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Posted on Mar 24, 2014 in Dear Diary, Working Out, Yelp | 11 comments

Ommmmm (Nom Nom)

To all those who think that my job pretty much just means I eat all the time (and, to be fair, I do eat a LOT for this job), I want to set the record straight. Not errrrvery single event that I throw as the Yelp Northern Virginia Community Manager is totally food-centric. I mean, sure, a lot are (and I love ’em!) but yesterday I actually got to do my job AND get some fitness in at the same time, thanks to the yoga-tastic event that went down!

Yelp’s Mind + Body Bender took place at Mind Your Body Oasis in Crystal City, a wellness center and yoga studio that gave Yelp Elites the chance to try out many different kinds of massage therapies (Thai! Mysokeletal! Full-body! Chair! Reiki!) as well as participating in yoga and bellydancing classes!



It was a full event with lots to see and do, and I even got a chance to be thrown around by MYBO’s Thai massage specialist for a few minutes. I’ll, a-hem, go ahead and let those photos speak for themselves…





LOLOLOLOLOLOL.

Being of the no pain, no gain persuasion when it comes to massage, I actually loved it, and it was over far too quickly for me! I guess I’ll just have to go back and get pretzel-fied again. 🙂

In other news, you should be happy to hear that I totally cheated on my weigh-in once a week rule and checked myself out on the scale yesterday. I can happily report that I am blessedly — amazingly! — back to my pre-San Francisco weigh-in weight. So those 2.5 gained libbies are officially gone! I’ll wait until Friday to officially report in, but I just wanted you all to know that I am most definitely working it!

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Posted on Mar 19, 2014 in Dear Diary | 0 comments

You’re Invited to: Yelp’s Passport to Mosaic!

Local friends, get excited.

Non-local friends, you can totally get excited too, if you want, but this will be decidedly less applicable to your lives unless you’re planning on visiting the DC area between 3/30 and 4/5.

And why’s that?

Well, I’ve got some VERY AWESOME AND FUN THINGS happening in just a little while, and, best of all, they’re open to ERRRRRVERYONE!

Introducing: Yelp’s Passport to Mosaic!

Yelp's Passport to Mosaic

I’ve put together a FULL WEEK of awesome events, special deals, and general good times at Mosaic District, the hottest new area in Northern VA! Kicking off on Sunday, 3/30 with an Elite-only CLASSIC MOVIE-themed event, and moving on through the week with things like tasting dinners, shopping parties, craft nights, and wine tastings, this promotion is sure to kill me dead be one heckuva good time!

I don’t know if I’ve referenced Mosaic District enough times on the blog for you guys to immediately know what I’m talking about, but it’s, like, totally awesome.

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It’s essentially a town center/shopping district full of hot new restaurants (Matchbox’s first VA location, Red Apron Butcher, awesome local standards like Cava Mezze Grille and sweetgreen, etc!) and fantastic boutique-style shopping (Anthro, Lou Lou, Langford Market, South Moon Under, etc.) PLUS they have a baller movie theatre (the Angelika, which is like a movie theatre FOR GROWN UPS), they do lots of events, have a giant screen on the outside of the movie theatre (they call her “Lucy”), an enormous outdoor chess set, a public piano that they bring outside on nice days… oh man, the list goes on!

It’s also got pretty much the nicest Target on this side of the beltway, and new things are CONSTANTLY opening since it’s all still so new and shiny. As you can tell, I’m a huge, huge fan of this area — and I have been since it opened! So putting this promo together was a natural step for yours truly, and I can’t believe it’s actually finally here!

AAAANYWAY, the exciting news here is that all the events happening are open to ANYBODY with a Yelp account, and they’re FREE. (PS: It’s free to sign up for a Yelp account too, so it’s REALLYREALLY free.)

There are currently 8 events happening, with the potential for more, so head on over and RSVP now if you’d like to get a taste of what this whole Yelp thing Gretchen’s always talking about is like.

And then say a quick prayer for me because these next couple of weeks might very well kill me! Wheeeeeee!!

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Posted on Mar 17, 2014 in Dear Diary | 5 comments

Mia Turns One!

Howdy neighbors!

I’m back from Macon, GA after a wonderful few days with my sister, brother-in-law, and baby niece, Mia (short for Amelia). I even got to see my mom for like two hours on Sunday (we overlapped with her flying into town and me flying out, haha) and, most importantly, got to ring in Mia’s FIRST YEAR OF LIVING with an amazing party that my sister and I put together for her. Apologies in advance for the proud Auntie Gretchen photo overload that’s about to happen, hehe.

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I’ll let the photos primarily speak for themselves, but since you guys already know my penchant for throwing big birthday parties, it should come as no surprise that this was themed out the wazoo… owl-style!

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Owls

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The smash cake in particular I really am quite proud of, hehe.

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My sister, Jenny, did all the planning and I think Miss Amelia ended up with quite the Pinterest-worthy first birthday party! Owls, owls, everywhere, plus cake and cakepops and cookies and chocolate and, well, just lots and lots of sugar. I think that this may have been the sugar OVERbinge I needed to set me back on the right path, diet-wise, because I honestly cannot even THINK of eating another dessert item until Mia’s second birthday, hahaha.

Noms

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Jenny made Mia a SUPER adorable tutu to wear around on her special day and we got an iron-on patch to put a big ol’ “1” on her butt. She was most certainly the belle of the ball in my toooootally unbiased opinion.

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Pretty Mia

And girl can EAT (she *is* part-Powell, after all), so the smash cake part was really fun. She had noooo trouble digging into that thing!

CAKE!

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Clearly, ’twas a most excellent party. I just love this little nugget!

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Her actual birthday isn’t until Thursday, so hopefully this is the start of her carrying on my longstanding tradition of celebrating my birthday AAAAALL week long.

Mia Hug & Run

Speaking of which, my birthday’s coming up! What the heck am I gonna do for it?! I usually have it all planned out by now, but since my job is pretty much planning epic parties all year round, I haven’t had time to give it much thought. Hmmm…

In other news, my CM Week plague has ALMOST left my sister, just a few sniffles and coughs left over. But daaaang, I haven’t been sick like that in a looooong time. I tend to get stomach/digestive sick over head/sinus/chest sick, so I actually was pretty miserable. Who’d have ever thought there’d be a day where I’d rather be throwing up if it meant I didn’t have to sneeze another 80,000 times in a row?

Anyway, being (almost) back to full health, and FINALLY back in one place (no more traveling pleeeeeease) means that hopefully things will be a lot smoother with my diet and exercise routine now. See you on the flip!

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Posted on Mar 12, 2014 in Dear Diary, Food | 3 comments

Whirlwind Week

Oh what a week, what a week, what a mighty fine week!

When I last left you, I was on my way to not-quite-sunny-but-wonderfully-temperate San Francisco for a week of Yelptastic shenanigans with the other 150+ Community Managers from ’round the globe. We called it #CMWeek14 and, as you can imagine, it was just as awesome as you’d think.

 

1. Goodies from the hotel welcome bag; 2. Beer + dark chocolate sea salt popsicle at the welcome party

There was a lot of learning, waaaaayyyy too much eating, a decent amount of me trying not to be the awkward “new kid” in front of so many seasoned Yelp vets (obviously I failed at that one, ahaha), and just generally a whole lot of good times.

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1. Sushiritto: IT EXISTS; 2. Personalized latte from the Yelp barista

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I am extremely blessed to have this job. I mean, to not only be able to do things that I love everyday, but to work with such amazing, talented, creative, and awe-inspiring individuals to boot? Those of you who are Yelp Elite Squad members in other states (maybe even countries?) know exactly what I’m talking about.


My Regional Team: NC, DC, MD, PA, and VA in the hooooouse!

Our days pretty much consisted of nonstop sessions, group lunches and dinners, and then me being dragged into the party hardy fray after all of that. Don’t get me wrong, it was a BLAST, but I rarely go that hard on my own turf, let alone with a wonky time difference thrown into the mix. The night we took over a karaoke bar was 100% worth it alone, but believe you me, I suffered afterwards.

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In fact, it seems like the second I set foot back on northern Virginia soil, my body was like, “BWAHAHAHA. AND NOW I SHALL HAVE MY REVENGE.” I got sick, and I got sick harrrrrd. Maybe it’s just the symptoms of CM week withdrawal, but it feels more like bubonic plague.

Of course, the train never stops rolling these days, so I didn’t let a little thing like being on my deathbed stop me from pulling off another swell Yelp Elite Event! On Sunday, just two days after I got back from SF, was Yelp’s Social Petworking!



Since having Daxter at an event has pretty much been my goal from the very beginning, it wasn’t too hard for me to rally for this one. That said, I’ve pretty much spent every other moment — both waking and sleeping — in bed, trying to shake this dang plague.

And why is it so important that I will myself back to health? Because tomorrow I’m off AGAIN! This time, it’s back to Macon, GA for my niece Mia’s FIRST BIRTHDAY! (Do you guys remember when SHE WAS BORN?! Yeah, an entire YEAR HAS PASSED SINCE THEN. Crazy.)

Life, man! It’s happening! Oy!

Anyway, that brings you all back up to speed, and with this next trip being hopefully a little less pedal-to-the-medal (I can’t imagine Mia wanting to go balls to the wall on her first birthday, but you never know…) I’ll be able to get back into the groove with blogging, eating, weight loss, and all that good stuff.

On a related note, I gave up potatoes for Lent this year, so let’s see how that goes, shall we?

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Posted on Feb 25, 2014 in Dear Diary, Working Out | 9 comments

Aerial Yoga

Alas, I fear I must now face the stark reality that I will never, ever be a Cirque du Soleil-style aerialist.

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My coworker Kimberly and I went on a fitness adventure by trying out Aerial Yoga at Spark Yoga in Arlington.

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As you can see, aerial yoga is yoga that utilizes aerial silks in all of the moves. The description on the website reads:

Ready to fly? Decompress your spine and your mind by practicing yoga from a hammock suspended above the ground. Classes may include inversions, upper body exercises, and adventurous tricks using aerial hammocks.

Now, I’m no yoga pro, but I’ve been to enough classes and done enough at-home DVDs to know my way around a sun salutation or two, and my understanding was that this “beginner’s” level aerial yoga class would actually make things a little easier because the silk helps to support your weight and whatnot.

Plus, hello! It just looked fun!

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Weeeeell, as it turns out, my assumptions were both true and not true. But mostly not true. Sure, certain stretches were made simpler (and deeper!) by utilizing the silk. It was cool to do things like put your foot into the fabric while sitting on the ground (so it was kind of like up in a sling) and stretch, or putting the silk under your arms and falling leaning forward into a cobra pose. Plus, doing child’s pose while sitting in the “bucket” felt pretty fab.

But all the other stuff we were expected to do? Nottttt so much. As it turns out, putting a strip of fabric underneath your pelvic bone and downward-dogging on top of it actually kind of hurts. Not to mention the part where the instructor told us to then lift our legs off of the ground, so ALL OF OUR BODY WEIGHT was being balanced on our pelvic bone. And since I obviously have quite a bit of weight on me still, I couldn’t really do that (it REALLY hurt!), so then I started feeling pretty bad about myself when I saw all the other girls in the class suspended over the ground with ease.

I think the biggest problem with the class as a whole was that the instructor is so advanced in her aerial abilities (she was — is? — a professional aerialist and pole dancer) that I don’t think she considered giving out any modification suggestions. I mean, even when I did CrossFit and P90X and all that ridiculousness, there were always modifications for folks who weren’t as strong or as fit, and I didn’t get any of that at aerial yoga. And, hey, maybe it’s just that there aren’t really modifications possible with aerial yoga, but if that’s the case they should probably advertise that the class is for those who are already a little more advanced in yoga to begin with, right? I mean, throughout a large percentage of the class, I just kind of sat/dangled there not really knowing what to do (and feeling worse and worse about myself) while all the other girls got their Cirque du Soleil on. Womp womp.

Thankfully, the last 10 minutes of the class were somewhat redeeming. You end with savasana, but you do it inside the silk, so it’s basically like lying in a hammock/being wrapped up in a little cocoon. The instructor comes by and swings you gently back and forth, and you get to just lay there. Unfortunately, while I think the goal of savasana is to clear your mind and get into a good mental space, all I could do was fixate on how crappily I performed throughout the entire class. It was still nice and comfy though.

Anyway, as you can tell, aerial yoga really didn’t end up being for me, but I think a seasoned yogi or just folks who are lighter and more flexible might have a more enjoyable experience. And I guess for now, I’ll just stick to regular on-the-mat yoga whenever I need a fix. Blessedly, while I was whining to Kimberly after the class, she reassured me that she faced a lot of similar problems, so it does help to know that I wasn’t alone in my misery, haha.

Have you ever tried aerial yoga?

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