Curing Seasonal Depression

Hey Everybody!

It’s been a while, I know.

This time of year tends to be the most difficult for me.  Although I love the holiday spirit and can eat my fair share of cookies, there’s something about the cold weather that makes me just want to curl up next to my dog and sleep away the next few months.

While it would be nice to escape to a tropical paradise, the reality is that I just can’t afford it at this moment.  So I’m going to tell you my couple secrets to avoiding the winter blues. Here goes…

Number 1: Exercise!

This is often the most challenging secret as my body tends to not even want to move when its cold BUT it’s also the most rewarding.  I good workout will not only warm you deep to your core but it will also change your mental game.

After completing an intense workout I’m almost always in a better mood, with more mental energy and clarity.  It also doesn’t hurt that exercise allows me to eat a few extra cookies at all those holiday parties without feeling guilty.

Number 2: Be with friends and loved ones

When it’s so cold it literally hurts to go outside, it’s easy to forget there is even a world out there.  And much less one filled with friends and family that love and care about you.  Make a conscious effort to spend time with those you love and I promise it will brighten your mood as well.

And besides, almost everyone else feels the way you do around this time of year and they’ll appreciate an empathetic ear as well.

Number 3: Treat yoself!

Whether its buying yourself a special gift or indulging in that extra piece of cake, it’s important to remember that you work hard and deserve a little treat every once in a while.

My go to treat this time of year is actually tanning.  It warm, relaxing, and gives me that summer glow I miss so much.  The other day I was looking for tanning salons near me and came across a great two for one coupon.  I jumped on the deal and invited my girlfriend to join, completing both #2 and #3!

find a tanning salon

Other great options are massages, manicures, pedicures, or enjoying festive holiday arts and music if that what you’re into.  Just do something that you truly enjoy and normally wouldn’t treat yourself to.

Number 4: Work hard.

I know this one seems almost counterintuitive.  But the truth is it works for me.  I’ve discovered that one of the contributing factors to my seasonal funk is actually having too much time to think.  In the summer when its beautiful outside my schedule is usually so booked with great things to do that I barely have time to overthink my life.

But in the winter when I’m much more dormant, I have way too much time to think (and overthink) everything that’s going on in my life.  So when I find myself in a moment of overthinking, I like to bury myself in work.  That way I’m so focused on a project that I have no time to worry about the things that detract from my positive mental attitude.

Number 5: Enjoy what the season is about…

There’s a lot of beautiful moments during the holidays.  Soak them up.  Drink some eggnog with friends, sit by a warm fireplace, take in the beautiful Christmas lights, and otherwise enjoy what makes this time of year special to you.

As silly as it seems some of the most mundane activities can truly brighten your day.  For example, the other day I took a trip with my brother to Barnes and Noble so we could grab a coffee and read a good book… Something we hadn’t done in years.  It hard to pin what it was, maybe the holiday shoppers, the warm coffee, or just a good read… but something about being there changed my mood in a matter of minutes.

All in all, remember that you’re not the only one feeling the winter woes.  Open up to those you love and remember that there’s always tomorrow.  Happy holidays everyone!

Thinking about starting a gym…

Hi hi hi!!!  How are you all doing?  Sorry it’s been a couple of days since my last post with the dramatic “to be continued…” cliffhanger.  Things got crazy, which they do, because LIFE, you know?!  Haha.

But back to business:

So where were we?  Ah yes, Scooby the dog and I were on a dramatic walk through my lovely and lively city of Philadelphia!  If you remember correctly, we had walked past City Hall with the ever-protective William Penn statue sitting on top, looking over the city of brotherly love.  We had gazed admiringly at a mural, which was part of the city’s well-reputed Mural Arts Program.  We were on the east side of Broad Street, wondering and wandering on the beautiful autumn day.

Start a gym

In an attempt to really get us out of our usual route rut, I decided to make a quick turn down a side street I’d never explored, and boy, was I unprepared for what I saw!  Athletes swarming the street!! Some were running – sprinting actually up and down the street.  Some were doing squats with sandbags.  Some were doing burpees.  Some were laying on the ground, wiped out, breathing heavily and trying to get their air back between sets.  I guess it must have been a race against time thing, because these guys and gals were going all-out!  It was SO COOL.  Scooby and I did our best to weave through the exercise madness and not disturb.  About halfway down the block I saw the entrance to what I realized was a Crossfit gym – Crossfit Center City.  It all seemed so exciting.  So inspiring.

And I had a thought – a thought that’s been popping up pretty regularly in the past few months – “What would it be like to open up my own gym?”  I mean, it sounds super intimidating, but think about it.  I love physical fitness.  I love working out in a community.  I love the idea of turning my passion into my work.  And making money while doing what I enjoy!  WHATTTTT!!.  I feel like I could maybe add something special for my fellow Philly health and exercise peeps.

But gosh, I have so many questions.  Where does one even start with this kind of thing?  What kind of gym business would I want to open?  How would I find potential members?  How does gym marketing work?  There are so many fitness businesses out there… how could I make mine stand out? I feel like I would need someone to guide me on what to expect, how to properly open a gym business, etc etc etc.  A mentor of sorts, am I right?

It could be SO AMAZING though.

And before I knew it, with me in daydream mode, Scooby and I had walked on auto-pilot almost all the way back home!  We had somehow ended up on Walnut Street, the prime shopping destination in Center City.  People whizzed by with overflowing bags.  Music was pumping out of certain stores, in the rhythm of “buy me, buy me, buy me.”  I’m not a big shopper, but I did stop at the window when I spotted a sick pair of black leather yoga leggings in the window!  Your girl does not pass by fitness-wear.  Haha.  They were beautiful but probably a million bucks, so we moved on.  Across the street was a running shoe store, with an eye-catching display of sneakers, track cleats, and marathon stickers in the window.  Man, I could use a new pair of kicks.  Maybe tomorrow.  😉

Alright ladies and gents, I’m off to bike along the Schuylkill River trail!  Wheeee!  Have a fantastic day!!!

A Word About Fitness

What’s up, my beautiful people!!!

I just got back from the MOST BEAUTIFUL trail run on Forbidden Trail in the Wissahickon (which is part of the famous Fairmount Park) and I just had to tell you about this incredible, magical place!!  I can’t believe a place like this exists in the city of Philadelphia!!!  Truly.  Gorgeous.  Forbidden Drive itself is a wide, packed dirt path that runs along an active creek.  The main “road” (i.e. dirt path) is an out-and back of about 11 miles, I think?  I didn’t bring my Garmin or anything to measure time or distance today… just went out there “naked”, haha, and enjoyed the scenery.  Along the route you will see an assortment of runners, bikers, mothers with strollers, dogs, horses, children, and just about any type of somewhat active person or thing you could imagine.  It’s surrounded by nature and covered by a canopy of trees overhead, which is nice for shade.  And it’s pretty flat.  There are tons of technical hiking trails that go out and WAY UP from the main road, but I didn’t explore them today.  It’s just a really great place to go to get your aerobic physical exercise in and be healthy while enjoying the glory of nature, right here in Philly.

Since I just went for a run, my brain’s in that mode of activity, so I thought now would be a good time to share some items I think are essential when getting into the sport of running!  Yes, I basically live on my bike, but running is a great way to cross-train.  And it’s pretty addictive, if I must say!

The great thing about running is that it doesn’t require much in the way of “equipment” – you can literally throw on some sneakers and head out.  HOWEVER, if you invest in quality stuff, and some of the extras, you will be way more comfortable and less prone to injury.

So, without further ado, here is my official girl.bike.dog.-approved list of ESSENTIAL RUNNING GEAR:

  • Running Shoes.  Yes, I know, you’re saying “duh.”  But let me elaborate.  Since they’re gonna be the thing that absorbs several times your body weight with each step, it’s pretty important that you go for good ones.  I’d suggest visiting a local running specialty store (there are a few good ones here in Center City Philadelphia, as well as a popular store in University City right by University of Pennsylvania) to get properly measured and have them do a gait analysis.  They’ll be able to suggest the right type of shoe (note: not only are there different shoes for road running, trail running, and track running, but there are different kinds based on how your foot naturally hits the ground and moves through your gait.  So get analyzed.  Try on a bunch of shoes.  Go for comfort.  Try not to get hung up on price.
  • Socks.  Also important.  Get the moisture-wicking ones.  Trust me, do not wear cotton socks.  They will give you blisters faster than you can say, well, blister.  You heard it here first.
  • Clothing.  The three most important things about your clothing are that they wick moisture away from your body (again, stay away from cotton!), that they are weather-appropriate (layer, layer, layer because conditions can change along the course of a run), and that they don’t chafe (be careful of where seams lie).  Otherwise, go crazy!  Get things that will make you feel good.
  • Water Bottle Contraption.  There are several options, from handhelds to waist belts.  The key here is that you are hydrating.
  • Nutrition.  If you’re going out for more than an hour, you’re going to need nutrition/electrolytes as well as water.  Several options here, from gels to blocks to bars to even jelly beans.  Experiment!
  • Somewhere to Store your Keys/ID/Etc.  Some people are able to tuck these things in a pocket or a sock.  I prefer to wear a running belt, which is slim and meant to stay close to the body and not bounce around.  In mine I store my ID, keys, phone, chapstick, and some money.  I don’t even feel it, but it’s sure nice to have these things close and secure.
  • Sweet, Sweet Tunes.  (And a good pair of headphones.)  Music motivates me so much.  Makes yourself a running playlist and get yourself an iPod or whatever and some good headphones.  Rock out.  You’re welcome.

Alrighty, that about covers it!!  Go forth and BE ACTIVE!!  Haha.

xoxo

Ok its Day Two…

Hello again, my fabulous internet friends!  I hope you are all feeling great and enjoying this amazing fall day.  What gorgeous weather for doing anything outside, am I right??  I was just out on my bike riding around, and I think the whole city of Philadelphia agrees with me – there were SO many people out walking their dogs, shopping, running, picnicking at the park, and generally just frolicking about and doing their favorite things to do on a day like today.  Which led me to think, “What are MY favorite things to do, see, eat, … in Philly, the city of brotherly love?”  Oh man, there are plenty.

spruce-street-harbor-park

As you already know, I love love LOVE to eat.  Of course, most of the time I like to keep it healthy and fill my plate with things that will give me proper nutrition and be good for my body, but sometimes you’ve just gotta splurge.  It’s good for the soul.  Haha.  Some of my favorite splurge spots are Pat’s Steaks (Cheesesteaks for the win!  And dude, it’s way better than Geno’s.), Max Brenner (chocolate everything), Sabrina’s Café (a cute but always packed brunch spot with the most amazing stuffed challah French toast), Chickie’s and Pete’s (crabfries! there are a few locations, including a stand at Citizens Bank Park, where I go to watch my Phillies baseball team play ball), and finally, Federal Donuts (where you can get your fluffy, sugary donut fix with a side of fried chicken).

And what goes better with food than drinks?!  I have a few regular bars I visit in Center City, where I enjoy great drinks, great entertainment, and a real sense of community.  Monk’s Café in the Rittenhouse Square area tops my list for its insane beer list (I think they even call it a “bible”) and its mussels!  Not to be confused with muscles.  Lol.  Also excellent is Tria, where you can find very good Sunday specials on beers, wines, and cheese plates.  For a dive bar feel, Bob & Barbara’s is where it’s at!  It’s on South Street and features crazy entertainment like Drunken Spelling Bee night and drag shows!!!

I would be remiss not to mention in my list of favorites my home sweet home, where I live, where I spend a majority of my waking (and all of my sleeping) hours, 10 Rittenhouse Square Condos! 

Located on 18th Street between Walnut and Sansom, it’s in the PERFECT location.  Less than a block from Rittenhouse Square, I can literally walk (or, usually, in my case, bike) everywhere in the city.  But that’s only the beginning.  The building is absolutely stunning inside, with marble floors, regal furnishings, and just a really opulent feel.  There’s a doorman and concierge, who make me feel like a princess.  And when I want to get my indoor fitness on, I just stop on by the modern, well-equipped fitness center, where I can ride the stationary bicycle, run on the treadmill, row on the rowing machine, lift weights, and sweat to my heart’s content.  Not to mention the swimming pool.  Seriously, this place rocks!

Alright, I think that’s enough for one sitting!  More to come.  Off to walk Scooby the dog!!!  Woof!  🙂

 

Welcome to Girl.Bike.Dog

Good morning beautiful internet world!  If I’m going to get this blog started off right I absolutely must start with my favorite Philadelphia breakfast.  This beautiful little masterpiece you see before you is a secret I’ve been keeping hidden for a while and since we’re new friends I figure I should offer you up a reward.  So if you’re in for the best tasting (and healthiest) breakfast you’ve had in a while, head on over to the quaint little hole in the wall on Market Street appropriately known as “Happily Ever After” and order yourself one of their delicious Acacia bowls.  Now I’m now foody expert but I’ll try to break down the flavors that were so gracefully caressing my palate.  Starting at the very bottom, we begin with a think blend of yogurt, milk, and a mix of frozen fruit.  Just on top of that you find a crunchy layer of sweet toasted granola just bursting with flavor.  And complete the bowl with a layer of fresh strawberries, bananas, and blueberries with a condensed milk and honey drizzle.  That ladies and gentleman, is what I call breakfast.