Throwback Thursday: All Smiles Edition

happy dog

Jazzercise College Area Review

I recently had the opportunity to try out Jazzercise College Area (in La Mesa, right near SDSU). If you’re like most people, you probably hear the word “jazzercise” and think of women wearing leg warmers and leotards. The bad news is, you won’t get to wear that leotard you’ve been holding onto, but the good news? It’s nothing like you think it is, and it’s everything you hope it would be.

la mesa jazzercise

This studio is conveniently located right near SDSU (at 6360 El Cajon Blvd), so it wasn’t a surprise to me when I saw a couple of college students at the class I attended. One girl even brought her boyfriend, who felt awkward and laughed a lot in the beginning, but after a few songs, he was winded and running to grab his water bottle.

Like most studio classes I’ve attended (including barre, spinning and yoga), the class was comprised of women and men of all ages – college students, as I’ve mentioned, as well as individuals in their 50s and 60s.

jazzercise college area sdsu

When I walked in, the instructor, Allison, was waiting at the front desk to check people in. She was very friendly and explained the class to me and also helped me pick out weights (I went with 5-pound dumbbells) and a mat. I put that stuff off to the side until we got to that portion of the class.

jazzercise college area la mesa

Each class is about 55-60 minutes long, with a brief warmup, 35 minutes of cardio, and about 25 minutes of weight training/ab work. I’ve never attended zumba, but I imagine the cardio portion is similar to that. We danced our way through several songs, and the energy in the room was infectious. You could tell that Allison really loved teaching the class, and that the people attending really loved the workout – everyone would clap, sing out loud and get really into just having fun and letting go throughout all of our dance moves.

After completing this portion of the class, we grabbed our weights and a mat, and used the weights for some arm strength training, and then used the mat to do some ab work and leg/glute work. The leg/glute portion was similar to what we do in barre, and was definitely a challenge after dancing for 35 minutes. To wrap up class, we stretched it out, using various moves from yoga.

jazzercise college area san diego

After class, Allison checked in with me and some of the other new attendees to see how we liked it. I love when the instructor seems to genuinely care that you’ve had a positive experience, so this was definitely one more thing that I liked about this studio.

Now that class is over, would I attend another one at this location? Absolutely. It was an energizing way to start my Sunday, and I had so much fun getting in a great workout. This is definitely the most fun I’ve had working out in a long time.

If you’re in the San Diego area, I recommend stopping by Jazzercise College Area to get in a fun and challenging workout. You’ll have a great time, leave in a better mood and feeling more energized, and you’ll definitely want to come back.

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Have you ever tried Jazzercise? What’s one workout that you’ve never done but you’ve been dying to try out?

This Weekend in Photos: March 13-15 – Running, Volunteering and Jazzercise

Friday

Friday evening after a crazy work week, I met up with some friends for dinner and drinks at Eureka in UTC. It was great to catch up and spend some time with some of my favorite ladies, and everything we got was delicious. If you ever end up there, I highly recommend the truffle cheese fries. Yes – they are as good as they sound.

Saturday

I woke up early and took Maeby to Mission Bay Park for a nice and easy run.

misson bay san diego park

mission bay sd

It was quiet when we first started, but within ten minutes, the path got kind of crowded due to a St. Patrick’s Day race happening at the park. Maeby did so well though, despite the crowds and the noise, and we finished our short run all smiles.

dog enjoying sunshine

Saturday afternoon, I volunteered with a local dog rescue.

Per my new year’s resolutions, so far this year, I have spent a good amount of time determining what makes me happy, and finding a way to do more of that. Knowing that all of these dogs are in foster care and if I can help get one adopted, it means another dog somewhere gets to leave the shelter, is incredibly rewarding. It doesn’t hurt that I literally just pet and play with dogs for a few hours. I started volunteering every Saturday about a month ago, and it’s the highlight of my week.

dog named toast

second chance dog rescue

second chance dog san diego

second chance animal rescue san diego

All of these dogs are available for adoption (and they’re all so, so sweet!), so if you or someone you know might be interested in making a new best friend, please let me know. And if it’s not one of the dogs pictured here, we have many more of all breeds and sizes, so again, feel free to reach out if you’re in the San Diego area and are interested.

san diego night sky

Saturday evening, after running a few errands, I caught a beautiful sunset on my way home, and spent the rest of my evening taking it easy with Adam, watching bad reality TV and Tina Fey’s new show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Sunday

I tried out a new-to-me exercise studio in the college area (La Mesa, right near SDSU).

la mesa jazzercize

I had never tried Jazzercise before, and I’m sure my perception of it was similar to what your perception probably is…but real talk? It was SO much fun. I’ll be sharing a full review of my experience in a few days, but if you’re in the San Diego area, definitely give this studio a try, and if you’re not, try and find a studio near you. It was such an energized and fun class, and I would totally recommend this studio to any of my friends.

The workout was definitely a good way to start out my day, especially since later in the afternoon, a few of our friends came over to watch some hockey and barbecue.

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I also wanted to note that I’ve shared this post through Running ‘N’ Reading’s Weekend Update! As always, thanks for hosting!

How was your weekend and what was the highlight of it?

Choose happiness.

choose happiness

One of my new year’s resolutions was to do more of what makes me happy. I also mentioned that I’d like to stop being so scared to make decisions that will positively affect my happiness.

Long story short, though I had only been at my previous employer for a little over a year, I wasn’t happy. I won’t get into specifics, but I was at a point where I was actually dreading going into work, often feeling anxious and sick to my stomach on weekday mornings. I got a lot of feedback from people that “no one loves their job” or “no job is perfect.” I’d like to state that the former is false; the people who say that are the ones who don’t love what they do. And that’s okay for some people. But for me? I want to look forward to work every day. The latter part of the above is true; not every day is going to be perfect. There will be challenges and some days might be difficult, but if you are unhappy about something every day, then that something is not right for you. So anyway, you know what I did? I began looking for new jobs. I was selective about what I applied to, but in the end, I made the choice to move into a new position at a new company, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

I’m a firm believer that if you aren’t happy about something then you should change it. You can change it.

I got sick of being unhappy and decided to choose happiness.

And this doesn’t just apply to jobs – it applies to everything.

Are you unhappy with your partner? Work with them to make some changes, or if it’s beyond that point, then move on. Don’t like your current living situation? Find a new one. Bummed out that you’re lacking a specific skill? Learn that skill.

In the end, you have a choice that you can make every single day. If you aren’t happy, then do something about it.

The choice is yours.

How do you choose happiness?

 

Barre3 UTC: Challenge Review

As I mentioned last month, while trying out ClassPass, one of the studios I tried out was Barre3 in UTC/La Jolla. I had previously tried out another barre studio in San Diego and had a pretty negative experience. I was hesitant to try barre again, but after a lot of encouragement from others, I decided to give it a chance, and I’m glad I chose Barre3.

barre3 utc

In the beginning of January, Lauren, the manager of Barre3 in UTC invited me to try out the Barre3 Challenge, which would involve taking four barre classes a week, one online class, and trying a new Barre3 recipe each week (which you receive in weekly email newsletters). The challenge began Monday, January 5 and ended yesterday, Sunday, February 1. After having such a positive first experience at this studio, I excitedly told her that I was interested and that week, the challenge began.

barre3 challenge results

Each Barre3 class consists of:

  • Warm-up
  • Leg work
  • Combo work (this is when you use weights and do full-body exercises)
  • “Seat” work
  • Abs
  • Stretching/cool-down

Classes are an hour long, and movements are small – you are literally told to move up an inch and down an inch. Don’t let the small movements fool you though – classes are tough!

Committing to four days a week was pretty easy for me; I usually attended two classes during the week and two on the weekend. Class times are consistent and offered throughout the morning and evening, so I never had a hard time fitting in a class, and the instructors rotate which classes they teach, which was great because I think I had a class with every single instructor at least once. They all have different styles, but I got to know them all, and all of them are friendly, helpful and there to give you a solid workout.

The weekly 10-minute workout was also part of the challenge. I usually did these after a run, and it was nice that I was able to do it at home. Overall, the digital support provided throughout the challenge (through weekly emails and podcasts), was really nice, but the support I felt at the studio was even better.

barre3 utc challenge

(image courtesy of the Barre3 UTC Instagram)

There was a chart on the wall where we’d put a sticker for each class that we came to, and challengers supported each other. People talked about it, encouraged each other, and the creator of Barre3, Sadie Lincoln, even came to the UTC studio to teach classes and get people even more excited about the challenge.

So what were my results from the Barre3 Challenge?

I didn’t take measurements since I don’t have a measuring tape, but I can tell you that there was a significant change in the composition of my body, and I did lose a few pounds. Jeans that were feeling a little tight prior to the challenge are actually comfortable to wear, and friends noted that I look more toned and everything looks a little tighter. My posture improved, clothes began fitting better, and I genuinely looked forward to class each day.

Keep in mind that I’ve tried every exercise in the world – Bikram, CrossFit, Les Mills classes, long distance running, spinning, and yoga. I can honestly say that none of these exercises have changed my body as much as Barre3, and I’m excited about these changes.

The challenge might be over, but I’ve enjoyed Barre3 so much that I plan on continuing with classes, and have even purchased a two-month membership at the studio in UTC.

Have you ever done a “challenge” at a studio? What kind of workout has prompted the most significant change in your body?

 

Disclosure: Barre3 UTC provided me a complimentary month of service in exchange for sharing my experience with the Barre3 Challenge. All opinions, as usual, are my own. 

This Weekend in Photos: January 23-26 – Ventura + Santa Barbara

santa barbara palm trees

Adam and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary this past weekend, and decided to head up to Santa Barbara for a couple of nights.

Before deciding on where we’d go away for the weekend, I was actually in touch with Rachel, from My Two Pitties, who told me she’d be down in Southern California to visit her family. She let me know she’d be in Ventura, and since I’ve been dying to meet her and her two adorable pit bulls, and take Maeby to explore other parts of California, I knew I wanted to meet up with her. Finding out that Adam and I would be able to get a great rate on the Fess Parker Doubletree Hilton Resort through my work confirmed that we would be heading up to Santa Barbara on Saturday afternoon, stopping in Ventura on the way to tire Maeby out, and leaving on Monday.

Saturday

ventura dogs on beach

ventura dogs beach

dogs on beach ventura

dog running on beach in ventura

We met up at a beach for humans (shh, don’t tell anyone), and it was absolutely gorgeous. The weather was perfect, the waves were huge, and it was great meeting Rachel! Kaya and Norman, the two pitties pictured above with Maeby, are exactly as Rachel described them. Kaya was overly-fixated on her tennis ball, and Norman was just the sweetest thing ever. He and Maeby chased each other around, while Kaya buried her tennis ball in the sand. It was so great meeting someone who loves their dogs as much as we love Maeby, and Adam was happy to have someone to talk about movies with.

After rinsing Maeby off, we said our goodbyes and made the short drive up to our hotel in Santa Barbara.

When my coworker set up our hotel room, she notified them it was our anniversary. Right after we got to our room, we heard a knock on the door and were given some champagne! It was such a nice surprise, but the card was addressed to Mr. and Mrs. [my last name], since the reservation was under my name, and you know, we’re not married, so it made us laugh.

fess parker anniversary champagne

Adam and I took it easy before dinner, and Maeby fell asleep sitting up. I guess her time at the beach wore her out!

dog sleeping sitting up

We grabbed dinner at Julienne. As much as Adam and I wanted to take pictures of our food, we kept forgetting to because we were so excited to eat when each course came out (we did a four-course menu for $55 a person – such a good deal). Hands down, it was the best meal either of us have ever had.

Sunday

Maeby and I started our day off with a run along the beach, down to the harbor.

santa barbara running

santa barbara harbor

dog running path santa barbara

It was already pretty warm out, but I really enjoyed how beautiful it was. I know Maeby enjoyed our run too – there were a lot of people and other dogs out walking and running.

In the afternoon, Adam and I grabbed a couple of appetizers and drinks at Santa Barbara FisHouse (so good!) and walked down Stearns Wharf.

stearns wharf santa barbara

santa barbara seagulls

photo 3 copy 2

santa barbara panorama

santa barbara bird

We spent the rest of our afternoon just taking it easy, and at night, Adam and I had dinner at Finch and Fork. While most of the reviews were for brunch, the dinner menu looked really good and we weren’t disappointed. Definitely another place worth trying if you’re visiting Santa Barbara!

Monday

Took Maeby for a walk along the beach before heading out…

santa barbara sunrise

…and arrived home in the early afternoon. Maeby’s PetBox was waiting for her, and she capped off her long weekend away with new toys and treats.

dog toys petbox

It’s back to work and back to reality tomorrow, but it was so, so nice to have a weekend away.

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I also wanted to note that I’ve shared this post through Running ‘N’ Reading’s Weekend Update! As always, thanks for hosting!

How was your weekend? If you could have a weekend away anywhere right now, where would you go?

Valentia Even Glow Serum – Review

I generally don’t wear sunscreen. I know, I know – it’s a terrible habit, that is fueled by the fact that I don’t usually burn. As a result, I’ve noticed the skin on my face getting more “freckles” or sun spots, and to be honest? Not so crazy about it. I’ve done a lot of research about what can be done to help remove these, or at least diminish their appearance, and I’ve read that vitamin c can help quite a bit.

I was recently given the opportunity to try out Valentia Even Glow Serum. This vitamin c serum for the face includes 20% vitamin c, and a bunch of other organic oils to help keep the skin feeling moisturized and renewed.

valentia even glow serum review

 

I received the sample of this product last week and have since been using it everyday, and have really enjoyed it. It has a light, citrus smell, and the color is a lighter orange than vitamin c serums I’ve used in the past.

With its natural ingredients (including green tea extract, organic aloe, vitamin e, and organic rosehip seed oil) Valentia Even Glow Serum helps to:

  • Even skin tone (and remove dark spots)
  • Hydrate skin
  • Reduce wrinkles and fine lines
  • Boost collagen production
  • Increase glow and radiance

As I mentioned, I’ve only been using this product for a week so I can’t promise that it’s working 100%, but I do feel as though I’ve noticed an improvement in the sun spots I’ve developed on my cheeks. I’m excited to continue using this serum, and seeing how the appearance of my skin improves.

Interested in trying this product out for yourself? Valentia Even Glow Serum is available through their website or through Amazon.

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ClassPass San Diego: My Experience

Last month, I was given an opportunity to try ClassPass. I had heard about this service prior to its launch in San Diego, as bloggers in other cities highlighted it when it launched in their city. When it came to San Diego, I was honestly really excited about it. I had heard a lot about it and was happy that it was finally in America’s Finest City.

ClassPass launched in San Diego in mid-November, and I began my 30-day trial with it on December 1.

For $99 a month, you get unlimited classes at a variety of participating studios all around San Diego (with a maximum of 3 classes per month at a studio). I get bored really easily, so I really enjoyed the variety of workouts I was able to do with my membership.

ClassPass is super easy to use – the website is very user-friendly, and signing up for a class is literally, as easy as a click of a button. You can view classes by day or on a studio map, and also filter these classes by type, neighborhood, and the specific studio. You can sign up for classes (usually) a week in advance, so it makes planning out your next week of workouts really easy.

classpass signing up

Once you sign up, you get a confirmation email and then can add that class to your calendar.

I’d also like to add that customer service is very efficient and helpful – I had to contact them a few times about missing class schedules, etc, and they got back to me within an hour or two.

When you sign up, ClassPass also gives you a friendly reminder about its cancelation policy:

cancel classpass

I’d like to note that I know that some people are really turned off by this feature, because who wants to pay $20 on top of the $99 per month you’re paying for a service? I actually found this feature useful, because I’m an expert at making excuses to not exercise (especially when I get home from work). This held me accountable for classes and ensured that I was going to work out even if I didn’t feel like it that day.

That being said, my work schedule is pretty reliable, but if I had a job that sometimes required me to unexpectedly stay late, I’d be frustrated by the $20 fee. I’d love to see ClassPass maybe do a smaller fee for a shorter window of time (such as $5-$10 for 2-4 hours before) and then maybe the $20 fee if it’s less than 2 hours until class time, or something like that. Things do come up sometimes (such as meetings or other work-related events, illness or, especially in SoCal, traffic), so it would be nice if ClassPass could figure out a way to accommodate things like these. At the same time, I would love it if ClassPass would offer an opportunity to switch classes (for example, switch an earlier class with a later one at the same studio, or vice versa) when there is availability, without being charged the $20 cancelation fee.

Here are the issues I ran into:

Kayla and I went to a kettle bell class at a studio nearby. Upon arriving, we learned that we needed to take a required intro class prior to our first class. This information was not listed anywhere on the ClassPass site, so we weren’t aware of this requirement and we wasted our time going to this studio, but not being able to take a class.

– Some of the studios were missing schedule information (including the kettle bell studio noted above), but I imagine that this issue was because ClassPass was still new to San Diego and was getting itself established.

In the end, I attended seven classes at six studios:

The month I had to try out ClassPass is over, but I loved it so much that I signed up for it. The thing I enjoy most about ClassPass is the variety of classes I can take, but as I mentioned, I also like the accountability it creates through its cancelation policy, and it also gave me an opportunity to explore different parts of San Diego. I’ve already gotten a few friends on board as well, so attending classes together has been a lot of fun and something I’m definitely looking forward to.

If ClassPass is available in your city, is it something you’ll look into? If it’s not currently offered where you are, is that something you’d want access to?

Check out my post on the ClassPass blog!

I recently wrote a post for the ClassPass blog, which went live today!

classpass blog post

Go check it out!

TITLE Boxing Club San Diego Review

Last month, as part of my having a ClassPass, I decided to try a new-to-me workout: boxing! I’ve never done anything quite like this before (no, doing tae-bo in my mom’s living room when I was a kid for fun doesn’t count). One Sunday morning, Kayla and I decided to try out TITLE Boxing Club in North Park, located at 2852 University Avenue.

title boxing north park

We walked in and were immediately greeted by two friendly people at the front desk. We’re actually morons because for some reason, we thought our class was at 9:00 am, but it actually didn’t start until 10:00. We signed in and bought the required hand wraps ($5) for class (they had a variety of colors and patterns available but we chose pink). This was in addition to a bunch of other items they had for sale, including gloves and apparel.

title boxing club review

The good news is that TITLE Boxing Club is located in a great spot; it’s right in the middle of all the action in North Park, so we had no problem finding stuff to do for an hour until our class. When we returned just before 10:00 am, our trainer, Nick, helped us wrap our hands and get us set up for class.

title boxing club north park

Our class was in the back of the studio, where all of those punching bags are. We started out with a quick run-through of the different kinds of punches (jabs, cross jabs, hooks and upper cuts), and then went into 15 minutes of cardio, meaning we spent time doing burpees, squats and jump squats (I immediately had flashbacks to CrossFit), as well as pushups, high knees, butt kicks, and lunges.

After those 15 minutes were up, we were taken through eight rounds of boxing. Nick was really good about coming around to make sure we were doing things correctly and also getting in our faces and yelling at us. He asked us where we were from prior to class and then kept calling both Kayla and I “Connecticut” throughout the class; another girl was referenced as “Ohio.” It gave it a really fun feel, and I loved how intense the workout was at the same time. In between rounds, we would do lunges, squats, or other things like that.

Once we finished the rounds, we grabbed mats and medicine balls and did core work for the last 15 minutes.

title boxing san diego

The whole class was non-stop and I loved it! By that afternoon, everything was sore and it was such a good feeling knowing I completed such a challenging workout earlier that day.

Will I return to TITLE Boxing Club? Yes. It will be a struggle, and I’ll be dying again, but it will totally be worth it so I’ll definitely be back.

Have you ever tried boxing? What was your experience like? 

Disclosure: ClassPass provided me a complimentary month of service in exchange for sharing my experience with it. All opinions, as usual, are my own.