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On the road, Travel

LA PAZ, MEXICO

April 6, 2016

LA PAZ how I love you.

A good friend and former co-worker of mine has been telling me about the wonders of La Paz for many years and Tyler and I finally were able to experience this joyous place recently when we travel there for some good friends’ wedding.

It wasn’t the first time we choose to depart out of the Tijuana airport for a Mexican flight – the Mexican airline Volaris is a great option when traveling to any destination in Mexico and it’s a lot more cost efficient to fly domestic. It’s the only airline that I’ve ever seen that regularly has site-wide sales on all flights – if you time it right, booking a flight on Volaris is kinda shopping on black Friday, without the crowds. However, it was the first time we crossed into Mexico using the new CBX bridge, a $120-million, 390-foot sky bridge, that opened in December 2015. The bridge links Tijuana’s airport with a satellite terminal in Otay Mesa. Round-trip bridge tickets are $24 each and are most beneficial on the return leg of the trip because they allow you to completely skip the United States entry lines. 

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The flight to La Paz was only about an hour long and is quite beautiful – the flight path goes south over the Baja peninsula and if you are lucky enough to score a window seat on the right side of the plane, offers some incredible views. When we landed in La Paz, we jumped in a shuttle with the rest of the wedding guests. We drove through the downtown part of La Paz (past many american chain stores like Walmart & Costco – great opportunity to pick up supplies if needed) and then drove for about an hour through rugged dessert to get to a secluded bay with crystal clear waters called Bay of Dreams. Our friends rented out Gran Sueno in it’s entirety so the only people there was guests of the bride and groom. 

Here are some of the highlights of our time in La Paz: 

1) #MandatorySunrise

Even though La Paz is just an hour flight away from San Diego, watching the sunrise over the ocean in La Paz makes you feel as if you’ve traveled all the way to the east coast or the Caribbean. This is because La Paz faces East towards the Sea of Cortez in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Us West-coasters are pretty accustomed to beautiful ocean sunsets but the ocean sunrise phenomenon is quite the treat! 

Tip➝ if your room faces the ocean, leave your blinds open and the sunrise will naturally wake you up.

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2) Open Water Swimming

The bay is about a mile end to end and has some THE healthiest reefs I’ve ever been fortunate enough to see with my own eyes (including Tulum, Mexico and St. Maarten & Anguilla in the Caribbean). On both Friday and Saturday morning of our trip, Tyler and I met our friends Topher & Katie for early morning swims (after caffeinating, of course) in the bay. The water temp was a dreamy 70 degrees which made lovely swimming conditions and just a little chilly refreshing for everything else. Instead of the usual black line that we stare at when pool swimming, in La Paz, we saw tons of fish and even a few stingrays on our swims!

Tip➝ I love that the two Jolyn swimsuits I brought on the trip were functional for all my activities including open water swimming, beach volleyball, and stand up paddle PLUS there are no weird tan lines that come with most “active” suits. 

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3) Stand Up Paddle

The bride and groom kindly rented out all of the beach toys for the entirety of the trip, including stand up paddle boards! Because the water was so clear, it felt like we were paddling on top of an aquarium. Since we were in Mexico, we made sure to bring the proper hydration supplies to enjoy out on the water! 

Tip➝ Fill a mesh bag with brewskies or other cold beverages and attach to leash loop on the surfboard. You should NEVER be going to speed in Mexico so the drag won’t bother you at all. Alternatively, pack hands-free neck koozies available at your local bass pro shop. #classy 

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4) Beach Volley

A beach isn’t really a beach if there’s no beach volleyball! Lucky for our group, a beach volleyball court was situated perfectly between a long row of chaise lounge chairs and palm trees. As much as it pained me, I couldn’t really get too down on the beach volleyball action because of my recovering knee injury but Tyler and I did get into some serious pepper

Tip➝ For the non-volley people: pepper is “when two players face each other separated by a distance of 5–20 feet (2–6 meters). Distances vary based upon the players’ preference. Player 2 starts by hitting or tossing a volleyball player 1. Player 1 then passes the ball back to player 2 starting the drill.

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5) Horseback Riding

The bride grew up horseback riding so she made sure the guests got the chance to ride if they wanted. A friend and I took off for a 30 minute jaunt to one side of the bay and back and even splashed around in the water a bit on the horse. I could certainly tell we were in Mexico when we were allowed to ride horses without helmets, shoes, and without signing any liability releases. All good though, our childhood horseback riding lessons came in handy! 

Tip➝ although it may be tempting, don’t go horseback riding without pants or at the minimum, boots. Stirrup on skin contact ins’t recommended and I had quite the bruise to prove it!

6) Mexican brew sipping & pool side relaxation

With the ocean being as gorgeous as it was, most guests, including us, spent a majority of time there. However, when the bride and groom hosted an open bar the day before the wedding up at the main pool, people were drawn to the pool like limes to coronas. 

Tip➝ On this trip, my drink of choice was sipping (slowly) tequila. It would take me close to an hour to finish a single shot (longer that it would take me to finish a margarita and without all the sugar). I was able to wake up early every morning for sunrise + ocean swims w/o a hangover. Score!

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The groom!

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7) Wedding day perfection

On Saturday morning, the bride and her wedding party paddled out for a pre-wedding pow wow on the water. I had just finished swimming and decided to swim out to say hi. The bride was so chilled out and happy, exactly the way you should be on your wedding day! 

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Here’s a little sneak peak of the incredible wedding photos captured by the pro, Topher Riley.

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Photo Credit: underwater swimming, stand up paddle, beach volley: Topher Riley 

On the road, Travel

The Fun-Lover’s Guide to San Francisco

December 31, 2015
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A few weeks ago, I paid my sister Caitlyn a visit in San Francisco. The littlest P has lived there for just over a year and has the city pretty dialed if you’re into things like coffee, craft beer, good food, and adventures (which I am 100% into). I arrived on a Thursday and left on a Sunday morning. After the trip, I. was. exhausted. Little sis is 23 and has an unlimited energy source. Even though it took me a few days to recover, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Here are the highlights: 

1) COFFEE | St. Franks 

St. Franks, located in Russian Hill, is one of those coffee shops that offer a little something for everyone. Amazing assortment of beans to purchase (all of which can be made into a pour-over coffee), lattes and latte art galore, milk from local dairies, and a variety of nut milks all made in house. Perfection. 

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2) MORE COFFEE | Sightglass SF 

Sightglass SF, located in the Mission, is another great SF coffee spot. I opted for a single espresso shot and the crema was perfection in a glass. Another highlight: the floor! So cool. I also like that they sell really delicious dark chocolate to feed my chocolate addiction. 

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3) GET BENDY | The Pad Studios 

One of my favorite San Diego yoga instructors once said that the magic in Yoga is as much about the community as it is the practice. My sister has embraced the community aspect of Yoga at the Pad Studio in SF. For the last year, she’s regularly attended the same class with the same instructor on the same day of the week. The results = she’s homies with the instructor and has made some sweet yoga buddies. It was really neat experiencing this sense of community with her! o-2

 

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Caitlyn and her yoga instructor/pal, Becca.

3) EXPLORE | Point Reyes 

After Yoga on Friday, we packed the car with snacks and loaded our shared Spotify playlist with all of the hottest jams and headed north to Point Reyes. Known as the windiest and foggiest spots on the Pacific Coast, Point Reyes is frequently blanketed by week-long periods of fog and few years pass that do not see violent gales of 75 to 100 miles per hour (121 to 161 km/h) strike the area. So we were super excited when we left the city because there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We thought we might experience one of those epic clear Point Reyes days! 

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We were wrong. 

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Following our chilly lighthouse adventure, we enjoyed a delicious cider with friends we met in the parking lot. More on WILDCIDE hard cider later. 

↠For dinner, we stopped by an oyster resturant called Saltwater Oyster Depot in Inverness. This was my first time having proper oysters and after I struggled a bit with the first one, I am happy to say I really enjoyed them! We sat at the bar and chatted up our server and eventually met the owner – such nice, down to earth people. Will return!

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4) SWEAT | TRX training center 

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On Saturday morning, we headed to the TRX training center (which also doubles as the TRX headquarters!) for a workout. Such a cool experience and well-run class! I liked it so much that I bought a TRX system to bring home with me to use in the backyard, on lifeguard towers, trees, anywhere. 

5) FESTY LIFE | SF Craft Beer Festival 

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On Saturday, Caitlyn had a work obligation. Sounds boring, but it’s not, since Caitlyn works in the beer industry! We got to try a variety of craft brews from California and beyond. WildCide, the cider brand that her and her team recently launched, was also being poured at the festival. YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS CIDER! The only ingredient in this “champagne of apple cider”: fermented apples. No sugar or apple juice is added in making the overall sweetness and sugar content lower than most ciders. 

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6) DINE | BBQ & Pizza  

Of course no trip to SF would be complete without a few unique dining experiences.

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image via insidescoopsf.sfgate.com

↠The first night we visited a place called Smokestack in the DogPatch, which is almost too hipster for me but I can’t lie, I liked it. Smokestack is a BBQ spot that has tons of beers, mostly brewed by Magnolia. The food is served on butcher paper on a large medal tray – classic BBQ style There are a variety of meat and side options ranging from brisket, ribs, slaw, to baked beans. The interior is very cool and rustic with large wooden tables and communal seating. The downside is that this place is verrrrry pricey. $50-$60 for two people.  I couldn’t help but laugh inwardly at the great irony of the situation. I talk about vegan this and gluten-free that for my job and here I was chowing down on a massive piece of meat and a delicious piece of homemade bread. It’s all about a healthy balance, right? 

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Image via Del Popolo

↠The second night we visited Del Popolo, a resturant made famous by it’s food truck roots. Apparently, when this food truck would show up at places like Off The Grid, people would wait in line for over an hour for pizza! Crazy? Maybe. When my sister told me this story, I wanted to try to to see what all the fuss is about. Lucky for me, Del Popolo recently opened a brick and motor location in Nob Hill. The pizza my sister and I shared was one of the best I’ve had in my life. According to our waiter, it’s the naturally-leavened dough that sets it apart. It’s cooked in a wood burning oven which gives it a unique flavor.

When it came time to order a glass of wine, I was surprised at the wine list. Only naturally fermented wines were available. Cool idea but the taste got some getting used to. According to an article in sfist.com…  “Darsky (Del Popolo founder) will use a natural fermentation process for all the pizza dough, and that attention to natural fermentation will extend to the beer and wine program as well. “Relying on factory-produced yeast leads to a degree of sameness throughout pizzerias and bakeries, which is something we want to avoid,” says Darsky. “The same is true for our wine programs… Our choices will be driven by selections that are naturally fermented in ways that produce character.” 

7) WALK | The Streets San Francisco 

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8) DRINK | Cocktails, Beer, & Wine 

Of course we had to hit up the best of the best when it came to wine, beer, and cocktail establishments! Here are my favorites:   

↠Cocktails: Trick Dog, Mission 

Photo Cred: https://www.thrillist.com/

Photo Cred: https://www.nightclub.com 

“Best ice program in the game!” was the first thing Caitlyn said to me when she told me about Trick Dog. When we arrived on Saturday afternoon, the place was packed but we were able to find a spot at the bar. Bartender Caitlin Laman (pictured above) greeted us and she asked us what we like to drink. We got on the topic of eggnog and she got very excited to whip up a fresh batch (in 8 minutes, flat, mind you!). After our round we departed but not before Caitlin invited us to play a pick up basketball game the following day. Huge fan of this place! 

↠Beer: Mikkeller, Union Square  

Backstory: Founded in 2006 in Copenhagen, Denmark , Mikkeller was originally a microbrewery. Mikkeller is based on the or  “gypsy” ethos; that is, the company does not operate an official brewery and, instead, collaborates with other brewers to produce their recipes or experimental one-offs. The brewery was founded by two home brewers: Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, a high school teacher, and journalist Kristian Klarup Keller. Both sought to introduce their home-brewed beer to the public and to “challenge beer friends with intense new tastes”, drawing inspiration from the American breweries that “aren’t afraid to play and break all the rules”.

In July 2013, the first international Mikkeller bar was opened in San Francisco. The SF bar uses the “on-the-fly” beer taps that allows the beer to be poured in a very sophisticated and controlled manner. Beer, water and carbon dioxide are blended in a precise manner and the product is served at the correct temperature, with variations applying to different styles of beer.

Bonus: if you like sour beers, they have a secret room downstairs that is entirely dedicated to sours. 

↠Wine: Bacchus, Russian Hill 

The most cozy little wine bar right down the street from my sister’s place. They say “wine & sake bar” on their website but I don’t recall seeing any Sake. Just delicious Rose Champage and big, bold reds. Lots of reds! Helpful that Caitlyn is friends with the entire staff. 

When I look back at this trip to SF, YES, it was busy and action-packed. Yes, I needed a few days to recover. But I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. I got to see and experience the (awesome) life Caitlyn has made in SF and the friends she’s made.  I am so glad I decided to make the trip, especially since Caitlyn recently accepted a new job in NYC and will be making the move at the end of January. Can’t wait to visit her there after she’s settled and write “The Fun-Lover’s Guide To NYC”. 

On the road, Travel

Dueling Family Vacations! Anguilla Del Carmen

November 2, 2015

 

When Tyler and I got married close to 4 years ago, we moved to San Diego to be together and for both of our jobs. San Diego is an absolutely amazing place to call home, and we are very happy here, but it’s tough being so far from our families. My parents are 600-ish miles away in Northern California and Tyler’s family is over 2,500 miles away (!!!) in Montreal, Canada. When we first started dating, one of the most attractive qualities I saw in Tyler was the close bond he had with his family. I’ll never forget my first trip to Montreal on our Birthday (yes, we have the same Birthday!). The way that Tyler interacted with his family was so special – I knew at that moment this was the guy I wanted to be with forever. It didn’t take too long after that point for each of us to bond with the other’s families. It’s one of my favorite things in the the wold that my two sisters call Tyler “brother”.

Despite the fact that we wish we could see our families more, we are lucky to get to Montreal once per year and to Northern California 2x a year. This year however, the stars aligned and we were able to celebrate my Aunt’s beautiful wedding in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, one weekend and then travel to Anguilla in The British Virgin Islands for Tyler’s family’s vacation. Two weeks, two families, two full hearts. Tyler summed up the trip perfectly when he said that it wasn’t the tangible items like beautiful beaches, the amazing meals, or the picturesque resorts that made the trip special. It was the intangible things like bonding with my new Uncle Dave (or as we now call him, Tio D) in Mexico and our niece and nephew in Anguilla, the hours of laughter, and coming together after news of a death of a family member back at home that made the trip unforgettable. 

The video only shows the Anguilla portion of adventure and doesn’t really do the trip justice as I tended to only film when we were in and around water (which was a large part of the trip!). 

Huge thanks to Elizabeth Wightman & Dave Leontieff for throwing the most amazing, fun and love-filled wedding weekend in Playa. We love you and are so happy to have been there to celebrate your beautiful love.

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Aunt Bizbeth and Tio D

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Gorgeous Bride!

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Tearing up the dance with the Best Man, the incredible Mike Leimbach (and fellow Santa Clara alumni!)

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Caitlyn, Melissa, Aunt Bizbeth, Tio D, and me!

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Dad, Caitlyn, Melissa, Mom, Me, Tyler

Massive thanks to Tyler’s Sister Emma & Brother-In-Law Nick Guezen (Luxury Retreats) for organizing the most incredible “pinch-me” trip to Anguilla. We love you so much! 

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The Guezen-Porteous Gang

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Luxury Retreats Love

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Boatride from St. Maarten to Anguilla after a day of Kite Boarding

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The family that floats together stays together

Action, On the road, The Northern Home, Train, Travel, Yoga

Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon 2015

August 21, 2015
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>> Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon 2015 Race Recap

We just returned from an amazing weekend in Vancouver for the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon (& yoga & party!). This is the second consecutive year that Tyler and I have raced Seawheeze but this year was extra special because my two younger sisters, Melissa and Caitlyn, flew up for the race and crushed their first half marathon! We squeezed A LOT in the four days we were in BC. Here is just a quick recap, hopefully it will convince you to sign up for Seawheeze 2016 (registration opens September 16th, 2015!) 

Background: The very first long run (more than 5 miles) I ever did was around Stanley Park during the Winter Olympics in 2010. I was in Vancouver for the entire month of the Olympics working for Oakley. The month was a blur… super long days at the Oakley safehouse helping athletes build custom eyewear for their races, trips to the venues to deliver product to athletes and cheer them on, and nights filled with parties. Lots and lots of parties. I had two great (and very fit) co-workers from South Africa who would run around Stanley Park early in the morning. They kept teasing me about the long (and late) hours I was keeping so I decided to join them on one of these early morning runs. It was an absolute game changer. We started the run in complete darkness and just as we ran under Lions Gate Bridge, the bridge lights turned off. It was magical! In the months following the Olympics, I visited Tyler often and kept the running theme going. Below is a photo of Tyler and I on a quick jump break during one of our Stanley Park seawall runs. 

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When I first found about about the Seawheeze Half Marathon back in 2013, I convinced Tyler to sign up with me. It was a great way to revisit those old running memories all while catching up with dear, dear friends in the area (like GOOD people, salt of the earth types!). 

This Year’s Race Weekend

Thursday: Tyler and I flew out of LAX after spending the day at the AVP Beach Volleyball tournament in Manhattan Beach for work. As we pursued the magazine stand near our gate, we discovered that Newsweek’s cover image was  eerily similar to the official Seaweeze shorts. The ripple effect of the Seawheeze runs deep! 

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We met Caitlyn, my youngest sister, at YVR airport who flew in from SF. Since it was close to midnight, we opted to take a cab instead of the skytrain – the preferred form of transportation 99% of the time due to the nasty traffic from YVR to DT Vancouver! We got to our awesome airbnb condo in Gastown close to 1am.

>>Sidenote: highly recommend renting a condo through airbnb or VRBO instead of hotel rooms. It’s more economical and that way, you can spend more quality time with your group. It’s also great for whipping up coffee and breakfast in the mornings.

We quickly caught up with our other sister Melissa and friend Nilo before heading to bed in prep for package pickup and the showcase store the next day. Each year Lululemon releases several exclusive prints that can only be purchased at Seawheeze and people go absolutely nuts for it – like to the point that they sleep on the floor outside – talk about dedication! 

Friday: The Seawheeze store and package pickup opened at 7am so we left the condo at 6:30am and jogged down to the convention center. We arrived just before 7am to find a staggering line. The sisters ditched me about 1.5 hours into the line and I was very close to throwing in the towel but I met some nice friends in line and it wasn’t too bad. 3 hours later I got into the store to find some pretty sweet items. Although, at certain points, I kept thinking I was getting punked by Lululemon. I waited in line for 3 hours to buy full-priced Lululemon items with bugs on them? Regardless, I was stoked on the stuff I purchased and even picked up some items for my sisters. Worth it? Worth it! 

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Later that day, Tyler and I found our way to an amazing brewery called Postmark in Railtown. The food was delicious, the setting was relaxed and comfortable, and the beer was delicious (beer the day before a race? but of course, it’s part of the carb loading process!). Bonus: Postmark has it’s own soundcloud page that I have been rocking out to all week, helping ease the transition back to reality. That night, everyone regrouped to enjoy some of the fun Seawheeze pre-race festivities like airbrush tats and to attend Sunset Yoga back at the convention center. 

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After yoga, it was early to bed in prep for the light jog we were going to run on Saturday. 

Saturday: Seawheeze Race day! Thanks to the convenience of the condo, we work up and made a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, peanut butter, and a banana. Since we were a big group, there were 12 of us who met at the hotel across the street from the start line. This was such a good call as the bathroom lines at the start lines were totally mobbed. Everything was mobbed, including bag check. Thank goodness for the “throw away shirt”! The morning was a bit chilly which made for perfect race weather but it was pretty cold to be walking around in a tank top. Enter the throw away shirt. Wear a long-sleeve shirt that you don’t really care about to the start line. Start the race with said shirt and as you warm up, strip it off and if you can, leave it at an aid station. No worries about bag check!

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Back to the run… I had no expectations of this race. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to run the whole thing! In all of 2015, the longest run I had gone on was 40 mins long (just over 4 miles) due to an annoying piriformis injury combined with a nasty cut to the back of my hamstring via surfboard fin that required 15 stitches. Since I am doing a Half Ironman in a month, I didn’t want to push too hard and further injure myself so I planned to take it easy. I started running with my sister Caitlyn, who had put in a solid amount of training for the race (her first half marathon!). She definitely pushed me along and I am stoked to say that we ran the entire thing and crossed the finish line together! There were certain points where my body was quite angry at me but all in all, I felt strong and this was a great confidence boost going into the Half Ironman. 

I am so so so proud of my sisters who crushed their first half marathon! They are such wonderful athletes – I have a feeling this won’t be their last running race! Also, Tyler crushed his race and got a new PR! All that swimming and biking is paying off. Our friend Nilo G was in a similar position as me and hasn’t run much this year due to a lingering injury but she was able to get through the entire race with a massive smile on her face. 

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After the race, we headed back to the condo for a nap and then headed to the Sunset Festival! This is the part that makes the Seawheeze so special! The Sunset Festival takes place on prime Stanley Park real estate – a prime piece of land that rarely allows events.

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The incredible Alex Mazerolle led a wonderful, relaxed, outdoor yoga session right as the sun started to set.

>>People: if you are ever in Vancouver, look this chick up and take one of her classes. She’s awesome! 

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The rest of the Seawheeze sunset festival was wonderful and we danced like crazy to the sweet jams of Bear Mountain, Yeasayer, and St Lucia – all while drinking Curiosity Lager – a specialty brewed lager by Stanley Park Brewing for the Seawheeze- and Okanagan Cider. Yum yum!

Sunday: On Sunday, we woke up early, rented a car, and headed North to visit friends. First stop was Whistler Village to see friends at Crankworx. This was my first time at the massive mountain bike festival and I wish I could have watched more of the events. Mountain bikers are gnarly. We got to catch the end of the Redbull Joyride event –  fusing the elements of slopestyle, dirt jump, and Nort Shore-style mt. biking – so cool!

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Crankworx in Whistler Village

After Crankworx, we headed even further North to Pemberton, the quintessential little mountain town. Our friends were just finishing up the “Slow cycle Food Sunday” – a celebration of food, farmers, and the joys of biking! We made it just in time for the after party. Love Pemberton! 

Monday: Last day in BC and we made it count. We started by hiking up to Nairn Falls just outside of Pemberton – a short little 2k jaunt to some incredibly powerful falls.   

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Next, we made our way south of Whistler for a little bungee action! Caitlyn is turning 23 on August 25th and this was her birthday wish in addition to running Seawheeze. She is so brave and is quite the daredevil and threw a massive backflip off the bridge! If you are in the area, I highly recommend visiting Whistler Bungee. These guys are pros, so friendly, and make the experience awesome. Videos to come! 

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And that wraps up Seawheeze 2015! Huge hat tip to Lululemon for putting on such a memorial event. So much heart and soul is put into Seawheeze and it really shows in everything from the actual race to the festival, expo, and even the lululemon snapchat! Registration opens for the 2016 event on September 16th, 2015. This year’s race sold out in 20 minutes so if you want to race, make sure you follow Seawheeze for the exact time that registration opens. 

On the road, Travel, Triathlon

Lake Tahoe: The Giant Blue Advil

July 17, 2015

When we were in Lake Tahoe a few weeks ago, we met a super sweet local who called the lake the “Giant Blue Advil” because of it’s healing powers. She also told us that the key to open water swims in Lake Tahoe is diving down 10 feet and drinking the cold clean water. I think I might drown if I attempted that maneuver but the thought alone is refreshing! 

Swimming in Lake Tahoe was a magical, almost zen like experience. Tyler and I did two separate 1.5 mile open water swims on the east side of the lake near Sand Harbor in prep for our upcoming half ironman. Swimming in some of the most iconic, crystal blue waters in all of Lake Tahoe was much better (in my opinion) that swimming in the murky ocean water of Souther California. 

We are just over two months away from Lake Tahoe Ironman 70.3! Who’s coming to hang? We promise there will be a beach day here (at Chimney Beach) the day after the race. 

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Action, Hike, How To, On the road

How To Stay Warm While Backpacking

June 11, 2015
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Think Memorial Day Weekend and images of pool parties, cold brews, backyard BBQs, and the start of summer weather most likely enter your mind. Ahhhhh, the visual is so pleasant.

Memorial Day 2015 was just a little different. After an extremely warm winter in California, Memorial Weekend in the Golden State brought chilly below average temps, rain, and even snow in certain areas. Because of the way the permits work with recreation.gov, we ended up booking our Memorial Day backpacking trip back in February, when California was in the middle of a hot spell so it would only be natural that we got snowed on both nights of our trip and temps averaged 20 degrees! I was prepared however since we encountered chilly temps my first backpacking trip ever (Memorial Day Weekend 2014). 

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Here are my tried and tested tips on staying warm while backpacking: 

  1. Pack smart. Invest in a great breathable, waterproof shell jacket WITH underarm zips! I also bring waterproof shell pants that weight less than a pound. Bring your finest winter long underwear. 
  2. Even if it’s cold when you begin your journey, your body will be warm after ten minutes of hauling a heavy pack on an incline. That being said, always keep rain jacket & gloves at the top of backpack and put on immediately when you start to feel cold or it starts to rain. 
  3. When you get to camp, change into dry (sweat-free) clothes as soon as you stop exercise mode (i.e. as soon as your tent and basic campsite items are set up). If you will be outside and it’s rainy, keep raincoat on so dry clothes stay dry. 
  4. Hot liquids work wonders! We brought dried apple cider mix & spiced rum. SO GOOD. Only error was not bringing enough (cider mix and rum!). 
  5. After dinner, boil additional hot water and place in nalgene water bottle. Use this warm becean of love to stay warm when you’re hanging out post-dinner. I even put this in my sleeping bag for added warmth. HEAVEN ON EARTH! Thanks to Johnie Gal at Dirtbagdarling.com for this great tip!
  6. Sleep with and in layers. When I know temps will be below freezing at night, I bring a silk sleeping bag liner (I use this one from Sea To Summit). I also sleep in long underware, a fleece, and socks. 
  7. If you are traveling with your dog, remember that they get cold too. #OurDogJasper sleeps on Tyler’s down mid-layer jacket. 
  8. Make sure your wet shoes are sheltered! We kept them in the tent with us on this trip because it was so rainy and windy outside, there was a chance that some precip might have entered our vestibule. 

This is how I stay warm while backpacking. Am I missing anything? Comment below! 

Action, Bike, On the road, Travel

5 Tips For Traveling With A Bike, From A Rookie’s Perspective

May 14, 2015
Monterey Road Bike

Last weekend I flew to Monterey to visit my amazing Mom for Mother’s Day. I hadn’t been back home to the GR831 (my sisters and I call home “GR831″ because of the 831 area code and  because we like to spell “great” the geeky way) since Thanksgiving and I was overdue for a visit. 

I decided to bring my bike because on previous visits, my favorite way to get some exercise was to go for a run in Monterey. I figured that if I had my bike I could cover more ground and really soak in all that the GR831 has to offer. Real talk though.. Monterey County is such a special place. In a single day, you could view some of the richest farmland in the USA, observe the sea otters on the Monterey Peninsula, go for a hike in a redwood tree forest in Santa Cruz, marvel at the wonders of Big Sur, and get a round of golf in at one of the world’s most beautiful golf courses (ok maybe you’d only have time for 9 holes). I love my homeland! 

Back to my experience of traveling with a bike..  Here are my five top takeaways: 

bikebag

  1. Flying With a Bike is Crazy Expensive! //There’s an amazingly affordable flight on Alaska airlines from San Diego to Monterey. It’s less than $100 each way which is awesome considering Monterey airport is traditionally extremely expensive to fly into. When I went to check my bike bag, I got slapped with a $75 baggage fee EACH WAY! The ironic thing is that my bike bag weighted 35 lbs, far less than the acceptable 50lb weight limit for a regular suitcase. When you are considering bringing your bike on the plane with you, make sure the ride(s) are worth it! 
  2. Bike -> Bike Bag //Bike bags are awesome. They help you transport your super expensive, light weight bike safely to far away lands. However, to get the bike into the bike bag is quite the task. I had to remove both wheels, handlebars, seat, and pedals before it would fit safely in my bag. Then, when I got to my destination, I had to rebuild it. Here’s my list within a list of bike bag tips (note: there are much more reputable websites that have very specific guides to packing your bike for air travel. consult those!): 
    1. Allow plenty of time to deconstruct bike. It’s not something you want to casually do the morning of a 6am flight. Think of the anxiety dreams
    2. Tools/Supplies: ONLY use a torque wrench. This is so you don’t over or under tighten screws. My Trek bike came with a torque wrench and my friends at the Trek Superstore told me they had seen many a poor fool who came back into the store with a cracked frame because they used something other than a torque wrench. Bubble wrap and foam pipe lagging is also key. You’ll also want to make sure you keep a rag in your bike bag – hands will get greasy. 
    3. Once you get your bike perfectly arranged in your bike bag for the first time, take a picture so you can get there quickly when packing up to leave. 
    4. When you are rebuilding your bike, make sure you instal your pedals correctly. Can you image being so stoked to ride in a new zone only to realize you pedals were on backwards? Drinks on you. 
    5. Speaking of drinks, I was happy that I packed bubble wrap in my bike bag. When visiting places like Monterey, Ca or anywhere for that matter, it is very possible that you may pick up a few bottles of wine (or local fruit preserves/pickled veggies, whatever you’re into) and want to pack them in your bike bag on the way home. You’re paying for that huge bag, might as well load it up with extra weight (Alaska’s weight allowance is 100lbs for bike bags). 
  3. Local Knowledge Rules //I was debating whether to ride on my own or join a group ride and in the end, I did a combo of both and I’m so happy I did. I decided to meet the Monterey Velo Club for their 30 mile Sunday ride and they ended up showing me a route through the Fort Ord and to Castroville that I would have never considered. I wanted to get to 50 miles in so I went off and rode a 20 mile out and back route and got to experience the beauty of the Monterey Peninsula and 17-Mile Drive. Score!
  4. Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses! //I borrowed my Mom’s car (thanks, Mom!) to drive to the bike ride meeting point and when I got there, I realized I forgot my Oakley Radarlock sunnies at the house! I searched my Mom’s car and (thankfully!) found a pair of her sunnies. Not the end of the world but seriously not ideal. My eyes were completely drenched in tears on descents. It felt like that one time I thought it would be cool to ski with sunglasses. The human eye’s ability to water when wind is applied is truly amazing. It is only now, even after six years working in Sports Marketing at Oakley, that I truly understand the true value of Oakley Performance sunglasses! 
  5. Numb fingers and toes aren’t just something that happens when skiing //Layering is key! I guess this could be said for biking in general, but when you’re traveling to a new place where the weather patterns are unfamiliar, bring layers! I didn’t have sleeves, gloves, or bike shoe warmers aka toe covers or overshoes, all of which would have come in handy. After 50 miles on the bike, my toes were just about as numb as a full day in ski boots in freezing temps and I couldn’t feel my fingers. Mind you, we are talking about 55 degrees in foggy Monterey. Really, could be worse!

bike bag pack

On the road, Videos

Desert Time Lapse

April 2, 2015
IMG_2590

My gorgeous friend Danielle Stern got married to her dream guy two weekends ago outside of Scottsdale, Az. Desert sunsets are pretty special and this one didn’t disappoint. Had to time-lapse it!

I like to use Camalapse for 360 degree panning time-lapses. 

 

 

 

 

Action, On the road, Ski, Travel

Jackson Hole

March 26, 2015
T. A. Moulton Barn

Megan and I finally crossed off a major item on our bucket list this winter. Jackson Hole!

A resort synonymous with deep snow, wildlife galore, and of course, Corbet’s Couloir.

While traveling to a new resort area is sure to always be a great time, it never hurts to have a few tips beforehand.

Here are my top five:

1. Get super pumped up to do Corbet’s Couloir! Watch every video, read every article, know every way to enter based on snow quality, get the left side of the tram so you can scope your line, and most importantly, don’t let it ruin your trip if it doesn’t open for the entire time you are there…

Corbet's_Couloir_jackson_hole

2. Depending on the snow situation, and your priorities, either stay at the base in Teton Village, stay in the town of Jackson (about 20-25 min on bus), or split your trip 50/50 between the two. We opted for the 50/50 route since we weren’t sure on conditions and didn’t want to be going back and forth everyday of our trip, but if it was puking (aka heavily snowing), I would have wanted to stay in Teton the entire time and get tram.

3. Check the concert schedule at the Pink Garter Theatre, in the town of Jackson, and be ok with staying up late! The concert venue is unreal, and although we didn’t get a chance to see a live act (we missed G.Love and Special Sauce by a day), we certainly enjoyed a beverage at the bar

4. Be in shape. Jackson Hole has a lot of vertical, and the riding is not easy. If you intend to go backcountry, or sidecountry, be prepared for fairly lengthy bootpacks and long ski-outs. Always know the terrain, bring your avalanche gear (know how to use your equipment), water and survival gear, and a partner when going out of bounds.!

5. San Diegans love their beer! And so do Jackson Holians (is this a thing?)! Snake River Brewery, in the town of Jackson, is a must for anyone who loves, or even likes, fresh craft beer. While you’re there, might as well get some wings! Insider tip: ask for the sauce on the side, as the beers are so good you wont want to put it down, and your wings may go soggy!

Enjoy your trip, take lots of photos, and let us know all about your trip.

It’s Never Last Run in Jackson Hole.