Saturday, June 30, 2012


I spent a few days in Istanbul and find it to be such a great city that I wish I had a few more days! I think it is a great mix of the east and west. When you look at the view of the city, you see all the red roofs that I think are so representative of European cities. Then you have all these beautiful mosques and old Sultan palaces mixed in. Of course the city itself is situated on two continents - the European side and the Asian side. The population are Muslim, Christian and Jewish. It really is a unique place!

I really don't think I've seen anyone in full on burkas before Istanbul. They are so mysterious that I find myself staring at them trying to take a peek at their faces when they lift them up briefly to eat or readjust. Got caught too, haha. But mostly I was wondering to myself how they could walk around in 90 degree sun with full on black coverups. I was already dying in my little dresses or tanks! Speaking of clothes, I was a bit worried about dressing appropriately for mosques and such. But turns out, most places have wraps or head scarves set aside for visitors so you can put them on before entering and it wasn't an issue at all.

We stayed at a party area called Taksim that is literally 24/7 nonstop. Our hotel was pretty much on top of clubs and bars. We would wake up at 7ish in the morning, look out the window and people were still partying! It is pretty crazy and I am already way too old for that. Coming from California where all the bars and clubs have to shut by 2 am by law, it is a very different schedule for us.

All the major sites of the city are very close by each other which is great for tourists. You can walk from the famous blue mosque to the grand bizarre in less than 10 minutes. By the way, I didn't find the grand bizarre to be too special, since every shop was selling the same thing and I always feel like I'm getting ripped off even if I bargain it down from their original price! It's kind of a stressful experience when everybody is trying to talk to you and get you to go to their shop. Same as restaurants in Istanbul. Some people are so persistent that they won't let you go! I had one guy who held my hand and tried to force feed me desserts! My hubby is not much help in those situations. He just watches from afar and laughs at me. Humph... But I think it would be lots of fun to go to Istanbul with girls only, as you can probably get lots of attention! Everybody calls you beautiful angels and tells you they love you... Hahaha. And of course there are some very good looking Turkish men too.

Food in Turkey is good, I had lots of kebabs and casseroles cooked in clay or stone pots. I noticed that people eat very carb heavy there and a lot of people are overweight. I tried hard to eat more protein but it's difficult when they give you all kinds of yummy bread and rice with your meal! Amazingly though, I am not doing too bad. Bottled water is so so cheap in Turkey that I've been hydrating myself pretty well too.

Ok I feel like I've written way too much. So I am going to stop now. Here are some pictures though! I am now in Athens so I am sure I will have more to write about later. :)

Famous blue mosque:

Smoking hooka on bean bags!

Turkish coffee:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

First Few Days in Turkey!

Hi from Turkey! I know this is really silly but I saw a turkey in Turkey yesterday which made me really happy. :D

I've been in Turkey for a few days now, but only spent one night in Istanbul so far. We flew into Istanbul of course, but flew out to the middle of Turkey the day after. Apparently I like my vacations harder than work so I've been running all over Turkey having a full itinerary. And it is very hot here! But I am flying back to Istanbul tonight and will have a couple days there to enjoy the city!

So far I have seen some pretty cool sights though. I think other than Istanbul, the party city, there are mainly a lot of historic and cultural sites in the parts of Turkey I have been. We started in Ephesus which was an important Roman city and the ruins there are amazing to see. Of course, I am really a nerd and into this kind of stuff. So I really enjoyed it. It's a very touristy spot though. You can see how many people there are:

That is what used to be a library. All the Corinthian columns and statues are in pretty good shape. There is also a huge amphitheater where they used to have gladiator fights! It holds 24,000 people!

And this was my personal favorite: the open air toilets that the rich Romans used, and then they would get sponged off by their slaves before entering into a spa in the middle of this area. Hehe.

A very cool natural site we saw was in Pamukkale where it is famous for natural thermal springs. Over the years the calcium turned these springs white and formed this amazing site. I soaked in it for about an hour and came out with white calcium residue all over my skin! I guess back in the day, all the spas were filled. But nowadays not so much. Too bad... Would be super cool to see them all filled!

Yesterday we took about an hour flight to Cappodocia where you can see a lot of natural rock formations and cave dwellings people used to live in. It's very different and interesting to see. There are actually many many churches that were carved out of the caves but when the Turks came, they turned them into pigeon houses. They were seriously obsessed with pigeon houses, we saw so many!

There are lots of underground cities too that people used to hide from enemies and live for months at a time. You can walk through the tiny tunnels (easier to defend against enemies) and see all the different rooms they used as kitchens, dormitories, etc. I seriously love this stuff.

But of course one of the most popular things to do here is to take a hot air balloon ride before sunrise! You can see all the landscape as the sun comes up. There can be up to 120 balloons in the air at the same time. But today when we went, there were about 50. Still pretty crazy to see! And it was my first time in a hot air balloon!

Anyway, so I will be flying to Istanbul shortly and will post updates later on!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Funday from Turkey!

Just because I'm on vacation, doesn't mean that there won't be a Sunday Funday post since I did workout this week! (I am currently in Turkey! It's only been a day but great so far. I drafted this post before I went so let's hope it posts.)  I wanted to actually workout all 4 days of this week, but I had an appointment on Tuesday night so I was only able to do 3 nights.  I'm so scared about not working out for 2 weeks and presumably eating crap!  Really don't want to un-do all my hard work.  But I'm going to be as sensible as I can be on vacation, and make the best choices!

I am proud to say that this week concludes my New Rules of Lifting for Women series!  How cool is that?!  I started about 6 months ago, and now I am finally done!  I think this book has definitely helped me.  I have gained so much strengths and muscle definition.  I can't imagine ever going back to doing what I was doing before!  I've been working very hard and following the workouts pretty much to a T, so it feels really good to be concluding on such a good note right before vacation too!

Monday 6/18
What I did:  Workout 5 of the final stage.

What I wore:  I rocked the ninja look and went with my black Dance Strap tank and black Power Vinaya crop.  But of course I wore my red Adidas adizero adios 2 shoes.

I actually also took a picture of my Monday work outfit.  I wore my black Editor Wide Waistband pants from Express, with a simple black short sleeve t-shirt and Express Essential Stretch vest.  I really like vests and have a couple.  I don't know why I don't wear them more often, but I should.

Tuesday 6/19 - Rest

Wednesday 6/20
What I did:  I went to play tennis with a friend from work.  First time I played in years!  But I still remember how to serve which was a surprise.  And I wasn't as bad as I thought I would be.  I am thinking I should keep it up and make it a regular occurrence.  It is nice to get out of the gym sometimes even though I am a total gym rat.

What I wore:  My new Lululemon Run A Marathon Crop which turned out to be perfect for tennis because of the big side pockets!  I seriously stuffed 6 tennis balls in them at some point.  They sort of stretched out a little bit but bounced back.  Loved them!  I wore my Electric Orange cool racerback, with Chirp Flow Y bra under and blue Nike Frees.  Yes, super colorful to offset the ninja outfit from Monday... LOL!

I wore my black Lift Your Spirits jacket as to/from though.  

Thursday 6/21
What I did:  Final workout of the final stage, which concludes the program!

What I wore:  Lululemon Tri Y tank in blue gingham and Indigo Ebb & Flow crop, with my New Balance Minimus Road shoes.

So of course I can't workout anymore this week since I will be flying.  I am pretty much all packed now but need to go do some last minute adjustments shortly.  Really trying not to over-pack this time but it is hard.  I am really proud of myself though that I am not bringing all Lululemon clothes like I usually do! I'm bringing some, of course.  Lulu is great for travel, but I just feel really lame when I wear the same brand all day everywhere all the time.  So I'm trying to branch out.  =)

Poor Whiskey will be staying with a friend for 2 long weeks!  He will be so sad and totally think that we abandoned him.  I will miss him!  He's such a goof ball, I mean look at him.  Caught him mid-yawn in the above photo, hehe.  

Anyways, I will try to post updates from the trip as much as I can.  Although when I was in Europe last year my blog app refused to work, so I'm hoping it won't be the case again this time.  I am super excited though!  Can't wait to see these amazing new places!!!  Traveling is one of a few things that keeps me sane.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Magical Belt from Nordstrom! (And Some Dresses)

I found this magical belt from Nordstrom over the weekend - BP Woven Faux Leather Belt, in color "natural", for only $16!

I say it's "magical", because it goes and looks good with just about everything!  I am loving it so far with many dresses I have, and I haven't even tried all of them yet!  Here are some examples:

Remember this Walter Cameron dress?  

I love this dress actually, have been wearing it a lot.  But I think this belt enhances it.  It matches the color of the top portion exactly!

Here's a closer up:

How cool is that??

It also goes perfectly with my Calvin Klein Scoop Neck dress:

I tried it with a couple more dresses, all really not bad:

Here it is with my H&M Beach Coverup dress:

And I actually bought another dress from H&M over the weekend too - it is a t-shirt style dress with a little pocket on the left chest.  Super cute for only $12.

And the belt goes with it too:

You are probably very tired of seeing this belt by now.  But I just really love it!  It also comes in brown and this dark red color that are both nice.  Can't go wrong with this.

I actually bought another belt from Nordstrom - the Lulu Faux Leather Skinny Belt in "magenta" which is a hot pink.

It's very cute, but the only thing I will say is that even in the smallest size, this belt is too big!  I needed to add at least 2 other holes.  But it's only $10 and most shoe places will probably punch holes for you for free.  So it just needs a little bit of extra work.  I love it with black.  I bought a $14 shirt dress from Forever21 as well, which actually comes with its own brown belt.  But I like it better with this pink one!  And it also goes with my new Nine West Mojave Pleated Clutch!

I feel like I'm too old to shop at Forever21, but hey, I kind of got sucked in when I was there looking for a cheap t-shirt for my trip.  I actually ended up buying this blue and yellow stripe belted dress that is super cute from there too, for only $12!

I seriously love bright color combos out this season in every store.  They make me so happy!  This dress also has 2 large pockets on the sides.  It's a great casual dress that I can definitely use on my trip.  Very exciting stuff.

Now I think I am all set for vacation!  My flight to Istanbul leaves tonight, wish me luck!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rebecca Minkoff Mini M.A.C. Shoulder Bag

I've been on a quest for a cross body bag for a while and finally got one at Nordstrom over the weekend.  It is the Rebecca Minkoff Mini M.A.C. Shoulder bag in eggplant.  Here's the stock photo from Nordstrom.  But I feel like it doesn't really look like this in person.  The photo shows it to be redder and shinier than the real thing, it looks more purple/eggplant in person, but oh well, here it is:

What the website doesn't tell you though, is that the strap can be converted shorter to make it into a shoulder bag, which is way cool!  It's like getting two bags for the price of one, which is actually not a bad price at all ($195).  I've looked at other cross body bags that are similar size and style, and they all seem to cost more.  

So what you do is, you put the chain through the hoop that's attached to the bag, like this:

And then you pull it up, and clip it to the hoop on top, super easy:

If you do that on both sides, it becomes a shoulder bag, and this is the length:

You can of course also wear it a little longer, by only doing it on one side:

And here it is at its longest:

When it is the longest, you can wear it cross-body style and this is what it looks like:

So yeah, tons of different ways to wear this bag!  I actually really like Rebecca Minkoff bags, but this is my first!  It's made of super soft Italian leather, and the dimensions are 9W x 6H x 2 1/4D.  Shoulder strap goes to 21.5 inches long.  The size is perfect.  I can fit my checkbook sized wallet, as well as my keys and phone in it with no problems.  There is a zipper pocket on the outside but no inner pockets.  I think this bag will actually be great for my trip as well so I'm bringing it with me!  I love being able to wear it cross body style, as I would not have to worry about it falling off my shoulders or being snatched.  I don't know if I've only been noticing lately or it is a new trend, but I keep seeing more and more women with cross body bags of this size.  It really is convenient.  I am super happy with this purchase, and it doesn't even break my wallet!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lululemon Run A Marathon Crop

I haven't bought any Lulu in a long time!  Nothing lately has intrigued me so I don't even feel like going to the store anymore.  But when I saw the Run A Marathon Crop on sale, I did pick up a pair.  I actually tried these on in the store when they first came out and really liked them.  But for some reason didn't feel like paying $88.  Then I was going to buy them online and noticed that there were lots of sizes in every color left for a long time so I figured they will go on sale eventually, and they did!  $49 is just a much more appealing price than $88.

I bought the ones in black:

I love that these little crops have 7 pockets!  The big side pockets are very handy for weight lifting - they are the same pockets as my Power Vinyasa crops which I love.  I usually carry my phone (iphone) with me at the gym which is too big for most of my built in pockets.  But it definitely fits in the big side pockets of these.  There are 4 little gel pockets on the waistband and a back zipper pocket as well on these crops.  I don't need that many pockets really, but it is still nice to have.

I also don't mind the silicone grip on the sides.  Not too sure if they actually work since I wore them for the first time tonight with a cool racerback which doesn't usually ride up anyways.  So I must test it out with a No Limit tank or something later.  

These crops are a little bit hard to put on though.  The waistband is not as flexible as other Lulu luxtreme crops.  But once you pull them up, they fit tighter and stay in place better than other luxtreme crops I own.  Usually, my luxtreme crops kind of slide down a little until I warm up then it sticks to sweat and stays in place.  But these stayed in place from the get go.  I really love that.  

Another thing I really love is of course the length of these crops which hit right below the knee.  They are actually longer in the front than the back so the front covers the knee cap and the back ends right at the leg bend.  The length is perfect for me.  What I didn't notice when I tried them on in store is that the front leg opening part has silicone grip as well, so they stay in place even better.  

Anyway, I am really glad I was able to get these especially at the price that they went on sale for.  If you are in need of a pair of running crops, I would definitely highly recommend these.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Easy Spirit Sandals - So Comfy!

During my search for a perfect (comfortable & somewhat cute) pair of flat sandals for my trip, I decided to check out Easy Spirit, which I was told was the "old lady" shoe store.  I figured, hey, old ladies know what's up, and ended up there over the weekend.  I left the store with 2 pairs of sandals on sale.  It turns out they really are super comfortable and perfect for my trip!  I am actually very very happy I decided to check out this store.

These Hajari sandals I bought are actually cute enough to wear casually in town as well.  I wore them while out shopping, and they are so much more comfortable than my flip flops even though it looks like they have an inch heel.

I bought them on sale over the weekend for only $29, which is a great deal.  The material is leather and the quality looks to be very good.  They are super light weight, I honestly think I can wear these all day with no problems.  They also look good enough to wear with shorts or dresses.  I'm super happy with these!

The second pair I bought are the Heron sandals in dark brown, which are also on sale for $29.

According to the sales guy, who was actually extremely helpful, these shoes will be better to walk around all day in than the Hajari sandals because they have more of a cushioned sole.  He told me that there are customers who traveled and walked all day in these and were completely satisfied with them.  So I'm going to take the plunge and believe that.  These are also made of very soft leather, and appear to be made well.  From my try on test, these sandals are indeed very comfortable.  The darker color will make them less prone to dirt, and I think they can also go with most of my dresses or shorts that I'm bringing (I'm almost done packing... seriously on top of things this time!).  

So if both of these sandals will do me well during my 2 week trip, then these sandals will be the best purchases, especially for $60 total!  I was just going to bring some of my running shoes but I am now actually considering only bringing sandals since it will be super hot there.  So at least now I have options!  Shoes are probably the most important things to have when you are out walking around all day, so I am really hoping that these sandals will do the job!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Funday!

Wow it's almost Monday right now actually.  I've had such a busy busy weekend!  Had tons of errands to run as it is the last weekend before my trip.  I tend to put stuff off till the last minute, so it figures.  On top of it all, my mom decided to show up unannounced!  Well, I guess there was SOME kind of announcement since she texted me that she was coming and then showed up 3 hours later.  So that just threw off all my plans too.  Ah, well, I will be going to bed after I finish this.  =)

I got 4 hardcore lifting sessions in this week!  I wanted to finish the second round of my stage 7 New Rules of Lifting for Women series.  I will have 2 more left to do next week and be all done!  What perfect timing for vacation!

Monday 6/11
What I did:  Normally Mondays are my rest days but since I ate like crap last weekend, I had to go work it off.  I went to lift.

What I wore:  Lululemon No Limit tank in white with black Power Vinyasa crop, and Adidas adizero adios 2 shoes.

Tuesday 6/12 - Took off as a rest day, but here is a work outfit.  I wore my Express Wide Waistband Editor pants in white, with my H&M white blazer that is nearly an identical match.  Well, maybe if you look really really up close, you can tell they are not meant to be a matching suit.  But I bet no one did!  Hehe.  I wore my new Express purple tank under.

Wednesday 6/13
What I did:  Lift.

What I wore:  Lululemon Tri Y tank in kiss (I think?) and CW-X Pro crop with New Balance Minimus Road shoes.

Thursday 6/14
What I did:  Lift

What I wore:  Lululemon Power Y tank in Three Print, and Ebb & Flow crop in black, with my Adidas shoes.  Please excuse my shopping problem in the background.

Friday 6/15
What I did:  Lift again!

What I wore:  Lululemon Swiftly SS in lavender, with Passion Crop in power purple, and New Balance shoes.

Saturday 6/16 - Rest day, but did walk around the mall all day so I think that counts as exercise.  =)

Sunday 6/17
What I did:  Circuit class as usual, with many sprints and weight stations.

What I wore:  Lululemon Energy SL in angel blue, with coal/aruba Astro Crop, and NB shoes again.

Lastly, I wanted to share my nice find at TJ Maxx for 12 bucks which I wore as I went to meet up with a friend today for coffee.  I think it's pretty awesome.  It's this bright coral colored shirt with a long drapey neck that kind of resembles a scarf.  It's really light weight and great to throw on over a tank.  I'm so taking it with me on vacation.

I wore it with my purple Express tank under which I am in serious love with, and my Abercrombie white Tori shorts.

And I think I will be able to post this 2 minutes before midnight!  Woohoo!  Hehe.  I definitely need to go to bed now so I can wake up for work in 6 hours.  Not fun!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Some More Express Stuff

I must share my latest great find at Express, which happens to be on sale as well - these scoop neck tanks!  They are super soft and pretty.  The fit is great, and they are on sale for $15 right now I believe. I bought 2, one in purple and one in pink:

These tanks kind of fit like Lululemon's cool racerback tanks.  They are pretty much the same length.  But these feel much lighter and silkier.  They have a somewhat burnout look, but not see-through.  The seams have distressed details.  I think the purple color is gorgeous, and hot pink is always great too.  I can wear them on their own with shorts or jeans, and I can also wear them under other sweaters or tops for work.  They are really awesome and I highly recommend them.  I can't find them online, but they are in all 4 or 5 Express stores I've been to in the past week.  Here they are closer up, I think the colors resemble how they look in real life pretty well, at least on my screen.

I also bought another pair of pants for work.  They are the Contrast Trim Wide Waistband Editor pants, in brown.  I think they look cool with the darker brown trim.  These are more expensive than the regular wide waistband editor pants, at $79.  But totally worth it because the material is stretchy and comfortable, and the fit is perfect in a size 0 for me.  They do look a little bit fancier with the contrast trim!

The last thing I bought from there is this Plaid Pocket shirt in bali blue.  It's on sale for only $19 right now, and I really like it.  There are actually some metallic stitching on this shirt, even though you can't really tell from this photo:

I bought it in a size XS and it's actually still loose fitting.  I really like it with shorts and I think that's probably how I will wear it.  I guess maybe I can also wear it to work, but I'm not so sure since it's a bit on the casual side.  

I did a full day of fruitful shopping today as well, and will probably do more tomorrow!  I must write more later, but it is dinner time now.  =)  Hope you all are enjoying your weekend!
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