Well, hello there!

Holy crap, I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since I’ve updated my blog. I feel like a slacker in a major way. I know everyone uses this excuse, but I’ve been extremely busy over the last few months (with all good things, luckily!) and it’s caused me to put this blog on the backburner for a little while. But I’m happy to report that I’m officially back with a vengeance! I have so much to update you guys on over the last few months and I’m so excited to catch up!

Okay, let me just do a quick overview of everything that’s happened over the past few months – I trained for and competed in my first NPC bikini competition, Ed got a new job in IT, I ran a half marathon at the end of May, and I got a part-time job doing PR/marketing for travel and hospitality companies. All of this in addition to still becoming acclimated to living in San Diego and still getting the hang of my (somewhat new) full-time job has been a lot to handle to say the least, but I’m not complaining because I realize how lucky we are that all of these things have been wonderful and exciting developments.

So first things first, my NPC bikini competition. I plan on doing a series of posts relating to this because it truly did consume much of my time and my mind for the 16 weeks I was preparing for it.
NPC - Outside shotIt was something that I’ve thought about doing for YEARS now and a few of my coworkers were competing in one, so I figured I’d finally take the plunge since I had so much help and support from people who had previously done them.NPC - Mint Quest Bar(the joy I had from eating that first Quest bar post-comp can never be fully explained)

I’m going to write a few posts on why I decided to train for one, what my prep was like (i.e. what types of food I ate, my workout plan, my mindset), how the competition went, and my post-competition thoughts and feelings. Spoiler alert: it was a difficult few months filled with lots of early morning wakeup calls, meal prepping, some tears, and plenty of freak-outs.
NPC - Early Morning Training (3:30am wakeup call = gym all to yourself)

While training for that, Ed was fortunate enough to find a job he loves in his industry. This was such a blessing because he now finally a consistent schedule and we get to spend the weekends together! A little after he started his new job, I received the opportunity to work part-time doing PR/marketing/social media for a few travel and hospitality companies. I wasn’t looking to add on another job at the time, but it fell into my lap and it’s something that I think will be a great opportunity and help me to grow in my field so I decided to take it. Fortunately, it’s all done virtually so I’m able to work from the comfort of my home whenever I have spare time so that cuts down somewhat on the stress of having 2 jobs.

And as if training for a NPC competition wasn’t enough, I started half marathon training IMMEDIATELY after my competition. I couldn’t train for them simultaneously since endurance training breaks down your muscles and I was trying to build muscle for the competition. I realize this probably wasn’t the smartest idea since I only had 3 weeks before the half marathon to train, but I’ve always wanted to run a Rock N’ Roll race and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run RnR San Diego. I will be doing another post on how I trained in such a short timeframe and a full race recap.
RnR - AfterPhew, okay I think that’s pretty much everything big that’s happened since we last talked. Like I said, I’ll be elaborating more on my bikini competition and half marathon since there was a lot involved with training and competing in both of those.

What’s been going on with you guys? Any fun and exciting news?

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Farmer’s Market, SUP, and Old Town

After my calm and peaceful Friday night at the Meditation & Mindfulness Workshop, I had quite a busy and active rest of the weekend. Despite my best attempts to sleep in, my body woke me up about 3 times while it was still dark and when I rolled over the 4th time to see that it was 7:30am, I decided to get up and begin the day by walking the pup.Walking Corrina to ParkI had every intention of going to an oceanfront yoga class, but just wasn’t feeling it come Saturday morning. Instead, Ed and I decided to hit up the Little Italy Farmer’s Market, which is one of our favorite activities to do. Little Italy Farmer's Market MarchIt was a beautiful day and it’s always so nice to walk around downtown. We ended up only grabbing some cold brew coffee and beets. To be honest, I’ve never really given beets a try, but I’m excited to prepare them and see how I like them!

After that, we had a fun afternoon of SUP on the books! The only other time I’ve paddle boarded was in a bay, so I was pretty nervous to do it in the harbor where there are a lot more boats and waves. We reserved SUP through the Fitn, which I’m still in LOVE with. Yoga, barre, spin, Crossfit, SUP, and everything else under the sun for only $99 a month? Yes, please.Kayak CoronadoI don’t have any pics of us actually paddle boarding, but we did take a waterproof camera out with us on the water, we just have to get the photos developed. It’s been at least 7 years since I’ve had to get photos developed – it seems like such a thing of the past!Waterproof cameraSuffice to say that I was right to be nervous about paddle boarding in the harbor since the current was pretty strong and I was thrown off my board and straight into the ocean at one point. I was pretty startled at first and upset, but I was determined to not let that ruin the experience.

After paddle boarding, we went to Pacific Beach to walk around for a little bit before going home to get ready for dinner in Old Town. Ed got a new job that he starts on Monday, so we were in serious celebration mode!

I seriously LOVE Old Town. The energy there is so amazing. While we were waiting for our table for dinner, we watched the band that was playing and the cutest older couple dancing to the music. Their dance skills were ON POINT and I hope to have half of their energy when I’m their age.

Dinner was fantastic. We ate ALL.THE.CHIPS. Seriously though, all of them – the waitress came back to ask if we wanted more to which we reluctantly said no. I ordered a bit of everything for my dish – one beef tamale, one pork tamale and one chicken enchilada. I couldn’t finish it all because I was so full of chips, so I was pretty disappointed in myself.Casa de FuentesIt was a great night of celebrating!

On Sunday, we were determined to have a relaxing day once we got our errands out of the way. After our 8:15am spin class, we decided to grab coffee and walk down to La Jolla Cove.Coffee at Brick & BellScripps ParkPerfect way to start a Sunday. After that, we came home to make breakfast before heading to TJ’s and Sprouts to do groceries for the week.Chicken Meal PrepThe rest of Sunday consisted of meal prep. Look at all of that chicken! I promise there is an explanation for why we bought 10 pounds of chicken for 2 people, which I will explain later this week. After that, we parked our butts on the couch to catch up on the past couple episodes of The Walking Dead!

Favorite weekend activity?
Ever tried SUP or kayaking?
Which do you prefer? That’s a tough question, but when I’m in the mood for more of a physical challenge, I prefer SUP. When I want to just relax and zone out, kayaking all the way.

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Meditation & Mindfulness Workshop

For years now, I’ve read about the numerous benefits of meditation. The list goes on and on and includes everything from stress relief to better sleep to improved digestion to lower blood pressure. Over the past couple of years, I’ve attempted to meditate on my own a few times and even downloaded a couple of guided meditation apps to help with the process. After a few times of trying, I quickly resigned to the fact that my mind is just not calm enough to sit there and think about “nothing”, so I would give up.

Recently (mainly since our move to San Diego), I’ve found myself getting stressed out very easily, focusing on the negative in every situation, and being extra snippy at the littlest things. Truthfully, I have no idea why I’m acting or feeling this way. Things have been going pretty well since we’ve moved to San Diego and, while I do miss my friends and family, I am happy with my decision overall and where it’s taken me, so I’m not quite sure what’s going on in that brain of mine.

After my Chakra Flow class at Happy U Namaste last Sunday, I saw that they were holding a Meditation & Mindfulness Workshop on Friday and decided to sign up for it. I’m pretty open to anything that may get me out of my rut at this point.
Meditation & Mindfulness WorkshopThe class consisted of about 20 other people and the instructor, Tania Franco, is a Clinical Psychologist and Mindfulness Guide. We began the class by going around the room and saying one word that encompassed what we hoped to gain from the 2 hour workshop. Everyone’s answers varied from things like happiness to peace to serenity to joy. My word of choice was “acceptance” – acceptance for myself, for where I’m going and where I’m at, for other people, etc.

After this, she went over a few different types of meditation and how they work well for different kinds of people. One of the main things I took from her was that meditation is not a one size fits all thing. Some people like to meditate sitting up, while others like to lay down. Some like to think of a mantra and others like to focus on breathing or listen to music. It’s even possible to meditate while walking or driving (to an extent, of course).
Basics of MeditationShe also stated that meditating does not mean that your mind is entirely free from thoughts like most people think. It’s impossible to completely clear your mind of any thought and you just have to focus on bringing your mind back to what you’re doing in the moment when it does inevitably wander. Even if you have other thoughts, it doesn’t mean that you’re not getting the benefits of the exercise.

After the overview, we went through a few different kinds of meditation. The first one involved coloring a mandala. We each got a paper and crayons and were instructed to just focus on the exercise for 15 minutes. At first, I found it to be kind of nice to be coloring. I mean, how often do we as adults use our time to do something like that? Almost never. After about half of the time elapsed though, I started to get stressed that I wouldn’t finish it in time. I knew it would irritate me if I couldn’t finish the whole thing, so I began to quicken my strokes so I could get it done. I quickly noticed that finishing was not the point of the exercise and it’s typical of me to make a stressful situation out of something that totally shouldn’t be. After I realized what I was doing, I tried to bring myself back into the exercise and what the real purpose of it was.
MandalaThe next meditation focused on color also, but in a different way. After getting into a comfortable position, we closed our eyes and took stock of how our body was feeling at the moment and noticed if any particular body parts were calling out to us at the time. For me, it was my lower back. After that, we associated a color with that particular body part and for about 10 minutes focused on that color and noticed how it evolved during the time we were thinking about it. My orange faded into a purple color and eventually became a mixture of a bunch of different colors. During this exercise, it was the first time I could feel my mind actually doing what I typically think of as “meditation”. It was free from other thoughts and calm and I was able to really focus on the color. It sort of felt like an out of body experience. Really awesome and relaxing.

The last meditation was a “forgiveness” meditation, and I found this one to be the most difficult. We began by thinking of someone who was easy to love, things we liked about this person, and sending them wishes. After this, we did the same thing, but for someone who we found “difficult to love”. And on the third round, we did the same but thought of ourselves. I found myself feeling guilty when thinking of the “difficult to love” person and was overcome with sadness, which I really didn’t expect. At the end of the exercise, we envisioned the three of us together in a circle and mentally envisioned that circle of people coming together to spread love and kindness to the rest of the world.

We ended class by going around the room and saying how we felt after the class. Again, everyone had different answers that ranged from enlightened to serene to accepted to happy. My word was “open”.
Happy U NamasteOverall, I feel like I learned a lot from the workshop and feel like I can really start applying it to my everyday life now that I know that meditation doesn’t have to be so cut and dry. I can still get the benefits of it even if I don’t fully tune out or even if I do feel a little stressed during it.

Coincidentally, Deepak Chopra and Oprah are hosting a 21 Day Meditation Experience that begins today, so I signed up for it and really hope to complete the whole thing. I’ve applied what I’ve learned over the past few days and, even though I’m not perfect at it, I do think it is helping me in some ways. If you’re interested, you should sign up too and then we can complete it together!

Have you ever tried meditation or do you practice regularly?
What’s your go to method for coping with stress?

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