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The Beginning

Hello, I’m Heather. I’m a pretty average athlete, a decent writer and a terrible cook. I’ve been told over and over to start a blog as I have taken leap after leap of trying new things in my life. With that being said, there are many topics I’d like to discuss that range in categories from nutrition, to fitness, to travel to daily or weekly random thoughts. I am very open to feedback and shared opinions or experiences. 

Trying something new can be frightening. Change is not always welcomed with open arms. Often times it is approached with doubt, hesitation and a pair of running shoes (to lace up and run the opposite direction, back to familiarity). 

I always lived my life sticking to the same brands, the same foods, the same genres of tv shows, the same daily routine etc. It was safe. Change was not exciting for me unless I knew for certain the grass would be greener on the other side. 

On July 2nd of 2016 I woke up and decided to change my life. I kept complaining I was living life on autopilot in the weeks before but I never did anything to change it. I hopped out of bed and ran 3 miles. Mind you, at the time I was an ex-NCAA waterpolo athlete who gained a good 20lbs after graduating college with my Bachelor’s. So the word “ran” might be a stretch. I looked like a fish out of water flopping along the sidewalk in the hot sun of San Diego…a chubby fish at that. I decided to cut down how much food I was eating and how much sugar I was taking in. I knew nothing about nutrition, macros or diets. 

I was jumping blind into a new lifestyle I knew nothing about and had little money to seek help from a professional (like a nutritionist or trainer).

What was I getting myself into? 

Skipping ahead to today, I have learned so much and accomplished more than I ever thought possible. I no longer feel like I’m on auto pilot and I will forever be thankful for the day I woke up and tried something new (something all swimmers dreaded). 

Continuing with this trend, in 2018 I would like to blog about new things I learn or experiences I want to share. I read many articles and blogs per day, I take away a thing or two from a couple here and there.  My hope is that my blog will serve as just that. A take away for someone, somewhere, deciding to make a change or try something new. 

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Breckenridge

When asking locals about Breckenridge, they would all repeat the same suggestions: the Broken Compass, Breckenridge Distillery and downtown Breckenridge.

We stopped by Broken Compass first to sample their Coconut Porter and their Ginger IPA. The flavors were very strong and present. The Ginger IPA was very refreshing and the Coconut porter was nothing like you’ve had before!

The decor suits the place perfectly with its ski theme and the staff is very friendly and helpful.

After having our beers at the Broken Compass we decided to drive right down the road and hit the distillery.

This place is so neat and very busy! (Understandably). When you first walk in, you enter the gift shop/tasting area. My family did the tastings there and only paid about $18 for many different samples of whiskey and even a taste of their vodka!

After we worked our way through the tasting area, you find yourself in the restaurant/bar section. I loved the art on the walls of the restaurant and enjoyed the funny bathroom signs/paintings.

We sat at the bar and chose 3 of the bartenders choices off the menu. The drink variety was unique and delicious.

The bar area is half indoor, half outdoor. The out door area has picnic tables, bocce ball, jenga and giant connect four. There are also some sofas with tables to relax on by the bar.

After enjoying our drinks, we headed to downtown Breckenridge.

Downtown Breckenridge was so quaint and charming. Some of the buildings are historial and fun to your around. They have a variety of shops and eateries. We opted for some ice cream and local jerky.

I wish I would have taken some better photos of downtown but we kept busy popping in and out of shops.

Parking is cheap at the meter and most meters take card! Win!

If we visit Colorado again, Breckenridge is definitely a city I would like to stop by again.

Vail and Frisco

If you are going to Vail, Colorado, you need to stop in at Vail Brewing Co. They have delicious beers on tap, generous pours and cute decor!

Vail is basically a ski resort so during the summer or early fall months, you have to venture out of Vail for some activities and excitement.

We drove by Frisco and had to stop by. It immediately drew us in with its old western charm. Frisco was an old mining town back in the day so it is filled with history.

Many of the old buildings are still standing and have been turned into restaurants, ice cream parlors and shops.

You can tour some of the museum style buildings and listen to the audio about the time period.

During warm weather, there are a lot of people out walking their dogs and participating in whatever event the City of putting on that weekend.

Checking Out Colorado

I had an incredible time in Colorado! I can see why a lot of people from California move there. It is BEAUTIFUL and there is plenty to do!

After landing in Denver, we ventured around downtown. We hit the Lobby for some lunch, happy hour and bottomless mimosas!

You can basically park your car at a meter and walk to everything you want to see. Beer is delicious in Denver and there are a ton of breweries and tap houses!

If you are more of a mixed drink cocktail person, I recommend Euclid Hall.

They had some very unique drinks and their cheese curds were to die for! The service is great and their building is made of brick! (Which us Californians never get to see).

Many people flock to Larimer Square and I can see why! There are tons of place to eat and shops to take a peek in. This street in particular had the Best Speakeasy I’ve ever been to. It’s called the Green Russell. The bartenders are pros and their menu changes with the season. Don’t see anything you like? They will make you something incredible with just a few of your preferences.

The line at Little Man ice cream was so long but oh so worth it! Their ice cream is creamy and they have a nice variety of flavors.

Although we didn’t stay in Denver, I do look forward to going back and visiting some of the other gems the city had to offer.

Any suggestions for a future trip?

Must sees? Must eats?!

Traveling to San Diego?

I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me for recommendations on what to do and where to go in San Diego. And to be honest, for the longest time I gave an “I don’t know” response or “I don’t really get out much.” (Which was the truth). But now that I’m older, I’ve been making it a mini mission to hit new restaurants, bars and entertainment venues etc.

I have lived in San Diego basically my whole life so I may be biased when I say this but…San Diego is the best!! 😜

But really, I love it here and there is so much to see and do.

I’m sure it is easy to google it or search some of the bigger more touristy things but for those of you who are traveling to SD for the fifth or sixth time, you might want to mix it up and hit some lesser known places.

La Jolla Cove

La Jolla is a beautiful city by the water that has a lot of cute shops and restaurants. There is plenty of room to take a nice bicycle ride or walk the beaches. If you travel down to the cove, you can see where the Sea Lions sleep, eat and play.

Vintana

Vintana is one of my favorite restaurants. It is located on top of the Lexus dealership in Escondido and owned by the Cohn Restaurant Group. They have an outdoor and indoor seating area. Their food is beyond delicious and the service is great! Make sure you call in and make a reservation ahead of time! They get very busy!

Mama Kats

Mama Kats is located in San Marcos. They are one of the most popular breakfast places in North San Diego! (For good reason). It is a great place to bring kids as they have an indoor and outdoor area loaded with toys for the children. They have an entire menu just for coffee! I order their Dirty chai every time (and I’m not even a big coffee person). They offer a good variety of food and the service is excellent.

Poki

Soooo I really don’t want to list just one Poki place in San Diego because there are so many good ones. You might need Yelp for this but I definitely recommend getting Poki while you’re in town. The fish is fresh, the meal is healthy and it’s kind of a new food craze that I admittedly got sucked into πŸ˜‹ it’s basically Subway but for sushi lovers 😍 they have rice, fish and all the toppings you’d love on a roll but in a bowl!

I have a ton of other hidden gems to recommend and will definitely add them to this list once I can take some photos to accompany them.

Are you staying in San Diego soon? What part? Got questions? Ask away!

Starting a Book Club

For the past couple years, I have been looking for a local book club to join. Before joining CrossFit, I was always looking for a group I could work out with after graduating college to keep me motivated.

Doing activities or hobbies with like minded people makes you more likely to succeed and stick to something long term. So I figure, if CrossFit transformed my life and love of fitness, maybe a book club could do the same.

After getting my Masters, I made it a New Years Resolution to read 1 book a month despite how busy that month was for me. I hoped it would keep me accountable and expose me to many new genres and authors. But after 7 months in, I find myself excitedly talking about books with people who don’t read often or haven’t read the book I’m talking about.

Oddly enough, my friend sent me a text and said, “Wanna start a book club?”

I was in disbelief! I replied, “Yes! Omg!” And so, Tequila Mockingbird Book Club was born.

For now, it is a virtual club or “group” on Facebook. If our members are local, we might do in person meet ups later down the line. Our book club isn’t limited to one genre.

This is the first book club we have started. We set up a pole to survey demographics and interests. Have you ever been in a book club or started one? Are there any tips you would find helpful for starting one? We are beginning our first book September 1st! Let me know! I’m open to any and all feedback πŸ™‚πŸ€“πŸ’ͺ🏼❀️

Pompeii & The Almafi Coast

During our last couple days in Rome, we decided to take a trip down to Naples, Pompeii and the Almafi Coast. We booked a day tour through TripAdvisor. We wanted to see everything with a guide as there is so much history and beauty in the southern areas. The roads are very small and curve at all angles along the coast. We figured it would be safer if we didn’t get lost a few hours from our hotel πŸ˜‚

Pompeii was the first stop on our agenda. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint! I was in awe at how much of Pompeii is still very well preserved.

When you enter houses and businesses, you could still see what color the walls, floors and ceilings were back in Pompeii’s prime. There is an insane amount of art that went into decorating and sculpting.

One of my favorite rooms was the sauna/spa room. The ceiling had such elaborate designs and you could see where each person kept their items while they visited the establishment.

The roads almost seem endless and the city felt like a maze! I was so glad we had a tour guide! Plus, when it gets crowded, it becomes very hard to find your way around (even in a tour group).

So since I went to Pompeii, I had to post these. I feel that the bodies almost frozen in time are what most people recognize as sights from Pompeii. Some of the bodies that were found by archaeologists are protected by glass and placed in rooms so that the visitors can view them. It really allows the whole experience to set in. Around 2,000 people died the day Mt. Vesuvius erupted.

After leaving Pompeii, we hit the coast 😎 It was a beautiful sunny day. The sky was clear and the water was so blue!

After exiting the bus, we immediately ran to the pier to take in the whole city view. It was incredible!

There were a ton of little shops and unique quirks to the cities by the sea. This is a handmade fountain with a village of fairies living on it πŸ§šβ€β™€οΈ

Oh and let’s not forget about my favorite thing in every city: Gelato. Gotta try them all πŸ˜‹

Get lost in Rome

Rome, Rome, Rome…where do I start?!

I am so glad we spent the majority of our time in Rome. There is truly so much to see and do. It is almost hard to fit it all in.

The standard Rome must sees are: The Forum, The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon.

Tips for each:

The Forum: Give yourself a good grip of the day to hit the forum. It is absolutely huge with a ton of things to see which means you will be walking all over the place. Go early if it’s hot or else trekking around will be quite rough.

There are many levels and tons of photo opportunities! This photo was taken from the upper level looking down.

There are a lot of signs so this wasn’t a place we felt like we needed a tour guide for. It was kind of nice to walk around at our own pace and spend time in areas we liked most.

Some of the buildings and structures are very well preserved and others have seen better days.

It is so neat how they basically sanction off an entire part of the city so that people can have a glimpse of what Ancient Rome looked like.

If you go during the right time of year the crowds aren’t too terrible and everything is very green and beautiful. (We went in May).

TheColosseum: Huge, huge, huge tip!!!!! GO EARLY! Right when they open, be there!

Everyone flocks to the Colosseum when they visit Rome so lines get pretty insane. When we were leaving, the lines were wrapping around the building! Yikes!

Since we got there early, we walked right in and there were barely any people in the background of our photos πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

When you go early, you can walk around without bumping into people or accidentally walking into a ton of selfie backgrounds.

We did not do a tour as this site had a lot of signs to read and guide yourself. Plus, some tour guides talk so loud you can basically listen in on a bunch of tours πŸ˜‚

We spoke to people later who did a tour and regretted it. They felt like they couldn’t enjoy the scenery or take it all in with someone talking in their ear the whole time.

After spending a couple hours walking around and taking photos, the Colosseum really started to get packed. It became almost hard to walk around with everyone squeezing past you.

Plus, as we left and looked at the lines, our jaws dropped. People were going to wait around 2 hours just to get in!

TreviFountain: So if I could go back and do Trevi fountain again, I would take my same advice as with the Colosseum. Get there early!

When we showed up at the fountain there was a ton of people! I even got hit in the head with some coins!!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

You feel like you are at a concert. No room to raise and arm or look around.

The fountain has a small area in front of it with steps etc. I couldn’t even really tell you how many steps or seating areas there were because everyone was swarming in to throw their coins.

Buttttt the fountain is absolutely beautiful and has so much history tied into it.

ThePantheon: Big tip here! Cover your shoulders or they won’t let you in. Luckily my shirt converts from sleeveless to sleeved, but I saw many girls get turned away as they were wearing spaghetti straps etc.

It is quite a sight to see 😍

Usually in the court yard outside there is music, dancing and vendors. We really enjoyed just sitting by the fountain near the Pantheon and taking in the scenery.

Wear comfortable shoes! You will be walking all over the place on uneven roads.

Enjoy the views but take time to do things at your own pace and preference.

Remember the early bird gets the worm!

Or in my case…gelato πŸ˜‹

Bullying has no age limit

Almost everyone has experienced some form of bullying at some point in their life but if you haven’t, consider yourself lucky. Perhaps you have see or read about it in the news. Chances are it has appeared in your children’s school bulletin at least once this past year.

You would think as people mature and grow, they would leave behind behaviors of their youth. The unfortunate reality is: bullying does not stop after you walk on that stage for your graduation ceremony your senior year. It can reappear years later with your aggressive neighbor next door, your rude coworker across the hall or even your overly sarcastic, fellow gym member.

Bullying has changed and grown over time. With the internet and social media on everyone’s phones and computers, it has become almost too easy to be a bully or to get bullied.

A common observation nowadays pokes fun that people are growing a bit soft. Maybe they are.

But, no one deserves to be bullied because dealing with a bully is not a matter of having tough skin. And, bullying is not always solved by ignoring the bully.

Children see a lot of physical bullying in schools whereas adults are more guilty of verbal bullying.

“Adult bullies who use this type of tactic may start rumors about the victim, or use sarcastic or demeaning language to dominate or humiliate another person. This subtle type of bullying also has the advantage – to the bully – of being difficult to document”(bullyingstatistics.org).

Unfortunately, like Lilo and Stitch or Mean Girls, the bully usually comes with minions or a “second adult bully.”

“This is someone who does not initiate the bullying, but joins in so that he or she does not actually become a victim down the road. Secondary bullies may feel bad about what they are doing, but are more concerned about protecting themselves” (bullyingstatistics.org).

Awareness is key and is the first step to change. I have been bullied by a good amount of people in different settings over the past couple years and didn’t recognize it as bullying until just recently.

Here are some signs I didn’t recognize as bullying until they were pointed out to me:

  • Getting ignored-this could mean getting the silent treatment, cutting you off while talking or keeping you out of the loop on events that are thrown by a mutual party

  • Putting you down in front of others

  • Starting rumors that aren’t true

  • Talking down to you

Sadly, there isn’t always a clear cut solution to how to deal with your bully. You can avoid your neighbor, report your coworker to HR and change gyms but we all know each one of those decisions comes with a whole new set of pros and cons.

But just remember, whatever you chose to do or however you chose to handle it, bullying is not about you!

Psychologists have counseled and picked the brains of many bullies and have found a common ground. They have some serious insecurity issues. Something is not satisfactory in their life and they are taking it out on you. You got the promotion they wanted, attention from a guy they like, the new fence around your yard they’ve been saving up for, the hairstyle they’ve always wanted to pull off or the body they think they can’t achieve.

Don’t play the victim though. They target you because they think you are weak.

I will no longer stand to be bullied and I hope if you are being bullied, you stand up to your bully as well. I am not the spineless girl I once was. I’m an adult and pardon my French but I will not put up with this sh*t anymore ✌🏼

Here is a great Ted Talks link I found later on:

Falling in love with Firenze

There is so much to do and see when staying in Florence, Italy.

I recommend at least spending 3-4 days in the city of Florence itself. If you purchase a Firenze card, you will have free access into many of the museums and towers all over the city. As long as you hit 4-5 different sites, it is well worth the money spent on the card. The card can also sometimes be used to skip the line which definitely came in handy when we went to see this guy.

So everyone always goes to see David because of coarse it’s pretty incredible in person but I really enjoyed the room leading up to David. It has about 6 of Michaelangelos unfinished statues! On some of them you can see what they were supposed to be and others are a little harder to figure out but if any of them came close to the perfection that is David, can you imagine what the others would have looked like?!

By the way, this statue is wayyyy bigger in person than expected.

Florence is definitely the place to be if you enjoy art and history or even art history. It has paintings, sculptures, masks, wood carvings and breath taking structures.

If I had to pick a favorite site, I would have to go with Palazzo Vecchio. It is the building right next to the world renowned Uffizi museum. You can climb the tower and admire the city from all angles at each level in the tower. Not to mention, you can get some pretty awesome photos up this high. The day we went was a little cloudy but the photos on my phone still came out brilliantly. They look look like the places you see on travel magazines. So incredible.

Florence has a lot of little restaurants that are extremely delicious! The best places are always away from the main roads and tourist areas.

We heard from our Airbnb owner that il Mercato Centrale had some gems so naturally we hustled over there to eat. We were not disappointed! All the food is made right in front of you! You can walk from stand to stand and try a little bit of everything ❀️

There are many, many street vendors selling similar things so be patient and find the one with the best prices.

I highly recommend Florence if you are traveling to Italy. It is a must see!

Oh and side note, the Bolgoli gardens are amaazzzinggg but hugeee so bring those running shoes!

I’d post more photos of the gardens but they are all on my CanonπŸ˜…

Not enough time in Venice

After reflecting on my vacation, I’d have to say Venice was one of my favorite cities.

It is so hard to take a bad photo in Venice. Every picture looks like it could be framed on the wall or in a calendar for a beautiful summer month.

Venice was way more relaxed than most of the cities we visited on our trip. There are no cars so everything is reachable by foot, gondola or water taxi. The only issue I had with this was how confusing it was to get around! My boyfriend and I probably got lost a good 5 or 6 times. The city is basically a labyrinth.

Taking the water taxi makes things a bit easier but it makes many stops so we soon realized it was almost easier to just walk…unless you get lostπŸ˜…

Venice night lift is so much fun! People stay up late and are very friendly.

Tips:

  • Bring bug spray if you are someone who gets eaten alive by mosquitos because there are a bunch of mosquitos
  • Exchange your money before traveling to Italy…we didn’t find the exchange rate to be good once you are already in the country
  • (No, they do not take dollars)
  • Wear flat shoes-the streets are filled with holes and cobblestone (even with flat shoes we tripped a good 10 times) πŸ˜‚
  • Get lost in the alleys to find good deals-all of the vendors near our place we’re pretty expensive. We got lost trying to find a church and wound up saving a ton of money on gifts in the shops we found off the beaten path
  • Same goes with food-DO NOT eat near the train station in Venice! They charge around $40 for an entree that (we heard from a local) is microwaved! Walk about 10 mins down any street and pay the usual $9-15 for a delicious homemade pasta or pizza.

Their appetizers are typically larger (to share) and delicious!!! Fresh meats and cheesesπŸ˜‹πŸ˜

Almost no one keeps their dog on a leash and the dogs are very friendly!

Hit the edge of the city and watch the sunset, you won’t regret it 😍

Wine goes down like water and there is so much to see so get out there! Drink and explore ❀️🍷