Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Kimpton Hotels Epic Miami was EPIC!

Ya'll know how much I love to travel. It's rare that I find hotels that 'wow!' me. I've kind of seen and done it all. Even staying at the Waldorf Astoria in London wasn't nearly as exciting for me as it might have been for someone else. Don't get me wrong, it was beautiful, but the shock and awe factor of lovely hotels has certainly diminished over time. 

But then I went to Miami and stayed at the Epic, which is a Kimpton Hotel. Typically when I go to Miami I stay in South Beach at The Mondrian, but I decided to stay downtown this trip and holy cow - I may never stay anywhere else in Miami. The hotel was incredible!

I checked in at about 6pm, and as I was checking in, they were hosting a complimentary happy hour in the lobby, which happens every single day! The lovely receptionist asked what kind of wine I would like and brought the glass over to me, which I promptly carried upstairs and used in this mini photo shoot!

The room reminded me of a typical room at any W Hotel. 2 cozy queen beds, a desk, a little reading nook, and a bathroom with a window between. Not my favorite feature, not entirely clear to me why it's there, but a seeming trend in trendy hotels these days.  


If you look closely in one of the pictures above, you can just make out a little sign on the side of the sink. This sign was a page-long list of all the complimentary toiletry items that were available to guests. That list doesn't even include a razor, which they brought to me. In fact, they brought me 4, and the nice man didn't even wait around long enough for me to try and tip him! Also, the shampoo, conditioner, and soap provided were top notch. I'm using them in my shower at home now, I liked them so much!

The view was incredible, and this was a city view! I would love to see what the ocean view rooms look like!

I also spent time in the hotel bar & restaurant, which I found to be fine. I quite enjoy hotel bars even at home, as I find them to be a fun way to spend a Friday night with friends, and this one didn't disappoint. The bartenders were playful and happy to be there, the service was great, the food was as expected, and the prices were insanely high, but it's Miami, so whatever. 

I highly recommend the Epic hotel - I know I'll be staying there next time I am in town. Do you have a favorite hotel chain? I'm typically loyal to SPG, and my BFF is a HiltonHonors girl, so we rarely deviate from those. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Rock 'n Roll Dallas - it's time!

I am 4 days away from race day. It's hard to believe that 12 weeks have passed since I agreed to do this. Since I pushed myself to do this. 

Am I ready? I think so. I give myself a C in the training department. I ran consistently, more consistently than I ever have. I did a couple 5 mile and 6 mile runs, and I felt great. I also did a couple runs where I felt awful, and I forced myself to stay miserable for a little longer than comfortable. I'm pleased with all of those things. I'm less pleased with not having run further than 6 miles. I didn't do as much (..any) cross training as I would have liked. 

So, wish me luck in Dallas this weekend, as I will need it. I'll be back Monday with a recap and hopefully a whole bunch of awesome pictures. I'm just hoping they don't have to carry me across the finish line (or at any other part of the race). 

PS - my goal is to finish in under 3:00. Do you think it's possible?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Yogi Fail

I had a first (for me) last night - I walked out of a yoga class. 

A couple of months ago, I bought a Groupon for a studio close to my office called OnlYoga. I stupidly believed that I would just hop over for a quick vinyasa flow at lunchtime. When will I learn?! Anyway, that's beside the point. I went to my first class 8ish weeks ago, and enjoyed it. It was a 7am class, there were only 2 of us, and the instructor was okay. She pushed me, and some of the things she said made me pretty uncomfortable at the time, but all in all I felt like it was a good class and that I'd go back.

A coworker bought the same Groupon and asked me to join her for a hot yoga class last night. Now, shame on me for not reading the details about the class and instead just happily agreeing to go. I don't know that I would have changed my mind, but in fairness to me, I did think I was going to what I think of as typical hot yoga, which includes a really hot room and a bunch of asanas. I can do that. I am comfortable with that, and comfortable with pushing myself within that type of class (especially 5 days before my half marathon!!!)

So, we get ourselves situated in the studio and when class starts, it's kicked off with a chant. First sign that I am in over my head: I'm the only person in the room who doesn't know the 2 minute long chant. Next I'm expecting 10 minutes of breathing. Nope, we head straight into sun salutations and chaturungas. And they move really fast. And next thing I know I'm glancing furtively around the room trying to look like I know what I'm doing and everyone else is in a twisted backbend. After a similar flow for the second and third time, I decided I'd had enough. The class was way over my head and I was miserable. While the group was in downward-facing dog, I quietly grabbed my mat and water bottle and scooted to the back of the room.

The teaching assistant stopped me and asked if I was okay, I told her how I was feeling, and she encouraged me not to leave but said she understood. I liked and appreciated her concern, but felt pretty strongly about packing up and leaving. Then the instructor came over, so I explained the same thing to him, and he put his arms around me and said he wished I would stay. 

The final straw for me was when he announced loudly to the class, "Raise your hand if this class is extremely challenging for you!" 2 people raised their hands, which obviously wasn't enough for him, because he said "OK, raise your hand if this class has been pretty challenging for you" at which point a few more folks raised their hands. It's been a while since I have been so embarrassed, to the point that I thought I was going to burst into tears. This was MY yoga practice, I felt uncomfortable, and the instructor was humiliating me in front of the entire room full of people. I am not a yoga newbie. I spent a week at a resort doing yoga 2-3 times a day and talking about it even more frequently. I've had monthly memberships to yoga studios, and so while I am no expert, I am not new to this either. And the thing I love most about yoga is that whatever you want to do is okay. So while I was fine with the instructor urging me to stay, I was completely shocked at how he called me out in front of the entire group. 

Now, some of you might say, as a friend of mine did, that I shouldn't have left, and normally I would agree. In this case, however, the room was really crowded, so they actually could use the space I was taking up, and I was so uncomfortable just sitting on my mat, I didn't feel like I could stay. When I decided to leave, I also decided that I'd go home, go for a short run, and do an at-home yoga session instead. I wasn't giving up completely, I was just throwing in the towel on that particular class. 

I'm planning to call the studio today and voice my concerns. It wasn't the first time I was made to feel uncomfortable there, and despite having 8 classes left as part of my Groupon, I won't be returning. There are so many wonderful studios I've been to, there's just no reason to continue going somewhere that I felt out of place and uncomfortable. 

Have you had poor experiences at a yoga studio? Every studio is not for every person, and I'm comfortable with that!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Poconos Weekend

Remember those people I met in Costa Rica? They've become lifelong friends, and a few weeks ago I met them in Philadelphia for another weekend getaway. This time, skiing in the Poconos! We had a total blast, I remembered how much I loved skiing, and in general being outside in the sun. There are already talks of a Colorado ski trip for next year with my business school buddies...!

And the final farewell to Philadelphia at sunset as my airplane zoomed south. Fear not, pretty city, I will most certainly be back, so long as some of my most valuable people are there. Until then... 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lenten Adventure 2014

This year's Lenten Adventure has arrived. The rules are the same. Give up one thing every day, adding on as it goes. By the end of Lent, I'll have given up or added 40 things to my daily or weekly or personal routine. Here's what made the cut this year:
Give Up
Facebook, Cheese, Dessert, Leaving dishes in the sink, Snooze, Lunch out, Wine, Curse words, Close parking spaces, Using a cell phone when waiting, Beer, Coffee, Soda, Complaining, Candy, Unnecessary purchases, Meat, Fried Food, Checking email outside of work (this is necessary but not to the extent that I'm currently doing it), Tinder, Secular Music, Lying, Using the stairs if less than 5 flights, Hot showers (except for 1/2 marathon day), TV, Twitter, "Friday clothes" when it's not Friday, Gossip, Procrastinating
Adding in
A daily walk, Extra focus on school, Tell someone I love you every day, Drink a fresh juice every day, Go to church on Sunday (and read the readings &/or Gospel before going), Write down 3 things I'm grateful for each day, Send a thank you note to someone every day (or say it out loud), Have an impromptu dance party as often as I want, Volunteer at Project Open Hand once a week, Brush & floss every night, do 10 crunches and 10 pushups every morning
As you can see, there are some repeats and some new ones. I used a few websites to garner inspiration. Here, here, and here. I don't even know if my inspiration Mindee is doing the project again this year. I hope so! But either way, it was definitely eye-opening and life-changing for me. Are any of you joining me in 2014?