Perfect Little Weekend

Morning, friends.  This weekend was exactly the kind of weekend I needed.  I’m not going to lie, it was probably one of the unhealthiest weekends I’ve allowed myself to have in a longtime.  In terms of what I ate (lots), what I drank (lots), and how much I exercised (none)…yup, definitely unhealthy.  However, I’m considering it a healthy weekend for the win because it was exactly what I needed mentally.  Mental health is something I don’t write enough about on the old blog, but it’s so important.  I’ve really been missing girl time, which Friday night helped with, and I’ve really been missing relaxing time, which my little overnight getaway helped with.  And you know what?  Splurging this weekend felt freaking awesome.  And now that it’s over, I feel a little more “balanced” and ready to tackle this week with a more positive mindset.

Friday night a group of us went over to Katrina & Geoff’s apartment to celebrate their recent engagement.

We are all so happy for the soon to be married couple.

The rest of the weekend was spent up in Portsmouth, NH.  Last year Tim and I used one of our free Marriott nights up there, and we loved it so much we decided that a Portsmouth overnight needs to be an annual event.  I had another free night to use up (one year rewards member right here) and we put it to good use!  Saturday we spent the afternoon walking around the Portsmouth downtown shops.

If you’ve never been to downtown Portsmouth before, it’s so cute.  Portsmouth to us is on the same level as Boulder, CO in terms of how much we love it.  Aka… we would live there.  It’s very quaint with tons of shops and restaurants.  Fun fact – I think Portsmouth is known for being the city with the most bars per square mile in the entire country.  There really are so many places to choose from!  During our shopping excursion, I ended up buying salt and pepper shakers (I’ve been looking for THE perfect cute set and found some that look like owls… they were the ones!), four mini loaf pans, pumpkin spice cheeseball mix from Stonewall Kitchen, 3 bottles of wine from Attrezzi, and an outfit from lululemon (hooray!).  Aside from shopping we did a lot of food and wine tasting, and stopped in at Popovers for a pumpkin spice latte and caramel apple cider.

Saturday night we tried out three different bars and restaurants.  First we sipped a round of drinks on the comfortable couches at Rudi’s Wine Bar.

Next we had a wonderful dinner at Radici Restaurant.


I strayed from my normal one out of three rule where I try to choose either bread, alcohol, or dessert… but not all three.  By strayed I mean that I went with all three on Saturday night.  I’m not going to write too much about Radici here because I’m hoping to do a separate write-up on it after exchanging contact information with our waiter.  We really had a great experience there.

After our dinner we went to the Gas Light Company and sat at the bar for the rest of the night.

Let’s just say that by the time we were ready to call it a night we had made friends with the one man band, and Tim started a dance party with the table of four sitting near us.  So funny!

On Sunday, we slept in and then headed to New Castle Island to enjoy the beautiful day and walk around outside.  Look how pretty it was!

It’s not huge, we probably were only there for about half an hour, but it seriously felt like we were walking around Cape Cod.  I think if we go back next year, this would make for picnic material.  Just saying.  We also got to enjoy some fall foliage after being near the water.  Check out my “senior portrait” in the leaves.  Dork alert.

Finally, we wrapped up our overnight getaway with lunch and a brewery tour at Red Hook Brewery.

The brewery is pretty big and has a good vibe inside.  I had a Southwestern chicken salad for lunch and tried one of their Pilsner beers, but I decided Red Hook is not my cup of tea when it comes to beers.  We took the brewery tour for $1 and were annoyed with our tour guide… he was extremely weird and made horrible jokes and over enunciated the last word of every sentence.  But I guess we had a good laugh about that.  Moral of the story is that even though I didn’t love the beer I tried, it was still a fun time and you can add Red Hook to the list of breweries that Tim and I have tried together (Red Hook, Boulder Brewing, Portsmouth Brewery, Magic Hat, Cape Cod Brewery, and Griddy’s).

Rest of last night was spent prepping for the week and then watching Homeland on the couch with a big cup of peanut butter hot chocolate.

Perfect little weekend.

How was your weekend?  When’s the last time you went on an overnight somewhere?  What about the last time you cheated on healthy eating and exercising for a splurge weekend?  Anyone have any other breweries that Tim and I should try?

Be back later with my Weekly Workouts post!

Last Minute Holiday Shopping Guide for Fitness Fanatics

Attention all you last-minute holiday shoppers!

Still have shopping left to do?  How about shopping for that fitness lover in your life?  Whether a spouse, friend, or family member – these ten ideas are sure to please that special person in your life that is trying to get in (or stay in!) shape.

Last Minute Holiday Shopping Guide for Fitness Fanatics

1.  A Gym Membership or Class Pass
We all know gym memberships these days aren’t cheap.  Neither are special classes at your local fitness, dance, or yoga studios.  A ten class pass at my local hot yoga studio costs $120, and that’s a pretty good price.  You all know how much I love fitness, and some of my favorite past presents have been class passes.  For all you Bostonians, here are some of my personal favorite places that are still offering gift cards for the holiday season:

And gift cards fit right in a stocking!  Just make sure you know for a fact that this is something the gift receiver wants – these can be a lot of money down the drain if they don’t get used!

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2.  Fitness Clothes

If you can afford it, lululemon gear seems to be the most popular (and lusted after) gear.  I do not own any lululemon clothing (yet) and would absolutely love apparel from there that I wouldn’t normally pay for myself.

For Her:

The Groove Pant
Also described as The Holy Grail of Yoga Pants…

The Hot N Sweaty Tank:

For Him:

Cypress Run Pullover

The Trek Pant

Looking for some clothes that are a little more wallet friendly?  Check out the active sections of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls – you can’t go wrong with a matching tank and capris set for $12.99 total!  I also recommend Reebok and Old Navy for more go to options.

How about something a little smaller?  Go with workout socks!  A great stocking stuffer.  And who doesn’t need a new pair of athletic socks anyways?

3.  Magazine Subscription

There’s so much out there in the blog world and on the internet for good fitness reads, but in my opinion there is still nothing better than holding an actual magazine!  Especially on a plane, a workout machine, or by the pool.  I like to cut recipes and workouts out of magazines and hold onto them for future reference so I don’t have to go thumbing back through the magazines or trying to remember what website I found a neat new ab move on.  A magazine subscription is a pretty inexpensive gift idea and will be one that lasts the entire year and gives that special someone something to look forward to in the (real) mail each month!  My favorites?  Women’s Health (or Men’s Health) and Shape.

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4.  Yoga Essentials
For the Yogi in your life, there are a LOT of gift options out there!  My favorite go to brand for yoga stuff is Gaiam – if you don’t order right off their website, their stuff can often be found in most Targets, Barnes & Nobles, Paper Stores, etc.

If you know me, you know that I love giving theme presents.  A yoga theme is a really easy one to do!  Combined with a class pass if you wish, you can use some of the following:

  • Yoga mats are the yoga class essential so you don’t have to rent a mat (who knows who might have used it the last time?) each time you go to class.  They also come in a variety of styles and colors!
  • Yoga bags!  Once you start lugging a yoga mat to class each week, you will quickly realize the need for a yoga bag.  Easy transport!  I have this bag in purple (from Target) and I love it.
  • Skidless Yoga Towels – a MUST HAVE for those that practice heat yoga.  Skidless yoga towels prevent slipping, absorb sweat, and put a more hygienic layer between the Yogi and yoga mat.
  • Yoga blocks and straps are also wonderful options that aid yoga practice by making poses more comfortable and ensuring proper alignment.  That strap could definitely fit in a stocking!!

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5.  Heart Rate Monitors
An amazing little gadget that will tell you a lot about your body, a heart rate monitor works by measuring electrical signals from the heart and displaying them on the unit’s data center.  This data is intended to help ensure that your training regimen is not too easy or too intense, but just right for maximum effectiveness.  There are two types of heart rate monitors:  Chest Strap Models and Finger Sensor Models (wristwatch style).  For more details on the pros and cons of each model, click here.

A watch style is on MY list this year!

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6.  Foam Roller
This one might be a little funny to wrap, but a great tool for reaching muscles that you cannot normally work.  The idea is to roll your body weight through the foam roller to exercise and develop your connective tissue.  Some people say that a foam roller’s effects are similar to getting a deep tissue massage!  By increasing flexibility and decreasing muscle tension, it can help prevent injury and improve performance.  A must have for post-exercise sore muscles!   [Source]

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7.  Workout Headband or Sweatband
I’ve mentioned before that I absolutely cannot get a good workout if I don’t have a headband on, and that my favorite headband is the lululemon one Colleen gave me for my birthday.  I tend to go through workout headbands quickly as they get gross and worn out, and I tend to leave them all over the place.  I’ve heard rave reviews of BIC bands too, but I haven’t tried those yet!  This is another inexpensive and go to stocking stuffer idea, and good for both women (headbands) and men (sweatbands)!

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8.  Pedometer
Health experts often recommend a goal of 10,000 steps a day.  Pedometers are small electronic devices you can clip to a belt or waistband to measure how many steps you take.  I’m willing to bet that those who use and wear a pedometer are more likely to hit this number.  Don’t you think you’d be more likely to take the stairs, park far away from the mall entrance, and move more in general if you had an increased awareness of your steps?  I think this is a neat stocking stuffer idea, and since pedometers come in all shapes, colors, and sizes they can also have a personal touch!  [Source]

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9.  Jump Rope
Another cheaper gift option!  A jump rope is perfect for that fitness lover with a busy schedule.  Maybe they are always running around with the kids, or maybe they have to travel for work and are always on the road.  Whatever the case may be, a jump rope is such an underrated piece of exercise equipment.  It sells for under $20, fits into a briefcase, can be used by the whole family, and improves cardiovascular fitness while toning muscle at the same timePlus it’s a calorie torcher!  [Source]

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10.  Non Plastic Water Bottle
Everyone’s gots to stay hydrated, especially during a workout!  Get a non plastic water bottle that can be reused time and time again.  There are a ton of cute ones out there, and they will cut down on waste!

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I realize after writing this post that I could probably make a list of nearly 50 fitness related gifts for fitness fanatics!  So many ideas in my head.  Perhaps a yearly post to run during the holiday season from now on.

Questions of the Day:  Do you have a fitness fanatic in your life?  Are you buying them something fitness related for Christmas?  Do you have any other go to ideas or suggestions?  Are YOU the fitness fanatic?  What’s on your fitness related holiday wish list?  What’s the best fitness related gift you’ve ever received?

Stay tuned for my last-minute holiday shopping guide for FOOD fanatics later today!

More Fun Birthday Things

Tomorrow I turn 26.  That doesn’t have to count as “upper” twenties, does it?  I think I’ll still say I’m mid.

I took the day off and since I already had my birthday celebrations with my friends and family this past weekend, tomorrow will be a nice day spent with Tim.  We are going to go to the beach, I’m getting a much needed massage (which will hopefully help with the shoulder/arm pain I’ve been experiencing lately – GRRR), and then we are going out to dinner.  Should be a good day.  I’m still teaching my 6am class on Thursday morning.


Random Birthday Things:

Uncle Chris and Uncle Dan sent me a really funny food-related card:


Totally appropriate for me and my friends 🙂

At work, Colleen surprised me with a new workout headband (matching to one she has of course!) and a lululemon lunch bag.  One of those red ones that has all those inspirational quotes on it.  I’ve actually wanted one for a long time and was so excited for the bag that Colleen was like “UMM there is something IN the bag, Athena.”  I love them both!  I’m sure Katrina does too since I’ve been stealing her lunch bag every day 🙂

Aren’t these quotes fun?

And my new headband and CBC tank top?

Creepy self portrait?  Not so much.

Question of the Day:  What’s your favorite inspirational / motivational / healthy living quote?

Have a great night everyone!