Where Have I Been & Other Excuses

Oh hi, hello.  I’m here, really, but this time, like actually really.

My 2016 New Year’s resolution (loosely) was to write more.  And I’ve sort of been doing so, in terms of submitting more articles to health & fitness publications and starting a collection of short stories (details later, don’t hold your breath) on my own time.

That said, have you noticed the blog kind of died?  Yeah, I did.  And I am turning that around.

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First of all, I am recommitting to giving you guys topical fitness and health-focused discussion here at least once a week.  That means talking about something near and dear to my personal trainer’s (cold, black) heart that might be of interest to you all as well.

Second, and perhaps most exciting – I am bringing back Ask Amanda Wednesdays (absorbing and reviving the ever-popular Would Amanda Eat It? series as well)!  OH HELL YES, loyal readers, we will again have our open-talk venue here and on my Facebook page for you to ask me all the weird / tough / confusing health and fitness questions you’ve been pondering and want some professional advice about.

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And finally, fit people, I’ll make sure to take the time to be real with y’all as well – giving you straight talk about what’s going on with me personally, rating all the best dresses on the red carpet (looking ahead to you, MTV Music Awards), and making sure ThisFitBlonde is giving you lots and lots of reasons to keep clicking back.

Thanks for sticking with me, guys.  I promise I won’t let you down.

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Beachin’ in Boracay: A Memoir

Folks, it’s been over two months since I had one of the most epic vacays of my life – and if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you got to see up close and personal some of the absolutely incredible moments I was able to spend (along with my wonderful travel companion and fellow blogger Justin Walter from Around the World with Justin – check out his post on our trip here) in Boracay, Philippines.

Let’s be real: I think we could all use a little beachside throwback in the depth of winter.

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Our first day in paradise

Here’s the thing about Boracay – location is everything.  Like, all the things.  You need to be centrally located (Station 2 is my personal reco), and you sure as heck want to be directly on that long stretch of beautiful white beach (aptly named, White Beach).  We were lucky enough to enjoy a sponsored stay on one of the only resorts in the area that spills out directly from the lobby onto the sand – The District.

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Unedited gorgeousness that is The District

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Not even kidding that this is #nofilter on White Beach

You guys, The District is The Sh*t.  From the moment we checked in, we were greeted with the utmost in friendly service and professionalism – every staff member made sure to say hello, ask how we were doing, and make sure we we comfortable throughout our stay.  Nothing felt forced, and every interaction was pleasant and easy.

Oh, and did I mention our actual room?  Take a look around this baller suite:

The bed was so comfy it was damn near impossible to get up each day (but hey, those beach chairs don’t fill themselves) except for the siren call of the delicious (included!) breakfast.  Mangoes do not get fresher than this, my friends – and again, the service at breakfast (including the action omelette and noodle stations) was impeccable.

But let’s not get hung up on staying inside the hotel.  The amazing beach chairs were our favorite places on property, and also where we spent most of our lazy, luxurious days – drinks in hand, sunscreen on, in and out of the bath-warm water all day long.  There are kayaks, jetskis and stand-up paddleboards to rent (beach staff will arrange it for you at a very reasonable cost) – that is, again, if you can get up out of your lounger.

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In the epic words of 311, “I’ll be here awhile…ain’t goin’ nowhere…”

At some point you start to feel guilty from all the luxury, but The District has you covered on that, too – they’ve got a full service gym that is cool, clean, and wonderfully equipped – a little bit of heaven for a trainer like myself, who actually likes working out on vacay.

The daytime in Boracay can only be beat by one thing: the nightlife.  As soon as the sun starts to set (which it does, early, in the winter), the island starts to liven up.  We watched the sunset each night from our perch atop the Star Lounge restaurant, over freshly grilled seafood (or, like my friend Justin, some less ocean-y options), delicious wine and cocktails, and chilled-out music – absolute paradise.

The District is right in the middle of all the nighttime action – steps from D’Mall (tourist trap but must-see scene nonetheless), amazing clubs like our fave Epic, and all the cool local beachfront action (I bought these delicious garlic peanuts from a beach seller for about 50 cents and it was the perfect boozy snack before bed).

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I’m not drunk, you’re drunk

Our stay was only a weekend, but it will last in my memory forever – it is far too easy to fall in love with the slow-paced beach lifestyle, amazing scenery, and warm service that characterize both Boracay and The District.  We cannot wait to come back and walk into this lobby again soon…

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For more information: The District Boracay
T: (63 2) 234.9058  |  T/F: (63 2) 234.5917  |  M: (63 917) 7737572
Email address: reservations@thedistrictboracay.com

GOALvember Updates & Running Ragged

Party people, it’s still the great month of November which means that GOALvember is still very much in effect.  I am keeping my health and wellness goals strictly on point until I head back to the U.S. for the holiday season, at which point I will joyfully allow myself the American excesses of eggnog, cookies, and locally brewed craft beer.

Until then, I am plugging along on all ten (!) of my goals, though they’ve definitely morphed in form since first I wrote…

For example, running once a week in the death humidity, heat and haze of Singapore seemed like a pretty decent goal…in late September.  Fast forward to now when it’s beautiful blue skies, slightly cooler (I mean, it was only 75 at 6:20am this morning!), and oh yeah, I’m registered for a Ragnar Ultra Relay.

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What’s Ragnar Ultra, you ask?  Oh, nothing much.  Just a 200 mile (321+ kilometers for you overaseas readers) footrace for time with only 6 runners, one van, and no sleep.  And yep, believe it or not, this was MY great idea (of all things) to make the most of a trip back to the States in April.  Luckily I have the best team on Earth to train with, so even remotely I know we’ll keep each other on our game.

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Continuing my love/hate relationship with yoga, I tried two new studios this monthRealYoga at The Centrepoint (think “legit” Indian style bendy yoga with an instructor seemingly determined to tear me in half) and Wings to Wings near Chinatown, a studio I found on my newly obtained Guavapass membership (jury’s still out on the GP, by the way, since it doesn’t have an app and seems to have far fewer studio options than my beloved Passport).

Clean eating is going well also; it’s getting more habitual to grab a salad for lunch (although today I did break down and get some delicious vegetable spring rolls – still veggie servings, dammit), my new obsession with sous vide everything means I’m cooking at home pretty much every night, and those vicious Tim Tams have finally made their way OUT of my house (for good).

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Finally, in the spirit of renewal and self-betterment I even took the time to clean out my closet (a quarterly ritual for me back home; first time I’ve been able to do it here in six months of living) and put aside a dumpload of clothes for donation.

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As always, purging feels amazing – but I can’t wait to acquire some great new pieces during after-Christmas sales back in the good ol’ US of A.

Have you set monthly – or “before year end” goals for yourself?  How are you progressing toward your best self?

Weekend Roundup

Yeah yeah yeah…it’s not technically the weekend anymore.  But when your family is in town, you’ve got shows and brunches and movies to watch, and you just want to kick back for a minute…you forget to write your weekend blog.

So here’s my “make-up” links for the weekend past:

These “entertaining essentials” go far beyond your typical wine and cheese recos – and I love them all!

Sometimes you want to go shopping, but you really can’t afford to spend money.  These perfect spring items under $50 can scratch that itch.

The number one excuse I get for people not exercising is, “I don’t have time.”  Now you do.

Celebrities know about K-Mart?  There are still K-Marts in the world??!? Both of these facts absolutely shock me.

I will never forget the epic comedy stylings of fellow Chicagoan Chris Farley (RIP), and obviously neither will David Spade.

My friend’s mom’s blog doesn’t update very often.  But when it does, it’s profound.

Her style is hit or miss for me, but this fluttery romper is a huge giant hit.  I need it IN MY CLOSET!

Relatively healthy gluten-free double chocolate cookies for relatively lazy gluten-free (or nut-free, or dairy-free) people.

Nothing I love more than desert weddings, and this one is total desert-hipster bliss.

And finally – don’t forget to check out the March Monthly Link Up post from our SoCal Blogger Society.  This month’s focus is on street style – so fun!

What are you guys looking into in and around the web this week?  Check in!

SoCal Blogger Society: March Link-Up

So I really want to be a good member of the SoCal Blogger Society, and part of that is participating in the monthly link-ups they sponsor each month – each with a different focus, theme, and set of questions to answer.

This month’s head blogger is Chelsea from Strand Style Fashion, an awesome street style blog with a beachy vibe that focuses on classic style with a laid-back, California twist.

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This month’s topic – Street Style – intrigued me because when I started ThisFitBlonde, the idea was to make this a lifestyle portal focused on fitness, food, and fashion – and so far, I’ve really gone heavy on the former and almost negated the latter (except for my red carpet critiques, of course).

Truth is, I really do fancy myself a stylish person – I have a distinct point of view on fashion and trends and strong opinions about what I wear.  The problem with my life is that I am most often found in some variation of spandex pants and neon tops, and in some state of general disarray (it’s hard to look “street stylish” when you woke up at 5am, got ready in the dark, and taught Spin class for an hour).

Despite all this, I wanted to answer at least some of the questions about my own personal style – and hopefully hear from you readers about your opinions on fashion, too!

What style trends are you loving this season?  I am so obsessed with my Christian Siriano bucket bag it’s not even funny – I feel like it brings class and freshness to everything I wear.  I am also nuts about culottes; I just bought a black culottes jumpsuit and I am dying to put it on.  And if those partial-sheer skirts are still a thing, I’m totally still on that.

What trends do you think you’ll pass on for 2015?  I cannot stand flatforms, pastels, or gingham.

Who is your style icon?  My mom!  She showed up to my house this past weekend wearing a shirt I had just bought – and she’s 30 years older than me!  I definitely look to her for ideas on how to make trends by “shopping” my own closet, and how to stay fashionable and relevant no matter your age or budget.

What are your favorite trends in “fitness” fashion?  Believe it or not, there is good style to be had within the confines of the gym walls – and I absolutely hate seeing women come in with baggy T-shirts and old sweats.  Up your game, fit people!  Even if you’re addicted to wearing black in the gym, you can change it up with cool cutouts, backless or mesh styles, or really crazy-printed pants.  And the gym is the one place it is still acceptable – and in fact, really cute – to play matchy-matchy.

What are your favorite places to shop?  Those of you who know me know that I can’t pass up a good bargain – and I love to make inexpensive pieces look sharp and on-trend.  Besides the outlet malls (at which I love J. Crew, Adidas, Kate Spade, BCBG, and Neiman Marcus Last Call), I love shopping at Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Old Navy, Forever 21, Zara, and even Burlington Coat Factory – don’t knock ’em till you’ve shopped ’em!

Bloggers (and yes – readers!) – it’s your turn – leave your answers to these questions in the comments, or reblog them and link back to me so I can read your style insights!  Happy shopping!

TFB Liebster Award Nominations

Yes, technically it’s still Tuesday – which means today should feature a Would Amanda Eat It? post.  But let’s be real:

My husband is leaving for Singapore on Monday and I won’t see him for two months, so we had a nice “cheat” meal of burgers and beer tonight.  I feel conflicted about giving health advice on a night when I’ve had such a superbly unhealthy indulgence, so I figured I’d go another direction with today’s post.

A lovely blogger and friend over at Eat Run Snooze Repeat nominated me for a Liebster Award, which is an award given to bloggers by bloggers to honor new(ish) contributors.  There are some rules:

1. Link the person who nominated you to your blog post. Thank them and let them know you answered their questions.

2. Answer the 7 questions given to you by the nominator.

3. Nominate 5-11 other bloggers, including at least one with less than 500 followers.

4. Create 7 questions for your nominees to answer.

5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

6. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”.

Now that we’ve got the rules down, I have to abide #4 and answer my 7 questions!

1. What is your best tip for getting motivated?  I grew up Catholic, so to be honest, the best way to get myself motivated is to think about the crushing guilt I feel when I don’t work out.  A guilty conscience is worth running away from (literally!).

2. What is the one thing you could not live without?  My phone.  Holy crap.

3. If you could live any place in the world, where would it be?  Um…SINGAPORE!  And aren’t I just the luckiest that I’m actually going there? 😉

4. How did you begin your fitness journey?  I began as a gymnast, got injured and tried diving, then got older and tried running.  I always have to be in motion!

5. What is your biggest dream?  I dream of having a family, a successful fitness publishing career, and the ability to travel multiple times per year.

6. What is your daily go-to outfit?  Fitness wear, guys – capris and a tank.  Hair in bun.

7. Do you have a secret (maybe embarrassing) passion? If so, what is it?!  Not embarrassing, but lots of people who don’t know me in person don’t know how much I love craft beer – it is truly a hobby, passion, and indulgence all packed into one for me!

Here are my questions for my nominees (and hey, readers – feel free to play along and answer in the comments!):

1.  What are you afraid of?

2.  Who was your childhood hero, and why?

3.  Where in the world would you like to visit next?

4.  What’s your drink of choice (alcohol or non)?

5.  If you were writing your memoirs, what would be the working title?

6.  Describe a day from your past you would go back and relive if you could.

7.  What do you think happens after we die?

And finally – my award nominees!  I am relatively new to this world so I am still developing my own feed, but I want to shout out some of the folks I read regularly:

The Keen Peach

Some Day Sunny

No Rules, Just Run

Tiffaspilla

Sundaylovexo

Ok folks, that’s it for now – go check out some of these amazing (growing!) blogs and leave your comments here, too. 🙂

Weekly Roundup

Whew – it’s only 12:41pm and already it’s been a whirlwind Sunday.  Alarm off at 6:30; client at 7:30; run club, 90-minute yoga sesh, and now a quick lull until a dear friend’s baby baptism this afternoon.

Hey, at least it’s keeping my mind off the wedding! (SIX DAYS OMG)

For now, let’s check in on what other people are doing with their time online:

Like making (and eating) these amazing 100-calorie chocolate desserts.

If they look that good nude, their tips must work for someone who stays mostly clothed – right?

WTF should you do with your life?  Find the answer ASAP, with just one click.

Don’t even ACT like you’re not intrigued by the possibility of making (and eating) your own Velveeta cheese.

Zero to hero in five minutes – at least makeup-wise.  The rest, I can’t help you.

Did you guys know I was a Comm major?  Well, now you do.  So STOP saying these things.

I’ve been eating super clean for the wedding.  After the honeymoon?  Might roll down on THIS.

COLORS!  PRINTS!  OMG I love Lilly Pulitzer’s new line of exercise clothes so much.

Even more good news?  Starbucks is finally catching up with, oh, 2009 and offering a non-dairy alternative to soy milk – coconut milk!

I’ll be coming back tomorrow with a Grammy red carpet fashion update – so for now, leave me a tip about your favorite link, video, or tweet from this week!

A Letter to My 18-Year-Old Self

My dear (and very funny) friend over at This Is Why You’re Single recently posted a letter to her younger self on her blog – and it got me thinking I should do the same.  So, with absolutely no apologies for blatantly stealing her creative idea, I was inspired to copy her.

Dear Manda (enjoy that cute little nickname for now; soon you will have to revert to your actual full name “Amanda” for grown-up professional reasons):

It’s me!  Well, it’s you! Surprised?  Well, you shouldn’t be.  A lot of cool stuff happens in the future, mostly computer and technology-related, but also some other neat stuff like dark chocolate peanut butter and these cool running shoes that glow in the dark.  I mean, mostly you’ll care about your smartphone and your laptop (both of which, by the way, are about a decade away for you, so don’t hold your breath), but the future is full of amazing conveniences and improvements (invest in Amazon now.)

Speaking of a decade away, this might shock you, but in less than four years you are going to meet your husband.  YOUR HUSBAND!  Is that some crazy sh*t or what?  I know you haven’t even had one single boyfriend yet (sigh), but don’t distress – sow your wild oats and have your drunken shenanigans and wake up wondering where you left your (awful, platform-soled, regrettable) flip flops – and he will be waiting at the end of that hot mess parade, just for you.  You are not destined to be alone.

(Oh yeah, there’s one other guy before you get there.  Dump him as soon as you can.)

Love life aside, I know you’re wondering how college is going to turn out, and if you’re going to get a job right after you graduate.  Good news on both accounts – you graduate magna cum laude, on time, and are fully employed upon return from your postgrad Europe trip (make sure to thank Mom & Dad profusely).  Life is pretty rad so far, right?

Did I mention you are about to get a dog?  I know, I know – you’re still in college and can barely take care of yourself, much less another living thing.  But you visit a shelter next year and fall in love with one special little pooch – and he will be by your side for over a decade.  Don’t think about how it all will end.  Just make sure you never take any of his little licks, barks, snuggles, even his little poops for granted.  You will miss him every single day when he is gone.

You’re going to spend the better part of the next decade doing grunt work in grad school (yeah, you go back – twice –  even though you swore you were done with school), and by the end of it all, you’ll be five digits deep in debt with two semi-useful Masters degrees – it’s up to you if you want to go through all that, but if I were you, I might just shortcut to what you’re actually DOING at my age…

...which is personal training.  You’re good at it, really good – remember when you used to be an athlete?  That part of your life becomes relevant again.  Don’t worry about your current state of physical disarray; you’re at your heaviest weight of your adult life, so it only gets better from here (stop putting half and half on your cereal and dumping cheese and ranch on your “salads,” by the way).  You end up pretty darn fit, strong, and happy in your career – so if you want to just get your certification NOW and skip the whole grad school thing, I won’t complain.

By the way, you should probably start running (another thing which I know you’ve never tried, but listen, you’re gonna be good at that, too).  You’re going to run the Boston Marathon – and I won’t offer any spoilers on that, but know it’s not exactly what you’re expecting.  You just need to be there.

Despite owning your own business and running all these marathons and getting married and all that, what’s weird about being me now is that I was so much more confident when I was you.  I suppose when you’re young, you’re so hopeful about the possibilities that lie ahead, but when you’re my age, you start to just settle into established, easy patterns.  Remind me (you) to break free!  Stay excited!  Be crazy!  You’re going to jump out of a plane in a couple of years, so harness those balls and bring ’em over to me.

You know what else is crazy?  You’re gonna want kids.  YOU HEARD ME.  Don’t tell me how awesome you are and how you’re going to grow up without being tied down and get tattoos that say “fearless” and “freedom” and all sorts of other stupid mantra sh*t (you didn’t, thank God).  I mean, that’s fine for now, but when you get here, you’ll realize that you do want a tiny little human(s), you want it/them with your aforementioned adorable husband, and you’re actually kind of excited about being a (hopefully kick-ass) mom.

As far as moms go, yours is the best.  So is your dad.  Value your time with them and get home to see them as much as your budget allows – but worry not, they’ll eventually retire in California, near you, and you have years of amazing Oktoberfests, Disneylands, and all sorts of other shenanigans waiting.  Don’t forget that family time means everything.

And finally – I know you’ve only been out of the country twice (really, once – Cancun barely counts), but travel is going to become a really big deal for you.  You’re headed to Australia sooner than you realize, studying abroad in Scotland, watching a vow renewal in Ireland, and will have jaunted all over Asia by the time you’re me (including one very special trip to India – uh, spoiler alert?).  Your mind is going to expand and your tastes are going to change, and with it, your stubborn heart will open.  It’s a good thing.  Embrace it.

That’s about it for now, little one – just a few minor things to make the next few years a bit easier.  Watch the drinking.  Save your money.  Go to Sephora and learn how to apply makeup properly.  Stop buying cheap clothes.  As said, get outside and run.  The best of everything is yet to come.

Love,

Amanda

Weekend Roundup

Ah, what a week.  My wedding is two weeks from today.  As in, TWO WEEKS.  So please cut me some slack on the frequency of posts – believe me, I’m trying.

What’s happening this week around the web?  Let’s check it:

I cannot tell you how many of my clients request workouts to pop dat booty.  So here’s a month of ’em.

I wish L.A. still looked like this.  In my mind it does.

A “V-steam” is exactly what you think it might be.  And it sounds painful to me.

Almost as annoying as having to be “skinny yet muscular” is the plus-size ideal of having to be “slim yet curvy.”  How is anyone IRL supposed to figure it out?

Apparently you can run on a treadmill without dying of boredom.  I mean, I won’t ever try it, but hey, go for it, readers.

Looking at NFL players’ weddings is somehow calming for me this week.

Awesome, simple tips from a celeb stylist that you can actually apply to your real life.

And finally, the definitive list of leggings brands that don’t let your butt crack see the (stretched-out) light of day.

What are you guys reading and talking about?  As always, I love a good link share!

Weekend Roundup

So I’ve just had to reason with myself about the amount of finite time there is in a day – and sometimes, I just need sleep in that last half hour of the day (sorry, loyal readers).

That said, I want to make sure I’m staying current with what’s going on around the internet world, too, so I put together this quickie little roundup to holler at the awesome and useful things you guys might want to read until I’m back up and running at full capacity.

You can now shop Spring 2015 trends according to your astrological sign (spoiler: mine’s a jumpsuit, and I love it!).

I go through about a jar of (natural unsalted) peanut butter per week.  I think I’m going to need to up that to two jars.

Do you exercise on an empty stomach?  If your diet is, shall we say, inconsistent, it may be the way to go.

Running and walking at night can be terrifying, but for some of us, it’s a must-do.  This stuff can help you stay safer as you run into the wild dark beyond.

If you don’t love Victoria Beckham, then I can’t love you.  It’s pretty straightforward.

I’m not gonna lie and say I take a cold shower, but I WILL tell you that my hair is about 80% shinier when I cold-rinse it at the end of said shower.  So that’s something.

These now-ancient celebrity MySpace pages are AWESOME in their horror.  So bad.

My “lady” issues could fill a short textbook, but for now, know that I am very interested in FAM and how to track the natural cycles of the female body – and would love to know if any of you readers out there are doing the same!

What’s on your mind this week?  What are you watching/reading/laughing at online?