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Costa Rica Favorites

costa rica

We’re back from Costa Rica! Today I’m going to share with you some of my favorite activities that we did in Costa Rica. We flew into San Jose, drove to Tamarindo (a lively surf town on the pacific coast) and spent 4 nights there, drove to La Fortuna (a town at the base of the Arenal Volcano) and spent 2 nights there, and then to San Isidro (a suburb of San Jose) to spend a night at a bed and breakfast on a working coffee ranch! Here we go!

Tamarindo Area

Where we stayed: Villa Verde II Condos Tamarindo


Playa Grande

This is seriously one of the best beaches I’ve been to. It is HUGE and there really weren’t any other people there. You can get to it by driving on some back roads about 30 minutes drive from Tamarindo or you can take a water taxi there from Tamarindo. We drove so we were able to come back on our own time. I also think it’s easier to get to the not crowded area when you drive there instead. 



We bought a guide book before we left. Seriously who even does that anymore. Well, we did… and this is the only activity we got from it. It was a good one though! A great beach bar with excellent food on an excellent beach and my favorite part? THE PIG, LOLA! 


Seeing my Friends!

A big part of deciding to go to Costa Rica was finding out that my friends from Germany would be there the same week we wanted to go on vacation. Seemed like an easy decision to go! It was great spending time catching up in Tamarindo drinking coconut water on the beach and celebrating my friend Inga’s birthday. 12991108_10153717756164332_207593669291734182_nIMG_078512928165_10206560640394319_4124907057212438696_n12920519_10206552135181694_1568563051736027583_n

La Fortuna

Where we stayed: Volcano Lodge and Springs


Natural Hot Springs

We were on our way to the Tabacon resort to check out their legendary hot springs (for a hefty price tag) when we realized there were these great FREE natural hot springs right down the road! We parked at the Tabacon and walked down the road and there they were. It was so much fun. It was like a rocky river you might see around New England but it was HOT. So awesome. 12993371_10101997009858141_6897258422953125468_n

Sky Trek Zip Lining

Zip lining was awesome! This was a great place, too. They had 7 lines and the longest one was half a mile long! Beautiful views of the volcano and lake Arenal while you’re speeding through the jungle. Sadly I don’t have any pictures but here is a view of the volcano from the restaurant.IMG_0933

La Fortuna Waterfall

I’m really glad we got to this place right when they opened because it was getting so busy as we were leaving! A good stair workout. My calves were actually sore the next day. So anyway you walk down a bunch of stairs to this amazing water fall. You can swim in the pool with the waterfall or if you go next to it there’s this amazing river that is crystal clear!IMG_1032IMG_1033


We went to an Italian restaurant one night and the waiter suggested we order this for dessert. Angus laughs at me for saying this dessert was life changing. It was pizza dough filled with warm nutella with a couple scoops of ice cream on the side. Life changing.IMG_0916

San Jose

Where We Stayed: The Coffee Garden Ranch AirbnbIMG_1036

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

This was a fun place that would make a good day trip from San Jose. It was part zoo, part hike to see a few waterfalls. They had birds, monkeys, butterflies, jungle cats, and you could even hold a toucan. It was awesome. After you look at the animals you walk down a bunch of stairs and look at waterfalls and then a shuttle will bring you back to the main area. 






End Of Winter Fun

Good morning! I see an extra sleepy week in the future. Who would think that losing an hour of sleep could be that hard!? Since it’s been so long since I’ve posted (whoops) I thought I would do a little recap on the fun that’s been happening these last few weeks of winter. I think it’s safe to say that it’s officially on its way out here in Maine! It’s been a fun few weeks of a good mix between squeezing some wintery activities in and taking advantage of these beautiful warm temps! Here’s some fun things that have happened recently:

Track Workout

My Friend Sarah and I did this workout at the track on the first day that it was just too sunny and beautiful to be inside at the Y. 


Dustin’s 30th Birthday Party

My friend Meghan threw an awesome surprise birthday party for her boyfriend Dustin at Oxbow Brewing. It was a great night with friends and good beer and even though it doesn’t look like Dustin is having fun in this picture it was a blast.


Early Season Road Biking 

I’ve definitely been taking advantage of some warm sunny weekends to get outside and put some miles in on the bike. There have been a couple of surprisingly fast rides, I got my first Strava segment (on a popular one), and a brutally windy ride that ended with me purchasing girl scout cookies.




Rosemont Bakery Hot Cross Buns

There was one day it was very nice in the morning so I took a quick walk and ended up at Rosemont Bakery to get a hot cross bun. They sell them during lent and they’re one of my favorite treats that come from Rosemont! (Extra delicious when you can walk through capisic park and eat them in the sunshine)


Ice Skating in Casco

Last weekend we went up to Casco (North of Sebago) and did some nordic skating on a lake. I sort of thought it was too warm for skating at this point but was reassured by the fact that there were other people there doing the same.


Sunday River on a Tuesday

Last Tuesday Angus and I took the day off and headed north to Sunday River. It was a beautiful spring skiing day that we got to enjoy without the crowds that flood that place on the weekend!




The lack of snow and warmer temps also mean that I’ve been able to start getting some running miles in. Wednesday it was 70 degrees. Shorts, T-shirt, awesome. I even signed up for my first 5k of the year- the Urban Runoff on April 23rd!




Strawberry Milkshake Smoothie


Good morning! I’m very excited to share a recipe with you that I am totally loving lately. I think I’ve had three of them in the last week. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot to you, but keep in mind it IS still winter and even though the temperatures have warmed up enough for me to run and bike outside, when I make a smoothie I head straight towards the fireplace to sit and drink my smoothie in front of the fire to stay warm.

A few weeks ago my friend Sarah said “I have strawberries, coconut, almond milk, and honey… what do I do with them?” My answer was: “Duh! Make a smoothie”. Sadly, she did not and just ate said ingredients in bowl. (Also delicious, I’m sure.) But thankfully I used that as inspiration to create this strawberry milkshake smoothie. I hope you love it as much as I do! Oh, and for all you mango haters out there… you can’t even taste it. It’s a secret ingredient that makes this extra delicious. Enjoy!

Strawberry Milkshake Smoothie
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  1. 1 cup frozen strawberries
  2. 1/2 cup frozen mango
  3. 1 1/4 cup almond or coconut milk
  4. 1 TBS honey
  5. 2 TBS yogurt (any kind)
  6. 1-2 TBS (aka some) unsweetened coconut
  7. 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Blend and Enjoy :)

Crustless Quiche

Good morning! I hope you had a nice weekend. It was the first weekend in a few weeks that I’ve actually been home in Portland so it was fun to spend some time around here! The weather was gorgeous which made for some nice walking around town and exercise (run and bike) outdoors. It’s hard to believe that it is still February and there’s no chance it’s going to be 70 degrees next week. Sure feels like spring!

Today I’m sharing a recipe that I made last week. I love quiche but making a crust is a pain in the @$$ and it’s not exactly good for you. Lots of work for food that isn’t good for me is not too awesome in my book. So, I made a quiche in my cute little anthropologie pie plate and didn’t even miss the crust. Full disclosure: the bacon and cheese still made it into this recipe, so you know it’s going to be good 🙂 It looks like pizza, I know. It’s not. Sorry to disappoint. 

Crustless Quiche
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
  1. 1/2 small italian eggplant, thinly sliced
  2. 1/2 cup mushrooms (chopped)
  3. 1/2 cup red pepper (chopped)
  4. 6 strips of bacon cut into small pieces and cooked.
  5. 8 eggs
  6. 3/4 cup of milk
  7. cheddar cheese
  8. salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease the bottom of a pie plate with cooking spray.
  2. Chop up your bacon into small pieces and cook in a frying pan until brown and crispy. Set aside.
  3. Cut the eggplant into thin slices and arrange on the bottom of the pie plate. Sprinkle some salt, pepper, and garlic powder over the eggplant.
  4. Add chopped bacon, red pepper, and mushrooms to the pie plate.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Add a touch of salt and pepper.
  6. Pour eggs into the pie plate. Everything should be mostly covered.
  7. Grate some cheddar cheese over the eggs. If you love cheese, go to town. If you hate cheese skip this step.
  8. Bake in preheated oven until eggs are no longer jiggly. My quiche took about 45 minutes to cook.

White Mountains Ski Weekend

Good morning! I am back at home after a long weekend off up in the White Mountains with my friends. We had such a great time and it was the perfect winter-y getaway. Looking at the weather before we left made me nervous that we wouldn’t get much skiing in because of the cold temperatures and the lack of snow, but that didn’t stop us! Here’s a little recap:


Since the temperatures looked so cold for the weekend and Friday looked “warm”, Angus and I decided to take the day off and head up to Wildcat to take advantage of their 2 for 1 lift tickets that day. The temperatures were definitely not warm and it was sub 0 temps all day. I didn’t have many expectations of good skiing but was pleasantly surprised! We had a great day- the snow was fabulous and there were no crowds. Just had to go inside a couple of times to warm up. 🙂IMG_0188       IMG_0182IMG_0185

After skiing we headed over to the Wildcat Tavern for some apres ski beers while we waited to check into the airbnb we rented.

IMG_0187Our Airbnb was a super cute “chalet” (I’m not sure I like this word- sounds too fancy. It wasn’t really a house or a cabin, so chalet works) situated on the side of a mountain. You had to walk down several flights of stairs to get to the chalet. It felt like a bunker! It was a very cozy place with great views and plenty of space for the 8 of us. IMG_0210     IMG_0229IMG_0190IMG_0191Saturday

Saturday the temperatures started to drop so we spent the morning lounging and drinking coffee before heading out for a little hike to Diana’s Baths to see some frozen waterfalls. This place was so much fun to explore! After our outdoor adventure we warmed up at the Sunrise Shack in Glen for lunch. SO good for breakfast/lunch. Definitely doesn’t look like much from the outside but you’ve gotta go in and try it!IMG_0197IMG_0201After lunch we all headed back to the house and everyone else stayed in and chilled while Angus and I headed to Bear Notch Ski Touring for a quick ski. These trails were awesome! It’s definitely not a fancy place but the skiing was top notch. Since we arrived so late in the day they let us ski the next day as well for the same price. This was perfect since the temperatures were so cold we only wanted to be out for an hour or so anyway.IMG_0217IMG_0215After our ski we headed back for some happy hour drinks and movies on the couch. IMG_0216Sunday

This is when our vacation started to get REALLY fun. We woke up to no heat in the basement of the rental and it was 35 degrees in our bedroom! BRRR. Eventually it got fixed and no pipes burst so things were looking up. After another lazy morning we decided to go back to Bear Notch for another short ski. My car definitely was not in the mood to go though! Couldn’t get it started so after our ski we spent an afternoon lounging and waiting for AAA which ultimately ended with my car getting towed to a dealership in Saco on Monday morning. Sunday evening was more movies, some games, and a valentines day sour beer and chocolate tasting! MMMMM. IMG_0221IMG_0226Monday

After packing up, cleaning up, and saying see ya later to my car, we all headed up to Glen Ellis Falls for a walk before heading back to Portland. Our last stop on our way home was at Ebenezer’s Brew Pub for lunch. By the time we were back in Portland my car was ready to be picked up in Saco which was very convenient! We were very lucky to not be too inconvenienced by the situation and thankful for our friends bringing us home. A great vacation all around. 🙂 10422488_10102852567823066_6982892389858802802_n

Training for Longer Races Running 3x a Week



I know what you’re thinking. The title of this post sounds too good to be true. Believe it, my friends! Maybe you’ve had your eyes on a longer race 10k, 13.1, 25k, even a marathon but running 6 days a week is out of the question whether it be time constraints or you’re prone to injury when you run every day. Sadly, my days of running 6 days a week are long gone due to some ankle issues and repeat cases of IT Band problems but that has not stopped me from signing up for longer races and hitting PRs, while staying injury free! Here’s what you need to know:

First off, before starting any sort of running training plan you should have some base fitness for running. If you’ve never run before, haven’t run in 10 years, etc. then you’re not going to want to hit speed workouts in your first week. You will get hurt and write me bad reviews on my website. Don’t do that. Spend a couple months building up some running fitness. For longer races, you’re going to want to make sure you can run at least three miles COMFORTABLY, before tackling any sort of plan. Confused? Talk with a professional! Once you have some base fitness there are three KEY running workouts you need to be hitting every week. 

The Long Run

This run will vary in length depending on what distance you have signed up for. You will also build up milage during this run. For instance if I am training for a half marathon, my “long run” the first week may be 4-5 miles and each week after I will add .5-1 mile, depending on my current fitness level and how many weeks I have before race day. Note: you should not hit your highest mileage on your long run the week before race day. For a half marathon, you would want to run 11-12 miles about three weeks before your race, and then cut the mileage down a bit as you get closer. Your long run is slow and easy. 

Speed Work

The best place to do speed work is the track. It’s flat, and distances are already measured. If you don’t have access to a track you can easily map out a course around your neighborhood with a GPS (no fancy garmin watch? use your phone!) Speed workouts are great for building up power as well as endurance at faster speeds. This is a great time to practice running faster than your race pace. Try to keep all of your intervals consistent in terms of pace. So your last one should be just as fast as your first. My favorite track workout is 4x800s. Super simple and yet challenging and effective. If you’re new to speed workouts practice doing “striders”. Spend 10-20 seconds accelerating up to a fast pace, and then decelerate into a jog or a walk around the rest of the track. Repeat 4-6 times. 

Tempo Run

This run is at or close to your 10k race pace, but for a shorter distance. If you don’t have a lot of racing under your belt you may not know what your 10k race pace is. A tempo run could also be described as a “comfortably hard pace”. Make sure that your pace stays very consistent throughout the run. In order to get a bit more mileage in on this day I would do about a mile warm up, 2-3 mile tempo run, and a mile cool down. Again, it all depends on your current fitness level and the length of race your training for. You also may consider alternating tempo running with hill repeats. One week tempo run, one week hills. Sometimes a tempo run every week is too much. 

And there you have it, three workouts you definitely want to include in your training if you only are going to run three days a week. Here is a sample week of a training schedule that I would use training for a half marathon so you can get an idea of how I round out the rest of the week. 

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FMFW Competition Review


Where to even start? After three long months of training the competition is finally over and I’m definitely having a “what’s next?” sort of day. This was an amazing event to be a part of and I’m both relieved and also sad that it’s over. The YMCA is an encouraging, supportive, and loving community that I am happy to be a part of as both an instructor, and more recently an athlete. 

Let’s back up a few months. I’m not even totally sure at what point I decided to do this competition, but I am positive that it had something to do with Blue Butterfield (this year’s winner) telling me how great it was, and that it was something I just had to do. I guess that was all the convincing I needed because about a week later I was signed up for the 7-week training class. The first week of class was a very humbling experience- realizing I was no where close to being able to do an unassisted dip and those 13 pull ups I used to be able to do in 8th grade turned into a big fat zero pull ups that I could do the first week of class. I was also lifting weights 5-10 lbs under the competition weights. I had some work to do.

So I got to work. During those 7 weeks of training under the incredible guidance of Mike Parks and Jesse Wall I made some serious progress. I stayed on track and made sure I didn’t miss a workout. By the end of the 7 weeks I had one unassisted dip and one unassisted pull up as well as some respectable PRs in both the bench and the deadlift. I felt good about things at this point and was ready to train on my own for the next 5 weeks before the competition.

Then come the holidays. Christmas cookies became a staple of my diet and the gym seemed to be closed on all the days I was planning to train. I made things work, switching up days, planning ahead, and navigating IDEXX’s crazy state of the art gym on days I was already there and unable to make it to the Y. Training in different places was weird to me- not having the same equipment and atmosphere can really throw you off. It actually snowballed into a couple of weeks of terrible, unfocused workouts where I ultimately ended up doing too much. I pulled back for a week or so and saw huge improvement. I finished out the last week of hard training and then began to rest up for the competition. By competition day I felt totally rested and ready to go. 

Going into the competition I had a few goals:

  • Win the uphill run
  • Complete unassisted dips and pull ups
  • Deadlift PR of 230

Most of those events happened to fall on the first night of the competition. (The 10 event competition spans over two evenings) Things were off to a great start. I won the uphill run, managed to do 4 unassisted dips, and hit a PR of 245# on the deadlift. I was psyched and in a good place. The second night was pull ups and I managed to do two of them. I you ever want to feel like a superhero, sign up for a fitness competition. Your strength in a competition setting will surprise you.


Thursday was a different story. I knew the events were going to be harder for me. The bench press went alright, I hit my old PR of 110 but wasn’t able to do more and I think a lot of the women felt like they were in the same boat. One of the events that I thought I would do very well on (3 minute AMRAP 8 ball slams/8 box jumps) turned out to not go so well. I kept missing the catch of the ball on the bounce and my rhythm was nowhere to be found. About 5 minutes later I was rowing a very painful and not too speedy 500m row. Sit ups were the last event and I was just toast by then. 


I gave it everything I had and I did the best that I possibly could. The women’s open division was some very close and very tough competition. These are some seriously strong women! I didn’t make it to the women’s podium and it definitely messed with my head way more than I would have thought. Don’t compare yourself to other people, and don’t let a number or a place dictate how you feel about an outcome. I crushed all of my goals and accomplished everything I set out to do, and that is enough. I am very proud of all the women who made it up there, and I know I was a big part in encouraging two of them to do this competition so that makes the personal trainer side of me very happy.

I always have the same feeling when I finish a race. Half of me never wants to be in that sort of pain ever again and half of me can not wait for more. The second feeling always wins. I haven’t quit yet. So will there be a next year? I really don’t see any other option.

Thank you to everyone who has helped, supported, and encouraged me. I’ll be back! <3







Row and Strength Workout

Good morning! This is my first blog post with my NEW COMPUTER! Last week my computer decided to die a slow death, and then it killed my phone along with it, and then I finally decided to make a trip to the apple store to get everything fixed. I can live with a half working computer, I definitely can not live with a not working phone. Now I don’t have to live with either of those problems. Is anyone else disappointed that the new gold macbook is ridiculously small? My wallet is not disappointed, as I chose a cheaper computer once I realized that gold beauty I had my eyes on just wasn’t big enough. I took a little break from my phone/internet and slowly added back on social media apps. It was a nice little break but fear not I am back. I know you were worried.

Did everyone have a good weekend? A little bit of everything around here- skiing, going out, chilling out, walking the dog, and lots of cooking today since I won’t have too much time to cook this week. It’s finally competition week!! I’m sort of ready, sort of tired, and sort of ready for it to be over so I have more time to do other things for exercise. I change how I feel about it hourly. I’ll be sure to give a full recap of the competition once it’s over! 

Today I have a rowing/strength workout for you. It is quick and sure to get your heart rate up! Just make sure your rowing is not at a leisurely pace 🙂 Let me know how you like it!

row workout

Homemade Almond Milk

Good morning! I have a delicious recipe to share with you today. It seems as though almond milk is all the rage these days but store bought varieties can have some questionable ingredients (emulsifiers/thickening agents) that some people are looking to avoid. The best way? Make your own! I have been meaning to try making almond milk for a long time now and finally got around to it. The verdict? SO GOOD! I don’t think I will stop buying almond milk in the grocery store because it’s a little more convenient (this recipe is super easy but requires a bit of planning ahead, which I am not awesome at) but I will definitely be making my own more often. You will need a nut milk bag for this recipe but I found mine at a local kitchen store very easily or you can buy one on amazon.  Play around with flavor combos and let me know what you try 🙂

photo 1 copy 7photo 2 copy 7

Homemade Almond Milk
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  1. 1 cup raw almonds
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  4. 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  5. 2 TBS maple syrup
  1. Soak 1 cup of raw almonds in 4 cups of water overnight.
  2. Pour the almonds and water into a blender and add maple syrup, and spices.
  3. Blend.
  4. Strain the blended mixture through a nut milk bag and into a container.
  5. Store in refrigerator.
  1. Play around with flavor combos or omit flavors and sweeteners (not too fun in my opinion!)
  2. Fresh almond milk only lasts a couple of days in the fridge because there are no preservatives so only make the amount you would use in a couple of days.
  3. You can buy a nut milk bag at a kitchen store or on amazon. You really do need it!

How to Get Better at Push Ups

I think one of the things that I hear most often in classes and training is “push ups are so hard” or “I never get better at push ups”. Push ups are a basic exercise that lots of people wish they could perform better. One giant problem with push ups and never seeing any improvement? The knee push up. 

While push ups and knee push ups are known to target the chest, there is a lot that the knee push up is missing out on.

  • Huge jump in weight lifted. Legs are heavy! Think about it this way: Maybe you can do 15-20+ reps of a bench press EASILY with just the bar (45 lbs) but can you really expect the same amount of reps with the same ease if you add 50+ more pounds to the bar? Nope. It’s going to be a lot harder! Same with Push ups. Take the legs out, less weight lifted, add the legs back, huge (impossible) jump! 
  • With a knee push up you’re not properly training many of the muscles involved with normal on your feet push ups. A big one is your core. Many times the failure to complete push ups results not from lack of upper body strength- but from lack of core strength. 

So What Can You Do? 

If you want to get better at push ups the single best thing you can do is to do push ups. The real ones. On your feet. If you are not able to do a single push up on your feet here is a progression that will get you there. Start with the wall push ups, once you are able to do 3 sets of 15 wall push ups move onto the incline bench push ups. Don’t go back to wall push ups now! Work your way up to 3 sets of 15 incline bench push ups and then move on to 

Beginner: Wall Push Up

Start with wall push ups. Work your way up to being able to do 3 sets of 15 wall push ups. Once you have mastered the wall push up, move onto the incline bench push up.


Intermediate: Incline Push Up on Bench

Work your way up to 3 sets of 15 incline bench push ups. Once you have mastered these move on to push ups on your feet! 


Advanced: Push Up on Feet

At this point DON’T TURN BACK! Don’t do them on the wall, don’t do them on a bench, do them on your FEET. Start by seeing how many you can do while maintaining good form. This number may only be one, two, or three and that’s totally okay! Once you have done that first set and established how many you are able to do, take a long rest (around 2 minutes) and try to repeat that same number of repetitions for two more sets. If you are getting tired and your form is suffering call it quits and try again next time to reach that number of reps you started with. 



This is just the beginning! Keep building on your new foundation. Add another push up when you can do three sets with ease and keep going from there. Stay tuned for another post about how you can keep improving from here!