Our spontaneous trip to Monterey and Carmel

Trip-with-Lexus-headerWe had some of our Canadian friends come down to visit us a few weekends ago. I gotta tell you. I love it when visitors come to stay at our place — I enjoy hosting friends and family, plus our home looks really awesome for a few weeks there after — dusting is completed, the floors freshly washed, it’s all around a nice feeling.


OlympiansOlympians lined up. Who can spot Kara Goucher?

While I had the Lexus NX200t to review for the week, we decided to join our Canadian friends as they drove south to Carmel + Monterey for the weekend. Their plan was to run a half marathon, and then finish their drive back down to SoCal to visit more friends.

Walk-to-LexusMy husband and I loaded up the Lexus Nx200t, with Alfie in tow (including his crate for him to sleep in at night) and made the drive down to Carmel-By-The-Sea, where we hunkered down at our favourite place, Hofsas House — you guys know that place all too well by now I’m sure, as this was my third visit to warm and welcoming Hofsas (see our 2 day honeymoon + girls weekend trip!).Hofsas-roof



Alfie-in-CarmelOur room at Hofsas House this time, ended up having its own private balcony. It was excellent to have breakfast out there, overlooking the ocean in the distance, and it wasn’t too chilly either. A perfect time of year to pop down for a visit.

Can you tell Alfie was demanding satisfaction here in this photo? He’s getting a bit more bold lately, scratching your arm for attention or belly rubs and won’t stop until you give in. Mr. Bossy Boots is his new nick name you guys…I think it fits :) Hofsas-balcony

Minutes before registration to sign up for the the Big Sur Half Marathon closed, my husband casually decided he too was going to run the race with our 2 Canadian buddies. WHAT? I mean, how can you just do that without even training? Although, his everyday workout routine pretty much consists of hours and hours of exercise (whether it be biking or running) so I suppose that means he’s always in tip-top running shape for a half marathon the very next day.

However, I had made plans for us to have supper at The Grill (where we had our supper on our 2 day honeymoon just the previous year!), and I wasn’t about to cancel because he decided to sign up for a half marathon (many people prefer to have a bland carb loading meal before a race like that). But we dined at the busy Grill and had a delicious warm meal with dessert to boot.The-Grill

BigSur-HalfHe doesn’t like me posting many photos of him, so unfortunately no photos of him running the race were captured by me. But let me tell you how fast his lil’ legs can go. He not only bet his half marathon time (sub 1:20), but he came in with the Olympians. I literally screamed when I saw him, it was unexpected especially with our large supper the previous night.

After the half marathon was over, the runners all went back to their hotels, showered and got ready for checking out of the hotel + lunch. Monterey-walkHi Jenny!

Since we had Alfie, we needed a dog-friendly place (which isn’t difficult to find because I feel like Monterey and Carmel (basically all of California) is the epitome of dog-friendly places, including restaurants).Carmel-Monterey

The 6 of us ate at this cute hipster spot called Wild Plum. A few of us got sandwiches, the rest got big ol’ yummy breakfasts. I always choose a sandwich over breakfast. How about you?Lunch-in-Monterey

After we said our good-bye’s to our Canadian buddies, we wanted to take advantage of having the rest of the afternoon free, and not drive back up to South Bay just yet. So we ended up aimlessly driving the renowned, beautiful Highway 1 coast until I think we got to Big Sur. I haven’t got a clue because the bridges all looked the same. I’m sure we were close to it. Right? :)Alfie-me-lookout






I’m pleasantly surprised with the fuel efficiency of the luxury Lexus Nx200t, eats up about the same amount of gas as my little Mazda 3 hatch. Not to mention the Lexus’ gorgeous red interior. I made sure to drive the vehicle every single day the week I had it. Even took it to San Francisco on my last day, just to visit a new-to-me coffee shop. One thing that stuck out to me with the Lexus, is that when it’s in reverse, it of course has the rear back up camera — BUT — the camera shows you the wheel rotation. I don’t usually like to use back-up cameras (because I only have the car a week and don’t want to get used to it), but you bectcha bottom dollar I used it this time, it was too cool.

Lexus-NX200tFsportI even convinced a dude on Twitter to get the Nx20ot over another vehicle he was looking at, which I thought was kinda neat. I mentioned to him a few key things I thought were pretty spiffy looking. The front of the Lexus has a mean-lookin’ grill on the front of it, so it isn’t too “girly” looking. The cargo space in the back is limiting, so if you’re looking for a family car to store a bunch of kids hockey gear or suitcases, perhaps it’s not for you. Though, a fun and fast lil’ vehicle to drive with hip hugging seats. It’s not even that outrageous in pricing, considering it is luxury. This model is $43.3k. I definitely thought the MRSP would be higher.


Many thanks to Lexus for the car to review for the week, Hofsas House for providing a warm welcomed stay, and to The Grill for the wonderful grub. 

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SPIbelt the unobtrusive fannypack

SPIbelt-headerUnlike many female running pants, my husband often doesn’t have a pocket for his keys when he’s out for his long runs without me, so the SPIbelt has been passed over to him. Although the SPIbelt was sent to us for review, I am not being paid, sponsored or compensated, and the views are always my own I’m not trying to sell you anything, nor do I want you to take my opinions as the final word on any product I post about on the blog. And I know what you’re thinking, here comes the commercial for the product.


You’re wrong. Because, I don’t care if you buy this product. I’m sorry SPIbelt, but it’s true. I just want to voice my own opinion on my own blog, and show you about products I would buy with MY own money. Okay, I agree that was awkward. So now that that’s out in the open, we can get to the real review.

SPIbeltThe title may raise some questions, who wants to wear a fannypack nowadays? But bare with me. The reason I say it’s an unobtrusive fannypack is because it’s not like your 1980’s bulky fannypack. It’s a sleek storage belt that does not bounce, and can be concealed underneath your running tee which can expand to fit something as large as your iPhone 6 plus. Not that I’d know if that would fit, because my husband and I are still loyal BlackBerry users over here: #TeamBlackBerry! The belt is not always expanded so when you don’t carry your phone it looks a lot smaller.

Guys-running-outfitAs I type this out, my husband is out for a 30km run wearing it now, which is impressive considering he can be picky with the gear he uses and rightfully so, given the fact he’s a multi-sport athlete. My husband was even debating whether or not he should wear the SPIbelt on his 6th Ironman triathlon next month, and ultimately decided against it… that is, until I showed him it could be swapped out to be a race number belt with applying toggles to the belt itself.

Garmin-watchEven though I don’t prefer wearing the SPIbelt running, I have been wearing it out on hikes with Alfie, which fits his treats, some doggy bags, and my keys and we’re good to go for a nice hike. It’s also a decent size that it can carry my epipen comfortably.

When my husband and I went to an amusement park a few weeks ago, I used it to store our keys and his BlackBerry while we rode on rollercoasters all day long. I’m enjoying that the SPIbelt although still a fannypack in my mind, it has such a low profile appearance I don’t mind wearing it, especially if you wear it under a top rear facing.


Pro’s of the SPIbelt:

  • Doesn’t ride up
  • Adjustable waist band
  • Doesn’t bounce around
  • Can be concealed underneath your top
  • Not only for running: carry to amusement parks or keep your passports safe while travelling
  • Can be converted into a race belt for race day
  • Carry dog treats, potty bags, and car keys while hiking

SPIbelt-with-BlackBerryIf you’re interested in a SPIbelt (which stands for Small Personal Item Belt) they come in a variety of colours and styles. The original one I have retails for $19.99.

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Men’s Mizuno Wave Prophecy 3 Review

Mizuno-HeaderA while back, my husband received a pair of Mizuno Prophecy 3‘s to review on my blog. Trying them out was immediately put to the back burner as he got them in the midst of us moving to another country in the middle of winter. He commented that since they were so expensive he didn’t want to ruin them and wear them out during that blasted Canadian winter with all the ice, slush and dirt. I could see where he’s coming from, they’re pretty expensive in comparison to a regular running shoe: $210. Add that into the equation of him wanting to cycle through a few half-worn out pairs of running shoes that he had in rotation before he dug these ones out of the box.

I started to get overwhelmed by him wearing them, and not providing me with blog related feedback other than they were comfortable, and his favourite shoe as of to date. And I’m not writing that to sell you on the product, he truly gets excited when he puts them on, saying they’re his fanciest running shoes he’s ever worn. Needless to say, the shoe has gotten a lot of wears over the course of 2014, he loved the Prophecy so much he bought a second pair.Mizuno-Wave-Prophecy-3


Wave-Prophecy-3-MizunoI finally rallied him up and asked him to sit down and give me some ideas on how to articulate a post about the best shoes he’s ever had.

I wanted his spin on the blog, so he wrote down his thoughts on what he wanted to say, below. I certainly can’t review them, the shoe’s weren’t on my feet, right? Although the Mizuno Wave Prophecy 3‘s aren’t worn by me, I feel like I can still contribute a few paragraphs on the piece. I’ve had so much time to read up on this sneaker and I feel as if I know it like the back of my hand. Although The Guy is not a heel striker I’ve read that the Wave Prophecy 3 shoe is good for heel strikers, due to its engineering.

To give you a bit of a background, The Guy / Mr. Spiffykerms / My husband (the man of many nick names) is a 5x Ironman Triathlete who trains all year round, and runs sub 3 hour marathons, knows a little more than I do about running. The Guy illustrates how these shoes are efficient on his runs and one of his favourite pairs of shoes to wear. He has owned many different pairs and brands of running shoes and is an experienced runner with little complaint about his running form. He has a number of running shoes that he rotates through, and a newest edition to his ever growing collection is the Wave Propehcy 3’s.

TheGuyRunsTake it away, Mr Spiffykerms:

Where to start…  I am not completely new to the Mizuno “Wave” shoes, having worn (and loved) a pair of Wave Creation 8s a few years ago.  I feel like the Prophecy 3s are a lot like those old shoes, except lighter, sleeker, and better looking (the uppers are made of single piece of smooth mesh fabric).  Lately, as many runners have, I got caught up in the minimalist running shoe craze and Sauncony Kinvaras have been my workhorse shoes for a while.  I also really liked my Brooks Pure Flows as well.  Both of these have reduced heel to toe drop — unlike the Mizuno’s.  I don’t know what the heel to toe drop is for the Prophecy’s, but it’s big.  To my surprise, however, I had no difficulty adjusting back to this shoe.  Miles felt great right from the start.  I would describe the Prophecy’s as having a well cushioned but firm ride.  I think the full length plastic plate is responsible for that, and it does a great job of covering up any pebbles or surface textures you may be running on.  But despite the firmness, they never feel harsh and still stay responsive.  They are not like some over cushioned shoes that feel dead, soaking up all your energy with every step.  And that firmness comes with other benefits as well.  These shoes have never hurt my feet from day one.  I found them fantastic for rejuvenating tired or sore feet.  As a result, I have used these shoes exclusively for all of my long runs this year and continue to do so.  I still cycle them with my other shoes, though, and haven’t had a problem moving to/from the larger heel toe drop.

The shoes fit a little big, so I half sized down and they are perfect.  They have a large-ish toe box (which I like) and a smooth and well ventilated interior that doesn’t hug your feet too tightly.  One potential draw back of the Wave plate and those big gaps is that I feel rocks could pretty easily get caught up inside there.  For that reason, I haven’t used these for any significant trail running.  That said, when I have, I haven’t actually had a problem either so maybe they would perform just fine.

All and all, these are excellent training shoes.  I think they are a tad heavy for racing for me, but if my feet were aching or I was having any sort of plantar fasciitis issues, I would seriously consider them even for that as they definitely don’t feel slow.  Keep up the good work, Mizuno!Run

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