Back Update: Acupuncture Review

Sorry in advance for the text heavy post today!! As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my back and I have not been on the best terms for about a year now. Over a year ago, I pulled a muscle in my lower back during a workout that landed me in the ER to get a cortisone shot, pain medicine and the recommendation to go to physical therapy and get a massage. A doctor telling me to get a massage? A great excuse to sign up for monthly massages, which I did. For the next year, my back continued to get worse despite the numerous efforts I made. I relied on daily ibuprofen and monthly massages which masked the pain but never fully took it away. With my active and traveling lifestyle, having back problems are not ones you want when cycling 5x a week or sitting on 5 hour plane rides. As my pain from the lower back was joined with muscle pain in my mid back I knew that I had to get the issue solved.

Needless to say, I have seen more doctor offices in the last two months than I have in the last few years.  Apart from physical therapy and massages I received a cortisone shot for my lower back as the pain was centralized to the left sacroiliac joint (damn my desk job of sitting 8 hours). However, the doctors identified my lower back pain and mid back pain as two separate issues. The mid back muscle pain was due to pulled muscles that have essentially been knotted for a long time. My  doctor recommended acupuncture to unknot the mid back muscles and get the pain taken care of. I had conflicting feelings, on one hand if it worked, I did not care what I needed to do. Yet on the other hand, multiple needles in my body? No, thank you. Well I sucked it up and made my first acupuncture appointment. So what exactly is acupuncture?

Acupuncture Review 2

The Mayo Clinic states “Acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. A key component of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain. In contrast, many Western practitioners view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. Some believe that this stimulation boosts your body’s natural painkillers and increases blood flow. (Source: Mayo Clinic)

My first appointment started after talking about my issues with the lower and mid pain. The doctor explained that they would have me lie face down with they put thin needles in trigger points on my back where my pain was centralized. The insertion of the needles was a micro second prick. For my appointments, the doctor puts anywhere from 6-14 needles in my back (lower, mid and upper), my hip and the back of my knees. After the needles are inserted there are two methods to “stimulate” the muscles. One method is by twisting the needles in one full circular motion. Although it does not sound pleasant, I have never felt more than the initial needle prick. The second method is by way of an electric current which is passed between the needles. The electric current is barely felt which causes no pain, just a soft butterfly feeling on her skin.

My favorite part of the appointment is after the doctor has put the needles in her back, they turn on a warmer, turn off the lights and tell you to nap. Seriously? A chance to nap in the middle of the day, count me in. The first time I just closed my eyes wondering how long it would be. The doctor checked in about half way through but the standard time to lay down in 20-25 minutes. Then they remove the needle and you go home. Yes, it is that easy, painless and quick.

The results? I have nothing but wonderful things to say about MY acupuncture. Not only do I feel better immediately after an appointment, in the long term, it completely erased my mid back pain by the third visit. My lower back pain has decreased by about half with my hip pain being completely eliminated. How is that for results? If you had told this needle phobic girl a few years ago that I would become a person who regularly goes to acupuncture I would have laughed in your face. Let’s just say needles and I were not the best of friends. While I still don’t love them, acupuncture has made me more comfortable with them. I know that acupuncture is not for everyone but I also know that many people are probably like me, not knowing what to expect and worried about having needles in their body. Now I know that the fear was unwarranted and the benefits of acupuncture are worth it.

Tell me: Have you ever tried acupuncture? If not, would you?

Disclaimer: Please check with your doctor before beginning any form of pain relief i.e. acupuncture. I am definitely not a doctor. I’m simply sharing what I’ve learned through my own experience and questions.

Complete & Utter Randomness

Welcome to Tuesday! At this point, it is more like welcome to the end of Tuesday. It has been one of those days where it is hard to think in full sentences so lets keep it short and easy with bullet points today.

  • Why is it that some days just drag on and on while others like today make it seem like there is never enough time! I feel like my life is a mix between counting hours until quitting time and feeling like a chicken with no head. Today= definitely a headless chicken day. Cluck cluck!
  • Speaking of chicken (like that transition) I need to stop being one and sign up for a triathlon already! The Newport Beach Triathlon is in October and as it closer I somehow talk myself out of signing up. I need to just bite the bullet and sign up for one already, especially before pricing goes up on this one!
  • I saw this this bracelet from Alex & Ani from today One of my life motto’s is “Everything Happens For A Reason” so I would love to wear it on my wrist to remind me!

Everything Happens for A reason

  • I love using the notepad on my Iphone to jot things down when I am out and about so I do not forget or can refer back to later. However, lately a lot of my notes have been just a word or numbers. The problem is I have NO idea what I was trying to remind myself about. I may need to come up with a better system for my note jotting. This one from today is a set of three numbers which I think are combos. To what? I have no idea.

Iphone

  • Although we have Thailand booked for November as well as Miami and Portland in the next two months, I cannot stop thinking about our Greece trip early next year. As we have been planning, it seems the best time to go would be the end of March or first week of April. There is so much to see, do and plenty of beaches to relax on. I cannot wait to finally visit Mykonos, Athens and Santorini!
  • I am very excited about my next certification renewal which will be next weekend (I need to write about my cycle certification already, soon I promise). My gym is offering a cycle certification locally but since I already have my certification it will just be a refresher course to help with my recertification next year. Regardless as I have mentioned before, I just love learning how to improve myself as an instructor and taking as many classes as possible.

Is it Friday yet? I wish but tonight is going to be a busy night with my best friend’s Scentsy party and my Tuesday night Bootcamp class. Catch you here tomorrow for some Workout Wednesday action!

Tell me: Do you have a life quote or motto? Do you use your notepad to remind yourself of things?

Another Weekend of Fun & Workouts

Welcome back! Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Friday night was a relaxing evening in. I finally got what I have been longing for which was a completely low-key evening. Thursday night concluded my 10th class in 8 days. I rested by enjoying a movie night on the couch which was the perfect start to the weekend.

After I taught my cycle class on Saturday, my husband and I drove out to Malibu where we enjoyed a delicious meal at Malibu Cafe. As posted on Instagram, we started with fried mac-n-cheese balls. I had their Huckleberry Lemonade with a grilled chicken salad for my entree. While the food was amazing, the atmosphere was even better. The cafe has games on the lawn (next to a small lake) including Jenga and ping pong.

Weekend Recap Malibu Cafe 2    Weekend Recap Malibu Cafe 3

After our picturesque lunch, we headed to Escondido Falls right off Pacific Coast Highway. The first mile into the hike is through residential mansions until you hit the start of the trail. You can see the beach off the trail before you headed into the woods for a 4 mile round trip hike. The hike was fairly shaded leading to a waterfall that was surprisingly green for the drought California is in. We were able to enjoy the beautiful blue skies and cloud free day.

Weekend Recap Escondido Falls 2   Weekend Recap Escondido Falls 3 Weekend Recap Escondido Falls 4   Weekend Recap Escondido Falls

After dealing with the horrible California traffic, we made our way to Mother Moo’s Creamery. I love their organic dairy free ice cream including one of my favorite flavors- salted butterscotch. A creamy ice cream was the perfect way to end the day. We sat outside soaking up the weather before we finally headed home to call it a night.

Weekend Recap Mother Moos 2

Sunday started with another cycle class before we spent our day doing errands like grocery shopping and cleaning. Although a bit more mellow weekend than most, it was exactly what I wanted. It was another weekend filled with just enough relaxing, good food, wonderful company and workouts. With that, lets recap this week’s workouts. Although it was another very heavy cardio week, I was subbing many classes this week which led to more cycle classes than I usually do in a week. Luckily, this week is back to my regular schedule which will allow me more personal workouts.

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts Recap:

Monday – Taught two one-hour Cycle classes

Tuesday – Taught a one-hour Bootcamp class; Taught a one-hour Cycle class

Wednesday – Taught a one-hour Cycle class, Strength Training Arm session

Thursday – Taught a one-hour Cycle class

Friday – Rest Day

Saturday – Taught a one-hour Cycle class, 4 mile hike

Sunday – Taught a one-hour Cycle class, Strength Training Arm session

Tell me: Where is your favorite spot to hike? Do you prefer the beach or the desert?

Friday Favorites #8

I do not think I could be more ready for a Friday. Last night I finished teaching my 10th fitness class in 8 days. Added on top of my 7-4 job, I am looking forward to a relaxing night in! This weekend I have my two regular cycle classes, a planned hike in Malibu and hopefully just lots of relaxing and sun. So Cal has been having some very weird June gloom that has rolled into July. Regardless I am looking forward to the weekend with the husband and Emma of course. However, before we get to the weekend, it is time for Friday Favorites. Thanks to Heather and Katie for hosting!

Friday Favorites

1) I have been eating wayyyyyy too much ice cream this week. On Wednesday night, the husband and I went to a local Nitrogen ice cream spot- N7 Creamery. Not only was the ice cream delicious (I got salted caramel of course) but the atmosphere of the shop was so unique to our area. Wooden floors and walls, travel inspired decorations (of course I loved those) and a live mic night in back of their store front. I like that they not only use local farm ingredients but organic as well. I am even more excited for Portland as friends have told us that this type of food spot is very common over there. .

Friday Favorites N7 Creamery

2) I have definitely had too much ice cream when my #2 is also ice cream again. We tried a second Nitrogen ice cream shop last night called the Creamistry. They have 4 bases you can choose from which includes two non dairy bases- coconut milk and sorbet as well as organic. You can add toppings mixed in or on top. I did salted caramel base with caramel mixed in and whipped cream. Can you sense a trend with the salted caramel? I cannot get enough.

Creamistry

3) “Why Couples Who Travel Aren’t Your Average Couple” was one of my favorites from the week. #5 describes the husband and I to a tee.. Portland is my birthday trip, Miami is the husband’s.. who needs presents when you can see the world!

4) How do you spend $100 in 10 mins? Usually the answer is go to Target. This week the answer is go to Charming Charlie’s. Ahhhhh I get suckered in I tell ya. Their jewelry and dresses are adorable and a great price. It is one of my favorite stores (hint hint family.. my birthday is next month). I bought this dress and one on clearance. I cannot wait to wear them this weekend.

5) When my sister and I went to see Lady Antebellum and Hunter Hayes, they played this song and I have had it on repeat since I heard it. I love the message. #newlifesong

And of course, the best way to finish Friday Favorites off is with the laziest bulldog I know.. this is her every morning as I beg her to get up, tell her she gets food and ultimately get her out with a treat. Hope you have a wonderful relaxing weekend, see you back on Monday!

Emma Rose

Tell me in the comments some of your favorites from the week!

Missed the past Friday Favorites? Check out #1, #2, #3, #4#5, #6 and #7.

Stitch Fix #2 Review

Christmas came to my house last night!!! Ok, ok, it was not Christmas but it sure felt like it when I received my Stitch Fix box yesterday. Then again, I LOVE getting mail (besides bills of course, who likes those?) and a white box with blue letters is my favorite mail to get. I was very hopeful for this box because I made sure to give more specific requests to my stylist. My note to my stylist mentioned that I would like to see clothes I could use on any of my upcoming trips – Portland, San Fran and Miami as well as one pair of low-mid waist jeans (cropped or regular). I was happy to see at least one pair of cropped jeans but at first glance, I was not feeling this box at all. Welp… that is why Stitch Fix tells you to try everything on.

Stitch Fix Review July #2

Here is my review of my latest Stitch Fix box.

1)  Neptune Racerback Top $38.00  –  KEEP

Kent Cuffed Jean Neptune Racerback Tank Stitch Fix         Neptune Racerback Top Stitch Fix

I loved this top! The style was completely my taste, the fit, although loose fitting, would be perfect for the summer. I liked that she noted this tank would be perfect for all of my vacation because I can definitely see myself wearing this throughout the summer. When it gets a bit cooler in winter, the tank will be perfect with a cardigan. Add in the Kent capri jeans from my box and you have the perfect outfit.

2)  Mario Dress  $98.00  –  KEEP

Ivy + Blu Mario Dress Stitch Fix

This dress is just perfection. The color, the style, the pattern. Anyone who knows me knows that dresses are my thing. I wear dresses every single day at work (I don’t even own a pair of work pants) so I was thrilled and excited to get this dress in my box. The navy blue with the large polka dots make this dress perfect for work with a cardigan and in the summer with sandals. Figure flattering, comfortable and versatile- it does not get better when it comes to dresses. I cannot wait to wear this dress!

3)  Gander Lace Back Cardigan  $48.00  –  RETURN

Gander Lace Back Cardigan Stitch Fix

This was the only item I did not think I would like which was confirmed when I tried it on. Although the back detail was beautiful, I do not like drapey cardigans and usually do not prefer open cardigans. This one swallowed me up and was not figure flattering at all. Definitely a return for me.

4)  Simpson Halter Blouse  $58.00  –  RETURN

Simpson Halter Blouse Stitch Fix

Funny enough, this was the top I thought I was going to love because I pinned it on Pinterest. The pattern was adorable and fitting for summer. With delicate front buttons and a soft fabric, I thought it would be a definite keeper. The fit however was all wrong for me. The loose fit was too loose that it added unnecessary weight (and Lord knows I do not need extra weight added in clothes) I might consider asking if it comes in XS for my next fix because I still loved everything else.

5)  Kent Cuffed Capri Jean   $178.00  –  UNDECIDED

Kent Cuffed Capri Jean Stitch FIx

I had a bad feeling about these pants from the moment I saw them! My stylist mentioned they were more than I noted for pants on my profile but to give them a try. They went on with ease and were as soft as butter. Thy were so comfortable and a fairly near perfect fit. Unfortunately the price is making these hard to swallow. I only just 2 pairs of jeans which happen to be the same $40 LC Lauren Conrad jeans so $178 is a bit higher than I wanted to pay. However, like the husband said sometimes you get what you pay for and maybe it is time to upgrade on jeans.

After trying on my box, I knew that I had to request my stylist again (shout out to Meg) because she totally nailed my style. I liked that she included two items I requested while giving me three that were totally up my alley. Again, posting to a Pinterest board and being specific in your notes, really do help get the very best box possible!

Wondering what Stitch Fix is or missed Stitch Fix #1 Review? Check it out here.

Stitch Fix #1 Review

Note: I have no affiliation with the company listed above nor was reimbursed or compensated for my opinions. The service is simply one that I like and want to share my experience with.  However, if you are interested in trying their service, they do offer a referral program which rewards a $25 credit for any referrals received. Click here to sign up with Stitch Fix today! Good luck! 

Top 3 Places To Visit in London

London- the land of Queen Mum, iconic attractions, tons of history, tea and scones and the big red buses. Before I visited London, I had so many wonderful associations with the city. Since visiting, my memories of the beautiful area are ones I will never forget. London will always hold a special place in my heart (and on my wrist) and is a place I will visit again in my life. However, I have many cities I plan to visit before returning (unless someone offers me a free trip which of course I would never refuse). This post is selfishly a way for me to reminisce on one of my favorite places in the world.

London

I am sure when most people think of London, they could name at least 5 widely known attractions which is why I narrowed my top places down to just 3. When I tried to narrow it down to my top 5 there were so many spots that were equally worth your time but very unique in their own sense. However, these 3 stand out above the rest for various reasons. If I was to have just one day in London, these would be the 3 spots I would have to see before I left. So without further ado, here are my Top 3 Places To Visit In London, England. 

Top 3 Places To Visit In London, England

1) National Gallery/ Trafalgar Square   Trafalgar Square is one of the liveliest areas in the city. Standing at the top of a grand staircase is the National Gallery which has free admission. Housing over 2,300 pieces of art including Leonardo Da Vince and Vincent Van Gogh, the museum is worth stopping into.  When you exit the National Gallery at the top of the stairs is the overview of the exquisite Trafalgar Square. The square holds water fountains with gold detailing, the well known lion statues and statues throughout the area. In addition, there are live street performers of all kinds. We saw a dance group, a mime, people in character costumes and an opera singer. The area is filled with tourists of all kind that it is one of a kind.

Trafalgar Square

2) Hyde Park   London has some breathtakingly beautiful parks throughout the city. The multiple parks we visited are some of my very favorite spots in the world. Hyde Park however is on a whole different level. While similar to Central Park in the vast area it encompasses, it blows Central Park out of the water (don’t worry New York I will always love you). It spans 625 acres starting from the Kensington Gardens and Palace to the bottom of Buckingham Gardens- I told you there are many gardens in London. Starting at the gorgeous Kensington Palace, you make your way through the lively Hyde Park, filled with many well done memorials. My favorite memorial was the Diana Memorial Foundation which paid respect to my favorite Princess. There are plenty of areas for sports or lounging on a deck chair by the Serpentine. I would recommend taking as much time possible in Hyde Park. If you are able to enjoy a meal, there are plenty of options for restaurants alongside the Serpentine with views to enjoy while you eat.

Hyde Park    Hyde Park 2

3) St. Paul’s Cathedral   The church where Princess Diana and Princes Charles were married was magnificent. Words cannot do justice to this Anglican cathedral. Exquisite detailing fill the church with a long aisle-way leading to the unbelievable altar. Unfortunately cameras are not allowed in the church (trust me I was yelled at by a security guard to put my camera away) but they are allowed if you climb to the top of the church. The church has a stairway with 127 steps that lead to the Whispering Gallery above the church. Another 401 steps that lead to a balcony at the top of the building with amazing views that are well worth the steps. The views are unlike any other. You can see all the way to the London Eye, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. The tickets are approx $24 to get into the church but can also be purchased with other ticket packages for a lower rate.

St Pauls Cathedral 2   St Pauls Cathedral

I hope you get to enjoy the exciting city and all that it has to offer! Make sure to enjoy a tea and scones during tea time. 

A Day in the Life of…

What does a day in the life of an analyst and fitness instructor look like? It is always busy and rather boring. Monday’s tend to be my most laid back down in terms of group exercise with one evening class while work is busy catching up from the weekend. There is consistency day to day especially when it comes to coaxing Emma out of bed EVERY. Single. Morning. So here is a Day in the Life of.. for a typical Monday.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF... 6:30am – Alarm goes off, hit snooze, husband wakes up for work

6:34am –  2nd Alarm goes off, hit snooze

6:50am – My husband says his good morning and good bye as I roll over for 10 more minutes (why do I actually think this helps with my tiredness?)

7:00am – Wake up. My husband hates that I even set my alarms when I rarely wake up at that time.  I call it wishful thinking..

6:50-7:10 – Get dressed, brush my teeth, and gather items for work

7:10-7:15 – Feed and take out Emma after 5 mins of prying her out of bed with treats

A Day in the life of Emma

7:15am – Tell Emma bye and head to work

7:30am – Arrive at work and catch up on work emails

8:30am – Sales meeting

9:30am – Catch up on work from the weekend, unfortunately work still goes on during the weekend and holidays (my desk is usually much cleaner but when I get workin, the papers start piling up)

Day in the life of

12:00-1:00pm  – Break for lunch which today is one of my go-to lunch spots: Subway. I stop at the bank after grabbing my lunch before heading back to the office

1:00pm – Back to the office where I work, work, work

4:30pm – Head home, change for the gym, take care of Emma, have a snack and catch up on computer work

6:00pm – Head to the gym for my Monday evening class

6:30pm – Bike set up and teach cycle class

Day in the life of cycle

8:00pm – Head home for dinner

8:30pm – Shower, dinner and of course forcing Emma to love me

9:30-10:30pm – Watch an episode of True Detective (seriously this show is crayyyyyyy)

Day in the life of true detective

10:45pm – Finally call it a night after scrolling through Instagram and Twitter

Tell me: Do you set one alarm or multiple alarms? Do you hit snooze or wake up right away?