Stripperella

So, I turn 30 in 20 days…not that I’m counting. I actually don’t feel good or bad about it currently, but ask me again at crunch time and I may have a new answer.

This week, though, a mini panic did set in that I made a 30 before 30 list last July and I have not crossed many items off. I’m a crosser-offer, so obviously the next few weeks will be a rush to hit at least a few things. The first of those things was “take a pole dancing class.” Remember when that was the craze, oh like five years ago? Yeah, it’s been on various lists of mine since then, so it was time.

I went to Express MiE in Tempe for their pole-ah-tease teaser (intro) class. The studio is a mile from my parents’ house and was convenient since I was already in that part of town for my niece’s third birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese. Seems like the appropriate time and place to learn to pole dance, right?

Express MiE has been in place for a while and it’s where I always figured I’d go, plus they had a Groupon for the intro class – $15 for the 90-minute sampler.  There were 11 women in the class – many came together in pairs – ranging from probably early-20s to 40s, everyone full of nervous giggles. The instructor was an ASU grad student – pole dancing is for everyone!

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The 90-minute class moved quickly, from warm ups that pulled in sexy touching right away, then some sexy walking, then a quick pole routine, then a wall routine. Lots to do and learn in a short time. It ended up being fairly simple and easy – it just looks like magic when you put it all together.

Was it a workout? There were some toning moves that left me a little sore already, but there wasn’t much cardio or sweat involved. We traded off on the poles with two others and learned the short routine in mini steps, same with the wall routine. The pole was maybe 30 seconds and the wall just a little longer. At the end, the instructor did a demo of everything she’s learned in her two years dancing and it definitely looked like a workout, but it would take a while to get there.

Did I feel sexy? Yes, for 30 seconds. The touch-your-curves and t-shirt tease portions of the class started pretty much right away, so there was no time to be shy. There were no mirrors so I have no clue what I looked like. The other women, who also had no experience, looked great, so I choose to think I looked sexy too. With no dance training or real rhythm, this may be a stretch, but the whole class was about how you feel anyway!

I’m tempted to take the six-week level one class, but I have other, more challenging workouts to do. I’ll make sure to take the few sexy moves I learned with me though!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go set PRs for my half marathon and triathlon, learn to surf and read five books. BRB.

The Most Fun You Can Have in Arkansas With Your Pants Off

Because it’s hot and you just want to wear dresses and as the maid of honor, I had to wear a dress! For her gift to her dad, my bridefriend April gave him a shirt that said, “My daughter got married outside in Arkansas in June and all I got was the bill and this shirt.” And that about sums it up, but I could think of nowhere else I would have rather been last weekend than in Rogers, Arkansas celebrating her marriage!

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I flew from Mesa’s Gateway airport on Allegiant – that cheap, but nickel and dimey, airline that flies to the most random airports – to Springfield, Missouri last Thursday. It took a few hours to drive to Arkansas, but immediately, I was like, “okay, I get it…it’s green and gorgeous.”

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Plus, I know most people say they will take a dry heat, but I enjoyed the weather, if only because it was a break. They were having a warm spell, but that’s still just upper 80s and humid plus they have nice breezes. For people who think a dry heat would be like the same but without humidity, no. Try 110, but at least it’s a dry heat!

I’ll take the cooler humidity. Maybe not forever, but for a break. On the second day I figured out the massive amount of gel my hair would require and then on the wedding day, it was perfectly coiffed, all held back and sprayed so that it wasn’t going anywhere. So, the weather and my hair were really my biggest concerns there and once those were out of the way, I had a fantastic time.

I didn’t have a lot of time in Arkansas to be a tourist, but I got in a run on Friday morning. I found what I thought would be a cool place to go, but there wasn’t a sidewalk to get me there on a curvy, two-lane road, so I decided to skip it and just run on the sidewalk past the highway and toward the mall. I only got in three miles and by the time I got back, I checked the elevation – surely Rogers, AR had to be higher than Scottsdale, but nope, only by about 100 feet, so that couldn’t have accounted for my difficult run, it was just the heat, humidity and oh yeah, my lack of training recently.

IMG_3230Then I joined April at her house in Fayetteville to wrap up some of the DIYs she had left. Who knew I could make a boutonniere?! I ate BBQ for lunch, because Arkansas, before getting ready for the rehearsal and dinner. There were about 10 attendants on each side, so both events were big affairs, but went very well. By that time a few other Arizona girls had arrived and they were eating at Apple Blossom Brewery in Fayetteville. I told April I might just head back to the hotel, but she said GO. I had their brown beer and a good time with the girls, so that was a good call. Then I got lost in a Hills Have Eyes locale almost out of gas with a dying phone. Luckily I made it back in time to party at the hotel bar.

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Saturday was for wedding everything – hair, make-up, setting the venue and getting married!

I think the best weddings require a few things:

1. Being on vacation. As much as I bitch about taking time off and having to travel for someone’s wedding, being away from the real world sets the mood and gets me ready to just have a good time.

2. Knowing a bunch of the guests. I’ve known April for half of my life and most of our high school friends were in attendance and also, her group of college friends – some bridesmaids, some guests – who I had met during our weekend in Seattle were there as well, so it was just a great time. And they were all there on vacation too, so we all stayed at the same hotel and that was great.

The Arizona group

The Arizona group

IMG_32453. Something going wrong. No wedding is perfect and laughing it off almost makes the whole thing better. For April’s outdoor wedding, she got tents at the last minute in case it rained. Twenty minutes after the ceremony, which was not tented, ended, it poured for about a half hour. The bridal party was inside the property house and I can only imagine what the guests outside were doing, probably crammed under the two tents. The rain cooled everything off and made a bunch of mud that everyone slipped in, but who cares? It was fun!

That’s all you need. Bridezillas, take note.

I had so much fun, I attempted to change my flight because basically I had to wake up and leave the very next day, which was just a terrible plan, but that’s Allegiant and their weird flights. Just like that, Arkansas was over.

 

Yoga. Again.

Sitting waiting for my hot vinyasa class to begin last night, I was a little nervous. I had been to the studio and taken many classes from the instructor (it was this one), but I couldn’t remember the last time. I finally figured out the last time I did yoga was a Tone It Up video sharing my mat with my puppies and before that was a free lululemon community class at the W. Not that those don’t count, but they don’t count the same way. Plus those were in May.

I’ve had all intentions of getting to numerous classes since then, but have failed, but last night was the night. I’m sad all my travels are over, but now I can focus on creating my Arizona summer. And getting my summer body back…better late than never, right?

The class was hot and challenging, but familiar. It was definitely easier to get back to than running after a string of weeks off. I got into a good extended side crow and held my longest free handstand ever, which is not very long, but it was more than a bounce up and back down so I was pleasantly surprised! That savasana was well-earned. And so was the 14-lb. watermelon I picked up on the way home – HYDRATE!

Today? I’m a little sore, but in a good way and I’m ready for class #2 tonight!

It’s the Little Things

For some reason I took on two good habits this month. It wasn’t really a conscious effort at first. If it was I may have just tried one, or may have failed, but since it wasn’t, I actually got about a 98% I’d say. It started on June 1. I drank a glass of water first thing in the morning and then that night, I flossed my teeth.

I think it was because the universe had been sending me messages that those might be good things to do. I haven’t even clicked through the article showing a before and after shot of the woman who drank a bunch of water for a month and suddenly looked about 10 years younger because I’m about to hit 30 and I’ll try anything!

And then I read an interview with Sarah Silverman who said death creeps in through your gums, which is something my 7th grade English teacher told us but 17 years ago I didn’t care. I’m ready to care now.

Previously, I flossed religiously twice a year, each time on the night before my dentist appointment. Would you like to know a secret? After about two days, your gums start to cooperate and stop bleeding. AND, it only takes about a minute of your life. Also, if you floss, then you take floss with you when you travel, so you can eat everything bagels on vacation!

The water thing is especially important in the summer as it gets so hot in Phoenix and dehydration happens fast. It also takes very minimal effort and time. Once I start my day on that good foot, I somehow remember to drink more throughout the day too and mid-afternoon headaches stay away. It came in handy in the last few days I spent in Arkansas, because apparently humidity is also dehydrating. Who knew?

So, everyone, drink all the water, even if you live in cooler places, even in the dead of winter. You may look 10 years younger and you will definitely have to pee a lot, which means getting up a lot, which is good because sitting causing death is the newest thing. Since I’m on a good habit roll, maybe for July I’ll just stand.

Oh the Places You Will Go: San Diego

I will never get tired of going to San Diego. It’s a quick trip from Phoenix regardless if you fly or drive and then you’re at the beach! I spent last weekend in San Diego and could think of nowhere better to celebrate the first day of summer.

My good friend, Robin, wanted to go to San Diego to celebrate the last birthday of her 20s and who was I to say no? Last year, she celebrated 28 in Tahoe. Besides just being awesome in general, hanging out with her has some serious perks, girl knows how to party. And by party I mean pick cool places to go hang out and do the same things we would do at home – but with a beach!

I was so dedicated to this trip, I went in an hour early to work all last week to leave at noon on Friday and catch our flight. Robin found an awesome house in Mission Beach that slept enough people to accommodate everyone who trickled in and out all weekend and it was only a block to the beach and a block to Mission Bay. Everything was walkable – or as I experienced for the first time there, cheaply Uberable.

We ate Mexican food, had delicious breakfasts and hung out at the beach, played Cards Against Humanity, drank a beer (or two or three) and saw some of the nightlife.

On Saturday morning, I went running up the boardwalk and then back down on the beach itself.

June gloom morning run.

June gloom morning run.

For running, San Diego beaches > New England beaches. For beach beauty, New England beaches > San Diego beaches. But for the tie breaker, for swimming, at least during the times I was there, San Diego for the win. We stayed on the beach doing nothing and intermittently going in to dive the waves for hours.

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I think people who live by beaches take it for granted. When I lived close enough to Malibu, I know I did. I’d love to say if I lived in SD, I’d enjoy it all the time, but the truth is, I’d probably try to enjoy the beach, but be thinking about the other things I should be doing. That’s the glory of vacation…there was NOTHING else we had to do. I have the splotchy tan/burned/still pasty skin to show for it. (There was a serious error in judgement involving a travel-size can of spray sunscreen and the wind.)

On Sunday, I met Robin’s older sister who lives in NE San Diego County and she asked me what I did. After two days at the beach house, I couldn’t really remember what my work life was and had to seriously pause to consider the question and answer it. I’d say that’s a good sign that it was a  great vacation!

Bikini Series Check-in: Week 8

Eight weeks ago I started the Tone It Up Bikini Series – eight weeks of workouts leading up to the first day of summer.

No, I don’t have an awesome before and after to show off, I’m actually tempted to call the whole thing a fail because I didn’t complete every single workout. We’re doing a personality assessment/exploration at work and I see now that I’m disappointed because I’m a high-S (for steadiness) personality and I love to finish things and get very tied to my projects (all yep).

BUT, traveling coast to coast kinda got in the way and it was really freaking cool, so it’s okay. Also, I’m going to be nicer to myself and not call it a total fail because I did get pretty sweaty on occasion, there were mornings I got up nice and early to make sure I got the workouts in and I learned some new things:

New strength moves – Tone It Up deals mostly with light or body-resistance strength training, but they are decent workouts. I don’t need to be so sore and unable to move for three days after for it to be a good workout.

I can push myself through interval training and it’s probably pretty good for me.

The biggest takeaway was: any workout is better than no workout. There were some days when the schedule called for a 20 minute booty call and then spending the evening visualizing your goals, I was like, “for serious?” But, it helped me see that consistency is key and the truth is the woman who follows the TIU plan religiously is probably going to be better off than me when I’m running for an hour two days a week plus taking a vigorous cardio class on the weekend. And I also found out I have it in me to suck it up when I don’t feel like working out after work because, hey, it’s only 40 minutes.

So, Karena and Katrina have a first week of summer schedule up now and are going to keep up the weekly workouts. While that’s not my whole plan, I’m a Tone It Up convert and I think I’ll love having the resource for those days when I don’t want to be my own trainer.

Oh the Places You Will Go: Boston

For our East Coast adventure, we flew in and out of Boston and I called it our Boston trip, but the sad truth is the we were there for little more than a day and a half. So, you can see why we were torn on cutting it short to make the trip to Cape Cod, but it was definitely worth it and Boston, I’ll be back!

Our first stop on the trip was Sam Adams! I was so excited to go on this brewery tour and as my brother-in-law said, it was the first noteworthy stop on out trip. The hour-long tour is educational, boozy and free! I held hops and then we sampled three beers, including a super secret new style, which was my favorite. IMG_3113

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Oh! And you get to take those cute little glasses home!

We checked into the hotel and took off to go to the U.S.S. Constitution, or Old Ironsides. We listened to an amazing storyteller acting the part of one of the sailors and retelling the story of the battle that gave the ship her name, it was really neat! In elementary school, my class took a trip to California to live on and “work” on an old ship just like this one, so it brought back a lot of memories!

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Apparently Bostonians dislike when people compare Boston to New York and there really is no comparison, except the transit system in New York was much easier! In Boston, we figured out it was easier to walk more often, so even though it was starting to rain, we hightailed it back to the hotel because we had an important date!

If you asked Sean, the whole reason we went on this trip was to go to Fenway to see the Red Sox on Friday night.

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The forecast didn’t look good, but his desire to see the game must have kept the game-cancelling rain away. It did start to come down heavily enough for ponchos in the 5th and 6th innings though!

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Sean was mostly excited to take me to the game because Fenway has a different feel, he kept saying. My only baseball experience is Spring Training and Diamondbacks games. Our Diamondbacks have an amazing park built not too long ago – huge with a retractable roof to play in all conditions (mostly hot), but it does lack the authenticity of an old ball park. Fenway was seriously cool and the fans were real fans. Sometimes at DBacks games I feel like I go to a game, but at Fenway, I actually watched a game! And a good one at that! They won in the bottom of the 10th!

Exhaustion from seven days of vacation was setting in (I know, my life is so rough), but it was our last night, so we caught a late dinner and post-dinner cider at the pub (called MJ’s!) next to the hotel before calling it a night. Exhaustion wasn’t going to keep me from running on my last morning either! An old classmate tweeted me that since I was in town I should go to the Promenade. He’s a runner too and it was a great suggestion for a place to start. While I was running along the water, I realized the rest of our day was pretty packed so I should probably try to see some of the things I wanted to see. I basically ran a big six-mile loop around the city and stopped at Paul Revere’s house and the Old North Church.

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It was another amazing run. Running away from my own routine always seems so much better!

I made it back to the hotel in time for check out and to meet up with Sean’s friend who took the train in from Central Mass to have lunch with us. The plan was MJ’s again, but I hadn’t had my fill of seafood and suggested Legal Seafood, which Sean had pointed out when we got there. My crab cake with salad and mashed potato was definitely the way to go out.

We were closeish to the Boston Marathon finish line, so we went by there so I could see it. It was just a line in the middle of the road outside the library, but pretty incredible to see.

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Our last stop was the aquarium. We didn’t have a ton of time to spend there, but it was worth going in to check it out.

Penguin friends!

Penguin friends!

And that was that, our amazing trip was over! There wasn’t a lot I felt like I really missed in Boston, but I would definitely like to go back to just spend more time in the city, I really didn’t even get a feel for it in that short time, but what I did see I really liked!

Oh the Places You Will Go: Cape Cod

I tried to enjoy the cooler weather on the East Coast and save it as a memory for days like this…as happy as I am to be home with nothing to do for the first weekend in four weeks, it’s hot and it sucks. But my house is cold so I’m bundled up and currently binge-watching season three of Scandal on Netflix, trying to avoid Orange is the New Black because Sean and I are going to watch it together, but he’s working all weekend.

So, back to those cooler memories! Wednesday was definitely the coldest day we were there and we spent it driving through Connecticut and Rhode Island to Cape Cod.

Cape Cod was a thought in the back of our minds before we left for this trip, but I wasn’t sure we had enough time to squeeze it all in. Sean kept saying he didn’t think we could skip it and I’m a sucker for the ocean, so we decided we had to go!

We broke up the long drive by stopping in Newport, Rhode Island to visit an old 1890s mansion right on the coast. It was really cold and windy by the time we got there, but the overcast day seemed perfect to visit an old house with lots of stories to tell. It was very Gatsby- and Downton Abbey-esque.

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The mansion, or beach “cottage” as they called it, was in a little community full of other historic mansions that you can tour and others that are still private residences. I completely romanticized Rhode Island when I was younger and our short drive through did not disappoint!

We had decided to stay in Provincetown at the very tip of Cape Cod because Sean had never been to that part and it had beaches on both the cape side and the ocean side. By the time we got there it was in the 40s and threatening rain…not ideal for the start of a beach trip, but it meant it wasn’t very crowded and we got a beach-front room! The awesome staff even turned on our lights and cranked up the heat for our lateish arrival, thanks Surfside Inn!

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Standing just inside our patio door on the last day when it was a little sunnier.

The hotel was also next to an amazing restaurant (Fanizzi’s) that we went to the first night because we were worried about other places closer to downtown being closed and on the second night because it was just that good…and yes, it was more seafood! We also went out to the Squealing Pig pub for drinks on both nights because it had a great vibe.

I spent the mornings running. I attempted to run on the beach but first of all, it’s not as easy and glam as it looks on TV and when the tide was up, it came right up to the buildings just a bit down the beach, so I had to work my way back up to the street. I ran through the downtown area, down the pier and through some neighborhoods. It felt amazing. The temps were perfect and I loved the small town. Like I said, it wasn’t very populated then, but the houses were all being prepared for season and the way the stores are set up and the servers talk, you could tell it just gets crazy.

Oh yeah! Provincetown is also well-known as a LGBT community. Actually, before we went to the Squealing Pig, we tried a bar the hotel clerk recommended and honestly the bartender and townies there were kind of rude, which is why we moved on, but there was a drag queen sitting at the bar getting ready to go down to the basement and start their nightly dance party. Provincetown knows how to have a good time!

On Thursday for lunch, I finally got my lobster roll I’ve been wanting to try. It was good, but for some reason I thought it would be warm. Like warm lobster, butter and a toasty roll.  I guess some places do serve it that way, but the traditional lobster roll is cold lobster salad. It was still delicious and I imagine on a hot summer day it would be amazing to be at the beach and take a break for one!

Then we drove out to see the Atlantic Ocean side at Race Point Beach. It was so relaxing!

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We walked for a bit then sat and watched some seals playing in the water…really close by! There was a sign that great whites swim in the water (hello, Jaws) and to not swim near seals since they’re on the shark menu, but they were so close! On a warmer day, I totally would have been trying to go out and make some friends!

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It was cold, but the sun was shining. I read, Sean napped, it was lovely.

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It was everything I wanted an East Coast beach town to be! Like I said, I’m a sucker for the ocean, so I might call this my favorite part of the trip.

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Oh the Places You Will Go: New York

I’ve always wanted to go to New York City and see everything and be amazed, but the truth is I didn’t really expect to like it very much. Not in an “I don’t like it” kind of way, but more in a “Well, that was nice, I can go ahead and check that off now” kind of way.

I thought I would be overwhelmed but I wasn’t, I was in awe of being in such a big city. This is the first picture I took there once we checked into the hotel and took off to go explore.

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We were sitting in a park in the middle of a street…whatever it may be called, NY has a bunch of little pocket parks and chairs! Hundreds of chairs everywhere! The sun was shining just the same on the shady green trees as it was on the dirty street signs and I could see nothing but buildings and I was like, “OMG, I’m in New York. I should take a picture.”

I thought it would be scary and loud and dirty. No. No. As I already said, yes.

New York was the only really warm part of our trip. It was sprinkling when we left Sturbridge, but it was sunny and warm and not too terribly humid during our two days in New York.

Sean drove in and I tried to balance between wanting to look out and take in everything and pretending I was reading so I wouldn’t have to see the crazy drivers. Driving in made it easy, especially with our week’s worth of luggage (for the record, that meant 10 pairs of shoes for me, but lesson learned, I only wore eight), but if it were up to me to do the driving, I would have been on the train.

Our first stop was the Empire State building to take in the full views.

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At the top, a couple next to us was in love and got engaged. It was adorable.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in Central Park, watching New York kiddos enjoying the warm day off from school (it was Memorial Day).

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Besides everything else we did that was actually cool, I was pretty excited for street food and our first stop at the ice cream truck did not disappoint.

That evening I needed a cool salad and began my East Coast seafood tour (it was so delicious and fresh and cheap!) with a seafood cobb salad. Then we went to see Times Square. It was very crowded of course. Probably the most-crowded place we went. They even had bleacher seating set up (again, just in the middle of the street!) to sit and take it all in.

We stayed at the Algonquin Hotel, which has a great history (and was featured this season on Mad Men) and a beautiful facade. Inside, the rooms are tiny – as expected – but the property was bought and renovated by Marriott just a few years ago, so it was very nice! We had a street-facing room, so although we didn’t spend much time in the room, when we were there, I could still be in awe of the city!

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The next day I took an early morning walk to Bryant Park, which was very close to the hotel, to just check it out. The streets were a lot more crowded than the day before and I loved seeing all the New Yorkers newyorking about, going to work and what not. I could get used to drinking my coffee in random sunny parks.

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Then we set out to be true tourists and took the ferry to Liberty Island, saw the World Trade Center (from the ferry) and ate hot dogs from a cart (yay)!

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We spent the afternoon at the Museum of Natural History, which was exactly like Night at the Museum without the animals coming to life part.

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We rushed back to the hotel because that night we had tickets to see Aladdin! Seeing a show was definitely on my must-do list for New York and it did not disappoint. The tickets were pretty reasonable and it was this awesome old theater that didn’t look like it had a bad seat anywhere. The costumes, the music, the performers…the whole thing was just amazing. We get great shows coming through Arizona regularly, but this was a whole new level and would be worth a trip in itself!

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It was our last night in New York and the weather was amazing, so I quickly exchanged my heels for flats and we set out to explore some more. We went to a very deserted Rockefeller Plaza and I got to peek into the Today Show set. Unfortunately my boyfriend, Matt Lauer, was not there quite yet. Then we went out for drinks at McGee’s, the bar that inspired How I Met Your Mother’s MacLaren’s! I could kind of see it, but everything on TV is much bigger! There’s not room for spacious bars (or hotel rooms) in New York!

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With nothing to compare it to, I would have to assume it was a normal night in New York, but Sean commented that it was pretty calm and admittedly, bars in Scottsdale get more crowded on a Tuesday night! Really the whole time we were there he said the streets weren’t as crowded and the lines at the attractions weren’t as crazy as he was used to or expecting, which maybe is why I wasn’t very overwhelmed and why my expectations of it being a place that’s “nice to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there” turned to “I could see myself living there!”

That is until I got home and read Ali’s blog answering questions about New York in which she admitted that she sometimes showers just to be alone. I like to be alone far too much. She first said she runs in Central Park though and I’d say that not running there was my one New York regret. I thought the trek to the park was too far and too full of stop lights to be worth it. It’s definitely on the list for next time!

The weather turned on our last morning there. I snuck out for coffee across the street and it was chilly chilly, but after that we just hopped in the car, I averted my eyes and we drove away from the city…and to the beach!

Happy National Running Day!

Running and I…well, it’s getting serious and I think it’s going to be a long-term love affair. I’m really loving it lately and especially loving that I still love it without training for a specific race. It’s kool-aid and I drank it and I want everyone else to drink it, even more so after I found this awesome infographic from Mizuno: What-if-Everybody-Ran-Infographic Happy National Running Day!