What to do in Indonesia & Singapore from One Runners Perspective. A weekly series of daily itineraries : Day 7

When you’re in Singapore, you are given many chances to visit near by countries, quickly and affordably, and that’s exactly what I did.

From Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal near the airport, one can take an hour long ferry to Bandar Bentan Telani in Bintan, Indonesia. This northern island of Indonesia, second most promoted after Bali, is cluttered with resorts along the coast. Picking one over the other can be your hardest decision of the day but you will be completely pleased in any one of your final destinations in Bintan.

I opted for the day pass at Club Med Bintan. For under $100 dollars you get pristine white beaches, 2 pools, 2 all you can eat and drink restaurants, daily sponsored activities like water aerobics or any water sport and even a trapeze lesson. Friendly servers, delicious cocktails and serene beach coastlines filled my day in Indonesia. It was paradise.



After spending the day and afternoon in Bintan, Indonesia, I took the ferry back to Singapore. A taxi ride later and I made my way to meet up with my friend Katie at the famous Newton Hawker Food Center. A huge outdoor fast food court with hundreds of options for Asian cuisine. You can go off the beaten path and try a unique delicacy like sting ray or stick to more traditional tiger prawns, chili crab, beef skewers or bbq chicken. You really can’t go wrong, especially if you enjoy meat, for an incredibly cheap price you can wash it all down with one or two Tiger Beers. A great way to close out the evening!



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Fitbit Semi de Paris Marathon: Race Review

I bet you’re all anxious to read about my latest travels to South East Asia but that will come in a series over the next couple of weeks. First, I need to review the biggest half marathon I’ve ever participated in yesterday, The Fitbit Semi de Paris Marathon.

I signed up for this half marathon in early January. Immediately after, I booked my trip to Singapore. I didn’t notice the closeness of my return being the same weekend as the race. Oh well, c’est la vie! One thing that did catch my attention upon the race sign up was the 62€ price tag attached to the race. Gulp, I’ve paid much less (at least half of this or more) to enter all the other European Halves I’ve participated in and even the Rome Marathon was only 55€. I swallowed my frugal pride and paid the overpriced entry fee, I mean it is Paris after all. But wait, this price tag does not include the train ticket to the city (~60€) nor the fact that there is no bib pick up the day of the race, now accommodations must be made. So if you’re an outsider to Paris, you’re now spending at least the weekend there.

Getting back from Singapore on Friday morning before the Sunday race, working a half day, then getting up Saturday for 9am to take the hour and twenty minute train to the city to then take 3-4 different metros (because of course it’s the weekend and due to work on some stations, a bunch of stations were closed), I finally made it to the expo at Parc Floral near Chateau Vincennes to grab my bib by 2:30pm. The expo itself was surprisingly well organized as long as you had your 3 pieces of essential paperwork: medical clearance (typical for most European races), the notification letter (emailed to you the week of) and a form of identification. From there you grab you race shirt (included in the price admission, thank goodness). Ladies received yellow, men got teal, both good quality tech shirts that fit true to size. From there you pass through the typical expo retailers, this race particularly was sponsored by Adidas where runners got 20% off apparel. Other booths included belts, medal holders, compression socks, the whole gamut. There were some fun, free photo booths and bicycle smoothie makers, even a little wine and cheese tastings combined with other future nearby race pamphlets. Overall a good showing where I spent about 45 Minutes moseying around grabbing free stuff here and there.



Staying with some friends of friends on the outskirts of the city, I finally made my way after a pasta dinner to bed by 8:15pm, the one good thing about jetlag.

This race, by the way, is huge, like 45,000 signed up – almost 37,000 finished huge! After some tea, toast, and bananas, I made my way back into the city around 7:30am to get back to Bois de Vincennes. The elite started at 9am and then waves every 10 minutes depending on your estimated finish times. I was in the 1:50 group with a 9:40am start. After a bag drop off and corral opening at 9:10, I waited a bit with others as the rain began. The weather wasn’t terrible though as the temps were pleasant enough for the long distance at 42F/6C.



The race course starts and ends at Bois de Vincennes, well equipped to hold the masses of people along with several portapotties, bag check, and lively music to keep us entertained until the gun start. The course heads out to the River Seine and makes it way behind Notre Dame, around Bastille, past Hôtel de Ville and back along the other side of the Seine to head back to the park. With the rain, we lost a bunch of spectators but diehard supporters were still out with clever signs like, “Smile if you’re not wearing underwear”. Lots of bands along the route braved the weather and pumped up some tired runners. Water and food stops were minimal to 3, each about 5km apart. No electrolytes, unfortunately, and with 5 miles left I could feel them missing as my overtired, swollen, jetlagged legs began to cramp. With such a huge race, I never had the chance to have enough space to find my own rhythm. I was constantly battling elbows, couples, walkers, you name it. I was weaving a lot just to find ample room. Once at a water stop my arm got tangled up in a woman’s head phones, yanking them right out of her ears. I heard the, “Owww”, and yelled back, “Sorry”, but really it was almost unavoidable as this race is really just too big. Finally the finish was near sight, but even if my tired legs wanted to sprint into the finish, the crowd of runners really limited a strong finish. Despite the rain, packed roads, lack of the electrolytes and spectators, jetlagged body and legs, I was still able to complete a sub-2 hour run in 1:58:00 even!



After the finish line, they corral you another 400m until you grab your medal, which by the way is one of the coolest as it doubles as a bottle opener also! Then another 200m to a bag with some goodies, water, bananas, and chips. Then you could finally exit the herd. The bag check, however, was an utter mess. After 5 minutes of the girl searching for mine, I was invited to hop over (haha hopping, get real!) the fence the search for the bag myself. After 15 minutes, myself, looking I finally found my bag two tables away from where it initially should have been. Poor organization to follow up the race unfortunately. Luckily, upon finding my bag I could quickly change into dry, warm clothes in a disgusting portapotty (this being harder than running the half, in my personal opinion). I then made my way back by metro (which bonus, was free for runners following the race) to head back to Gare de l’Est to make my way back to Metz.



After successfully determining the medal bottle opener worked a few times that evening I was back to bed by 8:30pm again. After a full night’s rest, I’ve rated this half a 7.5/10.

Best Skincare Line for Women who Sweat

At the end of last year, I was contacted by FRÉ Skincare to try their 123FRÉ skincare resilience set that was created specifically for women who sweat. I was a bit hesitant as I’ve had some skin sensitivities over the past couple of years causing several trips to my dermatologist. After reading about the products which are hypoallergenic, dermatologically tested, while at the same time vegan & cruelty free, I found they use a specialized Argania Active Complex. The amazing benefits of Argan Oil include combatting skin damage and signs of aging while strengthening the skin to work against extreme climatic conditions. Plus, the company gives back to the environment by planting an Argan Tree at the end of each year for each 123FRÉ set sold to empower the women workforce of Morocco. I decided I had to give it a test run myself.



My typical routine used to include store bought cleansing creams, toners, and moisturizer, not necessarily for any specific skin type, match of brand, or price tag. Most of the time I have clear skin, but this would ebb and flow depending on workout training schedules, hormones, or what I ate. I was never 100% confident my skin would be clear with my old skincare routine. That led to a lack of self-confidence because I wanted my outer appearance to appear healthy, equally to my effort in improving my fitness. I realized I probably wasn’t making the same effort for my skin by just using random products that were on sale that month.

In December, I began the switch and started daily using the baseline products from the 123FRÉ skincare line. This would be a good test too as I had begun my training for the Paris Half Marathon, so I would be running 4 times a week, strength training 2 times a week, and having an active recovery rest day including yoga. 7 days of sweat to see if FRÉ lived up to it’s mission to provide healthy, glowing, blemish free skin for women who sweat.



The first line of defense is the Purify Me cleanser. It’s lightly beaded formula makes me feel refreshed after a long day by gently clearing toxins. Next is the Revive Me Serum. This is like an illuminating light with a little clean up crew in a cream form. I can see my face glowing and my fine lines becoming finer. Lastly, the Protect Me moisturizer with SPF built in. It’s like an armour shield for my face. It hydrates my skin while creating a natural protection barrier from harsh elements.



After 2 and half months of use, I’m thrilled with my skincare routine. I’m glowing and my confidence has escalated! I’ve even had the amazing opportunity to become an ambassador for Fré Skincare because I’ve loved what the line has has done for me personally and can’t help but share it’s incredible benefits onto you!


Left: Before, Right: After using 123FRÉ


I completely recommend 123FRÉ skincare if you’re looking for a simple solution to keep your skin hydrated, protected from the signs of aging and environmental damage, and you want CLEAR COMPLEXION with an awesome natural glow. An added bonus, the 123FRÉ set will last over 3 months, which means you can enjoy luxurious natural skincare for a cost of less than a dollar a day!!

So, don’t miss the unique opportunity to start 2018 with healthy, strong skin, that reflects your healthy, strong lifestyle! And as an added bonus FRÉ skincare is having a unique opportunity to enjoy a special 1+1 for Valentine’s Day. Order a 123FRÉ set for yourself and get a second one FREE for someone you love!

Head to Freskincare.com and order 2 sets and pay for only 1 using my code WANDER. Offer valid for the next 48 hours (February 7-9th, 2018)

Close Out the Year with Self Love

As the holidays approach, media and marketing will sell you on thinking it’s the most wonderful time of the year (and hoping you spend that pretty penny too). While I hope nothing but good cheer for all, sometimes this time of year brings forth heartbreaking reminders of those we’ve lost, failed resolutions, being stuck in careers, relationships, or unsatisfied life choices, or just simply feeling lonely. I’m here to remind you that even though these times may play havoc on your emotions, you’re still amazing and now, not just January 1, is the perfect time to practice some self-love.

I’ve come up with some practical ways for you to bring back that lovin’ feelin’, woah that lovin’ feelin’:

De-stress Monday’s

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There’s an account on Instagram I follow called @destressmonday and they also have a webpage here. Stereotypically, Monday’s are the “worst” but the account gives you little reminders to breathe, smile and think positively, not just on Mondays but for everyday of the week.

 

Start Saving Weekly to Give Yourself a Present/Trip

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Chanel Boutique in Paris

It may seem ironic to put away money when you know you probably should spend it towards the gifts for others this holiday, but how can you be your best for them if you don’t take care of yourself once in a while? Practicing some budgeting and rewarding yourself for making the means to grab something you really love or a getaway you’ve been craving for is not selfish, it’s making a goal, being diligent, and taking pride in your work. That’s an achievement!

 

Pay it Forward

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Be Kind from Momentum Jewelry

If you are feeling slightly guilty for thinking about yourself, which you SHOULDN’T, you can always give back to those in need or just do random acts of kindness. Smile and hold a door open for someone, buy the person’s coffee behind you, volunteer at the local food pantry, give to charity. There are literally millions of ways to help and be kind and in the long run, you’ll feel better because you brightened someone’s day!

 

Listen to Inspiring and Interesting Podcasts

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This American Life Podcast

I might get a little heavy here. Personally, losing 3 family members over the past 5 years actually makes the holidays suck, to be brutally honest. My mom was the champion of Christmas with the decorations, several little ceramic villages, lights, dinners, pies, and presents. She made the holidays feel lively, animated, and she made everyone around feel loved. This will be my 4th Christmas without her. It doesn’t get easier, but I know that by holding everything in could be disastrous. When I’m out on long runs, I like to listen to podcasts to pass the time, like This American Life with one episode in particular talking about a way to speak to loved ones who have passed and reconciling with others who are still here. The first act is discusses a documentary in Japan about the Wind Phone. It’s a non-working, old, rotary phone in a white phone booth box on a man’s garden that over 10,000 people have visited or used. It’s popularity began following the 2011 Tsunami and became a way for friends and family members, of those lost or taken from the disaster, to find a way to speak to their loved ones and grieve peacefully. I did end up watching the documentary here at this link, but be forewarned if you’re human, you’ll probably cry. The second act is about two elderly brothers, in their 80’s, who held a somewhat unknowingly grudge and hadn’t really spoken in about 20 years. The son of one helped to reconcile them, knowing time was not on their side and helped guide them to have an adult conversation about their grievances which helped to take some ‘weight’ off their shoulders. Both stories are healthy reminders to allow for time to think about your loved ones who are no longer here and to not wait to reach out to those who still matter to you while they are still here.

 

#12days12ways

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Brady the Cat, named after the GOAT Tom Brady

On a lighter note, because there are only 12 days left until Christmas there’s a hashtag going around called #12days12ways. It’s a reminder to reflect back and document, however you wish, 12 ways your life has changed positively over the past year.

Here are mine:

January: Got to celebrate the new year with my friend Liz, who visited us in France from NYC

February: Watching the Patriots win the SuperBowl

March: Spending a week in the Swiss Alps snowboarding

April: Completing my 9th Marathon in Rome, Italy and during that same week watch Julien crush his PR in the Paris Marathon

May: Completing the Luxembourg night half marathon, the hottest race I’ve ever done in my life

June: Growing my influence in the running, fitness and wellness community on Instagram and having my hard work, “little hobby”, get recognized with sponsorships and ambassadorships from companies like Under Armour and Nordstrom

July: Getting a new kitten and fur baby, Brady

August: Visiting my one of my oldest friends Dorothy, in Rotterdam, Netherlands while at the same time being lucky enough to have her on this side of the pond with me

September: Twofer, sneaking home on a super discount flight for Labor Day weekend to go on, one of my best friend’s, Katie’s sailboat and completing my 10th marathon and 3rd World Major in Berlin

October: Having my Dad visit for a couple weeks and then all of us flying back to the US for 3 weeks, 2 weddings and an east coast adventure

November: My birthday in Budapest, Hungary with my American bestie here in Metz, Carmen

December: Having Julien’s family embrace and welcome me into their home for Christmas this year

Here’s to ending the year on a positive note and feeling optimistic for what is to come!

 

How to Stay Motivated with Exercise

Social Media Takeover

Recently, I was a guest host and did a social media takeover on both Instagram and Facebook for Legend Compression Wear. (Read more about their Graduated Compression Guide at their blog Here and receive $15 off with my referral Link.) 

Legend Compression

I was asked to give tips and strategies on how to stay disciplined with exercise. So, here are my 4 ways to keep motivated!

Exercise Motivation 1

1️⃣: choose a goal, write it down, set a timeline, follow a program, tell people!

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Pick an an event, race, or challenge – whether it be a mud run, 5k, 10 push ups or an Instagram fitness challenge with an achievable end date. Commit by journaling, letting your friends or family know, creating an accountability page, then research a program that fits your work life balance and start 👍

Exercise motivation 2

2️⃣: change your train of thought regarding exercise – think of it as an act of daily living as opposed to a chore

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I’m going to safely assume everyday, most of us, wake up and shower, get dressed, eat, brush our teeth, automatically put on our seatbelt in the car, work, take care of children, etc…or something to this effect. We have to think about exercise exactly as we do our daily tasks, that it’s just a part of life…a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle.

If this is a challenge for you regarding time or motivation, begin with an activity that you find enjoyable and is fun. You like nature? Go for a hike. You like music? Try Zumba. Trying to keep up with your kids? Bike 🚴. It doesn’t matter if it’s morning, lunch or at night, Fit it in as if your life depends on it because essentially…it does!

Exercise Motivation 3

3️⃣: practice daily positive affirmations & actions

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In order to get motivated to create a goal and get our mindset to believe the goal is worth doing and achievable, we need to work on ourselves to get our minds in the right place.

Everyday we should be practicing positive actions including: healthy eating, meditation, journaling our gratefulness, and/or practicing acts of kindness. When we treat ourselves gently we can then transfer it onto others as equally or far greater.

Perhaps today you’ll sign up for a race that benefits your favorite charity, compete in honor of a friend or loved one, or volunteer some hard labor to those in need. When the deed isn’t about you anymore, these small actions lead to big impacts and, in the world today, I think actions certainly speak louder than words ❤️

Exercise Motivation 4

And finally…

4️⃣: plan to reward yourself when you meet each goal 

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You’ve heard keep your eyes on the prize? Well, why not make that a reality?! You’ve worked hard to stay dedicated, spending time and energy, you deserve a little something. Plan a spa day, a night out at your favorite restaurant or new workout gear (like Legend Compression Socks 😉). Then you can stay motivated in your new gear to sign up for your next event!

Tips to stay healthy while traveling

Over Memorial Day weekend, I spent 6 days with a crew of friends, from France to England to Boston and sometimes New Orleans, in Nantucket for the yearly Figawi boat race event. This was the crew’s 8th year at the best barn-looking house on the island. 31 York St has a “president” and the crew has changed a little bit over time but the crew is still pretty tight and loyal for the most part. I have been lucky enough to experience my 4th Figawi weekend. While I was gone I was worried about my health and fitness maintenance that I’ve been working so hard to maintain especially the past 6 months and since becoming a Beachbody coach. I didn’t want it to go out the window because of a bunch of drinks and bar food. So here are some of my healthy tips I used while I was traveling.

1) Pack your workout gear

I actually hate packing and yes I usually over pack. I plan well but I like my options too. Typically, I go shopping for cute dress up vacation clothes (which I still did and those were my go-out clothes). However, this year I planned sneakers, yoga pants, tanks, and sports bras to wear each day for lounging around the house. I mean if you are at least going to dress the part, you’re half way to a good work out. Am I right?

2) Bring your ipad/laptop/tablet

Beachbody on Demand will travel. This means you can stream up to 1000’s of routines from well-known programs such as P90X, Insanity, 21 Day Fix, etc. Most of the programs can be done with your own body weight and are typically only 30-45 minutes. This means you only need wifi and you. Click the link if you want more info on Beachbody on Demand

Beachbody On Demand

3) Make a music playlist for the weekend

Honestly, music feeds the soul. It makes people dance (as does alcohol). It makes you move. So whether you have your favorite beats to get a good run to the beach or dance late night with your friends around the kitchen, having good music will be motivating.

4) Eat in, if you can

Of course it’s considered a nice luxury to eat out while vacationing. You don’t have to do the work or sometimes it can be reimbursed on a business trip, but if you are trying to watch your diet, it’s important to stick to your meal prep as closely as you can, if possible. 31 York St provides us with a beautiful, huge kitchen and our group has some incredible french friends who are amazing cooks, so in this part we are lucky. They created 5 family style home cooked meals for 13 people! In doing so we had a grocery list and was able to maintain fresh ingredients including plenty of vegetables, fruits, and healthier homemade lasagnas to our good body building friend Chi-Burgers. And we got to enjoy each other’s company for $70 for food for the weekend instead of one meal out at a nice place.

5) Cocktails with fresh fruit

Now while I’m on vacation, I’m definitely going to let loose and relax with a couple of adult beverages. In the past we would rock several 30’s of light beer and not even bat an eye. As we “mature” and some of our metabolisms aren’t quite what they used to be, we’ve calmed down in our partying ways and opt for fresher cocktails. This year we made several concoctions of homemade fruit daiquiris including fresh strawberries, pineapples, kiwis, bananas etc. We even allowed ourselves to indulge in our favorite mudslide but made from scratch instead of at our beloved Gazebo where more than likely a syrup, artificial base is used. Don’t get me wrong, we still had one or 2 when we finally did make our way to the Gazebo and still had light beers but doing most of the work at home saved a hole in our wallets and our stomachs.

6) Enjoy each other’s company

In the past, our goal was to party, get out, dance, meet new people. For the most part, most of us were single so doing all of that was incredibly fun. BUT it more than likely led to overconsumption and careless late night binge eating. The past couple of years have been a little different, we have been enjoying ourselves instead of seeking who we were bringing back to the late night kitchen dance fest.

7) Pledge to stay committed

It’s so easy to lose your focus and to slip from the exercise routine when you are not working and having fun. It’s easy to get swept up into other people’s, lack of a better term, laziness or eating habits when you are traveling with others. I find keeping an exercise journal or calendar can help keep myself in check. I also will just straight up tell people what my plan for working out for the day is. By saying your workout routine out loud, you have set yourself up for accountability and no one likes to fail. Who knows you may even end up with a workout partner…which leads me into my last tip.

8) Invite your friends and take pictures

What’s more fun than doing something alone? Doing something together of course! Invite. The worst thing you might hear is no. Don’t let someone’s judgement of your routine defer you from maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Often naysayers or judgey mcjudgey’s are just jealous of your commitment and are actually upset with themselves internally. I’m not saying workout to make your friends jealous or upset, but do so to maybe motivate and inspire. This at least provides an opportunity for you and them to burn some extra calories from the previous late nights indulgence. And if they are so willing, take pictures, laugh, have fun and enjoy the moment and each other. This is what life’s really all about!

Grocery Shopping!

Grocery Shopping!

Family Dinner

Family Dinner

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Homemade Mudslides

Homemade Mudslides

Chi-Burgers

Chi-Burgers

Easy Riders

Easy Riders

Yoga with Beer

Yoga with Beer

Watermelon

Watermelon

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Nantucket, thanks for the memories!

Nantucket, thanks for the memories!