Motivation Monday: Fast Metabolism Diet Week 4


Friday night... it's finally over!

It's here! My four long weeks of doing the 28-day Fast Metabolism Diet are over! The last day was this past Friday and it was glorious. I stuck to the diet during the final week despite a few really bad days, more event obligations, and March Madness. But somehow, someway, I completed the entire diet without cheating! Well.... almost...

Day 22 - Saturday Phase 1
Saturday morning was the start of a bad couple of days. Because of our home's proximity to a very cool bar, sometimes shit just gets cray. And when you're a very sober person around out of control drunk people, it makes whatever craziness is happening that much worse. I won't get into the details but I will say that the last thing I wanted to do Saturday morning was get up and make myself a healthy smoothie. I wanted a Red Bull and a giant bag of chips and a nap and I wanted them now. But realizing that my knee-jerk reaction to stress is to guzzle caffeine and eat my feelings was all kinds of eye-opening for me.

So after I begrudgingly made myself my Mango Fat Burning Smoothie, I headed out to start my insane Saturday with an apple in tow for my first snack. First I stopped by SportRx in PB for new shades. Then I headed over to the post office to mail my friend Bonney's baby shower invites. I popped in at home and heated up a Chicken and Broccoli bowl for lunch before running over to my friend Marisa's housewarming party. There, the temptation to drink was overwhelming since they had an awesome party setup going (including a new two tap kegerator). Not to mention they had all kinds of delicious treats like smores bars. Sadly for me, I had to stick to snacking on veggies and strawberries.

After Marisa's it was off to The Skinny Confidential Book Launch Party, where the Suja and Bon Affair mimosa bar was all too tempting. I mean, gummy bears!! My favorite!! Instead I had a glass of Suja (hold the champy) and stared longingly at the cheeses they had displayed nicely on a giant snack table. After an hour there, it was off to my friend Dan's to watch UConn in the NCAA tournament. The boys were drinking beer and between my bad mood, all the temptations, and it being my fourth sober Saturday in a row, the smell of hops was almost all it took to break me. But I sipped on water and headed home for my second Chicken and Broccoli bowl of the day before passing out.

Important note: If I can make it through this day on the diet... anyone can make it through any day.

Sprouted Grain Turkey Wrap

Day 23 - Sunday Phase 1
Sunday was the worst temptation in terms of food: Ryan's mom was coming over and she is the best cook I know. She was bringing her delicious garlic mashed potatoes, tri-tip and asparagus. I was so unbelieveably bummed that I wasn't going to be able to partake. While I tried to ignore the delicious smells coming from the grill outside, I put together Italian Chicken and Wild Rice for the slow cooker for dinner and made myself a Sprouted Grain Turkey Wrap for lunch, the first time I tried this recipe. I think I'm in love: you cook turkey bacon with dried mustard and oregano for the wrap and it was incredibly tasty.

Day 24  - Monday Phase 2
Back to work and back to Phase 2... two dreaded things to face on this already dreary Monday morning. The bright side was that this was my final Phase 2, so I tried to suck it up. I had Turkey Bacon and Celery for breakfast and cooked the bacon the same way I'd cooked it for the wrap the day before... so much tastier! Then I brought all the necessary ingredients to work for some Sliced Chicken Wraps, which is chicken, mustard and lime juice on romaine lettuce. They were surprisingly decent.

I stuck to jerky for snacks today, even though it kind of made me want to puke each time I chewed off a piece. Then when I got home, I finally indulged in the leftovers from Ryan's mom's meal for dinner - minus the mashed potatoes sadly. I had the tri-tip with some lemon garlic asparagus and it was delicious.

Day 25 - Tuesday Phase 2
Tuesday morning I realized I was out of celery, so it was turkey bacon only for me, eaten in the car during the morning commute. In fact, I was out of a lot of things: I had packed the same ingredients for a Sliced Chicken Wrap for lunch ... but minus the lime juice since I was out of limes. Tonight begs for a much needed (and dreaded grocery run... noticing all the dread this week?).

At the store I get enough to make beef lettuce tacos for dinner and realize I'm out of taco seasoning packets. I decided to pick up Ortega's taco seasoning only to find some major no-no's on the ingredients list: Yellow Corn Flour, Salt, Maltodextrin, Paprika, Spices, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Caramel Color (sulfites). I was terrible and bought it anyway because I don't know how to make my own taco seasoning and was too tired to try, but this stuff just made me realize how much crap is in the most innocent of things. Here I am thinking that taco seasoning could only contain spices and instead it has all this other junk too. Who knew?

Day 26 - Wednesday Phase 3
Hallelujah for Phase 3! Waking up on Wednesday mornings is always a relief on this diet because it means I can eat like a relatively normal person for a few days. Today was all about my Berry Nutty Oatmeal smoothie for breakfast and carrots and hummus for snacks. After work Ryan and I went for a nice long walk with the dogs around the neighborhood for about 45 minutes and then I heated up some frozen Coconut Curry Chicken for dinner. It was an easy, no fuss day on the diet, and a glimpse into what I look forward to when it's over.

Day 27 - Thursday Phase 3
Two more days! My excitement is growing every day as I near the finish line and this morning I can barely contain it. I made a fried egg and sprouted grain toast with tomatoes for breakfast and ran out to work with more carrots and hummus, plus some spinach, turkey slices, and tomatoes for a sprouted grain wrap lunch. I warmed up more Coconut Chicken Curry when I got home, then settled in for a long night of making Chicken and Barley soup. Between the food prep and the cooking time, this soup is a 3-4 hour endeavor, but it's so worth it. It's enough soup for 6-8 meals and it's delicious. After hours of cooking, I finally got in bed at 11pm, all my soup stored for my first week "off" the diet.

Day 28 - Friday Phase 3
I can't even tell you how happy I was going into this day! After a rough week and a crazy month, I couldn't stop thinking about how surprised I was that I saw this diet through all the way to the end. Then, at the end of the day I got some great news: a new position had opened up at my old company and they were offering it to me! It was the role that I had left for, but at the place I loved. It completely made my day... only to have UConn beat Iowa and advance into the Elite 8 as the icing on the cake! More on that crazy career news to follow, but I knew that with two big wins, I had to celebrate.

So for me, the diet ended at 6pm on Friday... almost the full 28 days, but not totally I guess! When I got home I tried on some motivation clothes I had bought prior to the diet and fit into a skintight pair of Free People jeans that were two sizes down from what I had been wearing before the diet. I headed out that night, had a few drinks, some cheese and enjoyed the end of this wild, but wonderful ride to the fullest extent possible. Cheers!

FMD Week 4 Weight Loss: 2 lbs

Spoiled Pupsters


Every once in a while this blog gives me the opportunity to spoil my two favoritest fur faces on the planet, our rescue dogs Brewer and Banjo. This weekend was one of those times: they received a box full of toys, treats and full-size grooming products from local San Diego-based startup PetBox

A year ago, I tried Birchbox and even did a huge research project for my MBA on the market for curated subscription services, which at the time was led by Birchbox. Without fail, I ended up not liking or being able to use most of my Birchbox samplers each month, even though they claimed it was customized to my stated preferences. Complete bummer.

But what sets a subscription service like PetBox apart is that the customer picks exactly what goes in the box each month from a selection of products identified for their pet's (dog or cat) age and size. PetBox can curate the box and surprise you if you'd like, but their main goal is to source the best and healthiest products out there for you to choose from. 

It was about .004 seconds after taking the tissue paper off that they immediately dove in and began destroying their new platypus toy in tandem. The box was filled with a bunch of great products that we can't wait to try and it was super fun to get something in the mail for them for once! 

What to Pack for Coachella: Festival Style


Breezy Daze

Back in Black

Desert Gypsy

White Hot

Need a little festival style inspiration? Here are some of the looks I'm messing around with as I start mentally packing for Coachella. By far, Coachella outfit shopping has become my favorite time of year to test new looks. Just make sure you have a way to transition each outfit into night... it gets cold in the desert! 

Are you all set for Coachella? 
What are some of your must-have fashion staples this festival season?

Leighton Meester + Dana Williams's Fleetwood Mac Cover

This just makes me want to be poolside in the desert on a summer night. 
 Happy Friday!

The Skinny Confidential Book Launch Party + A Giveaway!


One or two of you may have heard of the fabulous Lauryn Evarts, the San Diego babe behind The Skinny Confidential. An entrepreneur, blogger and overall ray of sunshine, I'm inspired by her trademark honesty, her ability to tell as she sees it, and how much she freakin' hustles. And while I have to admit that we differ a bit in our approaches to healthy living, I follow and support her ultimate message: to promote a sexy, sassy lifestyle for women.

This past weekend BeSocial PR threw a party for Lauryn at the Rancho Valencia resort to support the launch of her new fitness, beauty and lifestyle guide book, The Skinny Confidential. I stopped by with a couple of friends before the UConn game (Go Huskies!) Saturday night and wow. This party was bonkers. After leaving our car with the complimentary valet (!), we walked into what felt like an outdoor wedding reception on their Croquet Lawn.

Lauryn was at the main table, looking like a princess in her whimsical white dress and flower crown, signing books and thanking everyone for coming. The sun was slowly setting, lighting up the whole party with the most magical glow. And Ottopilot, a band that counts one of Lauryn's cousins as a member, was playing slow jams that I momentarily confused with the radio because they sounded EXACTLY like John Mayer. In fact, I was so impressed with them, that I donated to their Kickstarter so I could get my hands on an album ASAP.

FYI: this was definitely the party to be at if you were a single guy: almost every flawless-looking fashion blogger and PR Rep in San Diego was in attendance, enjoying the tunes and the atmosphere. Not to mention the beverages: Suja and my new obsession, Bon Affair, were hosting a DIY Mimosa bar that I somehow managed to avoid (less than a week left of this diet!).

I'm lucky that I get to live in San Diego and am able to attend events like this, but I hate bragging about these beautiful days when so many of you got snow last weekend! So to cheer you up and get you through the last of your winter blues / motivate you into a new spring fitness routine, I bought a signed copy of The Skinny Confidential to giveaway!

But wait... there's more! ;) I'm also including a tool that I was introduced to back when we did biometrics testing: a brand new Omrom Fat Loss Monitor. I like using this instead of a scale when I'm trying to lose weight because it puts things in perspective (since muscle weighs more than fat). Plus, I'm throwing in a $25 Amex Gift Card (for you to use on a yoga class or some new gear) and few other fitness goodies (like some brand new Clif MoJo bars) for a total value of $100!

The giveaway ends Saturday, April 5th at 10am PST and I'll announce the winner that day. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Shopped: SportRX in Bay Ho, San Diego


This past weekend I was invited to stop by the SportRx headquarters in Bay Ho/PB and check out their array of performance and prescription sunglasses. If I had to name one major difference in my outdoor fitness gear needs between Southern California and back home in Connecticut, it would be the importance of having a great pair of shades. The sun here is so bright and there's no escaping it under leafy trees, so lightweight polarized sunglasses are a must.

Honestly, if I hadn't had been invited, I never would have known that SportRx existed. For me it's only a short drive up the 5, off the Grand Ave exit, but it's tucked away on a popular cyclist backroad, Santa Fe Street. In fact, that's the first thing I noticed when I pulled up: they have a cyclist/runner refreshment station set up outside their store with water, sports drinks, and snacks. You can even pop in during your workout and have your sunglasses adjusted or cleaned. How awesomely thoughtful is that?

Inside, the store and back offices are situated in a bright, fun space lined with tons of cool art, not to mention a kegerator, a shuffleboard table, and a huge table made out of the most gorgeous driftwood from the SD harbor. In addition to being a retail space, it's probably one of the coolest offices I've ever been in.

Their Sports Optician, Tim, gave me a tour and let me try on sunglasses to my heart's content. I was so overwhelmed with the selection, from well-known brands like Oakley, Ray-Ban, Spy Optics, and Maui Jim to sports specialty or lesser known brands that are up and coming. After browsing for almost an hour, I decided that there's really no reason to shop elsewhere for sunglasses in San Diego.

It's a one stop shop for sunglasses, whether you're a runner, cyclist, motorcyclist, golfer, snowboarder, skier, volleyball player or just fashion conscious and looking to test drive some high quality shades. And it doesn't matter if you need prescription sport sunglasses or if you have 20/20 vision like me (have to brag while I still can, right?), SportRx can help you with the right pair with their Prescription Analyzer tool. Don't worry if you're not in San Diego: they're fairly well-known as the go-to place for prescription sunglasses online!

In the end, it was a tough choice, but I went with super cute Maui Jim polarized Pikake shades that will transition nicely from a hike to an afternoon out with friends. But I'll definitely be back for more... there were some adorable Smith Optics glasses that would be fun for Coachella, tons of Oakleys that I loved for running and I was intrigued by Spy Optics's Happy Lens technology.

It's basically a sunglasses heaven where fashion meets fitness meets a kegerator with local craft brews on tap. What more could a San Diegan ask for?

SportRx Showroom
5076 Santa Fe Street, Suite A
San Diego, California, 92109
Phone: (888) 531-5817

Motivation Monday: Fast Metabolism Diet Week 3


Hiking Torrey Pines

Halfway through The Fast Metabolism Diet, I'm starting to rethink my plans to do this for 40 days instead of 28. This was the hardest week of the diet so far and according to Pomroy, it should be one of the easiest. I'm losing steam and motivation and fast. But she insisted we dedicate 28 days, so I soldiered on through a week of happy hours, parties and events.

Day 15 - Saturday Phase 1
After a long week, I am happy to have two days where I have all the food I need either bought or frozen and ready to go without any cooking or prep. I stick to my usuals: Fat Burning Mango Smoothie for breakfast and apples and kiwis for snacks. I have Chicken and Barley Soup for lunch and a frozen Chicken Broccoli Bowl for dinner. It was a nice, lazy day too.

In fact, it was an easy day for the diet, all the way up until the night. We decided to head over to our friend Bonnie's that night to relax with some friends and as we got in the car, I realized that it was the first time I'd driven at night since before the diet. It was also the first time we'd really been out on a weekend night. Those two facts bummed me out and made me realize how much I feel like a prisoner of this diet. It's completely destroyed my social life. I feel like I'm on a month-long time out. I was also worried that I wasn't going to last energy-wise throughout the night. Overall, I'm glad I went and I made it until 1am, but I have never missed caffeine more.

Day 16 - Sunday Phase 1
I take that back. After staying out til 1am last night, I miss caffeine so much this morning it's killing me. I have plans to hike to Potato Chip Rock with my friend Dan this morning, so I'm up and putting together my smoothie and snacks by 10am and still dragging. For the hike, I bring an apple and a rice cake, but it's not brown rice so I wonder if it meets the diet. These are the things that stress me out these days.

Surprisingly, I have a lot of energy on the hike, at least physically. With the heat and the elevation, usually a hike as strenuous as this would have made me feel nauseous or like I was going to pass out, but I felt great with just the snacks I had. When I got home, I had the last of my Chicken and Barley Soup and then another Chicken and Broccoli Bowl for dinner ... I think I was asleep by 9:30pm.

Day 17 - Monday Phase 2
Still feeling the effects of my late night Saturday. It's so shocking to me that one late night can wreak this much havoc on my body and it makes me start thinking about the sacrifices involved in "living healthy." I have no idea how celebrities with their jam packed schedules stay so thin and look so fresh all the time. Is money really the only way to enjoy a rockstar lifestyle and still be as healthy as one?

Today is a Phase 2 day, which I am officially dreading this week, more so than ever before. Turkey bacon and celery for breakfast, per usual. And I didn't have time to stop by Trader Joe's over the weekend, so I got some jerky from Target last night: a Krave brand one and a Jack Links. It's only when I'm eating the first snack of the day that I realize these jerkys have soy, wheat, corn and some ingredients that I don't recognize... all big No's on this diet. The TJ's brand does have soy sauce flavorings but is otherwise natural. More to stress about. For lunch, I have leftover beef that I froze after last week's lettuce tacos, so I use that to have more lettuce tacos for lunch. At home, I cook up some Cinnamon Mustard Chicken and Lemon Garlic Asparagus for dinner and have enough for two leftovers.

Day 18 - Tuesday Phase 2
This morning I decide to weigh in and see that I've gained back the pound that I lost during Phase 1 this week. For whatever reason, this hits me hard and is extremely discouraging. I kind of drudge through the day and barely eat any snacks for fear that this icky commercial jerky caused this. I have the leftover Cinnamon Mustard Chicken and Lemon Garlic Asparagus for both lunch and dinner and by the end of the day, I am completely sick of this phase.

Green Dragon Tavern | pc: UT San Diego

Day 19 - Wednesday Phase 3
Wednesday brings relief and anxiety at the same time. Today I have to deal with two social functions while on the diet and they've got me totally stressed out. For breakfast, I make an Berry Nutty Oatmeal Smoothie with the last of my frozen raspberries and steel cut oats... they lasted me a long time. I added way more berries than I usually do because of this pin that has supposed adjustments from Pomroy for recipes in the book. And then for the first time I left the house unencumbered because I had almond packs at work for snacks and because social function numero uno was a birthday lunch out for a co-worker.

Braving a restaurant for the first time on the diet was scary. We went to BJ's, a local chain, and I found something that sounded like it could pass for a Phase 3 lunch: grilled chicken, red onions, tomatoes, brussel sprouts and brown rice in a lemon thyme sauce. It was delicious and even though I'm sure it had some more No's in it, I didn't feel too guilty. After work, social function numero dos was a happy hour with my boss and a vendor we use. We went to this awesome place in Carlsbad called the Green Dragon Tavern and the food and wine looked and smelled amazing. A tray of pretzel balls sat in front of me the whole time (2.5 hours) and somehow, someway, despite a growling stomach, I stuck to my water and resisted. Never on this diet have I been more bummed about my restrictions. I drove home sad and hungry, popped a frozen Chicken and Quinoa Risotto in the microwave and went to bed.

Day 20 - Thursday Phase 3
I wake up Thursday with the least energy of any day so far. I weigh in before breakfast and see that despite my lunch out yesterday, I lost the pound that I had gained back but nothing more. Small wins? One fried egg and sprouted grain toast later and I'm out the door, ready for another long day. For my first snack I have carrots and hummus and then the remainder of my leftovers for lunch. I stick to almonds for snacks for the rest of the day, because this is a 3-snack day: after work I head to Torrey Pines to go hiking with my friend Monica and don't finish until 7pm.

Following the hike, I embark on my new favorite activity: grocery shopping. I pick up the ingredients for Coconut Curry Chicken and some heirloom tomatoes and red onions for a salad and head home. By the time I cook and eat it's 9:30pm and within a few minutes of finishing, I'm in bed.

Day 21 - Friday Phase 3
Maybe it was the hike or maybe it's because it's Friday, but for whatever reason, I'm feeling better and more optimistic this morning than I have all week. Regardless, I am running incredibly late as I try to rush out the door while making breakfast and chopping red onions in the food processor for my salad. I pack the rest of the ingredients separately and just resign to having to make it while at work.

After work, I heat up some of my Coconut Curry Chicken for dinner and then get ready for our friends' band's music video shoot down at the bar next door. They just received word that they're going to be on MTV's The Real World this week and so they put together a music video to accompany their page on MTV's site. This shoot was for the party scene and my friend Shanna and I got dressed up and headed over to help out as extras. It was the latest night I'd been out at a bar and sipping ice water just wasn't doing it for me any more, so I switched to seltzer with lime. The sad thing is? It felt like a treat even though it was water. Somehow I made it until the shoot ended around 10pm and then headed back upstairs, one more week down, shocked that I survived all the social commitments without caving.

FMD Week 3 Weight Loss: 1 lb. 

"I Can't" Vs. "I Don't Want To"


Throughout this diet, there has been a common reaction when I tell people what I'm doing. Usually they ask how much weight I've lost and then ask me what the catch is. I tell them the basics: no caffeine, no alcohol, no wheat, no dairy... Without fail, their response is: "Oh, I can't do that."

What they really mean to say is that they don't want to do that.

I'm not judging here. I'm guilty of it too. In fact, I've said I "can't" do tons of diets, but really, at those times, I just didn't want to make the sacrifices to lose weight. Now, I do. Which made realize something: I think we should stop saying "I can't" when we mean to say "I don't want to." And here's why: when we say we can't do something, we're not being honest with ourselves and others. 

For example: let's say your friends ask you to come out to the bar and you don't really feel like it. Your response may be: "I can't." That's when your friends start calling bullshit and you either A. Piss them off because you're being so vague and acting like you have no control over your actions or B. Allow yourself to get peer pressured into something you didn't really want to do. But what would the reaction have been if you simply said, "I don't want to tonight"?

"I can't" was the same reaction that people had when I told them how much training I had to do for the marathon. "I could never do that!" No, barring some actual physical disability that prevents you from the training and impact that running a marathon involves, what you mean to say is that you don't want to do that. And I don't blame you! I don't want to do it again either!

That's the second benefit of not relying on the crutch of "I can't": accountability and self-knowledge. 

By taking ownership of your feelings and decisions and interests, you start to hear yourself more clearly. Many people who have learned how much weight I've lost on this diet, seemed incredibly interested to try it, only to shy away when they understand the discipline that's involved. Maybe they don't want to give up their morning coffee or enjoying happy hour with friends and that's great... I'll soon be rejoining them.

But when you start admitting that to yourself, you are admitting that you are accountable for the state of health that you're in. Start saying that you don't want to work out instead of "I can't" and that you don't want to diet to lose weight instead of "I can't" and eventually you will realize where you stand on your approach to your personal health, even if that means finding out that you're standing in your own way.

I hesitated to write this post because isn't about superiority or judgment or trying to push my crazy fad dieting onto anyone else, though I worry that it sounds that way. In fact, it's very much the opposite. Because there's one more benefit to being honest about not wanting to do something: it stops you from being hard on yourself and allows you to be satisfied with your choices. 

  • Stop saying that you can't move to your dream city and say instead that you don't want to move to your dream city if it means leaving xyz behind, because those things are more important to you.
  • Stop saying that you can't quit your job and travel the world for 6 months and instead say that you don't want to work the extra jobs and sacrifice the time or career progression that it would take to finance or indulge a trip like that. 
  • Stop saying that you can't break up with your significant other and instead say that you don't want to because you're scared to be alone or scared of the unknown.
  • Stop saying that you can't get a pet and instead say that you don't want to because you value the freedom and flexibility of not having that obligation to another living being. 

Most importantly, don't be afraid of admitting why you don't want these things. They're who you are! And if you don't like what you hear when you say it out loud, at least now you know and you have the power to either change it or stop beating yourself up and accept it. If other people don't like who you are? Well, then you're making room for people who do.

I believe so much in the power and freedom of transparency. When you're honest with the world and yourself about who you are, you attract the people and experiences that reflect that and reject those that clash with the way you choose to live. When you say "I can't" you are saying that you have no choice as to what happens to you.

When are you saying you can't when you should be saying you don't want to?

Sayulita Life: Petit Hotel Hafa


Within a couple of hours of touching down at the Puerto Vallarta airport, we were in a cab speeding through jungle roads to Sayulita. I wasn't sure what to expect when we landed but I remembered that we had to walk out of the airport, make a left and cross the street bridge to get to the taxi line. It ended up being that easy. The cab ride to Sayulita was about 500 pesos or $40 dollars and took about 35-40 minutes.

Eventually, the road opened up and to our left was a road leading to a stone entryway arch that announced Sayulita in a can't-miss-it kind of way. Once we passed underneath it, the driver asked us for the address of the hotel and after we told him, he still had to stop and ask for directions. It ended up that all he had to do was continue straight through on Revolucion, past the town center and down the cobblestone road to the bright red and blue building on the left.

Petit Hotel Hafa was our home sweet home for the first half of our week in Sayulita and we stayed in the largest room, Room 1 for $85/night (price goes up to $105 if you stay less than 3 nights). This room is known for the walkway of hearts leading to its door. The first thing I noticed about the room was that it was a little darker than I expected, in comparison to the bright sunny day outside. But as the week went on, I realized that the limited exposure to natural light made for a cool escape from the Mexican heat. 

As for the room itself, it can sleep up to 3 people and the king size bed was two (very firm) single beds pushed together. It has a mini fridge (which proved helpful for beer and water storage) and a fan that provided all the breeze we needed, though you can purchase AC for an additional $5/night. We slept well after we got adjusted to the firmness of the mattress, but beware of the Zeta gas truck that comes around at the crack of dawn each morning to sell fuel to the townspeople. It blasts a ridiculously loud and catchy song as it loops the streets and from bed it sounds like it's happening right next to your face for about 5-10 minutes each morning. 

The bathroom in this room is pretty unique in that it's kind of like a cave: just one stone room with a palapa roof, a toilet, shower head, sink and mirror, separated from the bedroom by a flimsy, almost sheer linen curtain. It wasn't a problem for us, but if you're staying with friends or family, I hope you're very comfortable with showering and going to the bathroom around them. One thing that also surprised us was the inability to flush toilet paper: all tp has to be thrown out separately in the trash bin next to the toilet. This proved to be a theme throughout Sayulita. 

Our colorful Fresco towels were right at home here! 

Between the boutique decor, the rooftop deck with complimentary tequila, the price and the prime location, Petit Hotel Hafa is one of the best and most loved places to stay in town when in Sayulita. It's incredibly safe and only steps to nightlife and the town center or an easy 10 minute walk to the beach. But make sure that you reserve your room in advance: with only 5 rooms, they fill up pretty quickly! 

Potato Chip Rock


This past weekend I finally got around to hiking the Mt. Woodson Trail all the way to Potato Chip Rock. My friend Dan, who hikes practically every day, came with me and we had a great time talking and taking in the scenery for a few hours. Potato Chip Rock is a local favorite for taking new profile pictures and you can kind of see why.

To get to the trail, you have to drive about 25 minutes northeast of Downtown and take the Rancho Bernardo Road exit off of the 15. You make a right off the exit, then drive straight for a couple of miles until you hit Lake Poway. Make sure you have some cash with you: there's a parking fee of $5 to get in, though in the past it's been $8, so that may depend on the time of year.

The trail itself is fairly strenuous and about 4 miles uphill in direct sunlight so make sure you have enough water. I brought about 50oz with me and had just enough for an 80° day with a strong breeze --- you'll need more if you go in the summer. You can also bring dogs to hike this trail which would have been fun if my dogs could make it, but they're too fluffy to hike something as hot as this.

Just below the summit is Potato Chip Rock. The rock itself is wider in person than it seems in all the photos, so posing on the rock was less scary than it looks. What is terrifying is the jump you have to make to get onto the rock. It's about 3 feet and falling into the wedge between rocks probably means rolling your ankle or skinning your knee or having to amputate one of your own limbs, 127 Hours-style. Probably.

On beautiful days there will be a line to take pictures and honestly, the line is mostly caused by how long it takes people to maneuver this jump. But the plus side to having so many people around is that there is always someone to take your picture for you. Our line was giving the cameras to the people in front of them so that after they climbed down they took the photo from the best vantage point, which I highly recommend.

Although I wasn't as prepared for my picture as the hilarious girl who brought a Simba stuffed animal and recreated the Rafiki scene, I think it came out pretty great and I'm happy to have checked off another local landmark!

(P.S. - This blogger details an Eastern route that's half as long, a little shadier, and has free parking!!)

Motivation Monday: Fast Metabolism Diet Week 2


Last week I started The Fast Metabolism Diet, a 28 day metabolism reset that I plan I doing until the day we leave for Coachella (for a total of 40 days). In my first week I battled caffeine withdrawal then had tons of energy and ended up losing a total of 7 lbs. Heading into Week 2, I faced attending a bridal shower on the diet, grogginess from the DST time change and generally being surrounded by food and alcohol that I started to resent not being able to have.

Day 8 - Saturday Phase 1
Excited to start the day, if only because Phase 1 means another delicious Fat-Burning Mango Smoothie. I hopped out of bed right after my alarm went off, then made my smoothie and ate it with rice crackers and a side of Netflix. Then I started trying to prepare for the day - I was headed to my friend Anjali's bridal shower a couple of hours north in LA and had to somehow stick to the plan amidst all the sangria and yummy food. I packed two apples for snacks and a turkey sandwich on sprouted grain bread to eat in the car right before the shower. The book has a recipe for an open-faced sandwich which I followed all the way until the open-faced part: I put a second slice on there and packed it up for the trip. Then I got the slow cooker ready and put in my dinner, Italian Chicken and Wild Rice.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner, all prepared before 10am. Not bad.

The shower was great.. there was tons of fresh fruit and since I was in Phase 1, by the time my second snack time rolled around I was in heaven. I felt dumb telling everyone I wasn't eating more or drinking because I was on a cleanse, but they're all pretty cool ass chicks so nobody thought it was as weird as I did. After a long drive home, I was so relieved to walk into a warm, good-smelling (and tasting!) dinner waiting for me in the slow cooker. Ian was over and both him and Ryan had some as well --- everyone enjoyed this one.

Sari shopping for Anjali and Pre's wedding!

Day 9 - Sunday Phase 1
I'm finding that on the mornings when I get to have the mango smoothie for breakfast, it's super easy to get out of bed. It's also Daylight Savings Time so even though I'm up at my normal time, it feels like I slept in, which is kind of nice. Today is a lowkey, spring cleaning day, so Ryan and I spend the morning doing yardwork. That counts as cardio right?

I heated up some frozen Chicken and Barley Soup for lunch and then in the afternoon we went to the bar to meet up with Bonney and Lou, who were in town for the weekend, and the rest of our friends. For the first time, I really wished I could just enjoy a beer or two with everybody but I stuck to pounding water with Bonney (who's expecting in June!). After they left, I went to the grocery store (because what else do I do these days ??) and got some Phase 2 foods for work tomorrow. When I got back, a few friends were over, eating pizza and drinking with Ryan and then I REALLY wished I could just say F it and join in. I ate my leftover Italian Chicken as fast as possible to suppress the calling of pizza and went to bed early. The good news? I'm only missing out on 4 more Sunday Fundays.

Day 10 - Monday Phase 2
Ugh. The full force of DST hits me this morning and I hit the snooze button a hundred times. I'm also not super eager to prep my turkey bacon and celery breakfast, but I do it anyway, then grill up two chicken breasts - one for my salad today, one for my salad tomorrow. I pack up my jerky, prepare my salad and hit the road. I'm dragging and cranky all morning. I haven't seen any new weight loss since Friday, I'm mad I couldn't have fun with my friends last night and I'm all kinds of stressed out about everything. Plus, it's a Phase 2 day, which is essentially Spartan food. Blech. Meeting my friend Raina for lunch helps a lot - we vent about our various diet plateaus and all the things that are on my mind. She always has the best advice (which is why you should read her blog).

In the afternoon, I get my first real headache since the caffeine withdrawal passed last week. All I can think about is sleep. But it's light outside when I get home for the first time since I started my new job and that is something to celebrate. Ryan and I take a short walk, I make some Cinnamon Mustard Chicken and Lemon Garlic Asparagus for dinner, we finished House of Cards Season 2 and head to bed somewhat early.

Day 11 - Tuesday Phase 2
More snooze button pushing. This time change is really messing with me, which makes me rethink my plan to give up caffeine forever. I got 8 hours of sound sleep last night and I'm still tired. Saying bye to caffeine may be a pipe dream. Thinking I should just say bye to aspartame instead - no more Red Bulls and Diet Cokes. Turkey bacon and celery again since I'm running late, though I had every intention to try a different Phase 2 breakfast this morning. No time to prepare my salad, so I pack all of the ingredients instead. A quick look around the kitchen has me desperately wishing we had a dishwasher, since that would make this diet INFINITELY easier. Jerky for both snacks at work today. Then, because it was Tuesday, I made lettuce tacos for dinner. Romaine lettuce is a surprisingly awesome taco shell.

Day 12 - Wednesday Phase 3
Decided to weigh in again today and found out I lost another pound and half. It's not much but it's something. I start to stress about the minor ways in which I'm not following the diet... I usually eat breakfast within an hour of waking up, not a half hour. Sometimes my meals are more like 4 hours apart instead of 3. And I'm not doing the exercises. I'm going to fix these things but if this continues, I may have to do Phase 2 for 3 days next week.

Much like last week, I'm unprepared for Phase 3 again. I have enough raspberries for my Berry Oatmeal Smoothie this morning, but I'll need more for tomorrow. And I have prepackaged almond snack packs (thanks Trader Joe's!) and celery and almond butter for snacks, but no lunches and only enough for one dinner tonight (Coconut Curry Chicken I am so excited for you!). This means another grocery store visit for me. Yay. To get through lunch though, I go to a place in Carlsbad where you can make your own salads and order a salad with red onions, tomatoes, chicken, quinoa, cucumbers and kalamata olives.

Around mid-afternoon, a mild headache and a wave of fatigue hits me like no other. A lot of feelings and emotions have been coming up for me this week and I wonder if its the diet or the new job or a post-Sayulita come down or a combination of everything. I'm completely zapped of energy suddenly and yet at the same time I feel restless and frustrated about a lot of things, bored, and generally depressed that I can't take part in the foods I love, that I can't go out to eat with friends, or enjoy a glass of wine after dinner. One thing that I know about myself is that I have a high need for inclusion and this diet makes me feel like an outsider, which is not great. Maybe this is why I always prefer workout weight loss methods, for the camaraderie? At least then I feel like part of the fitness community. And I know there are nutrition communities but that is a bunch of people suffering together, not enjoying endorphins together...

All of a sudden, I can't think of a single reason that giving up Red Bull and alcohol is a good idea.

Day 13 - Thursday Phase 3
Confession: I don't think I've ever cooked an egg. I mean, I vaguely remember hard boiling them a couple of times when I was a teenager but I can't be positive that one of my parents didn't do it for me. So this morning, I wake up determined to fry an egg for the Egg and Toast with Tomato and Red Onion recipe in the book. Surprisingly I didn't mess it up and it was delicious. Even though I'm not typically a fan, eggs always do make it feel like real breakfast.

I packed up the leftover Coconut Curry Chicken for lunch and some celery and almond butter for one of my snacks. I plan to have raw almonds for the other. It's a pretty stressful day at work and and my kneejerk reaction is to say F it and grab the bag of SunChips in my desk so that I can eat my feelings. This continues after work with nonstop red wine cravings. Instead, to ignore it all, the work day included, I just eat the rest of my Coconut Curry Chicken leftovers for dinner and go to bed early.

Day 14 - Friday Phase 3
Two weeks!! Despite being bummed out about this diet for the past two days, I woke up with renewed energy when I realized that I am essentially halfway through Haylie's diet (though since I'm doing 40 days, I'm not quite there yet). Today I had another fried egg on sprouted grain toast and then headed to work with only almond butter and celery packed up for my snacks --- I'm so out of food that today will have to be another stop at the salad place day.

As I eat my first snack, I realize that I've been a lot more relaxed about following the diet in the last few days. Not relaxed as in not following it, but relaxed as in, I've got it down and I'm not so stressed about all the packing and planning. I kind of know what I need to eat and when and what I have in stock for that. Plus I like that I know I can buy lunch out sometimes, knowing what needs to be inside it. Like today, I get the same salad with grilled chicken, kale, quinoa, red onions, kalamata olives, tomatoes and cucumbers.

On the way home, I finally catch up with my cousin who inspired me to do this diet in the first place and it was really great listening to his experiences and hearing his perspective on everything, especially our identical feelings on the exclusion that our lack of drinking created. It's also good to know that he's continuing the diet to a degree still, even though he finished his 28 days (and then some).

I head to Sprout's on the way home and buy enough to enjoy a final meal for Week 2, Chicken and Quinoa Risotto!

FMD Week 2 Weight Loss: 3 lbs