Beauty Pageant for Gym Rats

Since as long as I can remember I have loved working out. I starting running around my neighborhood and I had a gym membership as soon as I had my driver’s license. For me, exercise gets my day going and I don’t feel complete on the days I don’t get a workout in, whether it be the gym or a hike. I have been a self proclaimed gym rat for all of my teenage and adult life.

I used to admire these girls in magazines who did fitness competitions and said one day I will do one. 10 years ago I had been working out at Gold’s Gym in New Haven (which is now Powerhouse); and it was a Mecca of competitors and people with great physiques. Time flies because I feel like it was yesterday…but I was in college and at that time I had starting commuting to school, which made it easy for me to meal prep, so I was eventually talked into going for it. I signed up for my first competition, which was the day after my 21st birthday 🎂.

Food is my passion…coming from someone who would eat icecream daily, 10 pieces of pizza or house a box of cinnamon buns, dieting wasn’t easy. I was not and still am not great at sticking to a food plan. There were days I would give in and eat the chocolate; then there were days I would eat the whole bag. I was consistent in my workouts and saw changes in my body easily. When competition time came around, I stepped on that stage bronzed, oiled and… in clear platform “stripper” heels. (Luckily I managed not to fall and looked like I actually knew what I was doing). I walked away with two trophies that evening. 1st place short class and 1st overall. #winning

It was exhilarating and you feel like your on top of the world when you are up there, all the hard work that was put into getting there finally paid off. It takes a lot of discipline and confidence to get yourself up in front of an audience full of people to be judged and criticized by a panel of judges, whether you win or lose.

I continued to do more competitions from 2009-2011, and each time I felt I looked better and better. It is hard to see how shredded I was at one point and then look in the mirror and think how did I end up where I am right now?

I don’t see myself ever doing it again, but I am able to take away a lot of teaching moments from these experiences.

  1. You can do anything when you set your mind to it. Set goals, stay silent, and crush them. If there’s something you want to achieve , go out and do it, the body is capable of handling a lot, as long as you stay mentally strong and motivated, you will be able to do what you set forth to do.
  2. There is no such thing as perfection. Perfection is madness. You will never be perfect, seek to be the best version of yourself.
  3. Do what makes you happy. Some people may not like what you do or why you do it but who cares, do it for you.
  4. Life is short. Go for it. If entering a fitness competition is what you want to do, do it. If you want to travel, book a flight. If you want a different career, apply yourself. You are the only thing stopping yourself.

For me, I just want to enjoy life now. I still workout or go for a hike 5-6x a week, enjoy a cocktail whenever I please, and eat whatever I please; some days that means eating clean, other days it means tacos, pizza, or icecream. I know that I have the determination and discipline to do it again, but for now I am happy just knowing that I did it.

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Park Du Mont Royal 👑

•July 7, 2017•

I literally wrote this almost a year ago and had it saved in drafts….

So of course we had to find great hiking spots while we were here and in my research prior to coming I read about Mount Royal “The Jewel of Montreal’s city parks.” This mountain is the highest spot in the city that lies in the midst of Montreal. Our directions were just follow any of the hills from downtown and once you’re up the hills you’ll find the trails. We made it up the hills and mistakenly thought that was too easy that entrance looks like the entrance to something else and walked right on by it….but eventually we found it.The trail was part dirt, part paved, and part staircase built up the mountain. (I felt like I was on the stairmaster). This was definitely a workout! But it didn’t take very long! Once we reached the top the view of the horizon was amazing. I love being on higher elevations where I can see what’s down below. We had the Montreal skyline to view, water, and the Olympic Stadium. “Urban Views”From the overlook you could walk around and there was a piano player playing music and food trucks. Also, areas to picnic and other trails to walk on. Family hike selfies. “Groupies”. We read there was a cross and could see the top of it….eventually we made it to that too. …and one last awkward inside the cross selfie made for a fun day!

🙂

201 Dresses 👗

I love shopping, and I love dresses. After months of “pinning” fabulous dresses on Pinterest to my “wedding dress board” and tagging my gals in countless images of wedding gowns on Instagram, I was finally ready to go try some on. Let me start by saying that wedding dress shopping is physically and mentally draining. The gowns aren’t all easy to get in and out of, they are usually huge sizes which means extra fabric to trip over when getting into, and you have women you don’t know in your personal space pinning you tight. I found a lot of gowns I liked and some I didn’t. I learned that shopping is tiring, but it’s important to think to yourself “how do I want to look on my wedding day!

That being said, wedding dress shopping is also fun! I got to be a princess, I got to be sexy, I got to be glamorous…so many options!

“Say yes to the dress!” And other television shows give you a false sense of reality. They show a bride 👰🏼 try on 3 dresses and boom! “I found the gown”. There’s tears, and jumping for joy, and an entire crew crying with you. In actuality, I didn’t cry, and I didn’t jump for joy when I found the gown. (Bottles we’re poppin’ though). For the brides who find their gowns on their first trip, that is f a n t a s t i c. Me on the other hand: 200+ wedding dresses tried on, 19 different bridal appointments, and over 500 iPhone photos later, I was beginning to think what I was looking for didn’t exist for me. My family and friends who drove around with me all over the state to try on dresses were angels sent from heaven dealing with my indecisiveness, still coming along and smiling with me. We came across some of the sweetest most helpful bridal consultants, and some rude ones too who wouldn’t let us take pictures of the dresses, browse through the racks ourselves, or try on more than a select few. (This was frustrating). I laugh thinking about this one lady who said “I know exactly what you want!”…and reappeared in the room with exactly what I DIDN’T want. I was also told what I was looking for was “Too Couture”. How is that possible? I was very open to trying on other styles, I just wasn’t settling. I tried on long-sleeves, strapless, thin strap, thick strap, high neck, no neck, low back, long train, short train, ivory, white, nude, blush, sequins, beaded, princess, ballgown, trumpet, mermaid, fit and flare, a-line, bohemian, glamorous, lace, satin, tulle, simple, extravagant…you name it. I was willing to give anything a shot because they say “most brides go in thinking one thing and leave with something completely different”.Every place I went had a dress I could’ve worn for my wedding if I had to pick one out. Just because it looked good doesn’t mean it was “the one”. I had called up some bridal salons in New York City because I saw they carried some of the designers and gowns I had liked, pinned, and tagged my friends in. I didn’t want to spend the price of a new vehicle on a dress, but I had in my back pocket that they were there for me to go try on if it came down to it. As luck would have it, I found a designer with a similar style to these other ones I had liked, and saw that this designer was carried in a salon in CT. I called up and they had a dress in the salon that I was interested in trying on. I took lunch and drove down there by myself. With a glass of champagne in my hand I tried it on and I knew my search was over. They say a lot of brides don’t end up with exactly what they had envisioned from the get-go; but I did and it was worth the wait. 🥂

Circle B Bar Reserve

Last week we went to Lakeland, Florida through Easter weekend and I am so excited about the awesome place we found to go hiking.  Whenever I travel somewhere new, I like to Google and then further search Instagram hashtags to find fun, unique places to see.  When I found Circle B, all the photos I came across were so beautiful–images of sunsets and sunrises, gorgeous Spanish moss hanging from the trees, a variety of wildlife such as birds, snakes, turtles, fish and even alligators!!!!  I thought “oh, it would be nice to spot an alligator”. 


So I dragged my Fiancé, Brian, down there. It was about 40 minutes until sunset so we started a quick walk down the alligator alley trail.  I was actually surprised that as soon as we turned the corner toward that trail we spotted a large alligator just hanging out in the swamp.  We walked a little further, got to see the sunset over the swamp and lake behind it, then we ran back to our car because it was now dark.


We were so excited that we found an alligator and wanted to go back the next day (Easter), so we went and did 2 different loops around a pond and a lake which was about 5.25 miles.  Not only did we get our exercise in, but we literally saw soooo many alligators, different sizes, different colors, hiding in different places, bathing in the sun, and some swimming in the water.  It was crazy to me that we were able to just go there and be so close to them.  They had signs that read “Alligators have the right of way”.  Luckily, none were trying to cross the paths we were on, they were happy in their swamp. 


I love being able to go to new places that are so different than the places I am able to go to on a daily basis, the different plants and trees and pretty to look at, and I am able to enjoy that while also getting exercise in on the road.

I highly recommend checking this place out if you’re ever in that area!! It’s completely worth it!!!:-) 

Our Death-Defying Proposal

I met Brian at my first job out of college at Executive Jeep Nissan. He was a car salesman and I was a car saleslady in training. We had an instant connection and he “sold” me in June of 2012 from the first time we talked. We had a lot of things in common–we both shared a love for exercise, fitness, and hiking. It was easy being around him because we were able to talk about the most random things–tattoos, the gym, and parties (Oh, so romantic, I know). We started hanging out and going to the gym together after work. He took me hiking for our first date and it became “our thing.” We both developed a love for finding new places to go hiking around the Northeast. It was all about seeing unique and beautiful places, together.

November 6, 2016 started out like any other Sunday off from work. The fall foliage was at its peak and we planned to go for a hike in a new location. Because my sister, Olivia, shares the same love for the fall season, she and her boyfriend joined us on our hike. Our destination was an hour away at Breakneck Ridge on the Hudson River in Cold Spring, New York. It was the perfect place to take in the foliage. There was plenty of sunshine and red and orange leaves all around. 


We arrived along the Hudson River and the mountain around 10:00am. Unsure of which path to take, we found a little booth set up with guides and a park map alongside the trails to the top. We chose a trail and began the climb! The incline to the top was steady and full of rock ledges. None of us were prepared for a rock climbing adventure, and we were definitely a little unsure of our ascent. I had read about this hike on reviews and people said it was a 10-minute rock scramble–I guess I didn’t realize what that meant. Our rock scramble took more than 10 minutes and we were separated in the process. The leaves were making things slippery and I was anxious because the rock climbing never seemed to end. I kept on putting one foot in front of the other without ever looking behind me. I ended up on a ledge with a flag and an overlook of the Hudson. When I turned around to share in the beautiful view, I realized I had flown up the mountain and left the others behind. I figured they’d catch up soon so I set my backpack down, got out my GoPro for some panos, and took in the scenery. My crew never caught up with me and I started to freak out, thinking that they might be lost or hurt. I was afraid to call them and scare them in case they were gripping for their lives on a rock. Little did I know–they were thinking the same thing about me–and I finally got a call from Olivia wondering where I was. 

Somehow they totally missed the ledge with the flag and took a different trail up to the next overlook. I was completely by myself, and had to make my way up a few hundred feet on my own. To say the least, I was totally frightened and didn’t think I would make it on my own. In a sheer panic, I made it to them, and burst into tears (meanwhile, I had no idea what was in store for me).  

After I caught my breath and wiped my tears, I finally stood up and realized the view was amazing. It was almost two hours into our hike and we decided it was the perfect spot to stop, rest, and take photos. Brian insisted on taking a picture right away, so Brian and I began posing for pictures. All of a sudden he dropped to one knee and I couldn’t believe what was happening. I was in complete shock, especially after freaking out over the climb to the top! I was filled with happiness and couldn’t stop smiling as he opened the box and asked me to spend the rest of our lives together. I said yes and took the dazzling, bright, cushion-cut diamond out, and put it on my finger. The entire time, Olivia and her boyfriend had it on film and captured the moment. Brian had asked the surrounding hikers to clear the ledge so we would have a picture-perfect moment, and we surely did. Olivia took out two glasses and a bottle of champagne and Brian and I popped it to celebrate. 

The entire hike down, I couldn’t believe Brian had hiked up the mountain with that ring in his pocket!!! I kept thinking, ‘Imagine if he fell,’ ‘What if it fell out?!?!’ I also couldn’t believe Olivia hiked with a bottle of champagne and glasses in her bag! It was just perfect and turned out to be the best hike of my life. Brian could not have planned a better proposal with a more picturesque backdrop for that moment that we will cherish forever.  

Halloween

Happy Halloween!! I haven’t posted in months, but I Love Halloween and I wanted to share some of this years costumes. I like to be creative and make them myself.  But first, my first Halloween ever only 2 weeks old.:-)

This year I went as Barbie on Friday. I always want to be Barbie on Halloween, I just haven’t done it and his year I was like why not?? I’m blonde right now, might as well!!

Some hot pink accessories and boom! Barbie is complete.  

I was Beyond excited over my couple’s costume with Brian, I made us into zombie bride and groom…the costumes came out sooooo good I wish I had somewhere else to go with it! (Maybe next year again!). Making the costume was so fun!  I got Brian a white dress shirt and then I got to play with paint.  I felt like a kid again painting my hands red and then running them down the white shirt to create blood stains.  I also used a little bit of black and brown to make it look a little dirty.  I got the scissors out, created some tears and rips and went to town!😀😄.

I also made that veil and bouquet of flowers above.  I was obssessed with how our makeup came out, I made us look dead and popped in some scary ass contacts from spookyeyes online.  I had red hairspray I made us wild and tattooed and painted some blood on us.

I loved this vintage wedding dress, and I wrapped some “mummy” gauze around us too.

By the end of the night I had one contact…which was creepy and worked.(and my favorite snapchat filters).

For work I popped on red horns, a devil stick some cute bats on my face and voila! I am a devil.

Why will you never see Satan in an Armani suit??….Because the devil wears Prada!

We Picked Anthony’s Nose

•Pun intended•

Brian taking in the view


I’ve been dying to go to Bear Mountain State Park and was glad to finally have a perfect Sunday (minus the 90+ degree temps) to go hiking up the mountain. We parked in a small lot along the bend or the road and started our hike along the Camp Smith Trail. (Named because the National Guard uses the other side of the trail for training exercises. 

trail sign

Camp Smith Trail

start of the hike


Although the terrain was pretty steep and there were a lot of cliffs and overlooks, I would say that the hike was pretty steady most of the way up.  We worked up a good sweat and got a great workout in.  I think the heat helped.  The first overlook you get to see the bridge but it’s a further view. 

first overlook

We continued up the mountain, and when we reached Anthony’s Nose the views were incredible!!  And I couldn’t believe all the people up there….people eating lunch, seemed like a summer camp was on top of the mountain LOL! If you’re looking for privacy you’re not going to find it, but you are going to get to see mountains and rolling hills for miles. It was gorgeous.

Bear Mountain Bridge

look at that view!!

side view of bear mountain view

view from under the bear mountain bridge


We were glad we picked Anthony’s Nose;)

…then we topped off the evening with a lovely lobster dinner!

lovely lobster

Throwback to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 

 When we travel we like to find experiences and cool places that we don’t get to see everyday.  On my bucket list for our Punta Cana trip last August I wanted to see a cave, see a beautiful waterfall, visit a few islands, and then take it day by day with other activities.  We took the boogie ride to Playa Macao and saw how they make coffee, and stopped by the “Caiva Taina” (below) (cave).

boogie ride

cave in the dominican

samana, DR

bacardi beach

beautiful

our private cabana at Chic Punta Cana

saona island

I shared a picture of Cascada Limon in Samana, DR today and it made me want to share some more.  Saona island was beautiful but all the tourists take away from its beauty…not that I wasn’t a tourist but when you envision a private island you don’t envision hundreds of other people on the island.  On the other hand, when we went to Cayo Laventado in Samana, the island they call Bacardi beach because a Bacardi commercial was filmed there, it was more remote and private. It’s harder and further to get to so less touristy.  We took a small plane over the mountains. See below.

Then a ride through the mountains, a hike through a rainforest and a horseback ride, then a boat ride to the island.  Needless to say, you get what you pay for:-) pay more to be taken to more remote places, it makes for an enjoyable experience.  I love being able to #travel and see the world. #wanderlust #takemeback

Vineyard hoppin’


Today turned out to be a beautiful day🌤🍇🍷  we planned to go to Gouveia Vineyard in town rain or shine, but when it started downpouring as we were walking out the door we figured we would be stuck inside.  We love it here because the scenery is beautiful, the location is great, and the vibe is chill.  We had a bottle of white and rose, and some snacks while waiting for the storm to pass.


It’s always a good day when I can be outside. Not so great to have been wearing jeans sitting in the hot summer sun!!! Take a look at the view and check out this place if you’re ever in Wallingford, CT. #ctwinetrail 




#wineme #getoutside #beautifulplaces #explore #ctwinetrail 

4th of July at the Block

I’m so happy I got to spend the 4th of July on my favorite little island–Block Island.  We spent the night before in Narragansett and took the first ferry over in the morning.  The weather was perfect, plenty of sunshine and blueskies.  We always rent bikes when we go, and this time was no different…except that I decided I wanted a more rugged bike, that I could barely hop on and off of it, it had no kickstand, and my backpack was weighing down the basket into the tire (ghetto bike but still a great time).  There are so many hills that I got a great workout and worked up a sweat, enough that I went into the cold water at Ballard’s beach.  We biked the entire island and stopped at one of our favorite places–Mohegan Bluffs.  This is also a workout to get to.  I counted 140 something stairs to get down (didn’t write it down so I forgot the exact number of stairs).  The view is incredible from the top and from the bottom.

I found out about a helicopter tour “Heliblock” by searching hashtags on Instagram.  It was the 3rd day of their business venture being open so I was happy to have found it on their opening weekend.  I felt like a pilot with the headsets on and chillin in the front seat.  We got to soar with the doors off and saw the entire island from above.  Trying new things always gets me excited, especially when they turn out great.  At first i was afraid to take pictures because I didn’t want my phone to go flying out the open door and into the ocean, but I managed to get some great shots!  It’s a quick ride but he takes you up high and down closer to the ground and it’s cool to see the island from a different perspective…nothing looks so big anymore up there…you can see for miles–Long Island, Fire island, the Rhode Island coast…it was awesome.We enjoyed our expensive cocktails in a pineapple at Ballard’s(got knocked out $20 a pop), but screw it it’s the 4th why not live a little??  One of my favorite beach activities is always people watching.  So many drunk people acting like idiots.  We got our tan on and relaxed for a while.


The Spring House has great martinis and a view that looks like a scene out of the great gatsby.  I got a blueberry lemonade cocktail this time instead and took in the view before dinner and our ferry ride back.  Dinner was at the Beachhead restaurant, the food there never disappoints.  We met Captain Morgan on our way out…got a little Captain in ya?