Things I’m Loving Lately

St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse

I have tried other self-tanners before, but they always leave streaks or looks fake. After a recommendation, I picked up the St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse at Sephora for Maui and was blown away how awesome this worked. My skin looked bronzed as if I had spent weeks in the tropics. I did end up with a few minor streaks, but with more practice at applying it, I think I will be able to avoid them.

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Caress Body Wash

I am kind of picky about the body wash I use. I usually just pick a body wash based on the scent, and I am a big fan of the Caress Passionate Spell scent.

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Flavorful Salads

I don’t always make the best homemade salads, but I found some flavorful toppings to add on, which really helped boost the flavor of my normally very plain salads. I used Annie’s Green Goddess dressing, which is definitely a winner.

Spinach + sauteed tofu + red pepper + hard boiled egg + avocado + homemade croutons

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PROBAR Products

I tried a PROBAR a while back and don’t remember being hat impressed, but since starting at Skinny Raven, everyone has been raving about the PROBAR products, so I picked up a couple of my own. This Core protein bar was so delicious; the mint chocolate flavor was spot on. I would definitely buy this again.

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Running with Friends

Now that I work part-time and often go into work later in the morning, I have time to meet up with friends for runs! This has really helped when I was feeling unmotivated to run. Joanne and I completed a run in the morning sun, so odd compared to the countless runs I used to do in the dark.

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Running in General

After my bout of lacking motivation for running, I have been getting back in the groove and feeling much more excited about my daily runs. This morning I covered 10 miles in 1:24.

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Pocket Fuel

I had never heard of Pocket Fuel until I started working at Skinny Raven. I tried this pure caffeine energy gel and wow it gave me a burst of energy! I only took half of the packet since I can be really sensitive to caffeine. It tasted like straight espresso with only a slight vanilla flavor.

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Spending Time with Craig

Our time together has been a little more limited since I occasionally have to work Saturdays—the nature of retail. So last weekend I went to Craig’s final curling tournament of the season. Craig has been curling the past two winters and last weekend he had his year-end tournament. I watched one of his games and his team ended up taking 1st place in their bracket. (He is one of the sweepers—in the ball hat.) DSC_0003

Simplehuman Garbage Can

Really random, I know, but I absolutely love our garbage can by Simplehuman. The best thing about it is that it does not slam down after you take your foot off the opener. Instead it slowly and quietly closes. It is so great! Our realtor actually bought it for us as a house-warming gift. It is pretty pricey at over $100, but I would definitely pay that for it.

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Favorite blog post: 22 Things You Need to Know About Minnesota Before Moving There

A shout-out to my home state—especially #4, #7, and #20.

Another fun read: Bad Yogi Zen

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And finally. . . . .a GIVEAWAY!!

Comment below and you will be entered to win a swag bag from ENERGYbits. (The only restriction is that you live in the US.) These energy bits supply natural energy without the use of caffeine.

You can also receive 20% with the promo code: MARATHON in honor of the Boston Marathon this weekend.

How ENERGYbits helped me have the best race season ever!

The rest of my weekend will be spent celebrating Easter/Pascha with friends and family. If you are celebrating Easter as well, I hope you have a blessed Easter and remember that Easter is not just about the Easter bunny, candy, and colored eggs but instead the hope of eternal life. I am sure I will be enjoying a lot of delicious food including lamb and Greek pastries (We go to a Greek church.) as well as reflecting on all the things that I have to be thankful for. Like no snow this year!

Boston Tragedy – One Year Later

One year ago today, I ran the 2013 Boston Marathon. The one marathon that everyone will remember whether they were there or not. The one marathon that I want to forget in some ways but will forever be imprinted in my mind. The one day that caused the running community, the city of Boston, and the country be united and rebound even stronger than before.

I had been training all winter for my first Boston Marathon. I was dealing with a nagging glute/piriformis and hamstring injury all winter, but I was bound and determined to still run the race. How could I not? My sister (a.k.a. my clone) was also running it. We had been planning this race for months, chatting on the phone daily about our training runs, and the only race I wanted so badly to qualify for.

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We spent the days leading up to the marathon taking in the sights of Boston, waiting in line over an hour to getting a poster sign by Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan, and just enjoying the pure excitement given off by everyone there for the marathon.

The morning of the marathon, Kristy, my sister, and I left the place we were staying to head to the bus pick-up location at 4:00 a.m. We were literally the first ones to arrive at the pick-up location at 4:30 a.m. which would then shuttle us to the start of the race. Kristy and I hung out, talked about our goals for the race, and shared in the excitement of just being at the Boston Marathon.

At Athlete’s Village, we found a spot to sit and wait until they called our wave (two of three) to the start. While we waited, we people-watched and tried to stay warm. I was shivering in the temps of the 40s and being wishy-washy about what to wear for the race. During our time there, a lady came up to us and asked us if she could pray with us. We are both Christians, but it is a little strange even for us when a complete stranger asks to pray with us. But we wanted to be nice, so we said yes. She prayed for a good race for us and safety for everyone. Oh the irony.

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During our second time in line for the bathrooms, they called our wave. We both still really wanted to use the bathroom before we had to head to the start, so we stayed in line. We also did not realize just how far Athlete’s Village was from the start line. I’m sure it was a good mile that we jogged to get to the start. We didn’t make it in time for our wave, so we had to wait until they let the third wave start. It is crazy to think that if we had started with the second wave, we most likely would have been much further away from the bombs that went off.

The race itself was a lot of fun. I often consciously thought, “I am running the Boston Marathon!” I tried to soak up the whole race even though I suffered pretty early on. I knew with the lack of training I was able to do, it would be a tough race, but I was happy that I was able to finish in 3:44. You can read my full recap here.

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It was such a joyous celebration at the finish—people were cheering wildly even though I was probably the 15,xxx runner to cross the finish line. I can vividly still recall how my body felt, the thoughts going through my head, and the details about the day. But when those bombs went off, I only head and saw a slight glimpse of the impact they had on that day. As I was walking to meet my family in our pre-designated location, my mind had the hardest time comprehending what had just happened. I heard, what I thought, were just rumors of bombs and people being injured. I didn’t think these things could be real because why would someone want to ruin such a joyous occasion. It wasn’t until we got back to the place we were staying nearly 4 hours later, I saw the pandemonium that occurred that day. You can read more details about my experience here.

I will forever be grateful that my family (mom, dad, aunt, sister, and husband) remained safe during this event. I was the farthest away at 3 blocks and everyone else was within a block of one of the bombs and in much more potential harm than myself. They had walked past the finish line minutes before the bombs went off.

I wore my Boston shirt to work yesterday. (I didn’t work today.) No one asked me what my time was or how I felt during the race. Whenever someone finds out I ran the marathon, they want to know if I finished and if I will be running again this year. Unfortunately I will not be running this year, but I want to more than ever now. (We chose to go to Maui over Boston.) However, I will be thinking about and praying for those runners as they run the same course I did and stand strong for what we endured last year.

The Gazebo Restaurant – Napili, Maui

Nestled in between two resorts along the beautiful Napili Bay on the island of Maui is a gem of a restaurant, which is known for its banana macadamia nut pancakes and a drizzle of coconut syrup.

The Gazebo might be a little tricky to find, but that does not prevent people from seeking it out and waiting in line for an hour often times.

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In order to get to the restaurant, you will need to drive north past Kaanapali on the Honoapiilani Hwy until you get to Napilihau St.. There is a stop light there, and you will take a left onto Napilihau St. and follow it until the road forks. From there, then proceed to the right onto Lower Honoapiilani Road. Stay on this road until Napili Place.

Or for those of you with a smart phone or GPS, here is the address: 5315 Lower Honoapiilani Road.

You will see this sign on the corner of Lower Honoapiilani Road and Napili Place. There is some parking along Napili Place, but otherwise you can park along Lower Honoapiilani Road.  DSC_0124

Once you start walking down Napili Place, you will see signs pointing you towards the Gazebo Restaurant.DSC_0125

Follow the pathway in between the resorts and down the stairs to the pool area. DSC_0126

Soon you will see the restaurant and hope there isn’t a line a mile long. This is a very short line!DSC_0127

The Gazebo overlooks the Napili Bay to the north, which is one of our favorite beaches. DSC_0128

In the other directions are blue and turquoise waters as far as you can see. Even if you have to wait a while, the view will be enough to distract you.DSC_0129

You can also talk on the phone to your family while you wait. DSC_0133

If it is raining, there are umbrellas for you to use. How nice of them!DSC_0134

You can also peruse the menu while you wait. The Gazebo is definitely known for their breakfast foods, so I’m curious to know if anyone has tried anything off the lunch menu.

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We were seated relatively quickly this time and the staff was very friendly and prompt with their service.   DSC_0136

Eclectic decor. DSC_0139

After we ordered, it did not take very long at all (less than 10 minutes) for our food to arrive. The staff was also kind enough to split the omelet we shared onto two plates without us even asking. DSC_0144

Yes, I devoured all of that food! (Well, just one of those pancakes.)DSC_0145

All of the food was phenomenal. This was a half order of the Popeye Omelet, potatoes, and rye bread. DSC_0146

And the infamous pancakes with bananas, pineapple, macadamia nuts, whipped topping, and coconut syrup. DSC_0147

The food, service, and view can’t be beat, but if you don’t want to travel to Napili or wish to wait in line that long, you can also check out Koa’s Seaside Grill located in Lahaina, which is owned by the same people who own the Gazebo. They wanted to bring some of the great food from the Gazebo to Front Street in Lahaina. I’ve heard Koa’s has a phenomenal breakfast as well and you can’t to wrong with a view of the ocean.