We made it to Sydney!

11 11 2016

One of the main reasons we were able to make this trip happen was that we used Delta miles to buy flights. Virgin Australia is their partner airline and what we’d take to get from LA to AUS. It was my first time on any Virgin branded plane, and I was quite pleased with the plane and the service.

img_6438Our plane left LA on Saturday night (October 22nd) at 10:35, which to my east coast body felt like 3:30am. We had been awake since 5:30am EST, so to say we were exhausted was an understatement.

 

One of my well traveled friends recently told me that the key to surviving the flight and not having terrible jet lag was to stay awake for the meal plus 1 movie and then sleep. I barely made it through dinner (I selected the vegetarian option, which was a nice mushroom stuffed ravioli, by the way) before I could barely keep my eyes open. I was in the middle seat (in coach) between Bill and a very nice woman who I’d chatted with briefly at the start of the flight, so I wasn’t expecting the best sleep, but I popped on the complementary eye mask, my ear plugs (they provided some too), adjusted the seat and headrest, and surprisingly, I was able to sleep! It wasn’t the best sleep of my life, but it was definitely a longer sleep than I was expecting!

I woke up a little before they served breakfast (which I believe was 2-3 hours before we landed), read for a bit (Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country) and before I knew it we were landing. OMG OMG OMG we are in Australia!!

We arrived around 7:30am on MONDAY, October 24th. Thank you international date line. I never experienced October 23, 2016. Hope nothing important happened!

We cleared customs and immigration with no hiccups (but we made sure to declare our camping knife and food!) and headed to the CBD (central business district) to drop off Bill’s cases at a storage facility (he was heading directly to a gig from this vacation and needed to bring all that stuff with him). Obviously I needed to get a doughnut when I passed this window:

 

It’s Doughnut Time!

Raspberry with a coconut sugar on top-it was super sweet but also super tasty!

Sugar rush complete, we scurried off to drop our backpacks at our AirBnB, in the Circular Quay/Rocks part of town. Our place was like 4 blocks from the Harbor- perfect location for tourists like us!

Today’s goal was to fight the tired and enjoy as much of the day as possible (since it wasn’t even noon yet!), so we started by walking to the harbor and wandering around.

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When I first saw the harbor up close, with the opera house to my right and the bridge to my left, I thought to myself, OMG I can’t believe I’m actually in Australia! We strolled around for only a short bit before realizing our stomachs were telling us it was about time for a proper meal. So we hit up a little cafe just outside the harbor where we shared some eggs and a slice of lemon merengue pie, after seeing the foot tall pie in the window. So much for a “proper” meal I guess!

The rest of the day consisted of:

  • Visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art, and experiencing virtual reality. img_6449
  • Wandering around the Harbor Bridge. That thing is massive!

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  • Learning about astronomy at the Sydney Observatory and lounging for a bit on Observatory Hill

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  • Walking around some more, including a stop at the local Lululemon to find out where we could do some yoga.
  • Stopping for a mid-afternoon margarita and table side guac at a hip place called Mejico. YUM!
  • Getting our OHM on at a yoga studio called YogaBar. The studio was in the mall, which was interesting, but it definitely felt good to move! I wish we had taken the later class, which was a more traditional yoga class; the one we took was part yoga/part weights, but we took it because we weren’t sure we’d be able to fight the jet lag long enough to make it to the later class.
  • Enjoying some dumplings from a dumpling bar close to the AirBnB.
  • Crashing HARD at 8:30pm.

PHEW. That was a LONG day! We packed a bunch of stuff into our first day, thanks to such an early arrival. I was so excited to see more!





What’s Going On?

6 02 2015

And I said HEY-YEA-YEAH -YEAH…anyone else singing that song? Just me? Oh. Ok.

Anywho- I figured I’d check in with a life update- I know, super exciting for a Friday post, but hey, you gotta take writing inspiration where you find it.

Fitness:

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I’m still struggling to find my run mojo. I ran a few times in December, and both times I did my “normal” 4k loop around my house. Unfortunately, I’m so out of shape that my calves were sore for several days after and that killed my desire to run. However, I ran earlier this week, just 2k this time, and a) no soreness and b) I actually wanted to go for another run, but rain and my yoga challenge got in the way. I guess technically I could have run on the treadmill, but who wants to do that when it’s perfect running weather outside?

Speaking of my yoga challenge, I’ve got 9 days left (well, I guess 8 by the time this publishes)- and I have to make ALL of them in order to get my 21 days in. I’ve missed 3 classes because I chose not to go (lazy!) and the studio was closed for Gasparilla and then the city shut off the neighborhood’s water so classes were cancelled. Thankfully, they’ve added one more day to the challenge to make up for the unexpected closing. I’ve really enjoyed regularly practicing yoga; however, I do find myself missing my beloved cardio. It’s too bad because the classes I like to go to just so happen to be at the same time I’d normally run (since I haven’t been able to get my butt out of bed in the morning to run). I’m glad I’ve learned this, but I don’t think I’ll ever be a 5x per week yogi.

Fun:

So I mentioned Gasparilla above- and for those of you who don’t know, Tampa has a festival every year at the end of January, where we “celebrate” the pirate Jose Gaspar and his “rule” over southwest Florida. Basically, beginning right after New Years, all things pirate-themed start popping up in Tampa. Houses are decorated, costumes are sold, and beads- tons and tons of beads are commonplace. It’s basically Mardi Gras with pirates. It just so happens to always be around my birthday, but since being in Tampa, I’ve never actually been a part of the festivities.

This year, I made a point to at least check out the parade. Drunken debauchery isn’t really my thing, but I really just wanted to see what the fuss was all about. Bill and I stopped at my friend Jennica’s house for some food and drinks before heading over to Bayshore to catch some of the parade.

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Oh, it’s also an excuse to dress up, which can be kind of fun!

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Holy masses of people. The crowd for the parade was probably about 10 feet deep, before it thinned enough to walk through, and the majority of people had been drinking since 9am (or earlier)- it was after 3 by this point.

Bill and I walked along the outskirts of the crowd, people watching, and occasionally grabbing some beads thrown from the floats. I noticed that there were a ton of police officers from surrounding counties there- there were so many people, the reinforcements were necessary. There were a few occasions where I saw a police officer hovering over some poor drunk person who was vomiting in the streets. Gross. Keep it classy Tampa.

The parade? To be perfectly honest, I thought it was pretty lame- just floats (some fancier than others) where people were throwing beads. Yay? We were there for maybe an hour before deciding we’d had enough and headed to one of our friend’s houses.

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The one thing that struck me as we rode home for the night was what I’ll call carnage- there were beads, cups, trash, and just loads of stumbling people all over town, hours after the parade had ended. It certainly is quite the day in Tampa, but I think I’ll stick to going to friend’s parties away from the mess of the parade.

And finally, Food:

Trader Joes is my jam y’all. The other night for dinner, I nom’d on wine, cheese, and other crudités. Have you guys had the caramelized onion cheddar from TJ’s yet? OMG I could eat it all in one sitting! And those cherry peppers? The perfect combination of sweet and heat!

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Another night, I went to TJ’s hungry, had a bite of what they were sampling, and hook-line and sinker the ingredients ended up in my cart.

IMG_7666Veggie Masala burgers with peach chutney (mixed with some Greek Yogurt) served on some of their frozen naan? DELISH! If I hadn’t taken the time to make the sweet potato fries, this would have been a complete meal in 10 minutes. Easy peasy.
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Another frozen section find: Vegetable Fried Rice. Bill and I could live on fried rice from Kombo Kitchen (me: pineapple fried rice; him: thai fried rice), so we decided to give TJ’s a go. I stir fried it in my wok, and doctored it up with some soy sauce, tempeh, tomatoes, and some frozen green peppers. It was really tasty, but it wasn’t Kombo. IMG_7681

And finally, there is nothing better than a warm croissant and a good cup of joe. Well, maybe if they were pumpkin croissants, which is what I got from TJs. I think they are typically a fall special, but the last time I was at TJs there were a few boxes left, so I grabbed one. They’re frozen, and come 4 to a package. You need to take them out the night before, lay them on a buttered baking sheet, and in the morning, they’ll have doubled in size (or even tripled!) and they’re ready to bake. As long as you remember to take them out the night before, this is SUCH a delicious and easy breakfast. They’re warm, buttery, and there’s just enough of this pumpkin pie-like filling. Breakfast perfection. And cheaper than the croissants at Starbucks. Win. Win.
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So, what’s been going on with you?





Friday Favorites

23 01 2015

Happy Friday! I’m so glad that today has arrived- mostly because Bill returns from 10 days away! Yippee!

This week had some highlights that I wanted to share with you, so I figured I’d do it in a Friday Favorites post.

Here goes:

1. The new SOAS Racing run capris.

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Oh my goodness, these are THE BEST workout capris I own. I put them on immediately after opening the package, and didn’t take them off for the rest of the day. It was like my legs had been enveloped in a big hug. They’re just so cozy, and they fit perfectly! They ride a little higher in the waist than I was expecting and have a wide waistband, but that just makes them that much more flattering. I want to order all the other colors now too! I highly recommend these babies!

Sunset Cliffs Capri

 

2. Great customer service.

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I’ve been eyeing the new ISM PN 1.1 saddle, mostly because it comes in hot pink, but also becuase I struggled with saddle sores last season and I’m wondering if I just have the wrong one for my body. I stuck out the season on my TimeTrial, but I really need to figure out what is going on down there. So, I tweeted at ISM asking if they had a demo saddle of the new PN1.1, since I figured most of the bike shops wouldn’t have it to demo yet. I was asked to email them, and after a super friendly exchange, I made an appointment to head up to the ISM office, which is about 30 minutes from where I am in Tampa. If I wasn’t already a fan, my trip up there would have made me. ISM is really a small company, but they have such a large footprint in the cycling and triathlon world. It was so neat to walk in to their space, which was surprisingly small for a company that is so well known around the world. They have that local business feel, but yet everyone in the cycling world knows who they are.

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Anyhow, I explained what had been going on with my current saddle, and he got me on the trainer, and adjusted away. He mad small adjustments- millimeters- and spent over an hour with me, trying to get me to the MOST comfortable position. That’s what ISM is all about: comfort- it’s even in their mission! After playing around with my old saddle, and getting to a pretty good spot, he got me on a demo of the new PN1.1. It’s a bit softer than the Time Trial, and felt pretty darn good while I rode. It was slightly more comfortable, but I need to ride it more for the real test. However, even after that short ride trying it out, no saddle sores!

I’m gonna take it out for a few more longer rides before deciding if I’m going to purchase it. If you don’t have an ISM saddle, check them out- it will change your life (well, at least the way you feel when you ride))!

3. Kitty Cuddles

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My kitties have spent a lot of time spooning and washing each other this week, and I can’t get enough! ‘Nuf said.

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4. 21 class Yoga challenge

I’m 3 days in (as of Thursday night when I’m writing this) and I’m so excited about this challenge. It is nice to have an athletic goal again! And, I’m already seeing improvements in my practice since I’ve started doing more yoga in the past month or two. I can’t wait to see how consistent, regular practice changes me!

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Tell me, what’s a Friday Favorite for you this week?