Category Archives: Life

Things I learned from my first Crossfit Competition

This past weekend, the Englishman and I participated in our first official crossfit competition hosted by our own box, Crossfit Vibe.  We “technically” participated last year, but had to do the workouts in advance as we were in Maui on our honeymoon on the day of the event.  It was an awesome, humbling and exhausting experience.  And while we finished nowhere near the top, we both felt proud at the end that we made it through.

Here are some things I learned from my first crossfit competition:

1. Prepare to be humbled.

first crossfit competition

photo cred: crossfit vibe

We registered for the “fun” division, and while I know I’m not the best crossfitter out there, I was incredibly humbled by all of the amazing athletes in the fun and RX division.  The way they flew through the movements with ease when I was struggling through my front squats was crazy.  I definitely have a lot to work on.

2. Doing 3 WODs in a day is hard.

crossfit competitionNormally at crossfit we do 1 WOD (work out of the day) at 6am and then we are done.  This was 3 WODs broken up over the course of a day and while all of them were quite short (12 min or less) it was still challenging to gear up to do your final workout at 1:30PM when you are used to working out first thing in the morning.  Not to mention by that point you are pretty sore!

3.  Resting and refueling is key.

crossfit competition

photo cred: crossfit vibe

When I run races, they are always first thing in the morning so normally I don’t each much and then refuel after.  When you are doing a crossfit competition, it’s an all day event so you have to time your eating in between workouts.  The Englishman and I still have a lot of work to do on this, but we experimented with protein shakes and easy digestible foods like eggs, granola bars and some fruit.  I don’t like having a ton of food in my stomach when working out so it was definitely a bit tricky.  Plus, in between cheering for everyone you had to make sure you were resting/warming up for the next event.

4. Having a good partner is crucial.

crossfit competitionI feel so lucky that the Englishman and I could compete together as a team.  We were able to brush off nerves and just have fun with it.  Communication was key during some of the workouts so we set up a game plan ahead of time so when we were in the thick of it we could just power through.  Also: coming up with a good team name is important (ours was Titus Andromedon).

5. The crossfit community is awesome.

crossfit competitionI was so inspired by how many people came out to cheer us on.  It was awesome to have the support from our own friends and box, but to have other people cheering for us during the workouts was great.  And fun!  It’s truly a great community and it’s so nice to know that people have your back, regardless of if you finish first or last.

So there you have it! Our first crossfit competition is in the books and it was a great learning experience overall.  Fellow crossfitters: have you competed before?  Any tips and tricks for competition day?

An Afternoon in Paris

When the Englishman and I first started planning our European adventure, we knew we wanted to visit places we hadn’t been before like Burgundy and Epernay.  But we also wanted to at least pop into Paris, because well, Paris.  We ended up spending about six hours total in the city of light, and here’s how I think you should spend an afternoon in Paris.

ParisSince we were flying out to London the next morning, we decided to stay out near the Charles de Gaulle airport and not in the heart of the city.  So once we arrived in Paris from Epernay we dropped off our rental car (because driving in Paris = no), checked into our hotel and then hopped on a train and found ourselves standing outside Notre Dame.  I should mention that both of us had been to Paris before, so the urgency to SEE ALL THE THINGS wasn’t as high on our end.

Paris windyWe started our afternoon as any good traveler would do and found a delicious creperie called Le Moliere to have lunch.  If you have a limited amount of time in Paris, I recommend popping into one of their many cafes rather than sitting down to a more formal meal that will take longer.

One of the things I had been dying to try during our trip was a galette, which is made with buckwheat flour instead of wheat, and is gluten-free.  This creperie did not disappoint and I got a delicious galette filled with ham, cheese and a fried egg on top.

Buckwheat galette in parisWhen it was first placed in front of me I declared there was no way I would be able to finish it, and then I proceeded to eat the entire thing.  And it was delicious.The Englishman had croque madame on the brain and was presented with a lovely grilled ham and cheese sandwich also topped with a fried egg.  He had a disappointing croque madame experience a few weeks prior in California, so this sandwich was definitely redemption.

croque madame parisSo if you are like us and only have a few hours to spare in Paris and want to hit up one of the famous landmarks, I recommend you choose wisely.  The Louvre is an obvious choice but it’s so large and there’s no way you could do it justice in a short amount of time.  If you’ve never seen the Eiffel Tower, definitely stop there, but if you are like the two of us and have seen most of the “big monuments,” then I recommend spending sometime at the Musee d’Orsay.

The Musee d’Orsay is the impressionist art museum located along the Seine river.  It has many of the impressionist greats such as Van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne, Manet and Degas; and it’s not SO big that you feel overwhelmed in the galleries.  Plus, the view of the river is pretty hard to beat.

orsay parisAfter exploring the Orsay a bit, we ended our quick Paris jaunt with a walk along the Seine before popping on a train back to the airport.  Again, if you only have a short time in Paris, skip the Champs-Elysees and spend some time along the river and enjoy a glass of wine and macaron or two.  There is definitely some magic in the air when you visit Paris and you don’t need to spend it in luxury shops you can likely find at home.

So now I gotta ask.  If you only had 6 hours to spend in Paris, what would you do?  Or more importantly, what would you EAT?

Champagne Tasting in Epernay

After spending a few days traipsing through Burgundy, the Englishman and I packed up our rental car and headed north to spend a couple of days Champagne Tasting in Epernay.  I thought Burgundy was tough to top, but I fell in LOVE with Epernay.  I’m already plotting my return because I loved this charming town so much.

champagne tasting in epernayEpernay is located about 2 hours north-east of Paris in the Marne region.  It’s known as France’s “champagne capital” as the majority of champagne producers are located in Epernay and nearby town Reims.  And a little fun fact:  only champagne produced in this region can truly be called champagne.  Champagne produced in other countries/cities is known as “sparkling wine.”

champagne houses epernayAs a big lover of the bubbly, I was quite excited to do some champagne tasting in Epernay, and the city definitely did not disappoint.  Right in the center of the city is the Avenue de Champagne, which is home to some of the world’s most famous champagne houses including Mercier, Moet et Chandon and Perrier Jouet.  The Englishman and i decided to start our champagne filled day with at tour at Mercier.

Mercier is one of the first champagne houses to be built in Epernay and one of the only to offer a tour of their working cellars.  After a brief overview of the history of Mercier, we were whisked down 30 meters underground to start the tour.

champagne tasting in epernay cellarsWe hopped on a little train and listened to an audio tour that explained the champagne making process from picking the grapes, to bottling and distribution.  It was really interesting to learn about the process from start to finish and I loved seeing the working cellar in action.

Champagne Tasting EpernayAt the end of the tour we were greeted with a glass of champagne which was a nice touch.  Nothing like starting off your morning with a glass of bubbly at 10:30am!

After our tour of Mercier, the Englishman and I started to pop in and out of various champagne houses along the Avenue de Champagne for tasting.  The crazy thing about champagne tasting in Epernay is that the prices are so cheap!  You can get a really high quality glass of champagne for roughly 4-6 Euro, which is about 6-8 US dollars (based on the current exchange rate).

Rose Tasting EpernayThe Englishman and I are both fans of champagnes that are more on the dry side and not very sweet at all, so we pretty much loved every glass that we tasted throughout the day.

The last house we visited was Janisson-Baradon, where we ended up having a lovely conversation with one of the owners, who is hoping to get distribution in the states one day.  His champagne was our favorite of the day, so we ended up buying a couple of bottles to smuggle home to the US.

janisson baradon epernayOf course no day of champagne tasting is complete without an amazing French meal after, but I’ll recap that in another post because it was THAT good.  I do have to give a little shout out to the creme brulee we had one night in Epernay, because it was probably the best creme brulee I’ve had in my life.

creme brulee epernayEven if you aren’t a big champagne drinker (like the Englishman), I feel like Epernay is a must-visit if you find yourself in France.  The food is fabulous, the people are super friendly and the champagne is GOOD.  Now if only I could get a job at one of the champagne houses….

Inner Thoughts of a Freelancer

For the past 10 years I’ve been working the agency life. I spent the first 5 years in LA working for entertainment and retail clients before I moved down to Orange County and got involved in the world of powersports. I was an interactive agency girl through and through…until January of this year when I realised its time for a change. I went online and found a list of the best jobs which I could perform as a freelancer which is when I read and realised my passion for marketing. As of February I’ve been officially working for myself and diving headfirst into the world of freelance marketing. So consider this post my inner thoughts of a freelancer.

inner thoughts of a freelancerI should preface that I’ve only really been doing the freelance marketing thing for about 3 months now, so I still have a TON to learn, but I definitely feel like I’m starting to get my footing a bit.

So what do I do? I’m a freelance marketer and social media specialist. I work with clients to help them with their marketing needs and that ranges from brand strategy to content development and executing marketing tactics. And while this is probably one of the most challenging things I’ve done ever, it’s also one of the most rewarding. Here are a few thoughts:

  • The hustle is real: When I worked at an agency I already had my clients and didn’t need to go find them. This go around, I’ve had to hustle my booty off. This includes lots of emails, research, social networking, calls, etc. Lucky for me I grew up with a dad who was in sales so I already knew a bit about the art of the hustle before I even got started. But boy is it real, and yes, you are always hustling.
  • No two days are the same: Some days I work solely from home, some days I’m in meetings, and some days I’m at a coffee shop up the street. As someone who used to thrive on a strict routine, this has definitely been a big change, but I just find myself rolling with it.
  • I need human interaction: As much as I love and am grateful to be able to work from home, I realized I do need human interaction as well. I went from an environment full of people to one with just me and my cat. I found by simply changing my environment or being around people (ie: coffee shop) is a great way to keep the creative juices flowing.
  • I’m constantly learning new things: This new career path has me learning new things all the time. The newest apps, best ways to gain a social following, what email subject lines are most impactful, etc. It’s challenging and exciting all at once.

Those are just a few of my thoughts in this wild new world of freelancing. Taking the leap from a steady paycheck and leaving an awesome company to do my own thing was hard to do, but I know ultimately it was the best choice for me.

inner thoughts of a freelancerI’m also thinking of starting a freelancer series on the blog so if you have any questions/thoughts/comments please share! Is anyone else out there part of the big crazy world of freelancing?