Monthly Archives: December 2010

What a difference a year makes!

This time of year, you can’t open a magazine or turn on the TV without coming across yet another year-end round-up. Best moments, worst moments, funniest moments, best albums, best movies, best books—the list goes on and on.

All this reminiscing has us looking back at our 2010. Such a big year for us! We quit our full-time jobs as editors at national magazines, started our freelance careers, launched The Fit Trip, said goodbye to New York City, drove more than 4,000 miles across the country in a car named Fonda, and started our new lives in Portland, Oregon. Talk about a year of change.

2010 is going to be hard to top, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to try in 2011. As you might have guessed, most of our resolutions revolve around our two favorite subjects: travel and fitness. (Ok ok—cookies are our true favorite subject, but we don’t need a resolution to make sure we eat plenty of those…).

Resolution #1: Travel to sunny places. As you may have heard, winters can be a bit gray and rainy in the Pacific Northwest. To be honest, it’s not nearly as bad as we’d expected—but then again, we still have a good 4-5 months to go before we can be sure we won’t need our rain gear at the ready. Locals have told us that the best strategy for Portland winters is to plan vacations to sunny places during the gray months, so that’s exactly what we’re planning to do. So far on the docket: a January trip to Park City, a February trip to Lake Tahoe, and a March trip to Hawaii.

Resolution #2: Eat more fruits and veggies. We really do try to get 5 servings of fruits and veggies every day. Bananas and/or berries in our morning cereal, blueberries and bananas in our smoothies, a constant supply of clementines in our refrigerator fruit drawer, and edamame in the freezer that we can boil up anytime we need a quick veggie fix. Still, sometimes we fall short. This year, we’re going to be on the lookout for even more ways to incorporate fresh produce into our busy lives. As always, we’ll be sharing our favorite recipes with you, so stay tuned!

Resolution #3: Learn something new. Even the best workout can start to feel boring if you do it too often. The best solution? Try something new. In 2010, we had a blast learning to stand-up paddle board in Hood River, OR, and trying snowshoeing for the first time in Washington state. What will it be this year? We have no idea, but we can’t wait to find out!

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Filed under Food, Fun, health, Outdoor activities, Travel

Pump up the Volume

Every holiday we get sick—colds, stomach viruses, the flu, you name it. We used to think it was from spending 10 hours in a car with our cat, driving from NYC to NC, but this year was no different. The day before Christmas, Lindsey had a sinus headache, and on Christmas Day, Eddy decided to lose his voice. Nothing like being surrounded by in-laws (we’re talking entire extended family here, people) and not being able to talk. Needless to say, it was pretty painful to watch.

We were willing to try anything to bring his vocal cords back to life, including drinking a spoonful of olive oil (recommended by our cousin Allison), but nothing seemed to work. He drank hot lemon water with sugar, green tea, black tea with honey, Thera-Flu and white tea. Talk about a weird liquid diet. His mom even fed him a strange looking, brown concoction in a shot glass. Not sure what exactly it was, but it included echinacea, and by the look on Eddy’s face, it definitely didn’t go down smooth like bourbon. The lemon water felt good on his throat, but no luck on turning up the volume on his voice.

Our verdict? Traveling can simply make you ill. Plus, spending lots of time indoors with a bunch of different allergens, including the Christmas tree, doesn’t help. Nor does stressing out about all your plans or being surrounded by other weary travelers. What started off as a little sinus congestion turned into a major holiday headache. Now our only hope is that the flight back to Portland will reverse whatever the flight here brought, like magic. Keep your fingers crossed!

Clearly we haven’t perfected the whole don’t-get-sick plan yet, but here are some basic tips that we hope will help: Wash your hands often, sleep as much as you can, stay hydrated, work out to keep your immune system strong, and practice deep breathing whenever you feel a wave of anxiety coming on. If you’re traveling anytime soon, visit the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) website for some more helpful hints on how to be allergy-free from the first through the last day of your trip.

 

 

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Christmas Kicks

Apparently Santa reads The Fit Trip! At least, we’re guessing that’s why we woke up Christmas morning to the Sorel snow boots we blogged about last week.

The Sorel Tivoli boots in plaid. Oh, and Beth's awesome Christmas-themed pajamas.

We couldn’t wait to try the boots out in actual snow, so the day after Christmas we loaded the dogs into the car and drove an hour to Mt. Hood, where we found a trail just off the road near a little alpine village called Government camp.

Talk about a winter wonderland! Absolutely everything was covered in snow, and just as we started out on the trail, fresh snow started to fall. The dogs were positively ecstatic to be able to run and play in the white stuff.

Oscar and Millie spent the first 10 minutes of the hike in a snow-induced frenzy, bounding around in circles until they made themselves dizzy.

Most of the other people on the trail were snowshoeing, but that didn’t discourage us from tromping around in just boots. After all, worthy snow boots shouldn’t have any trouble standing up to some fresh powder, right?

At the trailhead, getting ready to put the new boots to the test.

We’re thrilled to say the Sorels were everything we hoped they’d be. They kept our feet toasty warm and perfectly dry throughout the entire hike—and that includes a few accidental ventures into super-deep snowdrifts. They were also extremely comfy. No blisters, no rubbing in weird spots, and no stiffness.

Thanks to the shearling lining, our feet were as warm and dry at the end of the hike as they were at the beginning.

The verdict? If you’re in the market for snow boots, you can’t go wrong with these. They’re sturdy, warm, comfortable, and—added bonus—pretty freaking cute.

 

 

 

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Jingle Bell Runs

There’s something nice about coming home and running through the neighborhood you grew up in. You pass friends’ old houses, take note of any new streets or gaudy Santa decorations and secretly hope to run into someone who you haven’t seen in years. However, after a few days of running the same ‘ol loop, boredom starts to kick in. Rather than reminiscing about days past as you stride, you begin to wonder when your run is ever going to end, about 10 minutes in. And then ho, ho, home it is.

When in NC, we’re usually romping around Clemmons West outside of Winston-Salem or on the Tobacco Trail in Durham. Mostly because they’re both super convenient, though the Tobacco Trail does have some pretty nice, woodsy stretches to it. Sometimes we think about driving somewhere a little more scenic, like to Duke Forest or Salem Lake, for our jogs, but it’s hard to justify spending extra time away from our friends and family for a workout. So we simply try to get as creative as possible with the easy-access routes we already know.

This is why we love Map My Run– it helps you plot out new routes (no matter where you are) ahead of time instead of just going down all of the streets you’re totally familiar with again and again… and again. Plus, Map My Run keeps track of your mileage for you so that you don’t have to keep looking at your watch and wondering if you should go ahead and turn around already on every run–you know exactly how far you’re going to be running before you even head outside, so long as you can remember the directions (tip: if you have tough times remembering turns, write them on your hand with a pen). And if you’re a trail runner who would like to hit up some new paths, check out Trails.com, too. Whatever you can do to mix things up without sacrificing your time or the quality of your run is definitely worth the trouble.

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Cookie swap, the Fit Trip way

When we lived in New York, we did a holiday cookie swap with a couple of dear friends every year around this time. It was one of our favorite events of the year—the perfect excuse to bake and eat all our favorite recipes, and to try everyone else’s.

The only problem was that we’d start eating cookies the second we walked in the door, and, aside from generous amounts of wine, that’s all we’d consume for the next few hours. As you can imagine, we always felt pretty disgusting by the time we left.

This year we were too caught up in travel plans and various other Christmas-related activities to plan our own swap, so I (Beth) was thrilled when I got an invite to a swap at a neighbor’s house. I baked my favorite winter cookie (Soft Molasses-Spice Cookies, from Food & Wine magazine), and prepared myself for that familiar crazy sugar rush, followed by a serious crash.

I started making these when I first came across the recipe more than 7 years ago, and I've made them every year since. They're the perfect combo of sweet and spicy, thanks to a kick of ginger, cinnamon, and ground black pepper.

Much to my surprise, both my husband and I came home from feeling absolutely great. How? The host of the party did something incredibly smart. When the guests arrived, she took our cookies straight to the kitchen. Instead of mindlessly munching on sweets for the rest of the evening, we ate from the delicious—and pretty healthy—spread she had prepared: a veggie plate with dip, pineapple with pomegranate, asparagus with shredded parmesan, a cheese plate, and baked brie with chutney (ok, baked brie isn’t exactly healthy, but it’s so worth the calories).

We didn’t see the cookies again until the end of the night, when the host handed us containers filled with a few of each guest’s cookies, plus a box of her own absolutely delicious concoctions, made with cornflakes and butterscotch chips. When Darrell and I got home, we picked out a few cookies to taste, put the lid back on the container, and that was that! No mindless eating, no sugar rush/crash, and no leaving feeling like we never wanted to eat another cookie again in our lives.

 

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Filed under Food, Recipes

Carolina on my mind…

It’s colder in North Carolina right now than it is in Portland. Go figure. You head south for winter and expect to catch a break, but no such luck. It’s actually supposed to be the coldest month on record here. Yet I (Lindsey) optimistically lugged all of my running gear across the country in hopes of logging miles in Durham, Chapel Hill, Charlotte and Winston-Salem anyway.

Good thing I also packed my bathing suit! The Homestead Aquatics Center in Chapel Hill has saved me from my lack of winter-weather motivation more than once, and yesterday was no different. For just $12 ($6 each), Eddy and I got a nice, active reprieve from this unfortunately chilly holiday vacation. The new-ish center (opened last February) holds a 25-meter x 25-yard lap pool and a separate area for kids to play. The lanes are clearly marked for slow, medium and fast swimmers, the locker rooms are clean, and every learning tool possible (buoys, kickboards, flippers, etc.) is available for drills. The pool was crowded, but not obnoxiously so, and I swam until I was warm enough to deal with the sub-freezing temperatures outside again. Brr.

Unfortunately, the warm and fuzzy workout feelings died down as soon as we got back into our parked car, so we headed to our favorite cafe in Chapel Hill, Foster’s Market, for some hot coffee and a healthy snack. Sara Foster, the owner, sources her ingredients from local farms and serves up some amazing dishes, like their Breakfast Burrito, which is jam-packed with scrambled eggs, black beans, crispy potatoes, cheddar cheese and salsa–one of the best! Another good bet is their sampler plate, which includes three yummy side dishes, such as creative spins on pasta salad, potato salad, bean salad, etc.  (they change every day), of your choice. Most of their sandwiches are pretty tasty as well. It’s hard to go wrong with something like the Portobella Panini, with portobella mushrooms, spinach, provolone and grilled onions on fresh focaccia bread.

We ate half of a panini, and then happily sipped our delicious Counter Culture Coffee, brewed right down the street, as we walked back to the car and headed home. Not-so-cold winter workout: check.

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Boot Camp

We intend to work in a lot of snow time this winter, between day trips to Mt. Hood, a trip to Park City in January, and a week in Tahoe in February. And while we’re guessing a lot of that snow time will be spent on skis or snowshoes, some of it will just be good old-fashioned tromping through the white stuff on foot.

That knowledge—and a slew of Christmas catalogs promoting winter gear—has us thinking about buying some snow boots. But not just any old pair. We need boots that will stand their own against the elements, be it freezing rain, slushy puddles, or a crazy blizzard. They need to be sturdy, water-resistant, and toasty warm. Oh yeah—and they should also look good. After all, there’s no point in having a great pair of boots if they’re so ugly you’ll never put them on.

Lucky for us, there are tons of good options this year. Here are three of our favorites:

Sorel Tivoli (www.sorel.com, $100)- The rubber sole gives great traction, and the waterproof shell and Thinsulate and fleece lining will keep you warm and dry all day. These come in bunches of great patterns, including some very cool plaids and the fun houndstooth, below:

So cute we'd happily wear them around town, snow or no snow!

Bean Bean Boot, 10″ Shearling Lined (www.llbean.com, $149)- The Bean Boot is what launched the company in 1912, and the super-durable waterproof leather upper and rubber chain-tread bottom have made it a classic. We’re pining for this version, with shearling lining the top inside and Thinsulate insulation on the bottom:

We love that you can wear the boot at full height or roll it down, for those days when the snow isn't so bad.

North Face Nuptse Fur IV Boots (available at Zappos.com, $100) – We love that this boot is nice and tall but, thanks to the rip-stop material, it’s also entirely flexible. The 600-fill goose down insulation means your feet will have no idea they’re traipsing through snow. The North Face site has this style in lots of colors, but it’s out of our favorite, Shiny Moonlight Ivory/Classic Khaki. Luckily, Zappos.com is fully stocked with the color in every size.

The faux-fur lining makes these feel very old-school snow bunny—in the best possible way.

This time of year isn’t exactly the season to buy gifts for yourself, so we’ll hold off on making a decision until after the New Year. Of course, if you’re related to us and scrambling for a last-minute gift, we’ve just made your life a whole lot easier!

 

 

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Have a Ball!

The last massages we got were in Beaver Creek this summer, and man, do we need another one, bad! But it’s hard to justify spending money on spa time when there are still gifts to be purchased and holiday dinners to be had. Sigh. So we’re doing the next best thing, rolling the kinks out ourselves.

In fact, one of the masseuses at the Beaver Creek Resort informed us that the height and rigidity of our arches was actually an indicator of what’s going on with our spines. For example, Lindsey has very high, stiff arches that don’t collapse, and after one look at her feet, the masseuse knew that her back was also curvy and constantly tight. So true! She told us that one of the best ways to combat the stiffness in our backs was to roll a tennis ball under the arches of our feet every night. The idea is that by loosening up the fascia and muscles in your feet, you’re indirectly loosening up your back as well. Try rolling the tennis ball under each foot for about 30 seconds. It feels good, plus we’ll pretty much do anything to help relieve tension in our backs!

Need to open up your chest and pull back your shoulders? We’re hunched over our computers all day, so we need some major assistance in this department! Roll the tennis ball around the area just below your collar bone. Lie face-up with knees bent, feet flat on floor, holding a tennis ball in your right hand. Cross right arm over chest, place ball just under collar bone and roll it around until you feel a tight spot. Apply pressure with the ball for a few seconds; release and move on to the next tight spot.

One last trick: Give your hips a break. Stand with your side facing a wall, and place the tennis ball beside your hip, between you and the wall. Press hip into ball/wall and roll it around until you feel a knot (you’ll have to shift hips back and forth a bit to cover the entire area). Press harder into the tennis ball for a few seconds; release. Be sure to stay balanced by rolling out both hips!

It’s no deep tissue massage, but for less than $1, this whole ball thing isn’t such a bad idea. Plus, you can toss it into your bag and take it with you anywhere, unlike your favorite Swedish masseuse…

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Filed under Gear, Spa-relaxation, Workouts

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!

We adore New York City during the holidays—the massive tree at Rockefeller Center, the festive department store windows, the outdoor Christmas markets at Bryant Park and Union Square. But there’s one aspect of New York Christmas that we were all too happy to leave behind: the insane price of Christmas trees. For way too many years, we paid between $25 and $40 for the tiniest, scraggliest trees you could imagine. You’ve seen A Charlie Brown Christmas, right? Some of our trees during the NY years were even scrawnier.

The minute we decided to move to Oregon, we knew our Christmas-tree woes were over—after all, the state’s official tree is the Douglas Fir. To make up for all those years of buying a sad little tree from a guy on the sidewalk in NYC, we decided to actually go out and cut down our own tree this year. Friends recommended a family-owned operation called Allen’s Tree Farm, in Oregon City, so on Saturday, we piled into the Subaru and headed over.

The view from Allen's Tree Farm.

The place was perfect. Friendly owners, free hot cider and cookies, and Douglas and Noble firs for as far as the eye could see. After some serious searching, we found the one:

Beth has always been a tree hugger.

Allen’s provides saws and, thankfully, a guy to help load the tree onto a handy little cart to wheel it from the field to the tent where you pay.

A really nice guy from Allen's helps Darrell cart the tree across the mud.

Not to be a complete killjoy, but we always have a tiny pang of guilt when we buy (or, now, cut down) a tree for Christmas. We know, we know—people have been doing this for years, and the vast majority of Christmas trees are specifically grown for that purpose. But still, it doesn’t quite resonate with our live-green aspirations. So this year, we’ve decided that from now on, for every tree we buy or cut down, we’ll plant another one. Not necessarily ourselves (though Beth is itching to plant a fig tree in her back yard). Instead, we’ll donate to organizations that plant trees. This year, we’re going with Friends of Trees, an organization devoted to planting trees in Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA. Now when we look at that gorgeous tree from Allen’s, all decorated and lit up, we can fully enjoy it, guilt-free.

Happy Holidays!

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Time-Saving Routines

Finding time to work out during the holidays is almost as hard as finding time to work out when you travel. The job is crazy, shopping is insanity and the social calendar is booked beyond your control. You don’t have time to go to the gym for an hour, and rather than waste your time on a stationary bike for the 30 minutes that you do have, you decide to cross a few more holiday cards off your list, make some cookies or do a little online shopping. We’re right there with ‘ya.

That’s why we like to keep a few go-to calorie-burning routines in our back pockets at all times. It’s the one way to guarantee you’ll get a good workout in a very short period of time. No thinking or overanalyzing involved. We promise that these will come in handy during the holidays or your next trip!

1. The Ladder: The concept of this is that you climb up in speed and/or intensity as you climb down in time. You can make this routine as long or short as you like, just make sure to incorporate a recovery jog or walk between each interval. We like to use it when running on the treadmill, but you could easily apply this routine to almost any type of cardio you wish. Here’s an example…

5 minutes: Warm up

*5 minutes: Run at a steady, easy-moderate pace

2 minutes: Cool down (walk or jog)

*4 minutes: Run at a slightly faster pace than your last interval (moderate)

2 minutes: Cool down (walk or jog)

*3 minutes: Run at a slightly faster pace than your last interval (moderate-hard)

2 minutes: Cool down (walk or jog)

*2 minutes: Run at a slightly faster pace than your last interval (hard)

2 minutes: Cool down (walk or jog)

*1 minute: Run as hard as possible

5 minutes: Cool down walk or jog

 

2. Run-Walk Intervals: This workout is just as it sounds. You start with a walk (or any cardio at an easy pace), then speed up to a run (or an intensified version of your warm-up cardio) for a few minutes, and continue alternating between the two until your minutes are up. By not going at a steady pace, you’re burning more calories and challenging your muscles more than usual.

 

3. Beat It: Head to the gym with your iPod in tow. Hop on a Spin bike, the Elliptical or the treadmill, and turn on your favorite playlist. Warm up for the first song, and then increase intensity or resistance after each song that follows. Feel free to hit whatever buttons you choose (besides stop!) when the music’s up. As long as you mix it up every few minutes, you’ll feel the burn and beat boredom.

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Filed under Fun, Travel, Workouts