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Camelback Mountain + 8 Scottsdale restaurants in 24 hours

Tomorrow I have an exam at 8:00am, so naturally I am trying to relive my incredible weekend by sharing pictures with you rather than cram study. ;)

Cheers from Old Town Tavern in Scottsdale (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

I celebrated my birthday from Thursday night clear through Monday morning and there isn’t any moment that sticks out as my favorite. Friends, family, food, drinks, sunshine, hiking, and good music = one blur of happiness.

Camelback Mountain is the highest point in Phoenix, and my parents and I love to hike! This was described as an intense climb, but only 1.2 miles to the top. We each only brought a small bottle of water, no snacks. Figured we’d be up and down in an hour.

View from the top of Camelback Mountain Phoeniz, AZ (stronglikemycoffee.com)

WRONG.

The “intense climb” is no joke, literal climbing up and over large rocks. This is not a dirt trail. It’s a rock-covered obstacle course. Which was kind of a blast! We just should have come prepared with a backpack for more water and snacks.

As soon as we started, sirens came blaring in and a dozen firemen unloaded rescue gear. They started the hike with us, on a mission to assist an injured hiker. We watched as the hiker, who injured his ankle (hmmm that sounds familiar), was helicoptered from the mountain. According to one of the firemen, this is completely typical. An every weekend activity.
Firemen rescue on Camelback Mountain (stronglikemycoffee.com)

We had a clear view of Phoenix from the top, the grid of neighborhoods and downtown buildings. We were suprised by how crowded the mountain was the entire time, considering it was Valentine’s Day.

Valentine's day martini glass (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

Time to jump into the pool again! We had clemetines, apple slices and yogurt to tide us over before another dinner and night downtown. I decided to hop on the treadmill for 4 miles and mini core workout too. Help offset all the splurges over our four days. Dinner was at the crazy-crowded and super loud (we take that as a good sign!) restaurant RNR. I ordered the Ahi Tuna tacos which came on jicama instead of a tortilla.

Ahi Tuna Tacos from RNR in Scottsdale (stronglikemycoffee.com)

They were delicious…but tiny. Like a baby appetizer. Good thing we were heading to Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, next!

Dierks Bentley Whiskey Row Scottsdale (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

Country-themed bars are my favorite. The atmosphere and the crowds at these bars are typically more relaxed, less formal, plus the music is the best. And I’d rather two-step than bump-and-grind any day. ;)

Also, cocktails taste 67% better when served in a mason jar.

Scottsdale, Arizona is a part of Phoenix. Our hotel was just a block away from Old Town Scottsdale with dozens of restaurants and bars with outdoor seating and adorable decorations. So on Sunday (after another couple hours by the pool…. I told you I was craving the sun!), we decided to make an entire day and night out of walking through all of the shops, restaurants and bars.

We started at Sip, which is an ecclectic mix of coffee and beer.

Sip coffee and beer I would love to say I loved this place. Anywhere with a unique menu or funky mix automatically has my attention. I thought the beer handles next to the espresso maker was hilarious. But I have to admit….I threw away my Americano after two sips. And if you know me, you know it has to be baaaaad to not finish a coffee drink. So our first stop = fail.

Brathaus in ScottsdaleRight next door was Brathaus, infinitely better experience than at the previous bar. We got appetizers and enjoyed sitting outside. There was jumbo-sized jenga, cornhole, and other games. It was the type of outdoor area I would love to have as a backyard.

Before long we were walking along again, through the art distict and the jewelry district.

kissing the statue in scottsdale's art district (stronglikemycoffee.com)(I wanted to kiss the statue but I’m also afraid of germs.)

Next up – Italian Grotto. We sat outside here again because it was nearly sunset, that perfect golden lighting. This place had great music too and really cool sports memorabilia decorations.

Italian Grotto in Scottsdale (stronglikemycoffee.com)The next bar was my FAVORITE from the weekend. Old Town Tavern. This bar was very small, but it had indoor, outdoor, and upstairs seating. We started at the outdoor bar, moved to the bar inside, then moved back outside to a table. There was a live band playing great covers and the bartender made fantastic cocktails. If I were a local, I’d be here all the time for the atmosphere! We spent the most amount of time here.

FullSizeRender(34)Even though my birthday was Thursday, I hadn’t gotten a birthday dessert yet. (Yes, there was banana pudding on Thursday. But I mean, that’s pudding…) I’m an ice cream girl! Sugar Bowl was a 50’s themed diner, decced out in pink. My kinda place! We sat up at the bar and I ordered a banana split with coffee and cookies n’ cream ice cream. This day had already been all about eating and drinking, and I’d spent a month eating healthfully in anticipation of birthday splurges. GO BIG OR GO HOME. (I went big.)

Sugar Bowl banana split

Our 7-hour food fest finally came to an end Sunday night. It was so abnormal for our usual healthy habits and routines, which made it all the more special to me! We were carefree for the weekend, ignoring calories and  treadmillls for a few hours which were replaced by so much laughter and fun. Definitely not an every-weekend type of outting but definitely a well-earned treat. Although I’m sure my stomach and my skinny jeans are happy that the weekend is over and normal eating/exercise has returned.

Also I told myself that I would be done blogging and back to studying by 9pm, and it’s now 9:27. So I shall wrap this up.

P.S. This song came on at Whiskey Row, the first time I’ve ever heard of this singer. I like it!

Goodnight XOXO!

 

Throwback Thursday: Week II

The TBT instagram trend makes it’s second appearance on the blog ;)

Today’s blast from the past comes from last year’s summer roadtrip to the stunning Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. You might be squeezing in one last summer get-away before August ends, and I’ve often commented on my thoughts that fitness should still be a part of vacation-ing.

I posted this a year ago, but it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long since our amazing stay in Boise, ID. Every day started with a long run along the Boise River Greenbelt (with SO MANY friendly runners/bikers.) We floated in tubes down the river. We spent an evening at the horse races (my first gambling experience and I WON!). We adored downtown, the cute shops, and the restaurants. We toured Boise State University. I could 100% picture myself living in the beautiful city after college. :)

HOTEL GYM WORKOUT:

(July 15, 2013)

Know what’s great about hotel fitness rooms? They are almost always empty! A personal training room :) There is nothing about this workout that makes it specific to hotel gyms so feel free to complete in the comfort of your living room, dorm room, or even at the gym.

Hotel Gym Workout (or dorm room, at home, anywhere workout) stronglikemycoffee.com

We’ve been staying at a hotel in Boise and of course the exercise room was the first thing I checked out when I got here. It’s the best hotel fitness room I’ve seen, not claustrophobic and has a decent amount of equipment! Two treadmills, stationary bike, elliptical, three strength machines, full set of dumbbells, mats and medicine balls plus open space, surround sound, tv and air conditioning. Can’t really ask for much more, can we? It was empty after we first arrived and I had been sitting in the car/airplane for a few hours so I got right to making up my own circuit.

You will need:

  • A timer
  • Set of weights (I used 10-lb. dumbbells)

Hotel Gym Workout, easy for on the go, at home or in your dorm (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Complete 5 sets of Circuit One and then move on to 5 sets of Circuit Two.

A little explanation for circuit one: On sets 1/3/5 do 12 x bicep curls; On sets 2/4 do 12 x tricep extensions. Circuit workouts are designed to go straight from one exercise to the next, keeping the rest time to a minimum. Your heart rate will stay elevated that way!

I know some people like to think of the motto “I’m on vacation” as a guilt-free excuse to indulge in extra foods and take a break from working out. Honestly, staying fit is easier on vacation because there’s no tight schedule to squeeze it into, you’re not exhausted from work or school, and it’s a great way to sight-see if you’re getting active outside. Plus you will feel better about any extra snacking you do, knowing it’s being somewhat counteracted by physical activity. And exercise keeps me happy and feeling good, so vacation and exercise go together like peanut butter & bananas if you ask me :)

Back to the Boise River for us, we have an afternoon of rafting. Catch ya on the flip side!

Boise river Greenbelt Run (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Extra-Credit Exercise

Just checking in on this summer Tempo Tuesday! This morning I swear the moon was running along side me. So big and bright, it actually felt like I was running in the middle of the night.  My especially-dark run this mornng included 3 x 1 mile at tempo pace with 1 minute recovery between. We don’t mess around on Tuesday mornings!

On Sunday, I got back into my regular weekly routine with long runs, recovery runs, HIIT workouts, and speed workouts. But last Wednesday – Saturday? Completely different story. Major vacation mode with ice cream, cocktails, Sprout’s chocolate-covered pretzels and absolutely zero gym-time. NOT THAT I REGRET IT. I enjoyed it to the fullest, actually :)

However, I believe balance is most important in a healthy lifestyle. So this week is about working to offset the “extras” with what I call the “Extra Credit” exercises.

Extra Credit Exercises // post-vacation fitness strategies blog post! Stronglikemycoffee.com
Getting back into your regular routine is enough to maintain but if you are trying to “undo” a few splurges then you gotta go ABOVE AND BEYOND!

So in addition to my usual running routine, I incorporate a few extra exercises all week. Starting with some more dynamic warm-ups while I get ready for the gym.

  • Warm-up —> 50 jumping jacks, 5 burpees, 10 rounds of kickboxing punches on each side. Repeat 3x.
  • After Cardio/Before cool down —> 25 walking lunges each leg, 10 split squats (JUMP), 20 Plie Squats
  • Added core routine before stretching —> Hip Bridge (1 minute), 20 leg lifts, 10 push-ups, 100 crunches, planks with leg lifts, back extensions.
  • And each night after dinner, I swap an episode of House Hunters for a 2 mile walk around the neighborhood at dusk. (My faaaavorite time to be outside.)

Extra Credit Exercises // Blog Post on Stronglikemycoffee.com

It’s the little things that all add up, if you’re not used to doing them!

Another tip: start early to reap the metabolic-effect benefits all day long. Strength-based exercises create a slight increase in our metabolism for a brief period after we are done exercising. Think of the most intense exercises you love to hate and promise yourself to commit at least 5 minutes to them before you even jump in the shower in the morning. For me, that would be Squat Jumps, Mountain Climbers, Plank with Leg Raises, and Russians with a medicine ball.

As if the 4:36am alarm clock didn’t tip me off, it is crystal clear at the office that vacation time is O-V-E-R.

Health-conscious Intern (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

My friend at work insisted I read the last 100 pages of Beautiful Disaster last night so that we could talk about all the juicy details at work today. It’s like office gossip that is totally A-OK because it’s about characters, not co-workers. ;) Isn’t it so funny how a good book can make you feel so strongly about a fictional situation? I won’t spoil this novel in case you’re reading too, but I would just like to tell Miss Abby Abernathy that when a boy gets your name tattooed after two months….run, girl, run!

Time for some *extra* coffee :)

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