Category Archives: Travel

NYC: Day One

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As promised, I’m going to begin my NYC recap! Sorry for being such a lazy bum and not getting to this sooner. My bad.

First off, I don’t think I mentioned this in any of the posts leading up to my trip, but the reason I went up to NYC was for my cousin’s wedding. She lives in Manhattan, so naturally, it made sense to have the wedding where she lives, where her and her fiancé (now husband!) met, and in a city that she loves so dearly. I, personally, am very happy she had it there because it gave me an excuse to go up there! Winking smile Thanks, Jen! Love you!

Our flight was at 8:20 a.m. on Friday morning, so we had to get up pretty early to get to the airport. Needless to say, I was a little tired. I really don’t like flying. It’s not that I mind actually flying, it’s the whole waiting aspect that inevitably goes along with it…what a hassle. However, I would take sitting in an airport for a couple of hours and getting to my destination faster than sitting in a car for 18 hours. No thank you.

We flew into LaGuardia which is in Queens and waited for our shuttle to pick us up to take us to our hotel.

**Side note: If you ever go to NYC and get in any kind of vehicle, be prepared to be scared. Very, very scared. I thought I was going to die multiple times. Just saying. But for as crowded and congested as the roads are there, and as much as people don’t follow traffic laws, traffic moves remarkably well. No one really obeys any laws (FORGET about people using their blinker!), but everyone just kind of “exists” together and somehow, it works.**

We stayed in Midtown at Hotel Pennsylvania. It was an excellent location, but the hotel itself was just “meh”. It actually kinda freaked me out. The night before I left I read an article about a crazy bed bug epidemic that is sweeping the nation. Yeah, BED BUGS! Oh HELL no! I don’t do bugs…and ESPECIALLY bugs that bite. No, no, no. So of course, as soon as we checked into our room, I immediately made Ryan put our luggage in the bathroom while I proceeded to check the headboard, base boards, the mattress, the sheets, and all the other furniture. I’m one of those people who will clean their hotel bathroom and spray things with Lysol before I even take my shoes off and walk around. *NERD ALERT!* (Or maybe a germaphobe?) Anyway…long story short, no bed bugs. Thank you sweet baby Jesus!

We arrived in NYC around lunch time, so we all decided to step out and find somewhere to eat. We ended up eating at The Local, which was only a block from our hotel. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures from much of the first day. Sorry again. *Blogger fail* The food was okay but the services was dreadful. It really gave us a bad impression and we were all hoping that the rest of our stay wouldn’t be so cumbersome. Luckily, that was the only bad thing that happened while we were there! Everywhere and everyone else we met were delightful! 😀 Success!

After we ate, we decided to walk around for a bit. Our hotel was at 7th and 34th, which is right across the street from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. It is also only about 10 (guesstimate) blocks away from Times Square so we decided we should definitely venture that way and check out everything!

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From left to right: my younger brother Jake, Ryan, and my daddy-o.

This was on the way. I have no idea who this is supposed to be. All I know is that we were in the Fashion District, so it makes sense that the man is sewing something. 😀

 

We kept walking and ended up smack dab in the middle of Times Square! Times Square is an awesome place. Soooooooo crowded though!!! If you’re not a “people person”, or get anxious in large crowds, you might want to forego it. Also, just a little side note, no one that you see in Times Square is actually from New York – it is saturated with tourists. So if you’re thinking you’re going to see a New Yorker in their natural habitat, you most likely won’t. Winking smile

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After walking around all afternoon, we were pretty hungry for dinner. We decided to eat at a little Irish pub called Langdan’s. I had a steak sandwich and a side salad. It was the BEST sandwich EVER!!!!!!!!! I also had a delicious micro beer. It was a light beer and had a hint of sweetness…I think it was apricot? Either way, it was awesome.

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We all sat and chatted over dinner and before we knew it, it was 11:00 p.m. We were all exhausted from a day of traveling and walking around. My feet were HURTING! We walked back to our hotel and called it a night. I was so excited for what was in store for the other three days! See you tomorrow with NYC: Day Two recap!

Let’s HIIT it!

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Hello! Happy Thriday! I’m leaving for NYC bright and early tomorrow morning, so today is my Friday! 😀

I’m so excited to be going to NYC, but thought I’d check-in and do a little blogging before jetting off. I probably won’t be posting while I’m out of town, but rest assured dear friends, I’ll have plenty of pics from my travels. No worries! 😉

Today though, I’d like to talk to you about one of my favorite methods of training: HIIT!

No, not that kind of hit, the other kind. 😀

I’m sure most of you know what this is, or have at least heard of it. If not, here is a little run down of what HIIT training is all about!

High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also called High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise (HIIE) or sprint interval training, is an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 9–20 minutes. These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism, and improved fat burning.

I LOVE me some HIIT workouts! My HIIT workouts run around 20 minutes long. This is a cardio-driven workout routine, but don’t think you’re limited to just the treadmill if you want to do one! I also enjoy doing HIIT routines on the bikes and elliptical’s in the gym.

Below is an example of what a typical HIIT routine will look like with respect to the level of intensity and duration:

Beginner

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Hiit Training 1

Intermediate

Hiit Training 2

Advanced

Hiit Training 2

Hiit workout 1

Hiit Training 3

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These workouts are short, but man-oh-man are they effective! I usually combine my HIIT days with my strength training days.

Another slightly different approach to the traditional HIIT routine is the Tabata method. Commonly called “the single most effective type of high intensity interval training”, Tabata uses 20 seconds of super-intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cycle is repeated 8 times for a duration of four minutes. Yeah you read that right, FOUR MINUTES AND YOU’RE DONE! 😀 Don’t be fooled by the short duration though, this method will totally kick your butt and leave you in a pool of tears sweat on the floor.

The secret to making this type of training effective though, it to go all out in those intense phases. You’ve GOT to push yourself! No pain, no gain! Remember, exercise isn’t supposed to be comfortable. If it were, everyone would do it, and we know not everyone does.

Tabata is especially useful with weights. Kettlebells, for example, are great tools to use during your tabata routine. Other exercises such as front squats or the push press are good too! Case in point, just be sure to use something that will work your biggest muscle groups, otherwise you won’t see that much benefit.

Finally, make sure that you allow your body adequate rest after you do a HIIT or Tabata routine. If you can do these routines everyday (especially the Tabata), you’re not doing them correctly.

I hope after you’ve read this post, you will share the same sentiments as my little friend here. 😀

Tablerock: Day Two

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A few more pics from day one: The Time Capsule….(?) Strange and cool.

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aaaannnnddd this:

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LOL, there are no words. Things got cray, cray.

Anywho- onto DAY TWO!

On Saturday, Jason, Ryan, and their parents all went out on a guided fishing excursion in celebration of Jay, Ry, and Kent’s birthday’s. While they were out fishing all morning, Amy and I took the kids into Eureka Springs for brunch and a little sight seeing. (And maybe to let the kids wear off some of their energy Winking smile)

I absolutely ADORE Eureka Springs, AR. It is honestly one of the coolest and weirdest places I’ve ever been. It’s kind of a paradox actually.The architecture screams nineteenth and early twentieth century, but the shops and locals are a throw-back to the 1960’s. It’s really funny and I love it.

It has such a rich history as a place where only the most wealthy in society would go for health and relaxation purposes. As the name would suggest, there are so.many.springs. Natural, cool, springs that were believed to have healing powers. People would travel across the country from cities in order to be near the healing waters. Whether they actually work or not, I don’t know, but I’d like to believe there is a little magic in this world. Winking smile

Amy and I went to a local restaurant called Local Flavors. I love going to that place. The food is super yummy and they have some delicious mimosa’s and bloody mary’s. Open-mouthed smile I was in the mood for a burger, so I ordered one with a sliced avocado on top. YUM!! Riley had a delicious all-natural peanut butter, honey, and banana sandwich with sliced pears. He loved it – especially the pears! Winking smile

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After we were all fed, we decided to walk around the town and sightsee.

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We also had to make a mandatory stop at the ice cream shack for some froyo.

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It was delicious!

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LOL- Humpty Dumpty….sitting on a wall (let’s hope he doesn’t have a great fall Winking smile). I’m tellin’ ya, this town is special.

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We only stayed for a little while, because we had something to do that was super duper important, so we headed home.

We had been promising the kids all morning long that we would take them out on the boat. It was too cold to get in the lake, but perfect weather for a boat ride! Open-mouthed smile

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As awkward as that picture looks, trust me, it was way worse before I took this. Sarcastic smile

The kids were pretty tired after getting up early and being out on the boat, so Kent and Peggy took them back home to get them some dinner. Meanwhile, the rest of us went back out with the fishing boat to do a little early evening fishing. I got a couple bites, but didn’t catch anything. It was still a lot of fun though and incredibly relaxing to be out on the water at that time of day.

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I haven’t been in a fishing boat like that before and almost fell into the water a couple times, but it was still fun. Luckily, I can swim. Winking smile Regardless, the lake was so beautiful.

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Gorgeous. Unfortunately, Sunday came all too soon and we had to leave. Sad smile It was sad, but I’m excited for when we can go back in August. Open-mouthed smile

Tablerock: Day One

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Riley and JJ

Greetings from Holiday Island, AR!! We all headed down to Tablerock right after work on Thursday. Ryan, Riley, Jay, Amy, their son JJ, and I all rode together. The kids did AWESOME in the car and we made excellent time.  The kids were pumped to finally get here.

The Crescent Hotel

I woke up yesterday and went for a run. It was absolutely gorgeous outside, but my run was B-R-U-T-A-L! Since we are in the Ozark Mountains, the hills were KILLER! I got back, showered, and then us girls went to get mani’s and pedi’s at the spa inside the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, AR. Have any of you ever been there? It’s awesome! You can read more about it here.

The Old Front Entrance to the Crescent Hotel

The Crescent sculpture outside the main entrance

Spanish-style Catholic Church looking out from the balcony

When the building was first built, it was a hotel. In 1908, Dr. Baker took it over and transformed the hotel into a hospital and “health resort”, claiming he had the cure for cancer. The pictures below are some images that still hang in the hotel.

Pictures from when Dr. Baker ran the hotel

Dr. Baker’s Hotel

Scary…

Scary x 2

Creepy, huh? Needless to say, the man wasn’t an actual doctor, hundreds of people died under his “care”,  and he was finally prosecuted by the federal government for false claims that he could cure cancer. He defrauded so many people just to make a profit. You can read more of this store here. It is truly creepy.

View from the balcony

The views from the upper balconies though, are spectacular.

Balcony view

Balcony view

The hotel grounds

After we looked around the hotel for a little while, it was time for our spa appointments. Let me just say, it was ahhhh- mazin’.

Mani’s and Pedi’s at the New Moon Day Spa and Salon in the hotel

The Garden Bistro! Delicious, locally grown, organic food prepared fresh every day!

After our spa appointments, we ate lunch at The Garden Bistro. This place is delicious!

Tropical rum punch made with fresh juice! YUM!

The hummus and veggie plate! Delish!

While we were out, the boys took the kids out on the boat and had a great time! When we got back to the house, the guys went golfing and this is what happened.

The kids were tuckered out. 😉

 

 

It was an awesome day with absolutely perfect weather! See you tomorrow with more pics from our trip!

Thursday randomness…

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1.) “Boyfriend” – Justin Bieber

Yeah, I downloaded this song on itunes and I love it. Don’t judge – I got Bieber fever – and I like it.

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2.) I preparation for going out of town this weekend, I made sure I cleaned out my fridge so I wouldn’t come home to any “surprises”. I had stuff leftover from Sunday to make this (Thanks Ree!)

and this. So we had breakfast casserole and mini blackberry cobbler’s last night…soooo amazing! The cobbler’s were so cute because I made 5 little ramekins so each person could have their own, then I brought the other two with me to work today so I could share with two of my work friends. Blackberry cobbler makes everything better. 🙂

 Sausage and Cheese Crescent Squares Recipe

I omitted the cheddar cheese and included 6 eggs in there as well. Probably one of my favorite meals.  I could eat it at any time of day, breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Delish!

3.) Thursday’s are one of my favorite nights of the week because two of my favorite shows are on:

Vampire Diaries

and The Secret Circle. Too bad the season finale for both shows was last week. I have no idea what to do with myself now.

Again, don’t judge me. I can’t help but love these mini-supernatural soap opera’s. I just do.

4.) I’m so excited for next weekend, you know why? Because I get to go here!

I’m ready to take a gigantic bite outta the Big Apple!

5.) My favorite perfume:

Dior - Miss Dior Eau de Parfum

I LOOOOOOOVE the scent…it’s one of my absolute favorites. I bought my first bottle of this when I was a sophomore in college and I loved it so much! I wore it everywhere! Unfortunately, someone with no soul stole it from me and I never recovered. I just now worked up the urge to blow another $80+ on a new one.

**Whoever stole my bottle of this back in 2007, if you’re reading this, I’m still mad at you. The End.**

Well that’s it for today’s randomness. There is a lot more where that came from. You’re welcome. 😉

The Best of The Lou, Part 1

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As you all know, I live in the St. Louis area. I love my city and I’m proud of where I come from.  St. Louis isn’t a huge city like L.A. or NYC, it doesn’t have crazy attractions like Vegas, and it’s probably not even within the first 50 or 100 cities/places that pop into people’s minds when they are thinking of places to vacation…and that’s okay because I’ll let you in on a little secret: St. Louis has a ton of stuff to offer!

Here is my first list (of many) of The Best of Lou: places to see and things to do whether you’re a first-time visitor, or if you’ve lived here all your life.

1.) Go see a Cardinal’s game!

There’s a reason why St. Louisan’s are known as “The Best Fans in Baseball”. Go check out our ten-time World Champion team! 😀

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2.) The Gateway Arch

Built as a monument to westward expansion, the Gateway Arch is Missouri’s tallest accessible building. Yes, you can go all the way up to the top of that thing…cool, huh?

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3.) Crown Candy Kitchen

One of St. Louis’s oldest and most popular attractions. A vintage feel with a REAL soda fountain, amazing malts, and delicious food. You’ll feel like you were transported back in time! But get there early because as soon as the doors open, there is already a line at the door. Have a milkshake for me! 😉

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4.) The St. Louis Zoo

One of the nation’s leading zoological parks, the St. Louis Zoo offers a multitude of things to do and it’s one of the cities many FREE attractions!

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5.) The City Museum

Don’t be fooled by the name, although we do have plenty of traditional museum’s as well, the City Museum is a playground for children, and for children at heart! 😉 One of my personal favorite things to do! The City Museum is a giant playground filled with caves, slides and climbing apparatus made from recycled and found objects.

Yes, you can actually slide down those!

 The outdoor jungle gym…SO. AWESOME!!

6.) The Botanical Garden

 79 acres of lush, beautiful landscapes featuring architecture, greenhouses, and conservatories. The St. Louis Botanical Garden is the oldest in the country. 

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7.) The Delmar Loop (locals just call it “The Loop”)

This six-block entertainment and shopping district is packed with hip bars, eclectic restaurants, live music venues, vintage clothing boutiques and a Hollywood-inspired walk of fame featuring St. Louis celebrities.

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8.) The Muny

The nation’s oldest and largest outdoor theater, The Muny hosts some of Broadway’s best  during the months of June – August. DEFINITELY a MUST SEE!

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9.) The Hill

St. Louis’s own “Little Italy”. The Hill is littered with Italian bakeries, restaurants, grocery stores, salons, and bocce gardens. Mmm, pasta. 😉

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10.) Forest Park

The site of the 1904 World’s Fair, Forest Park is one of the nations largest urban park’s. It also houses a number of other St. Louis attractions (which I will dig into in another post).

I hope after this post, St. Louis will be on your radar when you are considering your next vacation. There are certainly a lot more things to do in St. Louis, but I hope this gets you started. 😀

First Impressions…are a bitch.

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Did anyone watch The Bachelorette last night?

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I did. I don’t know why I even watch that show, it kinda annoys me. The bachelor/bachelorette always seems fake, and the men/women (okay, let’s be candid – contestants) are either bitchy, egotistical, over-the-top, or just plain weird.

Who could forget this gem?

Never you mind that he’s from The STL. I’m just going to pretend that’s a typo on ABC’s part.

Any way, back to your regularly scheduled programming…

It’s Ryan’s b-day next week! Exciting stuff! In celebration, Ryan, Riley, Ryan’s parents, Ryan’s brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and I are all going down to Tablerock.

Ryan’s parents have a little house in Holiday Island, AR, which is right on the GORGEOUS Tablerock Lake, nestled in the Ozark Mountains. It’s about five hours from my house, which is far enough away to feel like a mini-vacay, but close enough that we don’t have to fly.

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Beautiful, isn’t it?

We are heading out Thursday evening as soon as we all get off work and coming back on Sunday. This will be the first time we are taking Riley on a semi-long road trip. I have been wracking my brain in order to determine everything we will need for the drive down: snacks, drinks, sandwich’s, DVD’s, Leap Pad, games, coloring books, etc, etc, etc. I hope I don’t forget anything.

I’ll be sure to post some amazing pics from my trip while I’m down there. I’m going to try my best to post every day because next week is going to be even more crazy! We are leaving for NYC on the 25th for a family wedding that I’m singing in!

Have a great day!

Questions/Thoughts:

Has anyone ever been to Tablerock?

Any suggestions for what to pack when taking a little one on a road trip?