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SeatDreamzzz: Review & Why It's Essential For Travel

Monday, January 15, 2018

Product: SeatDreamzzz
About: The world's most-versatile sleeping mask: Comfort in bed + prevents the classic head-bob many of us are familiar with while traveling.

Travel has become such a big part of my life.  Whether it's for fun or for business, I feel like I am always on the go (in January alone I have four roundtrip flights!).  People don't know this, but one of my favorite flights to take when going east is the red eye flight. I love that I don't "waste" any time since the flight is overnight (when you would be sleeping anyway), and essentially get an additional day at my destination without having to pay for a hotel room!  What I don't love about the red eye is that I don't always get the best sleep.  So when SeatDreamzzz asked me to review their product, I was stoked to try it on my upcoming red eye flight to Orlando!  To be honest, I'm pretty good at sleeping on planes, but I do get interrupted by the occasional head bob by trying to sleep vertically.  Enter SeatDreamzzz.

At first glance, I love the sleek carrying case it comes with.  It's lightweight but also feels like quality (so it can last throughout many trips!), and SeatDreamzzz says that it's waterproof (haven't gotten to test this part out yet).  There's are pockets inside the case for anything else you'd bring on a carry on like headphones, keys, or a contact lens case.  As you can see above, there's a loop attached, so it can easily go on to any backpack or whatever you use as a carry on.  And it is so much lighter than a neck pillow that never seems to be very comfortable anyway (I always end up not even using mine, even when I bring it!).

By tweaking the already known eye mask (to block light) and extending the straps (SeatDreamzzz calls this "airline straps"), SeatDreamzzz is able to attach to to the back of your headrest.  Their awesome GIF example shows it best:

Attaching the airline strap was super simple:

Final Thoughts:
I was able to easily sleep on my flight from Los Angeles to Orlando without any head bobbing! However, I did have to adjust it a few times to my liking.  I think the secret is to keep it a slightly loose so it doesn't feel so constricting.  Another concern I had initially was my lashes (lol).  My normal sleep mask keeps a little space in your eye area, so I was a little concerned about my false eyelashes would get messed up while using the sleep mask, but my lashes ended up being just fine.  I'd also like to see a longer strap option, as some airlines don't have the headrest this product is designed for.  Overall, I love how sleek and compact it is and how it solves the dreaded head bob issue on long haul flights.

Best of all? You can detach the airline strap and use it as a regular eye mask when you get to your final destination!

To learn more about SeatDreamzzz visit their Kickstarter page here. You can score your own SeatDreamzzz mask for as little as $30 and be a part of bringing this brilliant idea to life!

This post is sponsored by my friends at SeatDreamzzz. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recovery: How To Do It & Why It's Important!

Friday, January 12, 2018

When running and working out became such big passions in my life, I used to throw together an impossible schedule of 3 classes a day + a run for up to 7 days a week. I was so overly ambitious in getting workouts in, that I often found myself injured. Smarter and wiser now, I have learned the importance of recovery. And how vital it is to know that recovery is a part of training too! It’s a hard lesson to learn (especially for runners), but once you can perfect the art of recovery, your runs become stronger and faster and you learn to workout more efficiently.

Here are some of my tips for recovery:

1. Stay hydrated - Water is so essential in training. I hydrate throughout my workouts, and make sure that I get even more water or electrolyte water within 10-15 minutes of completing my workout.

2. Stretch - Stretch immediately after your workout (while your body is still warm). Pro tip: set a timer for 10- 15 minutes to ensure you get quality stretching after each workout (just a couple of minutes is never enough!) 

3. Invest in a foam roller - Foam rolling has real science behind it. It’s a form of self-massage, that gets rid of adhesions in your muscles and connective tissue. It also helps increase blood flow to that area, in turn, speeding up your recovery time. Pro tip: set a timer for 10- 15 minutes for this one too! 

4. Take an ice bath after long runs or go to cryo - This one should be done after stretching. Ice baths/cryotherapy help reduce swelling while flushing lactic acid out of your body. I choose to go to cryotherapy since I can’t stand being in an ice bath, lol.

5. Invest in a good muscle and joint supplement - Whole body recovery starts from the inside out. Do your research and invest in a joint supplement with proven results. I use Forever Move™ from Forever Living. Forever Move™ is an all-natural food-sourced ingredient taken from eggs, delivers chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, glycosaminoglycans and key proteins like collagen (yasss!!). I take two capsules a day while I am stretching and foam rolling (after a workout). I notice that when I take it my bones aren’t making that clicking sound they make with movement, my recovery time is faster and I’m more flexible. Best of all Forever Move™ has an insanely concentrated form of curcumin from turmeric which is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

6. Eat a balanced meal - Another big one. You don’t have to quit the occasional pizza slice, but make sure your daily meals consist of lots of fruits and veggies!

7. Sleep well - Did you know that athletes sleep 8-10 hours a day? Your body needs sleep to rest and regenerate, so hit that snooze button every so often!

Implementing these seven recovery methods has dramatically changed the way that I workout. My body can handle more reps, longer runs, and overall just performs better. Best of all, I have been injury free for quite a few years now. What are some methods of recovery that you use?

This post is sponsored by my friends at Forever Living. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

How to Unleash Your Awesome During Recovery

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

As you know, I just ran New York Marathon.  Anyone who is a marathon runner knows that  sometimes the hardest thing is to sit back and let your body go through the recovery process, when all you want to go is get back out there! I wanted to share a few words of advice on how to unleash your awesome, especially during recovery. 

1. Literally wear your medal everywhere after the race. 
Admittedly, this was a practice I always thought was a bit weird. But now that I have completed 5 marathons (and 5 marathons wiser now, haha), it’s a great way to celebrate your race!  It doesn’t matter if you PR’ed or just barely crossed the finish line.  At the end of the day you just completed something only 1% of the population challenges themselves to.  And you are a rockstar!!

2. Go to yoga.
As a runner, I used to scoff at yoga.  But here’s the truth: yoga strengthens your glutes, hamstrings, core, the list can go on and on.  It also helps improve your balance.  All things that are amazing for runners.  Added bonus?  It helps you stay injury free.  In fact, since incorporating yoga in my life, I have been injury free!

3. Increase your protein intake.
This was something I always neglected doing.  But, no joke, my recovery always is so much faster when my protein intake is high.  Find easy ways to up it.  When I was in New York, I let myself go to my favorite steakhouse guilt-free!  And when I was traveling back to Los Angeles, I reached for Core Power, since one bottle contains 26g High Quality Complete Protein. Strawberry banana is my current fav, tastes amazing, and doesn’t have any artificial flavors or sweeteners! Core Power is designed as a post workout recovery beverage and provides high-quality complete protein to people at all levels of physical ability and activity. So no matter what level of workouts you might do, it really is great for anyone and I encourage you to try it too!

4. Get a massage.
Best way to celebrate how awesome you are?  Get a massage (maybe not directly after a race, haha but a few days after, for sure)!  Give yourself much needed R&R, because you deserve it.

5. Reflect.
Think about what worked during this race and learn from it.  Most of all, no matter what time you clocked, remember how amazing you are to even challenge yourself to something this big.  At the end of the day, no one can take away that feeling you get when you cross the finish line. :)

This post is sponsored by my friends at fairlife, LLC. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Post-Run Nutrition Tips

Monday, October 16, 2017

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I've been training for New York Marathon (ahhh officially less than 1 month away now!).  Anyone who has trained for a marathon knows that marathons can be super destructive to your body.  As runners we know we should stretch and maybe even foam roll, but I realized the one thing we really neglect (yes, even more than stretching) is what we are putting into our bodies.  Here are some of the ways I try to stay injury free while training for a marathon.

1. Hydration
Hydration is so important when training for a marathon.  There is nothing that makes me sweat more than running (not BBG, not Flywheel, literally nothing).  So it's super important to hydrate before, during, and after your runs.  When you don't have enough water to fill the muscle cells, you're at risk of losing more them.  Research studies have shown that when cells lose water, and thus volume, protein production can slow down and protein breakdown can speed up. Yikes.

Since water can sometimes be boring, I try to have contests with my co-workers.  We tally up our glasses of water per day to help keep each other motivated.

2. Protein
It kills me when runners focus so much on carbs!  Here's the truth: WE NEED PROTEIN AND CARBS.  Being a marathon runner (or marathon runner in training!) means that you are endurance athlete, which means you will need more protein than an average person.  Protein will help rebuild your muscles, improve recovery time, and actually makes me feel like soreness is bearable! Aim to intake of at least 0.55-0.77 grams/lb. (aim for the upper end of the spectrum during times of heavy training and racing).  This means if you're 135 pounds like me you should be taking in 74-104 grams of protein a day.

Lately I've been drinking Core Power since they provide high-quality complete protein.  I tend to reach for Core Power Elite which contains 42g of protein, especially when my training schedule is heavy.  Core Power is made from fairlife ultra-filtered milk and all of the protein found in Core Power comes from the milk itself.  

Whatever protein you decide to choose, look for brands that are tested to be pure like Core Power, so you know what you are putting into you hardworking, marathoner body!

(Ok, but seriously, this one tastes like vanilla ice cream!)

3. Do NOT Eat Whatever You Want
When I first started running I would "treat myself" with mimosas, or pounds of greasy processed foods.  But high-quality foods are so important when training for a marathon.  Be aware of what is in the foods you are eating, and give your body what it needs.  Rewarding yourself now and then is great, but after every long run or race can be damaging to your recovery and progress.

4. Timing
Make sure you are hydrating within 10 mins of your run, and consuming protein + carbs within 30 mins of you run.  While you are running your body breaks down muscle fibers and creates tiny tears in your muscles (this is where soreness comes from!), not giving your body the nutrition it needs can impede rebuilding and repair, often times resulting in injury.

5. Have Fun
Above all, have fun!  Remember why you started this journey in the first place.

This post was sponsored by my friends at fairlife, LLC. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

How to Maintain a Fit and Healthy Lifestyle While on Vacation

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I travel a lot.  Whether it's for my 9-5, a race, or just to explore... I travel for over 40% of the year.  One of the things that I have struggled with the most is maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle while on vacation.  Here are some of the things I have implemented to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle while on vacation:

1. I schedule my workouts.
I make a point to schedule my workouts and work my out of town schedule around the workouts.  This can be something as easy as a 30 minute plyometric workout in my hotel room, exploring the city by foot with a run, or booking an expensive cycling class that I wouldn't miss just because it cost me so much. Either way, penciling in ahead of time ensures you've made time for it.

2. I make "working out" a group activity.
What better way to explore a new city than by foot? Scheduling time to do a walk or hike with the group I'm with guarantees getting steps in and heart rates up! Bonus?  The group helps keep me accountable.

3. I up my protein intake.
It's so easy to overeat on vacation.  I find that upping my protein intake keeps me injury free (since the stuff you eat on vacation doesn't always have a ton of protein), makes me fuller longer, and powers me for my workouts and long hours exploring a new city!

My favorite protein shake right now is Core Power.  When I'm at home, I always drink it as a post recovery beverage.  And when I'm on vacation I drink it to make sure I'm getting enough protein in.  One bottle of Core Power contains 26g of high quality complete protein.

Even better?  Core Power is made from 100% fairlife ultra-filtered milk and all of the protein found in Core Power comes from the milk itself.  And there isn't a chalky taste since there are no protein powders added in Core Power.

I can always find it no matter what state I am in the U.S.!  So I know even when I'm not home in Los Angeles, I can have the comforts of a protein shake I already know and love.

4. I tell everyone on social media I'm going to workout.
Best way to stay accountable?  I brag to all of my friends that I'm working out on social media.  Haha, this is always my last resort!  It may seem like a bit much but sometimes I have to be that person to make sure I get my workout in.  And to be honest, I've noticed that the more I post about my upcoming workouts on social, the more likely I am to stick to my plan.

How do you stay fit and healthy while on vacation?

This post was sponsored by my friends at fairlife, LLC, as always all opinions expressed are my own.

BBQ Grilled Sweet Potato and Veggie Kabobs

Monday, September 18, 2017

When Adam said he invited all of my runner friends to a birthday BBQ on the beach, I knew we had to have some healthier options. Since we already planned for chicken sausage hot dogs and burgers, I thought that adding veggie skewers to the mix would be perfect!  Plus adding anything to a stick makes them super fun, easy to eat on the beach, and easier to manage on the grill!  Needless to say, they were a hit, even with my friend who hates veggies had a skewer, lol.  Here's what you'll need:

Sweet potatoes
Red Onion
Bell peppers (the more color options the better!)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt (we used pink himalayan salt, but any salt will do!)
Freshly ground black pepper
Smoked paprika
Garlic powder

Clean the sweet potatoes and pierce with a fork a few times. Microwave until just knife-tender. (Try not to make them too soft or they’ll fall apart.) Set aside and let cool while you chop the other veggies. Chop remaining vegetables into bite-size cubes. Thread sweet potatoes and vegetables onto skewers. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. In a small bowl, combine a spoonful each of smoked paprika, garlic powder, and oregano. Sprinkle over each side of the skewers. Add to your grill until the vegetables are tender and slightly charred.

I ordered everything from Milk & Eggs for less than $15, which served about 2-3 kabobs for 15 people.  Use code MELLIECAY to get $15 off of your order of $35 or more!
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Havasupai: How to Get a Permit, What to Pack, Helicopter, and Recap!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Havasupai was amazing.  It looked exactly like the photos and more.  We went the last weekend of August, which is still considered monsoon season and we were really worried that the water wouldn't be turquoise blue (when it rains the water turns brown).  But they were! And so worth the 10 mile hike.  Even better?  We found out that permits are limited to 150 people during monsoon season (450 non-monsoon season).  So the falls area felt wide open and campgrounds were not crowded at all.  And though the weather is hot, it was perfect for dipping in the turquoise waters all day.  Here's how we planned our trip from A to Z:

Getting Permits
There is no day hiking allowed to go to Havasupai so you must reserve permits.  We were asked 4 times along our hike about our permit, so I don't recommend that you hike this without one.  Permits open for the year on February 1st.  We started calling the moment the office opened, but couldn't get through. And then we later found out that there was a website we could reserve one through.

Here is the website we used: https://www.sunrisereservations.com/campground/Supai+Campground (yes, it is legit)

Expect to be charged:
Entrance Fee: $50.00 
Camping Fee Per Night: $25.00 
Environment Fee: $10.00 
Tax: 10%

We paid about $122/person for two nights at the campground with taxes.

What I Packed for 3 days, 2 nights
Clothing - keep in mind that we went during the summer
1 bathing suit
2 shorts
2 tank tops
2 sports bras
3 underwear
1 long sleeve (didn't end up needing this)
1 hat
3 socks
1 flip flops
1 hiking shoes
1 water shoes
My clothes may seem minimal, but I actually ended up with some unused clothing.  I packed only what I needed for 2 nights/3 days.  Keep in mind that you are carrying everything on your back for 10 miles, and weight adds up quickly!  I recommend keeping a clean set in the car to change into once you get to trailhead.

Backpacking Gear
Backpack - I have this 40L Osprey Backpack, which was more than enough for 2 nights
Hiking poles
Backpacking tent - We bought a cheap one from Amazon then waterproofed it ourselves with silicon water guard
Sheet - Instead of a sleeping bag because it was hot, and a sheet is lighter in weight, Adam and I shared one
Camping pillow
Sleeping pad
Collapsible cup - We have this one from Walmart, it's only $1.50
Water bladder
Extra water bottle 
Water filter - This came in handy during our hikes when we ran out of water
Bug repellant - There were a LOT of bugs
Baby wipes - Your only form of shower

Coffee - We used Via from Starbucks
Nuun (electrolyte tablets)
Bars - For your hike or breakfast
Meals Ready-To-Eat (MREs) - We didn't want to think about preparing food and what we needed to bring so this worked out really well for us.  Also the locals have a food stand close to the campgrounds, but they literally open and close whenever they want, so I wouldn't count on them for your meals.  For us, Friday they weren't open at all, and Saturday they opened at 2:30pm and closed at 6:30pm.

We brought all of these items, but they are, of course, optional.
-Cash - The food places only mostly take cash, or have minimum charges of $20!  Plus, you'll need this if you don't want to pay extra for the helicopter.

Getting There
We had a group of 11, so we all got to the trailhead in our own way.  The car I was in left Los Angeles at around 12pm and got to Seligman at 7pm. We stayed at Grand Canyon Caverns Inn, which isn't the best hotel in the world, but it is only a 1 hour drive from trailhead.  We ate at a very mediocre restaurant (I recommend eating at Kingsman or Peach Springs before getting there) in Seligman, and slept early to prep for our hike.

The Hike
We all met at trailhead at 6am, and started our hike at around 6:45am after prepping our backpacks with water, using the bathroom, pictures, etc.

The trailhead begins with 1 mile of switchbacks, where you will descend 2000 feet into the canyon.  The rest of the trail is relatively flat.  Start as early as you can!  The earlier you start the less sun you will have along your hike.  We were lucky to not have any sun for the first 7 miles.  On the trail, you'll see that the trail will sometimes split.  All trails meet to the same place, eventually. So don't worry about going the wrong way.

The hike, itself, is incredibly beautiful.  It was hard to not stop for photos along the way.  We stopped about 7 miles in, when we got to the Sinyella Store.

Most of us got a burrito and an ice cold Gatorade, which felt like heaven after 7 miles in the heat!  The woman making food, literally told half of our group she had no more food, so half of our group had to go about 1 mile further to the village for food (this is what I mean when I say, don't depend on the locals for food!).

After we left Sinyella, we hiked a little less than a mile to meet the rest of the group at the village.  Once you get to the village you will get your wristbands and permit for the weekend. Your entire group must be present at this time, so that everyone can get their wristbands.

After that it's 2 miles to get to Havsupai Falls and the campgrounds. The route to this trail is clearly labeled with signs.  These 2 miles were brutal for us since it was mostly uncovered (we were in the scorching Arizona sun) and the trail was mostly beach-like sand. But the light at the end of that trail is so worth it:

From the campground, Mooney Falls is about another 1 mile and crazy ladder away, and Beaver Falls is 4 miles further (8 round trip).  

We also hiked to Hidden Falls, which is a less known route, and felt like we had the place all to ourselves (because we did, haha).

The campsite has a natural spring running/faucet.  We drank water from here without filtering it.  I don't think that everyone needs to bring a filter for your stay, but I do recommend someone in the group has at least one to take on longer hikes in case you run out of water.

Squirrels and Spiders
Be careful of squirrels getting into your food-- they are savage!  The canisters provided smelled so bad, so we hid ours in our backpacks inside our tents, and that seemed to work out fine for all 11 of us. Also, make sure you zip your tents tight, because there are seriously bugs and spiders everywhere during this time of year.

Mae woke up to this!

We decided, as a group, to take the helicopter back to the trailhead.  We left the campsite at around 6:30am, and got to the village (where the helicopter leaves from) at 7:15am.  We were one of the last groups to sign in, and the helicopter is first come, first serve.  Our entire group ended up getting on the helicopter by 3pm, and we got to trailhead at about 3:30pm.  Though we waited a long time, there is a restaurant, convenience store, and WiFi at the village.  Note:  the helicopter is by weight, so your group will likely be split up.  Also, your backpack doesn't always end up coming with you on the helicopter.  We ended up waiting an extra 15 mins for our backpacks to come in.  You get a completely different perspective getting back to trailhead via helicopter and pretty epic views of the canyon.  I definitely recommend taking the helicopter one way, just for the experience (it's better for you to take it back, since the hike is all uphill going back to trailhead).  The helicopter costs $85 cash or $95 credit card.

I'm happy to answer any other questions, just comment below!


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