June 29, 2016

Hiking the Five Lands in Cinque Terre, Italy

Or, the "Two hour hike that became five lands later".

Yes, we hiked the five lands of Cinque Terre in one day, on a whim after the third land (insert high five and you’re crazy emoji here). What originally started out with a super chill morning of sleeping in, making our own espresso and breakfast with a possible hike to one changed randomly and honestly I’m so glad it did.

We started our hike in Riomaggiore and had orginally  planned to go up the coastline. However, due to the flood of 2012 that part of the tail is washed out so we walked a bit more inland. NO ONE in the towns talk about the washout, they make it sound more like a seasonal closure, which was really strange. But then we found out the money raised to repair the trail 'magically disappeared' so it's all hush hush since the tourist tickets made up a majority of the funds.



Our first hike was up the 600 Stairs aka the eternal stairmaster. And no, I’m not exaggerating, there really are 600+ steps up the hillside. The hardest part of the steps was the distance between them. Well, for Le Husband, they were perfect for my smaller legs, but taller people hand to change up their gait.


It was a challenge at first and then we got the hang of it. The trails are right through people’s property, sometimes through the vineyards which was really cool. Check out this contraption they use on the steep inclines.


After we left Riomaggiore we entered Manarola. Again the hike was steep but not awful. We ran into some Canadiens and had a great time chatting in English about the area and also about our honeymoon in Banff. They were quite impressed with our 30 day trip and our move which was nice to hear. The hills kept going up and down and it was incredible to think about how people lived here back before the paths were created. While the weather here was warmer than France, it was still a bit of a coastal wind and without the sun it can be quite chilly. Hence the tank top to long sleeve change.


How beautiful is the town below?! This is what all the Cinque Terre towns look like from above.


Corniglia is the half way point and it was up in the air whether we would finish the whole hike or not. Parts of the trails you have to buy tickets for, which is great to promote the atea, but it was a bit later than we originally imagined and weren’t 100% sure we were mentally up for the rest of the hike. But we decide why not try since we are already halfway through. So try we did and try became we rocked that hike, woohoo! From Corniglia you hit Vernazza and finally end up in Monterosso. We will let the pictures do the rest of the talking from here!



What we ate: mix of cooked by us and bought at a restaurant. Our dinner after the hike was one of our TOP TWO meals of our trip, so flipping delicious. Seriously some of the best seafood we've ever had in our lives:




Hiking the five lands is NOT for the faint of heart if you couldn't tell. Cinque Terre is an INCREDIBLE destination but the hiking is not for everyone. We saw quite a few people who were NOT in their element, so if you plan a trip there do your research [aka feel free to ask me] before you start the trek through the different villages. We had the best time and the meal afterwards was just the icing on a fabulous day. Next week I'll be recapping our GELATO tour, yum!

June 28, 2016

Such a Full Weekend We're Recapping A Day Late

I'm Hello and happy weekend recap day. Yup, I'm coming at you a day later than most because this weekend was super wonderful, but super busy with an ending full of traffic, boo. The original plan was to get in from Cincy around 8pm, finish up a blog post and then get settled in for the week. And then we hit traffic from hades.

Anyway, moving on from that drama. Before I get into the recap and we just take a moment to realize this is the last week of June? Fourth of July is RIGHT around the corner, what the what? Where is the summer going? Right now it seems like the days are long but the months seem to be super short. Am I the only one feeling this way? Yeah, okay, moving on ;)!

Le Husband and I spent last weekend visiting his family in Cincy. We sparked a try something new trend with family as our BIL/SIL and their two kids are moving south later this summer. As excited as we are for them and their fabulous new adventure, we are both a lil bummed they will be moving farther away from us now that we are closer.

This weekend we...

... spent a lot of time playing legos, rough housing, cuddling, crawling and walk training.


... spent Saturday going to Finley Market, visiting family then drove to the pool for the usual pool party.

... tried to get littlest man to walk. He knows how to, does it quite well holding on to fingers but WON'T walk without assistance. So I walked the stairs a bazillion times with him and did quite a few laps around the pool.

He's too cute to say no to, right??!?!?!!? #thosecheeksthough

... caught up with Grandma and Grandpa and both felt better about how Grandma looked. She was in the hospital earlier this month and we are so thankful everything is working out okay now. They were very excited about our trip and move and it was fun recapping Europe for them. 

... ate the first smore of the summer, so worth the calorie count. 

... had a sleepover with the oldest nephew after the pool.

... woke up bright and early Sunday morning for family breakfast and sprinkler time.

... took the other set of grandparents out for lunch before getting back on the road to Tennessee.

... stopped by my Kentucky family's home to have dinner with them and pick up some signs for Sportyspices wedding. It is so nice having family so close, I am beyond grateful.

... sat in MISERABLE traffic for two+ hours. #theworst

... arrived home too late to watch the COPA game but holy cow how did Messi miss?

... passed out from a busy weekend.

Yesterday I subbed a BODYPUMP class and looking at my planner I realized I have a FULL week of teaching. Some days are two classes, yowza. I'm excited though, for the time out doing something and getting back into the fitness game.

Before I go, I have to brag on my BOFF. She sent me the sweetest gift and it really made my Monday. She's selling KEEP now and was so kind to send me a lil something to remember my European trip. Thanks so much, beautiful friend, I love you dearly!


I'm going to be a bit absent this morning as I'll be teaching a 6am class in East Knoxville. Fingers crossed the alarm goes of correctly and I figure out the microphone quickly. Hope y'all have a wonderful day!!!! 

June 24, 2016

Fitness FRI-YAY!

Hi, friends! Happy FRIDAY! Woohoo, the weekend is here. I'm super stoked as we are visiting my Ohio family. It's been go, go, go the past few weekends and even though I'm tired I'm loving all the family time. 

Today I'm going out on a limb and trying something new. My love of fitness isn't new, of course, but I've never really shared a workout I've created here. However, now that I've had some extra time I've realized how much I love sharing my knowledge of fitness and wanted to start bringing y'all some different ways to workout. 

Here is  a full body, no weight, circuit workout you can do just about anywhere. 
I'm a HUGE fan of going to the gym and lifting heavy weights, but sometimes you don't have the time or just don't want to make the trek to a gym. That's where body weight workouts become your best friend. I'm a huge fan of circuit workouts because they keep the heart rate up while you're working your muscles. Double win! In the work out below you will want to repeat each circuit three times, going from one exercise to the other with very minimal rest in between. Give yourself at least a two minute break in between circuits and always take water when you need it.

***PSA: I am not YET a certified trainer [currently for my AFAA certification].  Please check with a doctor before attempting any new exercises and ALWAYS honor your body and injuries. Feel free to reach out with questions***


If some of the exercises don't make sense, have no fear. I have a video for you use if you need. If you're able to watch you'll see I'm breathing heavy by the end, it is NOT meant to be easy. I like adding the cardio blast in the last circuit to really bring the workout home. I've included modifications to start off with if you are newer to fitness.

There you have it, friends. I know I have some work to do with my graphics and pictures, learning everyday.  And I have not yet mastered the art of editing so forgive the extra few seconds here and there. I'd love feedback if you attempt the workout and please don't hesitate to ask any questions about modifications and form. 

Have a fabulous weekend, friends! Sending you love and sparkles [and baby vibes to a special friend]!

June 23, 2016

I Don't Think it Could Be Any More Random

|| I planned to go back to the gym for a second work out yesterday evening but when my aunt said 'want to go down to the lake and ski?' I couldn't say no so I skipped out. #worthit

|| Constant victims drive me bonkers and make my skin crawl. RHOC just started and already Vicki is frustrating the crap out of me. I knew someone who felt everyone was out to get her and it was so draining. Learn to own your stuff or let ISH go and life will be a lot better, promise.

|| I'm LOVING my nail color combo right now. I call it strawberry lemonade :)! #lovenailcombos


|| All the snicky-snackys and pre-dinner cocktails are messing up my diet. I'm really good at not craving anything if I don't see it, but once a cork is popped or a bag of chips open I find it really tough to say no. This week has been better than most but I'm still driving the clean eats struggle bus.


|| Job searching blows!

|| I have a thing with copycats. Maybe it stems from being the oldest of three girls but watching someone do the same thing I do [without credit] ruffles my feathers. I honestly don't understand how people can't find their own friends, ideas [blog or otherwise] and even vacations on their own. I'm learning to laugh it off, slowly, but I'm not perfect so there are times I just vent. #barf

|| It was hard to be mad when Argentina beat the USA on Tuesday. Messi is just dirty nasty good and his free kick was one of the best goals I've ever seen. Pulling for a third place win for our guys, it would be great for the sport and our team. #ibelieveinthirdplace


|| Tomorrow I'm trying something new here and I'm excited and nervous as hell. #hopeyoulikeit

|| Summertime/laketime is the best time. #theend

June 22, 2016

Aur Revoir France, Buongiorno Italia {Travel Day to Cinque Terre}

Today's recap is all about our travel day from Paris, France to Cinque Terre Italy. It is not a quick trip so Le Husband and I decided to get in some sight seeing while spending most of the day traveling. It seemed like we had JUST gotten the hang of merci & bonjour when we had to train it in for grazie and buongiorno.

Our day started at 0430 as we made our way to the airport for the flight to Milan. You all know I’m not a fan of flying and was a bit nervous about flying around in Europe. The plane was bigger than expected and the flight was just an hour so it flew by (haha) quickly. #thankgoodness #cheerstoquickandefficentsecurity #gimmealltheespresso


We landed at the airport and hopped a quick shuttle to the Milano train station. To be honest our first glimpse of Italy made both of us sad as it was all highways and concrete jungles similar to the USA. However, once we arrived in the city it was a lot nicer. Le Husband did some research and found out most train stations have a service where you can check your luggage while you hang out in the city and they will then bring it to your carriage fifteen minutes before your train time. After wandering around the station we found the service, left our bags the set off to explore the city of Milan.

Y’all, it was the strangest thing, the city around the train station was dead quiet and most of the shops were closed. On a Monday! I said to Le Husband "we need to move to Milan if this is how Mondays roll”. We found out MUUUCH later we were visiting on Liberty Day so most people were on holiday, which made everything clear.

After walking a few blocks we made it to the ‘center’ of the city and perused some of the shops. Only one purchase was made and that was new sunglasses for me since I left the Oakleys Le Husband bought for my birthday last year on the plane (insert crying emoji here)! I like the pair I bought but man am I mad about my other sunnies. Oh, and how funny is this shirt?!? Old Rag in Milan! #hollaatmyhikingpeeps #vafriendsknowwhereitsat


Our layover was only four hours so we walked around, had some lunch (very isappointing first meal in Italy), headed back to the train station and paid a euro to go to the restroom. YES! The train station charges a euro for the bathroom, how insane right? I really didn't want to pay but nature called, wah!


Speaking of bathrooms, this was the toilet at the restaurant in Milan. How in the heck do you work this as a lady?


The train was a bit smaller than I personally expected and not quite as relaxing as anticipated. But, it ran smoothly and offered us some time to try and catch up on sleep, watch videos and study. We passed through many a town and some beautiful hillsides, definitely what you think of on an Italian train.


Soon it was time to get off the first train and change to the next. With the 30 minute down time we were able to glimpse the beauty of Cinque Terre. Le sigh, so lovely (thanks BOFF for the recommendation)!!!
We met  our Airbnb lady at the train station and I was SO EXCITED when she spoke English. She was originally from California and married and Italian man so she ended up in Cinque Terre. I HIGHLY recommend AIRBNBs when in CT, much cheaper prices than the hotels. Marta gave us the lay of the land, told us where and where not to eat then gave us a quick back story on all the trails. Once she left it was off to dinner which was an AMAZING first meal in the Five Lands.
 

What we ate: Some disappointing and delicious meals, but overall a winner I think.
Honestly, Cinque Terre was a favorite so I'll be spending a bit of time recapping all of our adventures. It is a very hiking related area and the people are incredibly kind and helpful. Next week I'll be talking about a two hour hike that turned into the big hike through all five lands.