Ruby is here! (+some other updates)

Hey there! It’s been a little while again but I’m still here! The biggest/best thing that has gone on since I wrote last is that my best friend Brenda (ya’ll know her on here by now!) finally had her baby a week ago today!! I got to be there for the whole time she was in labor (about 17-18 hours) and now her gorgeous little babe is here in our world. Of course we made our time at the hospital a blast…

Obviously she had her Spinning water bottle with her.. homegirl took a spin class the day before this! My hero.
Obviously she had her Spinning water bottle with her.. homegirl took a spin class the day before this! My hero.
Obviously we watched Broad City all night long <3
Obviously we watched Broad City all night long ❤

And finally at 9:25 AM, Ruby came into the world!

Ruby and Daddy!
Ruby and Daddy!
I am finally an Aunt!! :)
I am finally an Aunt!! 🙂

She is absolutely perfect and I am so excited to start my journey as an Aunt! I also fell even more in love with Brenda watching her become a mommy. One of the most special moments of my entire life!

And on to other stuff…

I don’t want to go on about too much right now but lets just say I’m still dealing with anxiety. I am learning how to manage it/accept it/live with it more than I was. It’s a really hard, AWFUL process but I focus on each hour and just getting through it. I know this won’t last forever but it certainly feels like it is going on forever.

So while I am still on a hiatus from teaching Spin, I have been going to CYC at least 3 times a week and running here and there. Running is SO hard after taking basically all winter off and not being at all consistent. Here’s what my running is looking like right now (in the spirit of keeping it real)

IMG_8514

I’m doing some run/walk intervals but nothing set- just running until my lungs feel like they are going to explode (thanks, allergies) and then walking a bit. Getting past 2 miles right now feels sooooo hard. A good friend said the other day to me that training for the first 3 miles is always the hardest when getting back into running and she is so right. Once I can consistantly/easily run 3 miles again, I’ll start training for longer runs. I don’t have a half marathon or any race at all right now planned until October, but I may try for a 5 miler at the end of next month. CYC is so amazing and hands down the best spin classes I’ve ever taken! They are so motivating and SO fun, plus super challenging but I can feel myself getting stronger. If you are in the NYC area, let me know if you want to try a class with me!

Natalies class from this past Saturday!
Natalies class from this past Saturday!

This past weekend was an absolute blast. John’s mom came to visit us and we took her to most of our favorite spots- of course you need at least a full week with us for us to take you to alllll of the best spots 😉 Friday night started with Patsy’s pizza and a walk down 8th avenue from 23rd to 14th St to show all the fun gay culture through Chelsea- she loved it!

Saturday morning we headed to brunch at Le Grainne Cafe, our absolute favorite place for french toast and delicious coffee. This is hands down the best french toast in the city.

IMG_8507

We strolled through Chelsea Market and Union Sq, then I took a quick class at CYC and met back up with them in Soho at Harney & Son’s tea. From there we walked through Soho to a few other stores, then took the 6 uptown to show her Grand Central. I always forget how magical Grand Central is until I’m seeing it through someone else’s eyes!

It started raining so we cancelled our initial plan of walking from Grand Central to Times Square and just headed to dinner. We had to of course take her to our favorite, 5 Napkin Burger, as we take pretty much everyone who visits us!

Sunday morning we headed to one of our favorite bagel places, Absolute Bagel, on the Upper West Side. This is right near the gigantic cathedral on 110th st that we wanted to see. We’ve been past it a million times but never actually went in until Sunday! It is so huge. Definitely a must see here.

IMG_8515

We walked all through Central Park and took the train down to the West Village to get Big Gay Ice Cream…obviously 🙂 We were pretty exhausted so we ended the trip by heading back uptown to Trader Joe’s and last but not least, Shake Shack. If you can’t eat red meat or cheese like me, they have chicken sausage dogs that are incredible!

IMG_8520

According to my FitBit we walked about 10-11 miles total for the weekend!

Fill me in on your lives!! What’s new?! 🙂

 

 

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

27th Birthday + Brenda’s Wedding + Baby Shower :)

First off, thank you so much for the love and support on my last post. You guys are SO awesome and supportive, and it’s even more awesome to receive that kind of support from people you have never even met before. That is very special and I appreciate it so much. ❤

Besides my birthday last weekend, I also want to post about my best friend’s wedding and baby shower that have happened in the last few months since I’ve been MIA! She is one of the most important people in my life so she is going to take up most of this post 😉

Back tracking to my birthday celebration last weekend, I had a fabulous Saturday and Sunday ringing in my 27th year. 3 weeks ago I had no hope of feeling up for celebrating my birthday… time can be an amazing thing. Saturday during the day John took me to get bagels at our favorite spot, Brooklyn Bagel, then shopping and other girly crap 🙂 I utilized my first blowout that came with my CYC package I posted about to get all done up for our nice dinner. The girl did such an amazing job and this was the express package where you go to them with dry hair and they just use dry shampoo and a curling iron. I am still so bummed that I wasn’t blessed with the art of how to do hair!

IMG_8190

John took me to one of my favorite spots for dinner, a place I’ve only been to once for a work function but I’ve been thinking about it daily since! It’s a brazilian steakhouse called Texas de Brazil and you have to be prepared to eat until you are ready to die. This isn’t for portion controllers, ya’ll. They have 2 options- obviously the main option is to have the meat and the salad bar and then they have just the salad bar where they don’t serve you the meat. When I say salad bar I don’t mean like a grocery stores salad bar, I mean it’s basically a 4 course meal around a circle. I went without the meat because I can’t eat most of it anyways and went HAM on the salad bar.

round 1 of 97
round 1 of 97

So of course they have salad, but they also have shrimp, sushi, raw tuna, smoked salmon, all kinds of delicious herb-y olives and vegetables, potato salads, fruit, and the best lobster bisque and bread EVER. It’s all so fresh and delicious. Favorite place on earth. John ate so much meat and I ate so much salad+ that we were plotting how to leave the restaurant. Like an actual plot on how to move our bodies because we just couldn’t. Success.

Sunday morning started with taking a CYC class with Brenda and we both had such a good class. Afterwards, we met up with our other friends for a super fun birthday brunch at The DL which offers a $30 brunch with unlimited mimosas.

My ladies!
My ladies!

Brenda and her HUSBAND- oh yeah. And me and John :)
Brenda and her HUSBAND- oh yeah. And me and John 🙂

BRENDAS BABY IS DUE IN 1 MONTH!!
BRENDAS BABY IS DUE IN 1 MONTH!!

It was so much fun and my friend Sharde is so great for throwing me yet another awesome birthday celebration!

Speaking of back-tracking; in the last few months that I have been off the blog world, my best friend who I have written about 2,000 times got MARRIED in January!! I’m sure I mentioned last year that she is PREGNANT with my baby niece 🙂 If I didn’t, now ya know. I am sosososo excited to be an aunt in just about a month!! Her wedding was amazing and you’d never know we planned it in less than 2 weeks. It was Friday January 30th at City Hall and absolutely perfect.

IMG_7918

BEAUTIFUL
BEAUTIFUL

IMG_7924IMG_7933IMG_7934IMG_7941IMG_7978

WALDORF ASTORIA BALLLLINNNN
WALDORF ASTORIA BALLLLINNNN

Part of the amazing suite at the Waldorf Astoria!
Part of the amazing suite at the Waldorf Astoria!

Best wedding ever, no frills style!

We also had Brenda’s baby shower about a month ago as well for baby RUBY! 🙂 Brenda’s other close friend Mandy and I planned the shower together and thank goodness for her creativity and artistic abilities because I have none! We had it at Sprinkles Cupcakes which has an awesome party room where you can decorate dozens of cupcakes- perfect for this kind of occasion or a kid’s birthday party!

IMG_8048IMG_8049IMG_8055

Johnny the photographer :)
Johnny the photographer 🙂

Brenda and her twin brother Brion!
Brenda and her twin brother Brion!

The soon to be parents!! :)
The soon to be parents!! 🙂

Her due date is May 8th and I cannot wait to be an Auntie!! 🙂

Any babies in your life or recent weddings?

Where to even begin? The last 4+ months have been living hell for me and I sort of don’t want to go down memory lane explaining how awful it’s been. But here we go- a quick recap of this shit so I can get into the positive stuff! 

Anxiety is not just being anxious about something. Everyone experiences anxiety almost daily- if it weren’t present, we’d have no reason to hussle getting to work on time, or to go to the gym, or take care of our families. Anxiety fuels us to do things. It can sometimes come at times that are not needed though and out of nowhere.  In fact, my life was going utterly perfect when this hit me. Ultimately through my 2 therapists (one in-person and one through TalkSpace which is an amazing service) and my pyschiatrist, we have concluded 2 things- I have bipolar depression (so was not expecting this) and the ‘mania’ I experience is crippling anxiety in a very high state, and that the culmination of everything that happened to me the last 3 years family-wise, personal life-wise and job-wise that I tried to bury and not deal with exploded out of me. Basically out of nowhere, but could have been triggered through the high levels of anxiety I had during the flights to and from Mexico and all the stress from teaching so many spin classes daily. When I heard the diagnosis, I cried so hard. I felt completely hopeless and terrified. I have been blessed with a very caring pyschiatrist who doesn’t care what it takes to get you feeling better, he will do it and help you. He saw me at the bottom of my depression a little over 2 years ago, helped me get to the amazing place I was in last year, and was very shocked when I took a nosedive in November. It took us over 4 months to get to this diagnosis, and we did it together. I discontinued the medicine I used for 2+ years and started a new one 2 weeks ago and there’s been a big difference. I won’t lie and say things are anywhere near awesome and that I am scared every day of things going south again, but somehow I dug myself out of the hole I’ve been trapped in and started living again. I gave up teaching Spin in early February and it was heart breaking to say the least. I’m not sure how I kept teaching during the highest states of my anxiety- pure will power I guess. It was making me feel worse so I finally had to stop. As my best friend Brenda reminded me 1000 times, teaching Spin will always be there- for now, it’s time to take care of myself and just keep working my full-time job where my bosses were nothing but supportive and helpful through this. It’s been 4 months of pure hell and terror and I would never have made it through if it weren’t for my wonderful John. Every single night he has let me do whatever I needed to survive- usually just crying myself to sleep- but he pushed me to go running a few times, helped me make food when I could barely get out of bed, texted me hourly to make sure I knew how much he loves me, and his undying support and letting me know that I would indeed get through this and he would be by my side. I have no way to ever repay him, but he is truly the best person in my life. 
So, I only really have to catch you up on the last 2 weeks of my life where I have actually been LIVING again! One of the best things I’ve done for myself was sign up for a 10 week challenge through the most amazing cycling studio in NY- CYC Fitness. I have been basically doing nothing since mid-February exercise-wise so it was time to get back in it. Brenda is obsessed with CYC and I tried a class out last July 4th and it kicked my ass even while I was in great shape! It’s just SO much fun for 45 minutes and includes 4-5 songs where the resistance is up almost all the way and you use 1-2 lb sandbags for a few arm routines. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Like I said, even last year when I was in great shape the arm portion killed me. I am not stupid enough to think 2 lb weights will tone my arms up since I have fat to lose on them since I was basically sedentary for a few months, but let’s just say I am REAL sore after class in the triceps! The challenge includes 40 classes (4 classes/week) that you complete by May 31st, and the package also included a bottle of VitaFusion gummy vitamins, and 10 blowouts courtesy of Glam and Go which is a blowout station INSIDE the locker room. How freaking genius right? I took my 4 classes last Wednesday morning, Thursday night, Friday morning and Sunday morning with Brenda for my birthday!
IMG_8148 (1)IMG_8152IMG_8190
Blow out #1! LOVED it!
I am super excited for week 2 of the CYC 10-week challenge and to also be teaching for the first time in almost 2 months this week! I’ll continue my birthday post tomorrow and hopefully actually write a few times a week now!
I’ve missed you guys so much. Who out there is still reading?! 🙂

Happy (yes, HAPPY.) 2015.

Even though I am currently still in the throes of terrible anxiety, I am not giving up hope that 2015 will be great. I actually can’t really think of the future too much right now because I have to take things hour by hour and don’t have the energy to think of the future, but my big thing for this year is learning to accept myself. I never thought I’d be able to accept my body and over the last year I did, whether I’m right where I want to be or 10 pounds heavier, I learned to love and accept my body and stop trashing it. Why can’t I learn to accept that with my anxiety issues, I need to slow down and be okay with it? A jam-packed schedule is not something I can handle right now. Maybe one day I can do it again, but for my mental health right now I most certainly can not. I wish I could go back to being the girl who could work 45 hours a week plus teach 15 spin classes, but I can’t. Turns out- that girl was running from some deep-seeded issues that decided to explode out of me 6.5 weeks ago, out of nowhere. Anxiety has a way of coming out of (what we think is) nowhere and leaves us having to piece the puzzle back together. 2014 was SO AMAZING for me and I think it was too hard for me to accept that I deserved all of that happiness. Something inside me sabotaged it subconsciously and now I am left trying to figure out what to do. This isn’t just attacks I’m experiencing, it’s 24 hours a day of anxiety. Just chillin’. I’ve become a huge hypochondriac (anyone else out there feel me?) and every part of my day is a challenge. Teaching Spin has gone from my biggest passion in life, to my biggest fear. Intense workouts makes my anxiety worse, and even teaching off the bike gets my adrenaline going when it’s already high. I’ve cut way back on my classes and while it sucks for not just me and my wallet, I know my clients miss me but I also know they would want me to take care of myself. And right now and for however long I need to, that is what I am doing. I am trying to keep 3-5 classes a week (ha, kind of sad that I consider that cutting back! Hindsight…) as long as I can. Running helps me the slightest bit, but they have been few and far between as usually all I can muster up is sleeping. While my faith of this getting better has definitely been tested, reading this post today made me cry and reevaluate. By nature I am a bit of a negative person when it comes to myself, and I know that I need to change this to see progress. It is SO not easy to do, but all you can do is try. I need to learn how to live more fearlessly which seems incredibly hard for me right now. Positivity is the name of 2015!

 

What do you envision for 2015?

I miss you.

I hate to say “I’m back” because I think I’ve proven that I am a bit unreliable these days when it comes to blogging… but for today, I am here. I am saying hello. And I am trying to pick up where I left off and continue right here, instead of just doing a big massive recap of the last few months. I will have to include some Mexico pictures and highlights because it was the best trip of my life but things the last few weeks have been really rough for me and I’m hoping bringing back writing will help me cope a little more. As I’ve opened up about before, I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety most of my life and it has been pretty tame over the last 2 years since I started taking a low dose of medicine and therapy. Especially in the last 6+ months since I started my new job, I have been the happiest I’ve been in years. So confident and just feeling amazing. For some reason about a week after I got back from Mexico, I got hit with a bout of anxiety from nowhere that has not really subsided. It was so bad 2 weeks ago that I had to get an ultrasound of my heart because my blood pressure was so high. It’s been so scary and just putting it out there that our minds can really screw us up pretty badly. Long story short and after 2 emergency sessions with my psychiatrist, we decided to stop taking the medicine I was on (lowest dose of Wellbutrin) and let my body get used to not being on anything. My body is VERY sensitive to things, like I feel the effects of everything not just medicine almost instantly, so within a few days my anxiety started to get better. I am feeling a little down but that is to be expected after coming off an anti-depressant, and it’s NOTHING compared to how depressed I was when I originally went on the medicine 2 years ago. This is just more worry that I will never feel normal again because that’s my biggest fear. I basically have “denationalization disorder” from extreme anxiety so for 3+ weeks now I have felt totally disconnected from my mind and body. Meaning I have to really pinch myself or touch my face to even remember that I am existing, and sometimes the act of doing that freaks me out. It basically must be what a really bad trip on acid is like? But I can assure you I’ve done no drugs. So my course of action for the next 5-6 weeks is no medicine, starting therapy again, and trying to really get myself to yoga or start a practice at home. I am not against going on another low dose of an antidepressant but I’m really not depressed, just full of extreme anxiety for reasons I am not sure of. The worst part is that it’s effected my spin classes; for some reason exercise has made this worse, so I’ve had to cut back on a lot of my classes because I feel horrible and anxious the whole time and it’s incredibly distracting. It’s also made me develop some social anxiety, so the thought of being in public and riding the subway every day has been SO challenging for me. Here’s hoping answers are coming soon.

If you have any tips or want to share your story of dealing with anxiety, I’d love to hear them! 

Costa Rica Part 2: La Fortuna & Wedding

Thank you all so much for the sweet comments on my wonderful engagement news post! We are so excited and I am quite overwhelmed (in a good way) at how much goes into planning a wedding on a very little budget 😉 I will definitely be posting about it as we do this once I get caught up on this recap of Costa Rica! Read part one here.

I left off when we were leaving the first resort and driving to the second resort, Hotel Mountain Paradise in La Fortuna which is close to a 4 hour drive from Guanacaste. Keep in mind, the speed limit is MUCH slower than in the U.S. so the entire trip was only about 90-100 miles but took much longer than it would here. I was exhausted from laying on the beach all morning (tough life) so I slept most of the trip until we reached sight of the volcano!

IMG_6536

This resort felt like we were staying at someone’s cabin. It was an adorable little community-type resort where all the rooms were in house/cabin’s. I don’t know how I forgot to get a picture of the inside, but the rooms are so cool. They are HUGE with crazy high ceilings and bathrooms bigger than my room in my apartment. If you go to their website you can look at the inside of the different suites.

IMG_6542 (1)

Our view from the back patio of our cabin:

IMG_6540

The pool area:

IMG_6545

Once we napped a bit and took showers, we headed out to a local restaurant for some authentic food!

IMG_6552

IMG_6557

Their little restaurants are called “sodas” and the food is so amazing and SO CHEAP. For all 11 of us, our bill was just over $100 including beers and drinks.

Our first full day at the second resort was extremely rainy and chilly, so we made the best of it by going straight to the rain forest and hiking it! It was a pretty amazing experience to say the least. The pictures do not do it justice. We had to ride a super old school bus up and into the starting point to hike, and the ride alone was the most adventurous thing I had ever done! (Clearly a city girl here)

IMG_6596

IMG_6566

hanging bridge!
hanging bridge!

The hiking crew minus Tyler taking the pic! :)
The hiking crew minus Tyler taking the pic! 🙂

IMG_6578

IMG_6583 (1)

Not sure if I mentioned this in my first recap but Costa Rica had coke “light” instead of diet coke and it was UNREAL. The best thing I’ve ever tasted. I literally only crave diet soda right after a sweaty workout (I don’t always give in, artificial sweetener police.) and so after hours of hiking this was the best reward ever along with salty plantain chips.

IMG_6607

We had a quick lunch in town and bought more wine for the wedding. I don’t have a picture but John and his mom ordered hamburgers and it came out a burger with literally ham on top of it. It was hysterical at the time, and I am actually dying laughing thinking about it now.

IMG_6614

After an amazing shower and some resting, we all met up again for the night before the wedding dinner. It wasn’t exactly a rehearsal dinner since Kate and Tyler didn’t get to see the venue beforehand (they just had to trust their wedding planner who was ABSOLUTELY amazing) but it was nice to get both of the families together before the wedding. They set up a super special dinner fort us at a restaurant way up on this hill that overlooked the town and was very quiet. Sadly I can’t think of the name at the moment (since it’s been 2 months now!) but it was really special!

IMG_6616IMG_6622

AMAZING salsa with plantain chips as an app
AMAZING salsa with plantain chips as an app

The beautiful bride & groom!
The beautiful bride & groom!

I had to wear glasses almost everywhere because of my allergies. Ugh.
I had to wear glasses almost everywhere because of my allergies. Ugh.

 

Cheers to family!
Cheers to family!

Saturday was John’s sister’s wedding day! After breakfast, I laid out by the pool by myself for a few hours since it was the only sunny day at that part of the trip. It was gorgeous!

IMG_6626

Then we headed to Kate’s room to get ready for the wedding. She gave us these gorgeous silk robes to get ready in while we did our hair and make up and had John take our pictures.

IMG_6638IMG_6639IMG_6649

It had rained for most of the afternoon really hard and just as it was time to go to the wedding, it cleared up! Woo! The wedding was held at one of the resort’s restaurants that was half inside, half outside.

IMG_6657IMG_6658

The ceremony was nice and short and then we ate and drank!

Fruity salad starter
Fruity salad starter

AMAZING tropical pork. Best meal I ate the whole trip!
AMAZING tropical pork. Best meal I ate the whole trip!

Very light, whipped cheesecake for dessert
Very light, whipped cheesecake for dessert

Cuban cigars for gifts and Japanese fans (not pictured)
Cuban cigars for gifts and Japanese fans (not pictured)

IMG_6663

Thanks to Kate & Tyler for planning an awesome trip and wedding!

The next morning was our last breakfast together and we said our goodbyes to the awesome waitstaff, especially this guy!

IMG_6678

John, his mom and I had a long trip back towards the airport so we had a driver take us back who was awesome and let us make a few stops along the way. First stop was this awesome place we kept seeing a million signs for called Toad Hall. It’s a tourist place where you can eat and get souvenirs and also stay. We saw this cool bird, got some coffee and gifts and a fresh coconut off the street to drink from!

IMG_6671IMG_6675

SO beautiful!
SO beautiful!

Once we got back near the airport, we checked into the Hilton that was a stone’s throw from the airport. It was our last night to just relax and unwind, so we had a delicious lunch then followed it up with some pool time.

IMG_6676

fish taco burrito, mmmm
fish taco burrito, mmmm

IMG_6679

Once the sun went down, we were absolutely exhausted so we went back to our room and just got pizza for dinner. Pizza Hut’s cheeseless pizza for me!

Can't go anywhere without my pizza.
Can’t go anywhere without my pizza.

Our flight the next morning wasn’t until the afternoon so me and John’s mom caught a few hours of pool time before packing up.

IMG_6684

John and I hit up the last breakfast buffet and ate until we couldn’t move.

IMG_6686

IMG_6695

Best trip of my life. I WILL be back for you, Costa Rica. Next up: Cancun, Mexico in 2 weeks with my FIANCE! 🙂 🙂 🙂

I’m engaged!

So I know I still have a lot of catching up to do on the second part of our Costa Rica trip, a review on a book launch party STILL, and just life in general over the last couple of months- but before I try to find time to do those, I have to share with you all the best news ever which is that I AM ENGAGED!!

IMG_7032

I was beyond shocked and still am! I very randomly signed up for a 10K last Sunday basically 24 hours before hand, and John already had the ring but wasn’t planning to propose until closer to our trip to Mexico. I guess he couldn’t wait and thought after a race would be the perfect time, and it really was! This was my first race in months since I deferred my entry to the NYC Marathon until next year and basically stopped running, and it went SO well! I felt great the whole race and pushed myself through the race, only stopping once right before mile 4 to stretch my hip. I was already elated crossing the finish line, then we waited in line for awhile for my free yoga mat which turned me into a bit of a hangry, sweaty and cold grump 😉 John asked if he could take pictures of me closer to the water (the race started and ended on Pier 81 on the West Side Highway, one of my favorite spots!) and I yelled at him, multiple times. We walked over to the water and I was of course scrolling through Instagram, ignoring his pleas to get me to put my phone and bag down and pose for a picture. He finally said just put your stuff down for one second, and when I did he was reaching into his camera bag and pulled out the box. I screamed so loud and for so long that I never even heard him ask me the question! Haha it was really surreal and so, so sweet. We were both unshowered and gross, but hey we keeps it real.

Oh and the ring… He did gooooood. 😉

IMG_7009

IMG_7019

I am so beyond excited to spend the rest of my life with my best friend 🙂

Costa Rica Part 1: The Hilton Papagayo

First off- thanks so much for the support on my post about not running the NYC Marathon. As much as I don’t care what people think of me, of course a little part of me does and it was a little difficult to come to my decision and then share it. I really love you guys and appreciate that you accept me for who I am- an insane person who overshares and changes her mind a lot 🙂 I’ve admitted defeat and moved past it and that’s a big accomplishment! I’ve also taken almost 3 weeks now off from running (except a 2 miler on Wednesday) and I am now itching to get back into it whereas I had dreaded every run for the last few months when I had the marathon looming over me.
On to the good stuff. Our trip to Costa Rica was in the works for about 2 years when John’s sister first got engaged and decided she wanted to have a destination wedding. Score! I picked the right family to join! 😉  So the last month before we left was crazy with shopping, and the craziness surrounding John’s dilemma with getting his passport on time. Long story short: he applied weeks before me (early June) for his passport and I got mine in 2.5 weeks whereas he still hadn’t received his a week before our trip. That entire week was probably the worst of our relationship; so much crying and fighting and feeling totally helpless at the mercy of the assholes who work for the passport agency. No clear answers were given and I nearly had a stroke multiple times. That Thursday we were told it had shipped and “should” arrive by Monday. SHOULD. We were leaving Tuesday. 3 PM Saturday, the damn thing finally came. Big middle finger to whoever took so long with it. I hate you.
That Sunday was glorious. I ran 13.5 miles in the morning with Andrea and that’s the run that I had a heart-to-heart with her and decided to  call it quits with the marathon this year. Since this was my first real adult trip, I treated myself to a great mani/pedi/massage/eyebrow combo, my first pair of Birkenstocks (OBSESSED) and a new pair of shades from Express. Getting ready for a trip is almost as great as the trip itself, eh?
IMG_6685
Oh just a disclaimer; I’m going to break it up into each day so grab a drink and some popcorn if you’re into reading novels. 🙂 I actually am going to write so much that this will be a 2-part post. Trip of a lifetime deserves 2! Also: LOTS of pict
That Monday I taught my last class in the morning, worked all day (plus over an hour longer… reallllly had to work for this vaca 🙂 ) then met up with John and his mom for pizza. This was her first time seeing us in the city and I can’t wait for her to come actually stay for a real visit! We went back to our apartment and finished all our packing and got a few hours of sleep.
Tuesday we were up real early, showered and in a cab by 6 AM. Our flight was at 9:50 and it was our first international flight so we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time. If you’ve read my blog in the past you know I have a very bad fear of flying, so my anxiety was out of control as soon as we set foot inside JFK. We got through security with plenty of time to get breakfast and relax. I had a delicious strawberry banana greek yogurt smoothie bowl from Jamba Juice with granola and peanut butter on top, then 30 minutes before we boarded I had a big ol’ glass of wine. This is what semi works for my anxiety so don’t judge that this was 9 AM, mmkay?
IMG_6398IMG_6400
Here’s my coping mechanisms. We get on the plane, I usually am spotted looking terrified by the pilot upon entering or a flight attendendent who try not to laugh at me, we sit down and I HAVE to cry. Not hystarically, but it happens involuntarily for a few moments and then I feel 3% better. Then I chew gum like an annoying child and start to sweat and overheat, like to the point where you can feel the heat radiating off my body (ask John). This was our first flight together and I did MUCH better with him because I’m so used to him calming me down from my anxiety attacks anyways. In other words, I’m a god damn mess. Be happy you don’t have to date me. 🙂 Once I get through the first 20 minutes of take off, which involves me clenching the hand of whoever I am flying with until their fingers are damaged, I can begin to relax a little. I stress eat, and JetBlue is absolutely AMAZING for this. All the free snacks and drinks you want! I went with Terra chips (incredible) and animal crackers while watching Sex and The City 2.

Help.
Help.

Miranda took my mind off how much I wanted to cry the whole flight.
Miranda took my mind off how much I wanted to cry the whole flight.

prettttty clouds
prettttty clouds

Finally, 5 hours later, we arrived. John’s sister and fiance picked us up and we drove to our first destination: The Hilton Papagayo All-Inclusive Resort. In other words; heaven.

landing in Costa Rica!
landing in Costa Rica!

IMG_6411

Wut.
Wut.

I can’t say enough good things about this place but let me start. We sat right down to lunch and the start of many howling monkey drinks, which were like delicious mango smoothies with local clear rum called Casique. I HATE rum after drinking it so much of it when I was younger, but this was basically tasteless. Mmm I miss those drinks so much. First meal in Costa Rica was fish tacos (I didn’t eat the shells because they were corn) and a salmon wrap. Delish.
IMG_6415IMG_6416
Iguanas everywhere. This dude pretty much owned the resort. Love him.
IMG_6417
Paradise.
IMG_6419
Dinner the first night was at El Dorado, a contemporary cuisine restaurant on the resort. All-inclusive is literally heaven. You can order any amount of appetizers and entrees you want! The portions are relatively small of most things because it isn’t America, ha. It was super dark inside, so my appetizers are unpictured but it was a grilled vegetable salad a skewer of peanut crusted shrimp. My entree below was duck with a potato cake and dessert was pistachio ice cream and chocolate truffles.
IMG_6424IMG_6425
We were all super stuffed and sleepy so we sat by the pool with some drinks for a bit and then got a good night of sleep.
IMG_6426
Wednesday was our only full day at the Hilton so we got up early to fully enjoy it. First up was breakfast. Aka, heaven. SO MUCH UNLIMITED FOOD. I had eggs, waffles, fruit, sausage and the most incredible out-of-the-oven whole wheat bread slathered in pineapple jam. Mmmmmmmmmmm.
IMG_6428

For the record: I do not enjoy papaya. It tastes like feet.
For the record: I do not enjoy papaya. It tastes like feet.

Followed by hours at the pool and beach. And my beach fashion. 🙂
IMG_6431IMG_6435IMG_6439IMG_6440
Andddd more food. Lunch was SO GOOD and incredibly healthy. All kinds of veggies, caviche, plantain chips (obsessed) and more bread. We also OD’d on Coke Light while there. I think the U.S. is the only place where it’s called Diet Coke but regardless, Coke Light tastes SO AMAZING! They use more sucralose (Splenda) than aspartame. All I know is Splenda doesn’t give me stomach aches and aspartame does so I drank a buttload of it!
IMG_6442
Back to the pool/beach area. This time with champagne. When in Rome (or an all-inclusive resort) 🙂 .
IMG_6444IMG_6445
Finally got off my lazy beach bum and went on a hike with John. Technically this was my first ever hike and holy smokes is it hard. This was just 15 minutes up the hill and my butt was killing me. Views from the top were incredible! The pictures of the little cabanas is where ours was. So cozy!
IMG_6446IMG_6447IMG_6448IMG_6449IMG_6452IMG_6456IMG_6466

ha my attempt at yoga ;)
ha my attempt at yoga 😉

IMG_6487IMG_6489

We left pretty abruptly once John heard a rattlesnack. That brought me back to the reality of how I am SO not an outdoorsy girl. But I will stand outside for a gorgeous sunset.

Our last dinner at the Hilton resort was just like the rest- delicious. I had raw tuna spring rolls that were fabulous and a wedge salad with bread to start.
IMG_6494IMG_6495
Grilled BBQ chicken with a side of unpictured chipotle potatoes and veggies.
IMG_6496
And mini desserts of carrot cake and pumpkin cake.
IMG_6498
Love of my life 🙂
IMG_6502
John’s mom and I got up early to walk on the beach for our last morning at the Hilton and for an early breakfast so we could enjoy every second of the beach. We stumbled upon a dead puffer fish! I love sea life. 🙂
IMG_6504
2 plates of food and a green juice for breakfast. I seriously lost 7 pounds on this trip and it makes no sense. I ate like a 600 pound man.
IMG_6506IMG_6507IMG_6509
Beeeeach. Don’t make me leave.
IMG_6530

Beach squint. 8-)
Beach squint. 😎

IMG_6757

John and I kayaked, too, and I think my abs still hurt from laughing so hard. We each had our own and I basically couldn’t move mine and kept spinning in circles. I have no basic coordination.

IMG_6517IMG_6533IMG_6534

We finally packed up and left around noon to head into the rainforest for the next half of our trip. Next recap will be all about it and John’s sisters’ wedding!

Hi! And I’ve decided not to run the NYC Marathon this year.

Yeah I suck, I know. It’s been said a billion times the last few months but I just have not had the time to be able to sit down and blog. The writing part I can do on my phone in the early mornings on my way to teach, but finding the time to email it, edit it on the computer and add pictures is not something I’m able to do at my new job. So, I again am really sorry and also know that it SUCKS for me, too. I am not giving up! If you want to see what I’m doing on the daily, follow me on Instagram (@artificiallybalanced)! 🙂

So I still need to write my review of my boss’ awesome 9-course dinner for the launch of her book last month, Musical Pairings. And I will! I also need to write about my amazing trip to COSTA FRICKEN RICA that I just got back from late Monday night. It’s coming, I swear. For now, a brief update will have to do. In a few short words; Costa Rica was beyond amazing. I went with John and his family for his sister’s wedding and I have a hole in my heart from the extreme let down of coming back to NY/America in general. Once I show you the pictures and describe how wonderful the people that live there are, you’ll be booking a trip in a second!

Secondly, before I left I had 3 long training runs for the NYC Marathon that all went terrible. They went terrible before I even did them which is how I know I am making the right decision- for ME- to not run it. I am technically deferring my entry until next year where I will have to revisit the topic and decide if running a full marathon is REALLY something I want to do. I am over beating myself up over it, because I feel 100% sure I am making the right decision. My heart hasn’t been in running at all this year, and that’s because of my love for teaching Spin. Sure, some bloggers (or just some people) can teach a ton of classes and still train for a marathon, but I am not one of them. I want to have a life. I want to teach my Sunday morning spin classes and not forfeit it for the sake of long runs that I dread and can’t finish. For the record, I attempted a 14 and 15 miler and couldn’t get past 13 for either. The wonderful Andrea has been so so supportive of me through this decision and never passed an ounce of judgement which is why I love her so! 🙂 At the end of the day, I have to remember that it doesn’t matter what people think of my decision. Am I giving up? Sure. Am I happy that I am not running the 2014 NYC Marathon? Yes. So that’s all that matters. Maybe 2015 will have different circumstances, but teaching spin is my passion and I am not cutting back on it to train for a race that my heart isn’t in. Full marathons are not for everyone and I fully accept that. I LOVE half marathons and have a few fall races on deck that I fell in love with last year, so I will continue to train for them but my body is used to the distance after 7 of them. The training is not insane the way a full schedule is. I can run 8-9 miles and teach right after (and stuff myself with brunch seconds after) or the day before a class and be okay. And again the most important part: I don’t WANT to run one this year, or maybe ever. And that’s okay. 🙂 Also, the NYC Marathon isn’t like Boston where you have to qualify with a time. My chance to run it will be there. I live here, so I am able to do their 9+1 program (which is what I did last year).

That’s where my head and heart are and I feel good about this. The fact that I was able to say yes to an invitation to go out on Saturday night with old friends from Chanel and not have to decline because of training is amazing. Don’t be afraid to make decisions based on what you truly want. Haters gonna hate.

Have you ever made a decision to drop out of a race not due to injury? More importantly- have you ever been to Costa Rica???? 🙂

Week Recap.

Happy Tuesday, ya’ll. My weekend was great but very tiring as I made a basically 30 hour trip to see my family and get my hair done and now need another 2 days to just get some dang rest! Here’s a quick recap of what last week was like for me, much calmer and more relaxed than the previous week and actually included… wait for it… RUNNING.

Monday: Day did not start off well. Got stuck on the train on the way to my 6:30 AM class in Brooklyn and had to cancel it. It was my first time ever having to do that, and I felt so terrible. I went back home to shower and get ready for work and made a smoothie that killed my stomach. My stomach has been TERRIBLE the last few weeks, and I really don’t know why because I’ve been good about no dairy (not even a bite of Brenda’s ice cream cone the weekend before last) and no corn! Ugh. Only plus of this day was it ended up being a total rest day for me and I desperately needed it.

Tuesday: Slept in, worked, then got to the gym a little early and had time to run 1.5 miles. Had to run them on the treadmill since it was storming out and as usual, the treadmill was a terrible experience. Taught my 7:00 PM class and as usual, they kicked major ass 🙂

Wednesday: Woke up in an amazing, energetic mood. Taught my 6:00 AM class, ran 4 miles with my new Garmin courtesy of the wonderful Allie! 🙂

photo 2 (1)

She is the sweetest. 🙂 It had been fiddling around in my bag all day so the battery was almost dead, and it ended up dying just over 3 miles so I estimated about 4 total with running back to the gym. I bought a 2 month unlimited Groupon for Bikram Yoga Grand Central which is just 1 block from my work (and also 12 blocks from Grand Central, so I’m not sure why it’s named that) in hopes that I will actually GO. I’m not the biggest fan of Bikram- I like Vinyasa much better- but it’s mostly because of how long it is. 90 minutes is a long time to devote to yet ANOTHER work out in my life, but I really need it and they have Monday and Wednesday classes that start at 6 so I’m getting home around 8 and that’s not so bad. The class kicked my ASS. I was basically falling on the ground and stayed there for quite a few poses. I do like that that is totally okay- and encouraged- and they don’t call you out for it. I’m not the biggest fan of Lululemon but I will say the bang buster headbands are AMAZING for hot yoga or any workout where you sweat insanely (spin, too).

photo 4 (2)

Thursday: Another rest day. Needed it, loved it, cherished it. John and I went to a 9 course dinner Thursday night (yes, you read that right) courtesy of my boss for her book launch party! I’m going to write a separate post on that later this week. It was really amazing!

Friday: Taught my 6:30 AM spin class in Brooklyn, worked all day, then went to sub for the 6:00 PM class that I’m subbing for for most of the summer and had really bad pains in my left foot (lately after so many classes my left toes cramp so badly, the pain is crazy) and actually forgot my sneakers AND spin shoes at the morning gym. I took this as a sign that I really needed to teach off the bike- also kinda had no choice since all I had with me were loafers 🙂 I did it, it wasn’t TERRIBLE, but I didn’t love it. I moved around the front of the room somewhat and really tried to make my energy as big as possible. The class kicked butt, but they said they like me on the bike better. Me too, peeps, me too.

Saturday: I got to Binghamton late Friday night, so it was a rest day and I slept in until 9:30. It was grrrrrrrreat. Had coffee with my mom and got ready to get my hair done. My hair stylist and good friend Sherette opened up a new salon that is absolutely gorgeous and such a reflection of her! I have followed her for years and will basically never go to anyone else, ever. If you’re in the area, her new salon is called Salon Trend and it’s on the Vestal Parkway. I just can’t say enough good things about her. She is an artist when it comes to color (I am a high lift blonde from a dark brown with red undertones and she gets my hair almost white with no dry damage) and will perfect your cut every time. I wish she would franchise and move to NYC! Someday 🙂 Followed by a great dinner with my mom, her fiance, and 2 of our family friends at my favorite place, Harry Tuft’s. I had my favorite chicken speidie sub with hot sauce and blue cheese, and sweet potato fries.

photo 1

So good. Then it was froyo time.

photo 2

Slept so hard and great. Woke up a little later than I would have liked, so it was already warm out and my 10 miles turned into 7.3. Just couldn’t dig any deeper for those last couple miles. As you can tell, marathon training isn’t going SO well. Ugh. But at least I ran!

I had breakfast with my dad and sat out in the sun for a few hours before doing some laundry and packing, then had one more deliciously fatty meal. CHICKEN. WINGS.

photo 5

We went to a new-to-me place that is an old renovated bar called The Union Hotel and the wings were gooooooooood. NYC just doesn’t have good wings, though I’ve only tried maybe 4 places here. Anyways, I only eat chicken wings maybe twice a year so they need to be VERY worth it! These were perfect. They were huge with a lot of actual meat on them. I had half carolina bbq and half honey sriracha. Naturally, the honey sriracha ones were incredible. They gave me a little bit of a stomach ache the next day but not bad. I ate them around 3 and wasn’t hungry again all night, so that’s a plus! I think my arteries are a little angry at me, though. 😉

What were your workouts last week? Any amazing meals?