I know a lot of people can’t stomach Gu (I’ve had post-long run stomach issues myself), but I was interested in trying Vega Sport gels because they are plant-based, all natural, and don’t contain high fructose corn syrup or maltodextrin. And when I looked at the ingredients, the first thing on there is dates, which made me feel better about the product I was going to be taking.
Since my IT band pain has gone away, I’ve begun increasing the distances of my runs. On Monday night, I went for a 6-mile run, in hopes of getting my mileage high enough that I can do a half marathon injury-free in the coming months. After I got home from work and about a half hour before heading out, I tried one of these gels (though you can [and I plan to] take these during longer runs).
The flavor (I received a box of raspberry to try) was good (it tasted like the filling in fig newtons) but not overly sweet, like with a lot of the Gu flavors I’ve had in the past. I will say that these gels are bigger than Gu and the texture was unlike other gels I’ve tried, like there were actually little date pieces in it, so it was slightly different and a little more than I was used to. But during my run, I didn’t experience any cramping or discomfort and once I got home, I actually didn’t experience the stomach pain I’ve had in the past, which I would attribute to this product being completely natural.
If you’re looking for a new kind of energy when you’re working out, I would definitely, definitely recommend trying out a Vega Sport product. Over time, I’ve become a firm believer in consuming more whole foods that are better for you, and while energy gels aren’t necessarily real foods, the closer I can get to the real thing, the better.
Do you use Vega Sport products? Share your experiences on social media with #fuelyourbetter!
Disclosure: I received this product for free as part of being a Sweat Pink Ambassador, in exchange for a review on my blog. All opinions are my own.
True story: a few weeks ago, I headed to Coronado with my friend Kayla to lay out for an afternoon. A few weeks prior to that, I went to Pacific Beach with my other friend Jen. Both times, I brought a towel to lay out on, and both times my friends gave me a hard time for bringing a bath towel. Yes, a bath towel. Oh, and I also found myself resting my head on top of my Nalgene water bottle inside of my bag. Definitely not the epitome of comfort and I can’t even imagine how ridiculous I looked (but that’s nothing new really).
I’m practical. If I have something that works, I use it. But just because it works, it doesn’t mean it works well. There’s a difference.
So when I was recently contacted by Sand Cloud to try out one of their new towels, I was definitely interested. It’s like they knew that I didn’t have an actual beach towel and that my friends were constantly making fun of me.
Sand Cloud is a brand new company which was started by three best friends in San Diego, one of whom was laying on the beach after work one afternoon, and was trying to get comfortable by resting his head on his backpack. He felt something needed to be done, and so he and his friends set out to develop a product that works.
This weekend was, not surprisingly, absolutely beautiful (thank you San Diego!). Since I spent Saturday driving for Lyft, I was exhausted on Sunday and took it easy for most of the day. I spent a good part of the afternoon enjoying the San Diego sun, laying out in my backyard on my new towel. Handwoven in Turkey, with 100% Turkish Cotton, this towel is soft, lightweight, and comfortable. But one of the coolest things about this towel is the removable pillow (which is way more comfortable than laying your head on a water bottle…stop judging me).
But here’s my favorite thing about this product:
The founders of Sand Cloud are passionate about giving back and protecting the ocean, which is why they are donating 10% of net profits to several foundations that support the preservation of marine life.
And guess what? Sand Cloud sent me an extra towel to give away to one lucky reader.
Here’s how you can enter, and get up to four entries (four separate comments):
Go to the Sand Cloud Kickstarter page and watch the video. Tell me, in a comment below, your favorite thing about the video/what you like most about this product.
A few weeks back, after spending an afternoon at Dog Beach in OB, Adam and I decided we wanted Korean BBQ for dinner. We knew we were going to head on over to Convoy to a spot that Adam had been to before. I think it’s important to note that Adam’s former boss–who is a Korean chef that runs multiple high-end restaurants in Los Angeles (so he obviously knows food)–took Adam and all of his coworkers to this place, and he loves it.
I should also note that Korean barbecue is different. I’d never experienced Korean barbecue prior to moving to San Diego, and the first time I had it, Adam, his friend Brett (who is also from Connecticut), and I went to a different place on Convoy Street for dinner on Christmas Day. Sadly, none of us went home for the holiday, but we enjoyed our Christmas dinner nonetheless.
Korean barbecue consists of the restaurant providing raw meat, and you cooking it on a grill in the middle of your table. In addition, you get side dishes, such as kimchee and rice.
Ignore the website; it’s nothing special. Don’t let that deter you from going to this place.
There are many options at this restaurant, but I am reviewing the barbecue, as that is what we chose to eat. For $20, you get all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue and choose from two different menus. We opted for Menu B, which included everything from brisket to Italian sausage to assorted vegetables. We ended up selecting four meats: prime thin sliced beef brisket, sliced black pork belly, pork ribs and Italian sausage.
The marinade for the brisket must’ve been something special because honestly, the brisket was incredible. So, so good. The pork belly and ribs were also really flavorful. The Italian sausage was very good, but nothing special–it was exactly what you could buy at the store. I’d probably recommend going for something else that is unique to Korean barbecue. The second best part about all of these though, is that we were able to cook the meat to our liking. Adam likes his brisket a little more rare, and I liked mine cooked more thoroughly, and we could do that. And the best part about this place is that the meat was fresh, seasoned and marinated well, and really delicious.
Adam really loved the kimchee (which I don’t really like anywhere we go), I enjoyed the seaweed side, and we both loved the potato salad, rice, sauces they provided, and the salad. The dressing on the salad was light but delicious, and complemented the meat really well.
To drink, Adam enjoyed traditional Korean rice wine, and I drank Korean raspberry wine (the same kind I had on Christmas at a different place).
Service was good–they were all very friendly and attentive, and everything was brought out to us quickly.
Since going here, I’ve been to a couple of other Korean barbecue places in the Convoy area (including the wildly-popular Manna Korean BBQ) and I have to say, Mapo has hands-down been my favorite and undoubtedly offers the best brisket in San Diego.
Try it out – you won’t be disappointed!
Do you have a favorite restaurant in San Diego you think I should try? Let me know!
My brother’s birthday was July 6, and his girlfriend’s birthday is this week, so to celebrate both of their birthdays, they decided they wanted to do a Los Angeles brewery tour/beer shuttle and a Dodgers game.
My brother booked the brewery tour through LA Craft Beer Tours, and for 14 of us, it was $60 a person for a 5-hour, 3-stop tour. They offer tours in Los Angeles, as well as down to San Diego, Orange County, or up to the Santa Barbara area, but since everyone (except for us) was LA-based, we took a tour of LA breweries.
Adam and I drove up from San Diego and got to my brother’s place around 11:30, where everyone met up. The shuttle picked us up around noon and after signing some waivers and putting the pizzas we ordered and cooler full of water and beer on the bus, we were off.
We put together some tables, and Pat, our tour guide, brought a box of pizza in with us, since this brewery didn’t offer food but allowed you to bring in your own food. Before the tour started, Pat got us some samples of everything and we began tasting all the different beers.
We took a tour of the brewery, learning all about the process and the different kinds of beers…
And then after, we ended up in the store where we could purchase items and where they continued giving us different samples of the beer brewed on site.
We then walked around the space some more (where we saw people playing games like foosball and cornhole) and got a couple of more flights to sample. The one thing I have to say about Angel City Brewery is that the building in which it is housed is incredible. It’s a 101 year-old building that used to be a warehouse, which shouldn’t come as a surprise based on the architecture.
Of the three breweries we visited, this one was by far my favorite because of how beautiful the building was.
After some more samples, we got back on the shuttle and Pat told us about our next brewery, Eagle Rock Brewery.
So, I kind of completely forgot to take pictures inside of this place, but here’s what we did. Again, we got flights of all different kinds of beer they brew, and Pat kept grabbing the glasses for us and bringing them over, and also kept returning them for us. He also went out and grabbed some more pizza for us, which definitely helped balance out all the beer we had drank. We didn’t get a tour of this brewery, but from where the tasting room was located, you could see inside to the big metal barrels and see people working in there. While I wasn’t as impressed with this space as I was with the first brewery, I still really enjoyed all the samples we were provided and liked the atmosphere. There was a big group of us and the employees there never once seemed inconvenienced or bothered by it, so that was nice.
In order to keep us on track for the Dodgers game, we jumped back on the bus and Pat brought us to our final location: Golden Road Brewing.
This place was the most popular of all of them, and so it was the busiest, but it also seemed less like a brewery and more like a restaurant…which makes sense, because on the website it says to visit the pub on site.
We couldn’t bring the pizza with us into this location because this place served food (which all sounded and looked really good), but we didn’t end up ordering anything and instead Pat just got us some pitchers of a variety of beers.
Around 4:30, we all got back on the bus and Pat dropped us off at a metro stop of our choice so we could head over to Dodger Stadium for the game.
I actually didn’t know this until this weekend, but with your game day ticket, there is a free shuttle from Union Station to the stadium. We ended up taking the metro to Union Station, and then we all got onto the bus which took us to the game. This is definitely a great option if you’re coming from out of town, especially since the stadium isn’t like Fenway Park in Boston or Petco Park in San Diego; the stadium isn’t located within walking distance of anything, and most people drive to and from the game.
From the entrance of the park, you can see a view of downtown Los Angeles…
We walked around the stadium for a bit…
And then eventually found our seats…
Adam and I left the game early so we could get back to San Diego, but were disappointed to learn that the Dodgers beat the Padres.
If you’re ever in the LA area and looking for something unique to do with friends, definitely check out LA Craft Beer Tours. Overall it was such a fun day, spent doing something a little different with some really great people, and I had so much fun that I’m actually considering looking into doing something similar for my birthday down here in San Diego.
I had the day off, and was thrilled about it since I’d heard great things from everyone about it. We have beaches everywhere, fireworks all over the county (including something like 5 or 6 launching areas just in the city of San Diego), and it’s apparently a ton of fun.
For the first time in my life, I live in a tourist destination, and this was especially evident on July 4th. We initially thought we’d grab a fire pit at Fiesta Island and spend the day there grilling and hanging out with the dogs, but when we realized fireworks would be launched from the island, and there’s only a one-lane road on and off of it, we decided against it. Some of my friends ended up in Coronado, some went to the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar, and some partied it up in Pacific Beach.
With all the usual beach traffic, along with all the tourists, we thought we’d keep it simple and fun. A group of us grabbed some cheap Padres tickets and headed downtown via Lyft (<–if you don’t already have it, sign up with this link and get a free ride up to $25!). First, we stopped off at Bub’s at the Ballpark just outside of Petco Park, where we waited for the rest of the group to arrive. Once we all met up, we headed into the park, grabbed a couple of beers, found our seats, and took in the view of downtown San Diego while watching the game.
After the Padres beat the Giants (duh), we walked around downtown a little and met up with some of our other friends at the Tipsy Crow. We love this bar and have a few friends that work there, so it’s always nice to stop in and hang out for awhile.
Later, we all took a Lyft back to our place where we took it easy until 10 p.m., when we drove the five minutes down to Mission Bay Park, where we caught the fireworks launching from Fiesta Island. The best part? We managed to avoid the hours of traffic that apparently plagued the rest of San Diego (including my friends who ended up stuck on Coronado Island for a few hours).
Since Friday’s recap was a little longer, we’ll keep this brief…
Took Maeby to Fiesta Island in the morning to run and swim…
And a few of us grabbed ramen in the afternoon from Tajima…
Maeby also got her new Red Sox bandana that we bought for her while we were in Boston (and she managed to sit like a weirdo)…
Woke up early and went for a quick run with Maeby. After that, I met up with my friend Kayla (and her dog Lilo), and went to the dog park in Balboa Park.
The dogs were worn out by the end of it. It was pretty hot out…
…but we loved the park.
We hadn’t been there before, and it was huge, with some grassy spots and a little bit of shade. We will definitely be going back.
Today, I have a guest post from Anna, who will be sharing three steps for starting your fitness journey! Fitness competitions take a lot of discipline and hard work (and seriously, just look at her rockin’ body), so I definitely think there are a few things to take away from this…
My health and fitness journey truly started in 2012 when I made the decision to compete in a fitness competition. Since August of 2013 I have competed three times, twice placing top 10 in my division. I have taken time to become more than just a fitness competitor, though. I believe health and wellness are so much deeper than strength and physical appearance. I strive to learn the best practices to create a healthy balance through great nutrition, physical exercise, and mental strength. I love being a fit wife and an inspiration to other women. I work hard to grow and develop personally through self teaching, trusting in great mentors, and sharing/teaching through my blog. Confidence, health, and happiness start from the inside out! My goal is to teach everyone how to reach their maximum potential through health and wellness. I want to motivate other women to push past what is considered the “average” and to think beyond genetics.
Let me take you on a journey! There is a moment when you sit down and say, “Okay, really this time I will get it together!” Whatever that “it” may be, you are committing to get on track or find consistency. Am I right?! For a lot of us it is health and fitness driven. Maybe this week you are going to start on a new diet your friend told you about or maybe this week is the week when you are going to start to incorporate more yoga.
You see, we all have this longing to “get on track.” Not only that, most of us want to get on track and stay on track. I ask you, what makes this time different? Do you have a plan for starting a new journey or are you heading into it blindly and hoping for the best? I want this time to be different for you! Here are three tips I truly believe are for those that want this time to be their time! You might even find a fourth bonus tip tucked in there somewhere!
1. Create a goal and map it out!
Without a plan, it is impossible to stay on target. Impossible is such a bold word, but I am going to stick with it because I truly believe in what I am saying! Write down your goal(s) and work backwards. Set a realistic time line and start by breaking it down piece by piece until you have the smallest, most basic goal to start at. Each day you will increase your efforts and before you know it your goal will be accomplished if you stay committed. You must have a plan!
2. Take day 1 photos!
Yes I said it, take photos! In a two-piece or sports bra and shorts. Some people turn their nose up to me, roll their eyes, or give me a chuckle as if I am crazy when I say this. I promise you if you take day 1 photos you will thank me later. Now, look at those photos and promise yourself you will never be at this point again. Commit to never looking back, except to show yourself or someone else how far you have come. Look at those photos and tell yourself this is the last time you will ever revert back to that person in the photo. Tuck it away and when you reach your first goal, pull out the picture and see how far you have come.
3. Know the beginning always has bumps!
Remember the first time your rode a bike? Possibly the first time you went on a date or went to your first job interview? Were you perfect the very first time? Nope! Stop placing so much pressure on yourself to be perfect right out the gate. My philosophy is to focus first on mastering nutrition. Give it two or three weeks of mastering feeding and fueling your body with quality, healthy food. Then when you are ready, seek to start a workout routine that is best for you. Often I see people become so overwhelmed in the first week that they fall off track by week two or three. In my heart I think that is because they are doing too much in the first couple weeks and becoming distracted. Don’t allow yourself the opportunity to become distracted!
I hope you find these tips helpful for your fitness journey! A map and setting your goals will allow you to refer back to your plan if you fall a little off track. Come back to your goals often. Want a bonus tip? Share your goals with other people; it holds you accountable to them. Honestly, no one likes telling someone they didn’t do the things they said they would do, right? So why not commit to your goals and tell someone else what you are planning to do? Do not give yourself the option to fail this time. You really can do anything you set your mind to!
Thank you Anna, for sharing these awesome tips! You can get more inspiration from Anna (and read the stories of other fit women) on her blog, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
As most of you know, over the past year, I’ve done a lot of traveling. Back in December, I spent a week driving across country. I’ve since spent weekends in Los Angeles, and a week-and-a-half back in Connecticut, with overnight stays in New Hampshire, Boston, and Northampton thrown into that trip. And earlier last year, prior to driving out to California, I was flying across country every few months to visit Adam in San Diego. And throughout all of this travel, there was only one thing that kept me sane – finding ways to keep active and finding the perfect balance of healthy eating.
I was recently approached by Vegas.com to share my tips for staying in shape while traveling as part of their #TravelFit2014 campaign. Not only was I flattered, but I was also excited to share these tips with you, especially with Fourth of July and summer vacations around the corner.
1) Get up early and get it done.
My body is used to getting up early, so I’m always up before everyone else. This makes it easy for me to get in a workout while everyone else was sleeping. And even if my internal alarm clock didn’t go off in the early a.m., I’d still set an actual alarm to get me up, because there is nothing better than getting a run (or yoga or weightlifting session – whatever it is you enjoy) in before the day starts. By the time I get back from my workout, everyone is just waking up and I’m ready to start the day with them. I did this on my road trip (with my dog, so there was added incentive to run!), and I did it when I was in New England this past spring. It’s easy, it makes sense, and when it’s done, you don’t have to think about it the rest of the day.
2) Find ways to get exercise that are unique to your destination.
Here in San Diego, you can go kayaking or paddle boarding, but some hotels even offer the opportunity to get a good workout in, like the Catamaran Resort and its outdoor yoga for guests. And it’s not just hotels in San Diego. In Las Vegas, for example, the Aria Las Vegas offers a “Hotel Hike” for its guests, which involves 60 minutes of stairs, bodyweight workouts, and a tour of the hotel, past restaurants, the casino, and art installations. There are even marathons you can do on the Las Vegas strip. No matter where you end up, there are always ways to be active that are unique to that place.
3) Plan your indulgences.
You don’t have to plan out every meal, but try to be smart about it. On my road trip, I knew that when we got to Nashville, I’d be eating a ton of barbecue, so I ate a little lighter throughout the day. When we got to Yuma, Arizona (the first real city of our drive that day), we were thrilled to see an In ‘N Out (and initially thought we’d get that), but we ended up getting salads at Chipotle because the day before we had eaten Whataburger in Texas. It’s okay to splurge, but try to balance out those splurges with healthier options.
4) Explore your destination – by foot.
I love, love, love running when I’m on vacation because it gives me a chance to explore a new place. And even when I couldn’t run because of my IT band, I found myself walking through Boston to spend time with friends and through Northampton with Adam to see the area. Walking is a great form of exercise and is easy to do. Take the time to walk or run around your destination, because it allows you explore a new city and see places that you’d never see if you were driving everywhere.
What are you favorite ways to stay in shape while traveling?
On a note unrelated to my weekend, let me begin this post by saying that Tuesday morning, my friend Brenna asked me about my availability for her coming to visit. We’d been talking about it here and there but I wasn’t expecting it to happen to soon. She found a great price on tickets from Salt Lake City, and she will be coming in September! I can’t wait to have her here, and I keep brainstorming for all the wonderful things we can do while she’s here.
Also on an unrelated note, can you believe tomorrow is July 1? WHAT IS THIS. Time really does fly.
Dinner at Mapo Korean BBQ (review coming next week!) with my coworker, Bre, her boyfriend, and Adam.
In the morning, we headed downtown to check out an apartment for one of my friends from college who is moving here with her fiance in August. It was a really nice 2 bedroom/2 bathroom and only a few blocks from Petco Park. Ninety-nine percent sure they’ll be moving in there.
Since Maeby got her stitches out and we only made it to the dog park once last week, we decided to take her somewhere special. We ventured out to Dog Beach in Ocean Beach but there was a festival and we literally drove around for almost an hour trying to find parking. Eventually, we got so fed up that we ended up grabbing some fish tacos and burritos at Ortiz’s Taco Shop (3704 Voltaire Street, Point Loma) and heading to Fiesta Island. We ate our two fish tacos in the car (top 3 tacos I’ve ever had, and please do yourself a favor and get the California burrito – you’re welcome) and then got out and walked around Fiesta Island.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day.
We walked over to the other side of the island where the water was calmer, and Maeby immediately jumped in and began walking around.
And then for the first time ever, she began swimming on her own! I had my swimsuit on, so I jumped in with her and we began swimming around. It was really nice, especially on such a hot day.
After Fiesta Island, we cleaned Maeby up at Dunk’n Dogs Self Serve Dog Wash (3056 Clairemont Drive, Clairemont), which is definitely our favorite now, even more than OB Dog Wash. The people there were so hands-on, enthusiastic and friendly, and their dog shampoo smelled amazing. Plus, they kept giving Maeby treats, which I’m sure she loved.
We headed home after that and had a low-key night in, watching movies and taking it easy. As frustrating as the situation in OB was earlier in the day, it ended up being a really great day.
Maeby was still wiped out from our day at Fiesta Island and it was pretty warm out, even in the morning, so at around 4 miles, she got really tired and just wanted to walk. It was a gorgeous morning and not too crowded, which was definitely nice, considering how busy San Diego weekends have been since summer started.
Sunday afternoon, Adam and I headed to my favorite restaurant in San Diego, Wonderland (5083 Santa Monica Ave, Ocean Beach). Yes, we decided to give OB another shot after the cluster we experienced the day before. For the record, I will use any excuse to go to Wonderland because everything there is so damn good. And it’s right across from the OB Pier, and I am not going to complain about ocean views.
An amazing burger (the ground short rib burger – DO IT. please.) for me, the woco moco for Adam, a few cocktails, good company and an ocean view – it doesn’t get much better.
It was such a wonderful weekend, with beautiful weather, good people and great times all in America’s finest city.
It all began back in February 2013. I came out to visit Adam and he took me for a walk at Mission Bay Park. It was late morning on a weekday, so it was kind of quiet, but I loved it. It was absolutely beautiful. Fast-forward over a year, and it is now one of my favorite places to run.
This is definitely in my top 3 places to run in San Diego for several reasons.
That being said, there are definitely things that I wish I could change. These are the two things I am not crazy about when I’m running in Mission Bay Park:
▷ Restrictions on dogs. Dogs are not allowed at Mission Bay Park (even on-leash) from the hours of 9:00 am-4:00 pm (November 1-March 31), and 9:00 am-4:00 pm (April 1-October 31). As someone who likes to take her dog running after work, around 5:00 pm, and on weekend mornings (after 9:00 am), I find this rule pretty frustrating. I’m sure other dog owners do too. I generally see people with dogs during these prohibited times (particularly weekday evenings after 4:00 pm and weekend mornings after 9:00 am), but any time someone does this, they are putting themselves at risk for a pretty hefty ticket.
▷ Oblivious people. There is no polite way for me to say this but I constantly see people walking 2-4 people across a sidewalk that is not big enough for people walking 2-4 across. Considering that even the signs say that as you’re approaching others, you need to be walking single file, I find this pretty frustrating. Couple this with the fact that there is a Hilton right on the bay, and this can become a real issue during busier times at the park.
Okay, now that that’s done, let’s talk about the good:
▷ When those hours aren’t in effect, it’s definitely dog-friendly. You’ll see dogs and their owners everywhere, whether they’re walking on the path or playing fetch in one of the grassy fields nearby. There are also spots on the path where you can grab bags to clean up after your dog, and many of the water fountains have a part that is located just off the ground for dogs only.
▷ It’s a flat, easy path that goes on for miles. It doesn’t get better than this. If you’re looking for a flat, fun place to run, this is it. The path goes for miles, and can take you all the way to Sea World and Ocean Beach in one direction, or over to Crown Point and Pacific Beach in the other direction.
▷ It’s family-friendly and safe. I’ve gone running here in the early morning and at night, when it’s gotten dark, and I’ve never once felt unsafe. There are certain unlit areas I stay away from during these off hours (mainly once you get out of Mission Bay Park and head towards Sea World on the bike path), but otherwise, it’s a family-friendly place where you’ll find people doing yoga and boot camp classes, kids playing on playgrounds, people rollerblading, rowing on the bay, riding their bikes, and enjoying the beautiful weather.
▷ It’s beautiful. No but seriously–it’s so pretty. Palm trees, water, and sunshine. Sometimes when I’m running here, I get lost in how beautiful this place is. When I was training for the La Jolla Half Marathon, I did most of my training runs down here, because I could go pretty far in either direction, and I got so distracted by how nice it was that I didn’t even notice I was running for miles and miles.
So there you have it.
If you’re looking for a great place to go for a run in San Diego, Mission Bay Park is that place. It offers miles of flat and easy paths that are safe and scenic.
Whether you live in San Diego or not – where are some of your favorite places to run, hike or do yoga?
And if you do live in San Diego, please share your favorite running paths, trails and routes – I’m always looking for new places to run!
Please note that I am not a doctor, dietician or nutritionist, or health professional. Any exercises or training plans listed on That SoCal Life are strictly based on my experiences. Consult your doctor before getting involved in a diet or fitness routine.