Seeing My First Snow: South Lake Tahoe 2018

Since I’m from Nashville, seeing snow is a rare occurrence for me. Sure, every few years we would get a few inches on the ground for a few days, but nothing over six inches and nothing that would stick around for long. I moved to the Bay Area about a year and a half ago and have been dying to go to Lake Tahoe during the winter time. I don’t ski or snowboard, but I just wanted to see the beauty.

My boyfriend (J) and I decided to go for a nice weekend getaway to Lake Tahoe and we spent hours looking for the perfect Airbnb. We went in with few criteria, but quickly learned we were pickier than we thought! We ended up choosing a beautiful one-bedroom guest suite about ten minutes from downtown South Lake Tahoe (plus it had a hot tub!).

We left San Francisco on Friday evening around 5pm, with a quick Chik-Fil-A stop for dinner on the way. My favorite Chik-Fil-A pick: market salad–it’s full of flavorful grilled chicken, chopped fruit, nuts, and they have great dressing options.

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We spent about four and a half hours on the road, which is not bad considering the notorious Tahoe traffic we were told to expect. We arrived around 10:15pm and checked out the place before crashing into bed.

The next morning we both woke up around 6:30am just in time to make tea and coffee and watch the sun rise from our back porch.

We spent the morning relaxing and headed out to brunch around 10am. We ended up eating at A Cup of Cherries and the food was delicious; I might’ve eaten the best omelette I’ve ever had there (tomatoes, mushrooms, and basil). J ordered an egg plate with a side of French toast. We left feeling stuffed and ready to conquer the day.

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After buying gloves, which we both forgot, we headed off to go snow tubing. We arrived at Heavenly ski resort and learned that snow tubing was not available yet–they said it was too early in the season, which I found baffling given the amount of snow on the ground ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Even if we couldn’t go tubing, we decided to take the gondola up to the top of the mountain anyways to soak in the good views.

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Pretty unbelievable right? We thoroughly enjoyed the gondola right up to the top and explored the basecamp, saw skiers skate by, watched toddlers teeter on snowboards and then we headed back down. We walked around the shops in Heavenly village and went back to the Airbnb to recharge before dinner. I ended up napping, which is not something I normally do, but was much needed after our adventures.

South Lake Tahoe has dozens of BBQ restaurants so we picked one of the top rated places  (Sonney’s BBQ Shack Bar and Grill) and headed over at an astonishingly early hour–5:30! We enjoyed a great meal of pulled pork, ribs, and classic BBQ sides:

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I don’t eat pork very often, but this absolutely hit the spot and left us feeling exhausted (again)! After dinner, we made our way back to the Airbnb intending to use the hot tub, but we ended up watching “Chicken Run” and falling asleep early.

The next morning was low-key with a later wake up. We enjoyed our coffee and tea in the hot tub, which was a wonderful experience! I have never been in a hot tub in freezing weather, but it was a fascinating experience–getting in was the hardest part by far. We both read or worked on side projects for a few hours enjoying the cute mini fireplace and sipping hot cocoa. Around 11, we started packing up our bags to head home. We made a pit stop for lunch at Verde Mexican Rotisserie and the food was delicious:

Cauliflower Rice Bowl
Chicken Taco

 

Chicken Torta

My favorite was the cauliflower rice bowl I ordered–cauliflower sautéed with peppers, onions, greens, and tomatoes. Topped with organic spring mix, chimichuri, avocados, and grilled mahi-mahi. I could hardly finish the bowl!

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The ride home felt a little longer, but the four hours flew by with good music and conversation. We made it back to the Bay Area by 5pm with plenty of time to get organized for the work week ahead.

For the full video experience of our trip, click here.

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Have you ever been to South Lake Tahoe? Any tips on learning to ski?

Ted Talk Friday: Using happiness to evaluate a company’s success

I work in the workplace wellbeing space so this talk’s title immediately caught my eye. I love her logical reasoning behind why happiness is such a valuable metric of success. I have not heard of the happy planet index, but I am definitely going to read more about it.  I see this play out in many companies I work with; HR often cares so much about employee wellbeing and happiness, but it hard to convey its value since happiness is often seen as a “fluffy” concept. After listening to this talk, it certainly doesn’t sound fluffy at all:

 

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Can you imagine a world where the happiness index is listed by stock prices?

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2018

It is insane that it is already December! I looked at the calendar last week and nearly fainted; where did the year go?! I have a really great feeling about the year to come, but 2018 flew by in what feels like an instant. This year has been FULL of big changes for me–some positive and some negative–but I am beyond grateful for all of the good that has come into my life. I love the holiday season because I love any excuse to give gifts–my love language is gift-giving (although I personally prefer to receive words of affirmation).

I often have a hard time thinking of gifts on short notice, so I tend to buy things throughout the year as I think of people. There have been years when I had all of my shopping done by October!

For the normal people out there who likely haven’t gotten their shopping done, here are a few of my top gifts for 2018:

  1. Tabio Socks: These are an amazing gift for both fitness fanatics or fashion-obsessed friends. I love my Tabio socks for pilates and barre classes especially, the signature run socks have great grip on the bottom and are super cute (my favorite color is lavender). Use code HANN20 for a discount when you order!

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2. Quest Nutrition Bars: These make my list every year. Someone recently asked how I haven’t gotten tired of this brand after six years of eating their products. First off, I love all the flavor options and convenience of a healthy, satisfying snack on the go. Second, I love this brand. The company is based on the principles of positive psychology, self-improvement, and growth–all of which resonate with me.

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3. ActivMotion Bar: I recently posted a full review of ActivMotion bars on the blog, but these are definitely making the gift guide as well! This is a great gift for your fit friend who already has all of the basic fitness products; it’s definitely a unique workout and is a great tool to improve balance!

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4. Satin pillowcase: This is a nice gift for anyone you know who wants to add a bit of luxury to their bedtime routine (and who doesn’t?!).

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5. Orb Sleep Complex: I’ve made so many people try this and everyone falls in love. It provides such a restful sleep without any heavy drugs–it’s an all natural mix of ingredients like melatonin and lavender oil that eases you to sleep with time-released B12 to help you wake up feeling refreshed.

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When do you normally finish up buying gifts?

Ted Talk Friday: Imposter Syndrome?

I have had one crazy week so I wanted to share a quick talk that felt relevant to me right now. In recent conversations with many of my friends, we discussed this feeling of being an imposter and feeling like we don’t belong in our jobs or academic programs–maybe we don’t feel smart enough, old enough, or experienced enough. Imposter syndrome can feel isolating, but the more you connect with friends and family and express your vulnerability, the less alone you’ll likely feel.

 

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Do you struggle with imposter syndrome? Do you talk about it openly?

Building Balance + Strength with the ActivMotion Glimpse Bar

The new ActivMotion Glimpse Bar just came out in June so I was super excited to get the chance to try it out. The ActivMotion Bar is a unique product–it is a bar filled with rolling steel weights inside to promote functional fitness, strength, stability, and balance.

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The regular bars are opaque and come in a range of weights from 3-18 lbs, which means these are a great addition to a workout no matter how fit you are.

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I decided to go with the Glimpse bar–it’s actually clear through the middle so you can see the steel weights as they move. There are also three white ball bearings in the center of the bar that serve as a guide or “level”. I was intrigued by how it looks and was excited to see how it would impact my balance.

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Glimpse bars come in 4.5lb sizes only, but many of the workouts include quite a few reps so a lower weight does not mean it’s easy!  Luckily, each purchase comes with access to a number of instructional videos with full workouts. The exercises are not easy and the bar adds a new, exciting element the my workouts! Balance has never been a strong suit of mine, and these fitness routines are certainly pushing me to my limit. I love the Glimpse bar because watching the white ball bearings move back and forth really helps keep me attuned to the way my body is moving.

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This is a great option for an at-home workout; I feel like I have outgrown a lot of my old go-to at-home workout options and have been looking for a new challenge so this bar is the perfect solution for me! This would make a great gift for any fitness fanatic friends you might have. It’s a unique present that will provide a fun new take on working out to improve balance!

BONUS: I have special access for you through the holiday! Use code “fitapproach25” for 25% off through the holidays ( the code is valid from now until January 7th!).

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Have you heard of the ActivMotion Bar? How often do you focus on balance during a workout?

Ted Talk Friday: How to get better at the things you care about

This talk applies to almost everything–we are so often focus on the “performance zone” rather than focusing on the learning zone. If we are not focused on continuous improvement, we are automatically going to fall behind. I’ve talked to my Dad about this a lot; he is a doctor and he constantly reads new studies and attends conferences to learn about the newest techniques. We want our doctors to use the most recent research rather than what they learned twenty years ago, right? That same principle applies to many skills, whether those skills are personal or professional. I hope you enjoy this talk and Briceño’s ideas about learning and improving.

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Do you feel the pressure to always live in the performance zone? Do you make time for the learning zone?

Ted Talk Friday: Remember to say thank you

Since Thanksgiving was yesterday, I wanted to focus today’s talk on gratitude and the value of giving thanks and asking for a thank you when you need it. This talk relates back to two of my favorite relationship rules:

1) ask for what you need

2) express gratitude

I hope this short talk is helpful for you and I hope you had a great holiday!

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Do you always ask for what you need? Do you wish you asked for someone to express gratitude for your actions more often?

Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up

Where did 2018 go? I think everyone I know is saying the same thing, but it is hard to believe Thanksgiving is here again. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday–it’s all about gratitude, food, and loved ones–what could be better?

Here is a list of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes:

  1. Maple Roasted Winter Veggies– This is hands down my favorite veggie dish on the table every year; it’s light and fresh, but includes all the wonderful flavors of Fall! The pomegranate seeds are an absolute must–they add so much fresh flavor, plus beautiful color.

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2. Gut-Friendly Jello Jigglers– I love Great Lakes Gelatin for all of its gut benefits and these  healthy jello jigglers are a great alternative to the sugar-laden version we typically include in our Thanksgiving line-up.

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3. Spaghetti Squash Casserole – One of my favorite parts of fall is all of the amazing seasonal squash! This casserole is a great alternative to unhealthy creamy casseroles and packs the same flavor punch with plenty of protein and fiber.

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4. Caulirice Stuffed Delicata Squash– Packed with Vitamin A and filling fiber, this is a great side dish for those avoiding the regular stuffing. This has a great savory sweet from the flavor combination of the sweet squash and liquid aminos.

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5. Coconut Vanilla Raspberry Pudding– This is a great healthy dessert option that won’t leave you heading into a sugar crash! Low in carbs and high in fiber, it’s a great way to cap off a satisfying meal with something sweet.

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6. Spiced Buckwheat  Pear Bread- This is a great gluten-free bread option made with hearty buckwheat flour and it packs a protein punch! This would be a great dessert option and would also be a satisfying addition to breakfast.

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I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Let me know if you try any of these recipes.

Ted Talk Friday: Why wildfires have gotten worse — and what we can do about it

The wildfires in California are raging on either side of the Bay Area–part of Los Angeles are up in smoke and a small town called Paradise north of San Francisco has been burned to the ground. The air where I live This talk is timely and I learned so much about why wildfires are becoming more and more common. Diversity, even in nature, is critical and serves a protective function, which is such an interesting parallel to the importance of human diversity.

 

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What was the most surprising thing you learned in this talk? Have you been following the California wildfires?

Beetnik Foods: A fresh take on frozen meals

Beetnik Foods recently reached out to me to try some of their newest products. I love their frozen meal options–some of my favorites include the Lemon Chicken with Cauliflower Rice and the Peruvian Inspired Chicken Stew.While I still prefer to meal prep with homemade fresh options, these frozen meals come in handy in a pinch. They are healthy, USDA certified organic, gluten free, and hit all the nutritional boxes I look for when choosing a pre-made meal option. I am try to consume as little meat as possible, but I feel good eating the grass-fed beef and organic, humanely raised chicken included in Beetnik meals.

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I got a chance to try out their new grass-fed meatballs over the weekend and was blown away! I never grew up eating meatballs, we generally did not eat that much red meat in my household, so I was not sure what to expect. The package is resealable so I took out enough meatballs for two and threw together a quick dish with spaghetti squash, marinara, and dairy-free parmesan cheese.

Prep was super easy with a short 12 minutes in the oven at 375:

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I steamed my spaghetti squash in the microwave a few hours earlier. I cut my squash in half length-wise, scooped out the seeds, and filled each half with marinara sauce (my favorite brand is Whole Foods Everyday Value marinara). After the meatballs were cooked, I placed them in the squash and put them back in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes to warm up. I enjoyed my half over a bed of spinach:

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The squash also tastes delicious with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese (I use GoVeggie! dairy-free parmesan cheese).

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The meatballs did not have a bread texture, but instead tasted like real, hearty meatballs with a great Italian-inspired flavor. This meal kept me full for hours and didn’t even feel me weighed down like the typical spaghetti and meatballs might. I will definitely be using these again!

Curious about the nutrition stats?

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Disclaimer: I received this product from Beetnik Foods, but all opinions and thoughts are my own and represent my own experience.