pinterest has given me so much inspiration that I can’t help but ask – is it November yet?

Travel themed

2) We booked our next trip to Napa Valley! I am so excited to spend my 28th birthday in wine country. In less than a month, we will get to spend a long weekend wine tasting with our friends. I hope to take the Napa Valley wine train and do some grape stomping. Any suggestions for our Nor Cal trip?

Napa

3) Our 4th of July started with a local 5K that I have done a handful of times. The only running I have been doing has been at Orangetheory so I told myself to just have fun. I did not even run with my Garmin and enjoyed just running. The run takes place in a beautiful college town so the views were amazing. All in all it was one of the most enjoyable runs and sparked that desire for running again. Plus training will start next month for the Run Revel.

4th of July 5K

4) The long weekend was not short on delicious desserts and we finally got to try the new CREAM ice cream sandwich shop. The shop went in down the street a few months ago so we decided to enjoy a summer evening walk to burn some calories before we consumed a large amount. The husband got the do-ssaint sandwich (which was amazing) and my funfetti cookie, cookie dough ice cream was definitely a winner. While it was a perfect summer dessert, it will be a splurge in the future because it is just too much sugar in one sitting.

CREAM

5) This summer has been so enjoyable. While I have yet to make it to the beach, the weather has been so nice. My absolute favorite time of the day – 6pm. When the sun starts going down, it cools down but is still warm. We have been getting of pool time which makes up for the lack of beach.

Friday Favorites

Tell me: Any plans for the weekend? What are you favorites from the week?

Mix It Up Playlist

It may seem like an obvious statement but music is one of the most unique things in the world. You would never be able to grab two people’s music library and have the exact same music. Music is unique to each and every person. Different songs have different meanings. Different artists offer unique motivation. Different songs drive emotions. As an instructor I have learned I will never create a playlist that every student likes which is why I try as much as possible to create those that mix it up constantly whether it be genre, artist and the decade the song was popular. Even then my instructor music is different from my personal workout music. While I love me some Eminem, there are maybe two songs that you can find a clean version of. While this can create a small challenge at times, it also allows me to mix it up and expand my horizons when it comes to music.

Mix It Up Playlist

Sometimes I make a playlist for a class and think it will be one that students enjoy. Other times, I write a playlist that becomes the list I am obsessed with for weeks. Today I wanted to share my latest obession. It has what I love so much about playlists – a little bit of everything – 80’s, rock, pop and EDM. I originally used the playlist for a cycle strength day with two heavy, 5 min hills but found myself  using the same playlist with running and it really motivated me!

Mix It Up Playlist

Be sure to check out the fitness page for more playlists!

Travel Themed Wedding

Back to work but I am looking forward to the 3 day weekend on the horizon. My weekend was filled with a rowing class at Orangetheory on Saturday followed by more training on Sunday. There is an end in sight and thankfully it looks like I will get a break next weekend! I did get some time this weekend to start putting together a photo book of our wedding so I wanted to share some of the travel themed details we used in our wedding. It is no surprise that the husband and I love to travel. Since travel has always been a passion and bonding experience, we decided to let travel be our theme for our wedding. The theme allowed us to share our past trips and experiences with our family and friends.

Guest Globe Sign In 

Rather than use a traditional sign in book, we decided to use a globe that guests could sign and leave well wishes. We really wanted to be able to use some of the items at our wedding in our home after the big day. The globe is a special reminder of the day and incorporates easily into our travel themed home.

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Table Names & Decorations

When picking our table names, we decided to name each table a city that was important to us. We used Athens, Greece for our honeymoon, Malibu, California for where we got married, Bangkok, Thailand for our first international trip, etc. Each table also had something that represented or was from each city. I loved that the tables were personalized and could be specific to any couple’s travels. Plus I get to look at our collection every day now in our home!

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World Map Seating Chart 

I will post the extremely easy how to instructions to create a world map seating chart next week. I titled the chart “where in the world are you sitting” to identify where our guests would sit and was a big hit. Again, the fact that this can be personalized to each couple makes it a very special way to incorporate past trips.

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Tell me: What was the theme of your wedding or what would the theme be?

Travel Thursday: Food, Food and More Food

Happy Thursday! It may be late but it’s still technically Thursday so a Travel Thursday post is still allowed. Traveling from New York to 2 Greek Islands, back to New York and Boston meant we got to experience a large amount of delicious, unique food. Food is equally as important as adventure when traveling. I strongly believe that the best food when traveling comes from asking the locals. Although we have used reviews online, we have stumbled across prime restaurants from asking people who live where we are. During our honeymoon we did exactly that and were not disappointed. I was planning to include food pics in each recap but hey what’s better than a post full of food pictures? I apologize in advance if this leaves you hungry. Let the #foodporn begin!

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New York: I shared our memorable pizza from Brooklyn but we also made sure to have a slice of $1.25 greasy American pizza as well. They were both delicious, just different of course. I had two of my personal favorites in New York – Pret a Manger and Shake Shack!


Greece: The food and wine were the most amazing I might have ever had! The only rival would be Italy. Greece was filled with flavorful dishes unique to the country paired with the best wine I have ever had! I don’t think a day passed without a glass of wine. The gyros was to die for, I could not tell you how many times we enjoyed gyros with tzatziki. We also had gelato for dessert and pasta dishes galore. Even better was that unlike the USA, all restaurants are unique and mostly family owned.


Boston: Seafood galore! We had lobster rolls, white and red chowdah (because that’s how the cool people say it) and delicious drinks. Besides seafood, Little Venice had delicious options for Italian. We filled our bellies with pasta and of course, the famous Mike’s Pastry cannolis. My favorite treat however was the ice cream cookie sandwich from Cookie Monstah. The husband and I got the “Candy Shoppe” – M &M cookies with Milky Way ice cream and the “Salty Dog” – salted caramel cookies with totally turtle ice cream.


Check out past Travel Thursday posts on the Travel page.