…in pursuit of what makes life good.

Weekend Getaway: Yosemite

March03

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My boyfriend and I recently took a quick trip to Yosemite. I really wanted to get up there in the winter time to experience some snow and cold weather. It had snowed a few days before so we got lucky. There wasn’t enough for snowshoeing but it was still nice to experience a little bit of it. Like I said it was a really quick trip so our main focus was on photographing it. I would definitely love to go back again in the spring or fall to spend some more time hiking and really exploring the park further. We stayed in the historical town of Mariposa. It was a darling western town with a few shops and restaurants. It’s a tiny little town but so charming. We ate at 1850 Restaurant which was delicious. It had the atmosphere of a city restaurant but the service felt very local and friendly. The menu had something to offer everyone, from burgers to pasta to soups and salads.

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We had one jam packed day in the park. We arrived before sunrise and left after sunset. We arrived in time to capture the sunrise. We spent the first few hours of the morning photographing a few different spots on the valley floor. We then went for a nice long hike to see one of the many waterfalls. We had a little picnic lunch when we got back. The weather had warmed up by then so it was nice taking in some sunshine while eating. We did a little wandering after lunch and popped in to the Ansel Adams gallery for a few little souvenirs and grabbed some coffee and hot chocolate for a pick-me-up.

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We were anxiously awaiting the big event at the end of the day, the Horsetail Falls Fire Fall. It only happens in February, the best weeks being the last half of February. For the past few years, it hasn’t really been that spectacular because of the lack of rain. Let me back up and explain. The Fire Fall is a natural occurrence that happens when the sun hits Horsetail Falls at a certain angle and turns it orange like fire. Photographers come from all over the world to experience this phenomenon. We set up our cameras in a clearing in the woods with a few other photographers around us. We were advised to get there early and I’m glad we did. By the time the sun was setting the clearing was packed with photographers and their tripods. The evening wasn’t quite as clear as we had hoped but it was still such an amazing event to experience.

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It was truly a wonderful trip. It felt so great to get out of town and experience completely new surroundings. Yosemite is a magical place and so awe inspiring. I would highly recommend experiencing Yosemite in the winter.

Hitting Refresh for 2016

January14

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The holiday season hit me hard. After finishing a marathon on December 6th, I took the required week off of running to rest and recover and then blamo! the holidays hit. With little time for exercise and lots of parties and events, the pounds slowly started inching on. I gained a total of 10 pounds in the course of a few weeks. Yikes! So needless to say it was time to hit the diet and exercise hard. I thought I would share a bit about my plan here to encourage anyone else who may need to rethink their eating and exercise and to hold myself accountable.

Diet Plan: One could summarize my plan by saying it’s low-sugar, low-carb, and high in lean protein and tons of vegetables. When I say low-carb, I mean that I am not eliminating it completely, but sticking to healthy, minimally processed carbs as much as possible. I do eat whole wheat bread and pasta but really try to limit the amount as much as possible. I eat three meals a day and two snacks, spaced evenly out by 2-3 hours. I allow myself one cheat meal a week and one beer if I want it. This way I don’t deprive myself of some of the foods I love (popcorn at the movies and my once a month steak) and end up bingeing. Here is an example of a typical day:

Breakfast:

1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon crushed walnuts

Snack:
1 low-fat string cheese
2 slices of low-fat ham

Lunch:

Large salad with chicken breast, low-fat feta, and vinaigrette
1/2 roasted yam or a piece of whole wheat bread

Snack:
Apple
1 tbs almond butter

Dinner:
Chicken breast or fish
Steamed broccoli or green beans
Brown rice sometimes

Dessert:
1 square of dark chocolate

So that’s it. I like to think of it as eating as clean as possible, by avoiding most processed foods. I do allow myself some low-fat cheese for the added protein and although I’m avoiding most fats, I do incorporate a small amount of healthy fats, like olive oil and nuts.

Workout Plan: I am not running as much right now because I felt a little burnt out on it from the marathon training, but I’m having a blast going to the gym for cycling classes. I try to do cardio at least five days a week. I want to maintain that endurance base that I built up during my training. The other key to my plan is weightlifting. I let it go completely during my training and now I am focusing on regaining that strength that I had. I actually really enjoy weightlifting so it has been fun challenging myself. I am mostly doing Body Pump classes twice a week at the gym until I get back into the groove of it and then I will start doing solo lifting sessions and maybe get back to rock climbing.

My goal is to lose the holiday weight, then see if I can lose about 8-10 more pounds after that. I started on January 4th and I plan on continuing this strict schedule for at least three months. Once I have lost the weight, I will shift gears and try to maintain it as best I can.

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