Hello. It’s me. With a ton of pictures.

And just like that, another year is coming to an end! It’s been quite a year, lots of bad and lots of good, and a new year is always a nice thing to look forward to! I am hoping to really get back to blogging more regularly and post my spin playlists, food, etc and my journey of getting into tip top shape for my wedding! John and I have moved our wedding date to October 15th and switched our venue (I am the most indecisive person ever) and I am even more excited now! Below are some a ton of pictures to catch up on the last couple of months before this year ends. 

FOOD: (obviously)

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Food from the vegan hotspot by CHLOE
Food from the vegan hotspot by CHLOE
From just a few weeks ago! Have been eating outside every chance I get still!
From just a few weeks ago! Have been eating outside every chance I get still!

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Veggie burger at 5 Napkin (a long time favorite) with Andrea!

The extremely rare occasion I actually meal prep these days.. so simple!
The extremely rare occasion I actually meal prep these days.. so simple!
Looks gross but the best thing evaa.. chicken spedie sub from home!
Looks gross but the best thing evaa.. chicken spedie sub from home!
Dark pic but the delicious gnocci from my cousin's wedding!
Dark pic but the delicious gnocci from my cousin’s wedding!
and the desserts from the wedding!
and the desserts from the wedding!
Easiest dinner ever.. steamed potato with coconut oil, chicken sausage, sauteed bell peppers and runny eggs!
Easiest dinner ever.. steamed potato with coconut oil, chicken sausage, sauteed bell peppers and runny eggs!

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Crazy overpriced avocado toast & latte from the raved-about Bluestone Lane.

The best view ever... diet coke, chips and guac on the beach!
The best view ever… diet coke, chips and guac on the beach!
Fresh veggies & seafood on salad for lunch in Mexico!
Fresh veggies & seafood on salad for lunch in Mexico!
mmmmm ceviche!
mmmmm ceviche!
Pina colada shaved ice!
Pina colada shaved ice!
fish tacoooooos
fish tacoooooos
Heaven?
Heaven?
Our drinks of choice on vaca.. bloody marys and white russians, which couldnt be more random for either of us haha
Our drinks of choice on vaca.. bloody marys and white russians, which couldnt be more random for either of us haha
Vacation breakfast!
Vacation breakfast!
Tamarind margarita, so soooo good
Tamarind margarita, so soooo good
LOBSTER tacos!
LOBSTER tacos!
crab benedict...outrageous.
crab benedict…outrageous. From Philip Marie’s
Work Thanksgiving... holy moly, my co-workers can COOK!
Work Thanksgiving… holy moly, my co-workers can COOK!

FASHION: (because when I’m not in gym clothes, I live for it!)

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MEXICO! (John and I went November 3rd-9th, stayed at The Westin Spa & Resort again and had such an amazing time.. got upgraded to a huuuuge suite, too!)

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Our bedroom in our suite!
Our bedroom in our suite!
Living room!
Living room!
Balcony #1
Balcony #1

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My handsome, sweet sweet dude! <3 <3
My handsome, sweet sweet dude!

My sweet baby Ruby: (So she made 2015 the best year ever actually, and if you’re new to the blog she isn’t my actual baby haha)

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Teaching Spin: (For 2 years now!)

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Okay, so 2015 had a LOT of good to it after all! This is my reminder to myself, and to you, to really focus on the positive in all situations. It is a very hard thing to do and I struggle with it daily, but we are always a work in progress.

Merry Christmas to you all, and may 2016 be an amazing year for us all!

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Spin, Babies, Rocksbox

Hey hey! Wow, look at me posting twice in a week’s time! 🙂 I loved the comments from some of you guys who have been reading for a long time and it made me feel more connected again. I’ve had a few friendships blossom from the blog and it’s really special. Thanks for still reading!

Backing up to last week and last weekend, my best friend Brenda taught her first spin class so of course I had to be there! She came to my first one almost 2 years ago and the experience of taking your friends fitness classes are just so fun. Or maybe we are just huge fitness dorks. Our friend Mandy came too and we screamed our heads off the whole class. We ran into our friend Dante there too and it’s because the gym is our love language. Friends who sweat together, stay together right?

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I even made it to a BODYPUMP class last Friday morning! I know you probably don’t believe me because it’s been like a year since I strength trained but I took a picture for proof.

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I used crazy light weights on the bar for all of class and I was still sore for about 4 days after. Trying to go 1-2 times a week from here on out!

The Pope was here last week but no, I did not see him. I don’t love crowds and figured my chances of seeing him were slim. Turns out, basically anyone who was near 5th Avenue got to see him! I should have went. I’m not super religious but I do believe, and this Pope seems like such a good person. My grandma would have loved him.

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Last Saturday, after I worked all day, we met up with Brenda and her husband and Ruby for Brenda’s birthday. Funny how our idea of fun for a birthday is now a maximum of 3 hours of socializing and bed by 9 PM. We hung out at Central Park and let Ruby experience all that is ‘nature’ in New York City (aka not much).

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Followed by delicious thai food and a mango cake that we had to keep Ruby’s hands out of. Poor thing is teething and she devours her hands or really anyone’s hands the first chance she gets.

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Sunday morning I taught 2 killer spin classes at Simply Cycle Astoria. We thought it would be funny to take a picture and show the world that I killed them during class. It got dramatic.

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And lastly, I need to tell you guys about a super cool monthly ‘box’ that I finally fell in love with. Honestly, I’m approached by a lot of companies about putting their products on the blog and that’s why you rarely see any from me. I only will write about what I have interest in, and if you know me then you know fashion is a huge part of my life. Rocksbox is an awesome monthly box that costs $19 per month and you receive 3 amazing pieces that are selected by a stylist based off your profile that you fill out. You can make a wish list and at least one of the items from your wishlist will be in your monthly box! You can keep the items as long as you want, ship them back to receive new items, or buy the items at a discounted price. Pretty sweet options if you ask me.

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Honestly, I forgot to take a picture of the 3rd item that came in the box because I wasn’t impressed with it at all. Which is fine, because the other 2 items were TOTALLY me! Let’s start with this necklace that I haven’t taken off in 2 weeks. I have worn it with everything from a plain nude sweater to plaids and it truly goes with everything.

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This is called the ‘Olivia Necklace’ by Perry Street. I am so obsessed. Rocksbox will occasionally slip in some ‘shine spend’ which is a credit towards purchasing the jewelry. I have $10 in my account right now and am still debating between this necklace or the awesome Loren Hope earrings I also received in my box.

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Hard choice! I of course want both but I’m trying to be good! 😉

You can get a free month of Rocksbox with my code artificiallybalancedxoxo 🙂 If you love jewelry and are wanting to try new pieces without committing to buying them, or you need a special piece for an upcoming event, I can’t recommend Rocksbox enough. I am sending back the 3rd piece that I didn’t like and either the earrings or the necklace tomorrow to receive my next box! Rocksbox has generously gifted me 3 months of the service to try in exchange for promoting it to you guys! Let me know if you end up using my code and of course if you do, show me what you get! As soon as I receive my next box, I will post what I get.

What’s your favorite type of jewelry- necklace, earrings, bracelets or rings? Mine is a tie between necklaces and amazing rings! However, I have HUGE fingers (I wear between a 9-10 size) so nothing ever fits me haha

HI!

HELLOOO! Ahhh, I miss you guys. So much. My new schedule is still something I’m trying to adjust to so I need to get on a blogging schedule since the only time I can blog now is at night when I’m home. I’ve just been subbing a lot of night classes and then waking right back up to teach in the mornings, so my nights are spent getting home at 9, wolfing down a bowl of cereal (meal prep fail) and going to sleep sweaty. Beautiful, I know. But the new job is going good so far and overall I am 79% less stressed. It’s making a difference already!

So here’s what I’ve been up to the last couple weeks in a big summary of pics. Let’s get caught up!

Enjoying my weekends off to the FULLEST! I’m not one to waste a weekend day doing nothing anymore, so brunching is always necessary. This is my new favorite brunch meal from Grey Dog:
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Egg, sausage & goat cheese on a croissant with perfect sweet potato fries & a soy iced latte.


I finally met the gorgeous & super sweet Andrea the weekend before last! She lives in Hoboken so she met me for a 6 mile run & took my Sunday spin class where we had a blast! Brunch afterwards at Tavern 29 up on the rooftop.
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(Red pepper & goat cheese omelette w. homefries & avocado)

I’m looking forward to being friends with this gal. She is a doll and her positive energy is just what I need in my life! 🙂

1st day at the new job and it was so beautiful outside. Took my stripey pants, studded oxfords & homemade salad outside to eat… Along with everyone who works on Park Ave. Love it.
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First week I did so good with meal prep, even snack prep, so I have to get back on that train because I only get 30 minutes now & it’s too hectic to buy and eat in just 30 mins!

Absolutely loving my outfits. I’ve always wanted to dress preppy but never thought I could pull it off. I’m loving it.
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J Crew Factory “city fit” crops are the best pants ever, FYI.

Teaching loooots of spin & improving my watts! My “flat road” resistance number is getting higher which is awesome to feel myself getting stronger! In fact, I see my clients improving and it’s such a great feeling!
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Brooklyn 1/2 Marathon bib pick-up in downtown Brooklyn! Gorgeous views.
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Ran the 1/2 with my roomie Kira since it was her first half! It was so nice to take it easy & help someone achieve their fitness goal. She did awesome and it was a hot one out. The course is amazing & I can’t wait to demolish it next year!
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Refueling the right way… 5 Napkin turkey burger with melted blue cheese, mushrooms & onion with sweet potato fries & diet coke.
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I went home to crash and John went to dinner at Dinosaur BBQ in Harlem with a friend and brought me back pulled pork, mac & cheese and coleslaw. Their mac is my favorite ever so I indulged… So dumb. Still in pain 4 days later. Cheese (except blue, goat or feta) and I just can’t. 

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11 PM that night I left for a less-than-24-hour trip to Binghamton to see my amazing little brother graduate from Binghamton University. 
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He is hands down the smartest, funniest & most kind hearted person I’ve ever known. Love that he is my brother! I was actually emotional watching him put on his cap & gown & walk across the stage. We’ve been through hell and back with family things for the last 2 years, but he perservered and still did amazing graduating with a Biology degree! 

That wraps up my first week and a half of my new life! The nights I don’t teach, it’s pretty amazing to be home by 6:15! Oh, it also helps that my new co-workers are absolutely HILARIOUS. Like, they make me cry from laughing so hard and just being goofy. I fit right in 🙂

🙂 Tell me how you are!!! What’s new?!

Food, Sun, Best Friend & A Celebrity = Great Weekend

Is the title of my post not extremely obnoxious? I never claimed to be creative, ya’ll. I’m so sorry with how MIA I have been lately but I am hoping for a very positive shift in a big area of my life where I will be a whole lot less stressed, and therefore have the energy to do anything other than just drop into bed fully clothed and fall asleep at 8:30 PM. That has been happening almost every night for the last few weeks. Long story short: I miss writing! So I apologize for the abundance of pictures coming your way, but last weekend was nothing short of amazing so I want to share 🙂

First off- the amazing weather that we’ve had for not even a full week yet. I celebrated one day last week by wearing my new J Crew shorts that I scored for $22 through their factory website, and these great gladiator sandals from Forever 21. Be proud of my artistic angle. This was the same week that it also snowed. WTF.

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I also need to spread this PSA and say that if you hate low-rise jeans and don’t wear anything other than workout clothes because of it, try Express jeans. They have the perfect amount of stretch that let you breathe but don’t make you look like you are wearing denim leggings or “jeggings”- that word alone terrifies me. The anchor printed shirt is also from Express and I have been living in it.

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Okay, not to food. John and I had a little Friday night date at 5 Napkin Burger and it ended in a huge dessert that we actually could both eat. Waffles, ice cream, raspberry sorbet and whipped cream. I ate half of the waffles and all of the sorbet while trying to not eat the whipped cream but of course I did.

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Saturday morning I taught Spin then enjoyed the absolutely gorgeous day with Brenda. We walked around all day (probably close to 6 miles) and carbloaded. We got froyo, then lunch (omelettes and french fries, that’s how we rollll) and while we were sitting at the diner Brenda saw Elijah from Girls walk by to the deli next door and pick out flowers. We hadn’t paid yet so we rushed to the counter to pay while I stalked the front so as to not let him get away. When he exited the deli, I bolted at him like a complete freak and literally scared him. He was physically trying to get away from me when I approached him yelling “OMG YOU’RE THAT GUY FROM GIRLS!!” because I could not remember his characters name for the life of me. He laughed, still trying to walk away, while I asked him for a picture and admitted that Brenda and I had been stalking him. I literally screamed into the entrance of the diner “BRENDAAAAAA!!!” and she came running out. It resulted in a very awkward/terrible selfie that Brenda made me crop her out of, but I left her cheek in it.

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It’s been awhile since I saw a celeb so I was pretty stoked. Looooove my NYC!

We decided to actually be fun for once and went out with my co-workers for a drink, and then of course landed at Lombardi’s since we were in SoHo and hadn’t eaten dinner yet. Awesome friends, awesome pizza, awesome way to end a carbload.

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After a late night out, waking up early to run and teach wasn’t easy but it ended up feeling so great. I dressed like an easter egg for our easter run of 7 miles through the park.

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Such a dork. Followed by teaching THE BEST spin class I have taught so far. The energy was incredible, everyone was working hard, having so much fun and singing along. We all sweat some serious buckets and I’m still riding that high days later. Have I mentioned how much I love teaching?! 🙂

How was your Easter weekend?

Week Highlights

Happy Saturday! REALLY wish I was outside enjoying the gorgeous weather and not stuck at work. I’m also really over the fact that allergy season has now started, and going from a month of being sick straight into allergies basically feels like I’m just still sick. UGH! I take Zyrtec to ward off some of the symptoms, but it doesn’t seem to be helping much. I read this year will be one of the worst years for allergies in a long time. WHY. Puffy eyes and a dry, flaky nose really just isn’t my best look.

At least this week showed signs of spring. I made it a point to bring actual clothes with me to the gym in the morning even though I’m only in them for the train ride to work and then home. We have REAL ugly uniforms at work (if you know where I work you are probably even more shocked) so I basically never get to wear cute clothes anymore. It sucks and I miss it so much. Speaking of cute clothes, I am a big time hater of jeans but found really great fitting ones at Express. They offer low-rise, mid-rise, and high-rise which is spectacular if you are like me and don’t like the way low-rise jeans fit (more specifically- you don’t like your slight muffin top and butt crack hanging out of your pants). The mid-rise fit is perfect on me and even though I’m 5’7, my height is not at all in my legs so the ankle length fits me like just normal skinny jeans. I don’t have a pic of me in them but they are these. I think they call them a legging because they are stretchy and fit tight but they are definitely heavier like a real jean. Freaking love them and Express jeans have always been my personal favorite! Since I have their credit card, I get coupons all the time and got 4 pairs of those jeans, this top in mint green, and these sunglasses. On top of the coupons, I also had a $40 gift card they sent me for my birthday so I made out super well!

Besides my 2 mile run on Wednesday, no other running this week. Still. I’m telling you, I just can’t find my groove. I taught Spin Monday, Tuesday, Friday morning and this morning so I obviously still got my workouts in but running just keeps taking a back seat. If only I got paid for it 😉 Ate some greatness though, of course.

First of all, how adorable is this new glass portable mason jar from David’s Tea? photo 1(1) I’ve been making iced tea with stevia in the early mornings to drink on my way to teach spin so that I’m not drinking so much coffee since having an iced soy latte at work is a non-negotiable. It’s more of a gentle way to wake up, I think!

After a particularly terrible Wednesday, I went to drown my sorrows in froyo at my favorite froyo joint Orange Leaf. They are more expensive than the others, but when you taste it you happily oblige. Plus I had a $3 coupon for my birthday. It was April 2nd and they had eggnog, my absolute favorite flavor of froyo. So that pretty much turned my frown upside down!

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Last night John took me to a greek place I’ve wanted to try for a late birthday dinner since he was so sick last weekend. While it was a little pricier and the service totally sucked, the food was outrageously good. I ate more french fries than I care to admit and was extremely sick after but that is 100% my fault. The feta was amazing, the kebobs delicious and the jalapeno hummus with pita bread? Best thing ever.

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If you like Greek food, I highly recommend Stix on East 23rd street!

What were your week highlights?

Favorite Greek/Mediterranean dish? I loooove hummus, pita bread, feta, and chicken shawarma so much.

Treat. Yo. Self.

I am officially declaring today the last day of this winter. GOODBYE. I can’t with you anymore. I am so sick of wearing layers and a huge puffy jacket and feeling just generally gross and unkempt. I am literally losing my mind so I really needed to give myself some TLC. How did I do this? Yesterday I online shopped (a little toooo much) for birthday presents for myself and today I received my yearly bonus at work and guess what? I BOOKED ME AND JOHN’S FIRST TRIP TO MEXICO!! More on that later because I’m so excited I want to be put to sleep until November 1st. (and have someone do all my marathon training for me)

Let me show you a few things I got and although I’ll probably end up returning some of it since things don’t always look the same in person, I’m so excited to see all of them! I’m all about super easy pieces, something that you can just throw on that’s always comfortable and easy to accessorize.

First up: I got an email from Francesca’s today and I was obsessed with the outfit right on the email! I think it will be a great birthday outfit so I ordered the top and skirt but not the necklace.

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Francesca’s is a little boutique I found out about last summer in Syracuse while shopping for a dress for my friend’s wedding. I had no idea it was a chain store and they finally opened a couple in the city. They have SUCH great accessories and clothes. Here is the link to the top and skirt, in case you’re interested. (I get no credit for any of these links, FYI) I did use the code FEBRUARY14 to save some money! If that doesn’t work, try MARCH14.

I also ordered these loafers that are finally on sale! I have been eyeing them for a couple of months and I snagged them for $20, originally $70.

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Too cute, right? They have other colors and designs here.

I then went a little nuts on Forever 21. Twice a year I get the big urge to shop here and ONLY online. I absolutely cannot handle the madness of the Times Square, Herald Square or Union Square locations any longer. I actually hate shopping in stores these days. It’s sad what working in retail does to you! Anyways, I could shop on their website all damn day. Here’s what I snagged:

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Super basic sandal, pretty much essential. $12.80! Get them here.

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I have been searching for an inexpensive pair of these for months. I believe Steve Madden had them and they were close to $100 if not more. Forever has them for $26. Yup. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a huge loafer/oxford fan and the crazier the pattern the better.

jumper (2)This jumper is hopefully going to be another birthday outing outfit, most likely with a leather jacket over it since I’m sure it won’t be in the 70’s in just a few weeks 😉 It’s going to be a great summer night dinner outfit, too!

I’m a tad obsessed with coats and need one (okay, many) for each season. I’m going to see how this one is but I just need a light-weight coat for the first few months of spring since it stays chilly at night here until June.

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shortsThese shorts. I can’t even with how cute they are. Really hoping they fit! I also got some accessories like scarves and jewelry. Once they come in I’ll let you know what I keep! When I first order things I want them all to fit and then once they come like almost 2 weeks later I want to return things to get money back, haha. Anyone else feel like that? But anyways, sometimes you just really need to indulge yourself with nice things! After all, we can’t take money with us on the other side. (I don’t think anyways 😉 )

So, Mexico. After the last 2 years of my life that have been downright awful and I still often wonder how I’ve come out on the other side, I knew that this year I wanted to do something big and extravagant and just LIVE. I have truly felt dead for 2 years now, just going through the motions of life and being miserable. No more. What is the PURPOSE of doing that? Of course it’s easy to say that when you are starting to feel alive again, but please know that there were more bad days than good over the course of the last 2 years for me and I had absolutely given up 99% of hope that things would get better. But you see that 1% I held onto of faith and optimism? It was the only thing that got me up in the morning. I forced myself to start doing things that I at least once loved, hoping that the repetition and routine would eventually make me feel whole again. And it did. I’m not sure where along the way that something turned for me, but it did. I went into teaching my spin classes last November with next to no enthusiasm on the inside, but I had to be present and act during each class. Eventually teaching became my savior. It was finally something to look forward to, and to give me something to work towards. Making playlists each week, visualizing the choreography, and imagining my classes working their butts off and making them feel great about themselves. THAT’S WHAT IT WAS AND IS. When you are feeling down, I swear the key is making others feel good. Think about it: when you’re down you probably spend a pretty good amount of time trying to make yourself feel good and sometimes to no avail. What if you channeled that energy into making other people feel good which basically always works? It DOES work. Teaching spin has given me a sense of self again because I’m doing something I love that really means something. Sure, working 7 days a week is a little exhausting but it’s not forever and my classes don’t feel like work at all. Well, they feel like physical work but not exhausting mental work!

One of the best parts of this trip is when we’re going. First of all, we’re going to Costa Rica in the beginning of August for John’s sister wedding but all we have to pay for is the plane ticket. Obviously super stoked to go! I’ve been waiting for years to be able to afford to travel and it’s what I want to save my money for. I’M LITERALLY SO EXCITED I CAN’T STOP DANCING. But we are going on November 4th which is just 2 days after I run the NYC Marathon! What an amazing treat, right? It will give me something to think about during those terrible miles at the end of the marathon when I will be wishing I was dead. And I won’t have to worry about fitting in workouts or anything on vacation because I’ll be taking the week off from exercising other than walking! SO MUCH SLEEP, CANNOT WAIT.

After weeks of shopping and comparing, the resort I kept coming back to was The Westin. Take a deep breath and take a look at these pics. PS- I’ve never been on a tropical vacation, so my excitement level is through the roof.

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Okay I’m literally drooling.

Only 241 days until we leave! Expect a daily countdown and I am NOT sorry. 😉

If you’ve been to Cancun, please tell me all about it!!

How often do you treat yourself with clothes, shoes, etc? What makes you feel good?