Stowe, VT- A mini “vacation”

As I’ve mentioned, last week I spent the week in Stowe, Vermont for a work conference. Since the conference was in the summer, I really couldn’t have thought of a better place for it to have been held (well, unless it was in Maine- that’s another terrific summer location, maybe even better since it has the ocean!). My coworkers, Tim and Jim, were also attending the conference, which was awesome since we all get along really well. Jim was bringing his wife, so they drove up in one car and I took Tim in my car. Obviously, I made sure to stock us up with delicious (and mostly healthy) snacks for the ride because no one wants a hangry Monique 😉

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The ride up 89 was just as I remembered it: long, empty, but absolutely beautiful.  Tim lives in Florida, so he was really amazed by the views. I told him that my favorite time to travel up and down 89 was in October, over Columbus Day weekend when foliage was always at its peak. The good thing about this trip, was that we were getting off at exit 10, for Stowe, versus exit 15, for Saint Michael’s College.

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(This was in Vermont at a family wedding last fall. The mountains are gorgeous!)

As we got off the exit, we drove past 3 of my favorite Stowe, VT locations and memories from college: Ben and Jerry’s, Cabot Cheese Factory and Pie in the Sky. I remember my college girlfriends and I making day trips to basically eat our way through Stowe!

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A little ways further, we showed up at the Stowe Mountain Lodge. The property was breathtaking: it was like a castle surrounded entirely by mountains.

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Shortly after arriving, we were checked in and parted ways. My room, although it was literally a 5-10 minute trek from the lobby, was WELL WORTH the distance because it was absolutely beautiful. Somehow I got upgraded to a junior suite and I made sure to gloat when Tim said he had 2 double beds with very little extra space in the room. Check this thing out!

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Seriously, the bathroom was bigger than my bedroom here, and the views from the balcony literally made me want to sit out there and just relax and take it all in; that never happens! I was tempted to crank the AC so I could have an excuse to use the fireplace 😉

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I’ll spare you the conference details, but I will say it was a really worthwhile conference and I made lots of valuable connections!

The nice thing about traveling with Tim, was I knew we would be working out most, if not all, of the days. Tim has been to a few of my classes, but this time I asked HIM to run me through a workout. I’ve mentioned before how I am trying to gain strength, so I was looking forward to workouts that were focused on just a few muscle groups vs a workout with multiple combination moves. On Wednesday, we skipped out on the ice cream social in favor of the gym- talk about serious self control! Anyway, we worked back and biceps first, followed by abs (which Tim let me lead) and then a really awesome trail run around the property. It was one of the better workouts I’ve had in a while- thanks, Tim! 🙂

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Thanks for taking all these pics, Tim! Some without me even asking! 🙂
Post workout, we met up with other conference goers at the pool, which served as a way to cool off, rinse off, and refuel, right?

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Thursday was a bit more wide open, and when I got a text in the middle of the day from Tim that read “any way you can clear your afternoon schedule? Ziplining?”, I got so excited. Ziplining?! How cool! Unfortunately, I had a call smack in the middle of the afternoon that I couldn’t miss and the latest appointment was full. Whomp, whomp. We then talked about doing the obstacle course at the same location where ziplining was held. We ended up nixing that idea since we feared it would be more of a “kids” thing than a “grown up” thing. Next idea? Alpine sledding down the mountain. Sold!… Until they heard thunder as we walked up to buy our tickets and told us we’d have to wait 20 minutes to make sure the storm passed. Whomp, whomp, again. What do you do when all else fails? Go to Ben and Jerry’s, duh!

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It ended up raining during our drive over, which was basically a sign telling me that an ice cream tour was juuuust the perfect way to fill an afternoon 😉

We ended up doing the “special tour” which meant we paid $20 for a t-shirt AND tour. Loved it! Look how cute my t-shirt is!

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There was a bit of a line, so we grabbed kiddie sized ice creams while we waited… and then we had another during the tour… Hey, we were making up for skipping the ice cream social the day before 😉 The salted caramel sampled was absolutely delicious!!! And the tour was more informative than I had remembered. Ben and Jerry seem like pretty cool dudes and I am forever grateful for the “free cone day” they established!

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After our ice cream cravings were overly satisfied, we headed back to the lodge. There were a couple of hours to kill before we met up with Jim and his wife for dinner, and I thought I was going to die of boredom (ok, I’m being totally dramatic here, but I hope you get the point!). At first, I thought it was great to have time to hang out on my balcony, read magazines and soak up the view, but about 20 minutes later I found myself pacing around, looking for something to do. I seriously need lessons on how to relax! Even though I struggled with having “nothing” to do, I definitely needed that down time. There’s something about being away from my apartment and being forced to relax that’s actually kind of nice!

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I’ve heard that wine helps with relaxing…

Friday morning, Tim and I went to the gym before packing up and hitting the road to head south. I was very, very impressed with the gym at the Stowe Mountain Lodge. Not only was it big, but it was equipped with new cardio and weight equipment, as well as lots of stability balls, BOSU balls, steps, etc. They also offered fitness classes throughout the day. How fun would that be?! I need to find a job like that 😉 We did our own respective workouts; treadmill and this workout for me, and I think Tim did chest and triceps? We joined together at the end for another round of abs. This time, I had him do a full Dynamax Wheel (the only complaint I had about the gym was that they didn’t have Dynamax balls 😦 ) with medicine balls instead of Dynamax balls.

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Andddd, that about sums up my Stowe trip! I didn’t take pictures of my meals because I didn’t want to look like that weirdo, well, taking pictures of my meals, haha. It would have been very easy for me to have been persuaded to spend the day by the pool instead of heading back to Boston on Friday, but Tim had a flight to catch and I had lots of work to catch up on, so that wasn’t really an option. All in all, though, the trip was wonderful. I felt very fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet so many people within my industry, as well as have some time to be on “vacation”. If you’re ever in the Stowe area, I HIGHLY suggest checking out the Stowe Mountain Lodge. I cannot say enough good things about it! The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful, and you could tell they weren’t acting that way just because they were getting paid; it was a genuine friendliness, which is so not something you tend to see in Boston!

I hope you enjoyed my recap 🙂

Questions for you: Have you ever been to Stowe? Do you utilize hotel gyms? What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Weekly Workouts- Travel Edition

Hi friends! How are you doing today? I am good, besides the fact I am not ready to get back on the road for another work trip. Luckily, this one is short and if all goes well with travel on Wednesday, I should be back for my 6:30 class at Central!

As all of you probably know, I was away for a work conference most of last week. The trip was a blast (I promise, I’ll recap everything later this week) and I am happy to report the fact that I got in a couple awesome workouts! I am hoping this week will be the same as I should have already gone running before this post gets published and will try to get in a workout Tuesday morning before a long day at our client’s office.

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I went to the Wellington BSC and did my own UXF/CrossFit inspired workout consisting of a brief warm up and 4 rounds of: 500M row, 60 seconds ropes, 60 seconds kettlebell swings, 1-legged push-ups up and down the ladder, 60 seconds pike plank with feet in TRX straps. Felt great!

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  • Tuesday- I got up in did a jump rope and ab circuit and was sore the next day!

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  • Wednesday- My coworker, Tim, and I skipped the ice cream social at the conference and went to the gym. I let him run ME through a workout (I had to use every bit of my self-control to not take over the workout!) because I wanted to focus on isolated strength moves. We did back and biceps, which Tim lead and then I lead abs and then we went on a 2 mile crazy trail run. It.Was.Awesome. I’ll save most of the pictures for my VT recap, but here are a few:

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  • Thursday- Tim and I had planned on working out in the afternoon, but ended up going to Ben and Jerry’s. Sometimes you need an ice cream 🙂
  • Friday- Tim and I met at the gym before breakfast for a morning workout since we were hitting the road around 10:30. We did our separate workouts (I ran on the treadmill 1.5 miles to warm up and then did a circuit I’ll hopefully post on Wednesday), but joined together at the end to do abs. Tim loved what I ran us through which was fun! We used a medicine ball and did lots of Dynamax-esque throws. Loved it!

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  • Saturday- I taught the most sweaty kickboxing class ever. I know I say that all the time, but literally this was like nothing I have ever seen. I could barely see the mirror in front of me it was so coated in sweat! Members/friends agreed!

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  • Sunday- Rest. My back was feeling SUPER tight, as was my right quad so I decided to take it easy.

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- As I said earlier, I am hoping that by the time this post goes up, I will have gone for a run and maybe have done some strength stuff.
  • Tuesday- I will be in Toronto, Canada, but hope to get a workout in before work. I think it’s going to be a very long day, so I know a workout will help mentally, more than anything. If we don’t have to be to the client site too early, I’ll go to the hotel gym, but if we have to get there early, I’ll likely do a short workout in my room.
  • Wednesday- Hoping to make it back per my itinerary so I can teach my 6:30 UXF Burn class- I missed them last week!
  • Thursday- Teaching my Thursday double: SHRED followed by Kickboxing. Again, missed these guys last week so I am excited to be back!
  • Friday- I may workout at home, but I may use Friday as a rest day pending on how I feel.
  • Saturday- My friend, Lauren, and I are doing a Color Me Rad run in Brockton on Saturday morning. I’m nervous/excited!
  • Sunday- Again, pending on how my workouts went during the week will determine whether I work out or rest on Sunday.

So, there you have it!

Questions for you: What was your best workout last week? Have you ever done a “Color Run”? Is there anything I should be warned about?

Hot in the City. Literally.

Hey everyone! How are you?? I am back from a wonderful little getaway at a work conference in Stowe, VT from Tuesday-Friday. The conference was held during a great week; being in VT and in a hotel during this crazy heat spell was amazing! Even if the temp was as high there as it is back in Boston (which, it wasn’t), there’s something about being surrounded by beautiful mountains that makes tolerating the heat a little more bearable. I’ll get to a full recap of my trip next week, but for now I just wanted to pop in, say hello and make sure that you checked out the two awesome guest blog posts from a couple of my friends:

Guest Post: It’s Not About Having Time, It’s About Making Time

Guest Post: Summer Favorites from The Truth About Vinyl and Bikini Tops

Big, big thanks to Athena and Rachel for helping me keep you all entertained while I was away!

Anyway! On Monday I had a long day at work trying to get everything ready for my week away. Doesn’t it always seem like work gets so much busier when you’re about to be out of the office for any amount of time?? By the time I left work, I knew I was in need of a solid workout. I knew I would workout while in VT, but I wasn’t sure how long or strong or intense they would be, so I wanted to make sure I got in at least one good workout during the week! And good workout it was! I hopped on the elliptical to warm up and then I created a circuit that I did 4 times through:

  • 500M row
  • 60 seconds ropes (If you’re not familiar, check out this video. killer!)
  • 60 seconds kettlebell swings
  • 1-legged push-ups up and down the ladder (a ladder is painted on the turf)
  • 60 seconds plank pikes with feet in TRX straps

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I did a few more ab exercises and a few shoulder exercises before calling it a day. I was SPENT! My knees were irritated from the turf, my hands were getting calluses. I call that a good day at the gym 😉

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Post gym, I came home, watered my garden really well and then made myself the easiest dinner alive:

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English Muffin Pizza’s. Doesn’t get much better than that, right?! Brings me back to my childhood big time!

I got up early Tuesday to A. work out and B. try to beat the heat for my workout. I was feeling pretty sore from my Sunday and Monday workouts, so I ended up doing a jump rope and ab circuit which was perfect!

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After my workout, I showered and worked from home until it was time to pick my coworker, Tim, up at the airport. To ensure that we had healthy snacks for the road, I went shopping over the weekend and stocked up.

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I also brought a few peaches and a yogurt. I don’t have a huge appetite in one sitting, but I sure do love to snack! It helps keep me from being “hangry”, which, if anyone has seen the “hangry Monique”, I think you can agree she’s someone we all would like to avoid 😉 These snacks kept both of us totally satisfied and the 3 hour and 20 minute trip almost flew by! I went to Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, VT, so the ride up 89 (both through New Hampshire and Vermont) is one I could likely do with my eyes closed. Tim had never been in that area (he lives in Florida, originally from NY), so he was totally in awe of all the mountains and trees and beautiful scenery.

Driving past the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, Cabot Cheese store and Pie In The Sky totally brought me back to my college years when my girlfriends and I would make the short-ish trip down to Stowe to (basically) eat our way through it. Ah, the good ol’ days! Anyway, it was fun reminiscing. #ilovermont 🙂

Well, that about does it for me today! I am teaching my 10am kickboxing class at the Oak Square YMCA and then babysitting for Trent and Lila again from 1-??? Pending on how I feel after that, I am going to try to make it to a BBQ at Rachel and Dan’s apartment. I hope you all have a great Saturday!!

Questions for you: Have you ever been to VT? What is your favorite New England state? What’s your favorite “healthy” road trip snack that you always make sure to pack?