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Pilates in Pittsburgh

Not that I’ve really been blogging, but even on my Instagram you’ve seen a lack of running-centric posts. After my Achilles tendonitis last fall and my stress fracture this spring, I’ve been a little wary of logging a lot of miles. I’ve still be running, but just not my 30-40+ mile weeks that I used to run. It’s more like… maybe 20 miles a week. I’ve been doing a lot of cross-training with cycling, barre, yoga and… pilates.

My first couple of weeks in Pittsburgh I spent an inordinate amount of time Googling “Pilates in Pittsburgh“. I couldn’t seem to find a place to just do some mat pilates and not pay $50 a class. I’m used to all of my group fitness classes being packed up nicely in my Equinox membership but… Pittsburgh and Equinox doesn’t exist here. Luckily, I found the next best thing… X Shadyside.

X Shadyside offers more than 40 weekly group classes including: LES MILLS™ BODYPUMP™ & BODYATTACK™, Zumba®, Pilates, yoga, cycling and you can work out on over 300 pieces of premier strength training and cardio equipment. Long story short, I finally found a place to do Pilates in Pittsburgh.

Also, I was randomly reading about Pilates instead of sleeping last night (an article on mat versus reformer Pilates) and didn’t know that Pilates was invented to help rehab soldiers after World War I. There’s your fun fact for the day.

I’ve partnered with my pals at X Shadyside to give away a two month membership to X Shadyside so you can do Pilates with me! This is valued at approximately $150 ($49/ month + $49 initiation fee). Just leave a comment telling me what your favorite way to work up a sweat at the gym is. I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday, September 28th.

That Time I Quit My Job

Today, August 26th 2016 was my last day at Old Navy where I spent nearly the last two years, first on the international team and then on the social media team.

I’ve learned that the hardest thing sometime can be knowing when to throw in the towel when something isn’t working. This can apply to relationships, your job, your workout routine — having room to fail is what helps you to grow.

Failure has such a negative connotation in our society. Webster’s Dictionary describes it as “omission of occurrence or performance”, but really, it should be known as what happens in order to force change to create success. Despite knowing failure is natural and brings you to a place of growth, I still have a hard time giving up on anything. I once ran 20 miles on a stress fracture because I refused to accept that I was injured.

Staying at my job wasn’t working for me. I’m such a success-oriented person who needs to constantly achieve and when I wasn’t achieving at work, my whole life started crumbling around me. I felt like a failure because I wasn’t invested in my career anymore. My lack of interest in what I was doing made me feel like I wasn’t ambitious, I wasn’t driven, and that I literally had no business being in San Francisco anymore since this wasn’t working out.

I had a moment of clarity when I was home in Pittsburgh in July. It all came to me as I drove to my grandparents house one morning and it felt like a sign that I suddenly had all of the plans in my head — I was going to quit my job, move back to Pittsburgh for a few months, try to freelance full time and then come back to SF to work on a really exciting project with a friend. I told everyone my plan, they were all on board — even my dad. I wrote my resignation letter on the plane back to SF.

Yet I stayed. I started second-guessing myself because I didn’t want to lose the cushy paycheck. “Oh but I’ll miss being able to travel.” “I’ll miss getting my nails done.” “I won’t be able to afford SoulCycle.” Really shitty excuses when it comes down to my overall happiness. And really, they were excuses because I was afraid of taking a really scary leap into the unknown.

I just kept waiting around for everyone else to make a decision for me because I didn’t trust myself. Then one day my hand was forced and I realized — it’s not fair to anyone that I’m staying in this job. All my friends and family hear about is how miserable I am yet I wasn’t making a change. It wasn’t fair to future Cassie who deserves to be happy and do something with all of this talent. It wasn’t fair to my employer or my team, either. They deserved someone in that role who wanted to be there, not someone who was there out of self-induced obligation.

I was so jealous of everyone I saw who was writing, freelancing full-time, working on cool projects and desperately wanted that kind of flexibility in a career. It’s not that I don’t want to work hard and do awesome things, it’s just that I want to be able to do so on my own time and at the place of my choosing. I realized I’m the only person who’s capable of achieving living the life I want. If I want to somehow make six-figures doing work I actually give a shit about, that’s on me. But first, I had to get out of the situation that completely destroyed my self-confidence, my drive, my relationship and my motivation. So I decided to throw in the towel on my job.

That morning, I lined up the first bit of freelance work just to have some money coming in so I felt a lot more secure in my decision. I thought about taking a sabbatical from work but since I do have that desire to have a purpose and achieve, I knew that wasn’t the right answer (and truthfully, it was a relief when I realized I actually wanted to work, just not where I was currently working). I had told my therapist the Friday before I was finally going to quit. I told all my friends and family (for like the fifth time, I’m sure). But this time, I actually did it. And exactly zero part of it was scary. It was 110% a sense of relief.

I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. It’s okay to have that existential crisis in your mid (okay, late) 20s. It’s okay to have it at any point of your life. I don’t know how this is all going to pan out in the end but if it wasn’t meant to be, it wouldn’t have happened this way. Life has a funny way of being cyclical and dropping you off right where you need to be and bringing and taking people to and from your life at the pivotal moments.

Quit your job. Buy that plane ticket. Write that e-mail. Submit your essay. Whatever you’re putting off because of fear of failure or fear of being hurt — just do it. If you’re feeling something in your gut — and you keep feeling it for weeks and weeks — your intuition is probably right. The worst that happens is you have a learning experience, maybe you have to lick your wounds for a little bit but life goes on. The best that happens is everything works out perfectly but let’s be real — being vulnerable and admitting what we failed at or what we’re not great at is what makes us relatable and human.

None of us are going to knock it out of the park in every aspect of our life all of the time but if we keep going, something we do is going to work out and get us up on the scoreboard.

Getting it Together on the Road: Los Angeles Travel Guide

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A Los Angeles Travel Guide that focuses on the healthier side of LA.

As we all know, late last October I had a twinge-y Achilles that I ignored and kept running on until I couldn’t do a squat, let alone walk, because of it. I spent two-ish months in physical therapy, still aiming towards being able to run the LA Marathon. Finally, when I still wasn’t able to run in early December, I scrapped my plans and just focused on getting my Achilles healthy again.

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Part of the allure of running the LA Marathon was that the Olympic Trials were the day before. I thought it would feel really historic and cool to run the same course (spoiler alert: not the same course) as a lot of the elite and professional runners I admire. Emily and I decided that while I was no longer running the marathon, it would still be cool to spend a weekend in LA and watch the Olympic Trials — it felt like a shame for them to be so close to SF and to not go.

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It was totally the perfect weekend of running (including my first double-digit run in months), relaxing, napping, drinking a lot of coffee, eating delicious food and girl time we both needed. I actually already have a trip planned with Kristine and Jane to head back down next month for another wellness weekend in Santa Monica (think SoulCycle, more brunches and laying by the pool).

Eat
GjelinaIf you’re going to splurge on one meal (dollar-wise, not so much calorie wise) in LA, definitely hit up Gjelina on Abbot-Kinney in Venice. They’re famous for their pizzas, veggie-centric dishes and mushroom toast. Em and I were having a “wellness weekend” so we ordered a couple veggies (Brussels sprouts and grilled kobucha squash) and two meats (seared scallops and a wild boar  sausage with homemade sauerkraut and mustard). I’m definitely looking forward to going again and trying more of the menu next time I’m in LA.

CassiaOn a whim we decided to go here on Saturday night after seeing it on Eater LA’s Essential 38 list. This space is huge (something we’re not really used to in SF), absolutely stunning and they have Scribe Sylvaner on their wine list — done. They serve up Southeast Asian fare, going a little heavy on the French influence — think pates, oysters, the most amazing beef curry I’ve ever had, jellyfish salad (as far as I know, I had never had jellyfish before) and delicious grilled Chinese broccoli with fish sauce.

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Sage: There’s three outposts of this vegan bistro (Echo Park, Pasadena and Culver City) and even if you’re not vegan, this place is a must-try. They have nourishing bowls, salads, sandwiches and tacos and have a ton of gluten-free options. I recommend the Brazilian Bowl — fried plantains, black beans, quinoa, guac, mushrooms and leeks.

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Eggslut: Living in SF, we’re accustomed to waiting in line for things (Bi-Rite, The Mill… that time we waited two and a half hours for brunch at Plow…) but I don’t think we expected the hour wait on Valentine’s Day at Eggslut. Located in the Grand Central Market it Downtown LA, the line for breakfast sandwiches and the famous Eggslut (eggs coddled in a potato puree and topped with cheese and chives, served with crusty baguette) wrapped around the building. A bacon, egg and cheese with avocado was much appreciated after SoulCycle.

Coffee

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Alfred CoffeeYou know when decor makes a place almost more famous than the food does (Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, anyone?) — well, I think that’s the case at Alfred. Their coffee is great (Is any place that serves Stumptown not great?) and they also have a $10 latte, which is just Pressed Juicery Almond Milk over espresso. The guy was cool enough to give us a sip of their kombucha on tap too, which was a beet flavored one. There’s locations in Brentwood, Santa Monica and Silver Lake.

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Woodcat Coffee BarBecause I was originally going to LA to actually run the marathon I wanted to stay near the start at Dodgers Stadium so I booked a place in Echo Park. Emily and I obviously needed coffee the day we arrived after we ran and ate some lunch at Sage. (Fun fact: in three days we made at least six coffee stops.) Their beans are from Wrecking Ball in SF which is probably a half-mile from my apartment.

Shopping

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Compartes Chocolatiers: We all know I’m obsessed with Compartes (there actually is a photo of me with like 8 different Compartes bars at my kitchen table). If you’re in LA stop by their Brentwood store and stock up on the best chocolate ever.

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Shout & AboutI literally wanted to buy everything in this store. If you need a gift or just a fun pick me up, head to this Echo Park store.

BurroBefore dinner at Gjelina, we popped into Burro to shop for things we didn’t need but everyone wants — pricey candles, beautiful paper foods, Pendleton blankets, cookbooks, pillows and a bazillion other things I wanted.

Chat with me:
Have you been to LA? What are your favorite places? What spots should I hit up when I go back next month?

Now Trending – Best Links Week of 2.22

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Best links of the week including where to spring break as an adult, five times you shouldn’t save money traveling, the pizza styles of the US and the best tank top for your workout.

Photo credit: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Fancy seeing… me here. I’m going to sit here and try to think about what to write for thirty minutes when I could really do something more productive so I’m just going to get to it and give you the best links of the past month week.

Travel
I wish spring break as an adult was still a thing… even though I’m going on two trips in March.

Cait from Pretty and Fun went on an amaze trip to Japan and definitely has me scoping tickets to Tokyo.

Traveling is expensive, I know. Here are five times you shouldn’t save money traveling.

Lifestyle
If you follow me on Twitter, I tweeted this out earlier this week, but The Most Annoying Habits on Social Media is so spot on.

I feel like this girl is better at being me than me, apartment-style wise.

Anyone who is close to me knows I’m like, real weird and read my horoscope (Refinery29) weekly and totally buy in to all the Pisces this-and-that BS. Anyway, this article on what your birthstone means is actually interesting.

Running and Fitness
Speed work is something I need to get back at ASAP (but I did do some tempo miles this Thursday which felt nice after months of running slow).

My friend Kristine has literally everything on lock-down, but she also has the best tank for your workout whether it’s running, SoulCycle, yoga or a tough strength training workout like Barry’s.

Food
The amount of time I have spent thinking about bagels in the past six months is absurd. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Here are some can’t miss bagel shops in NYC.

The amount of sugar in most recipes is really absurd and unnecessary — if you want to cut down the amount of sugar, start with these tips.

I’ve read a few articles about how SF doesn’t have good pizza (but those people have never been to Del Popolo). People get real aggressive on the different/best types of pizza in the US.

Can I have these poached egg breakfast tacos for lunch and dinner too?

Chat with me:
Where would you Spring Break this year? What’s the most annoying thing to you on social media? What’s the best type of pizza?

Now Trending – Best Links Week of 2.1

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Best links of the week including the best places to travel in 2016, easy weeknight dinners, workouts to do while you Netflix binge and the Instagram accounts you should unfollow this year.

Photo credit: 1 / 2 /3 

This is like 20 kinds of late but I miss writing these posts! Can we really believe the last Now Trending was a month ago? And I only wrote six posts in January. Things have been busy around these parts and blogging is the first thing to go in a quest to get enough sleep and keep my sanity.

Also, Super Bowl 50 has been like, ruining my life on the daily. I’m 100% refusing to leave the Marina this weekend. Bike commuting has made me the biggest ball of fear and stress in the world. Thursday there were pedicabs taking up the whole bike lane and people in like, early-2000 Ford Explorers basically almost ready to hit me on my bike. I think I have a grey hair from all of this.

Here are the best links I’ve found… the past month. Whoops.

Travel
How have I only been to four of these best places to travel in 2016 (Montreal, Catalonia, Puerto Rico and Sayulita)? Ojai definitely needs to happen soon.

11 tips for sleeping better on a plane.

Lifestyle
little late, but these are the Instagram, accounts you should unfollow this year.

I want to live in this cozy Portland cabin.

As I mentioned, I’ve not been feeling like myself due to a lot of outside stressors. One of my fave SoulCycle instructors, Molli, talks about what to do when you’re off your A game on her blog.

Running and Fitness
Fitness goals that have nothing to do with losing weight. I’m all about learning – or honing – a new skill.

Fun fact: I only watch VEEP when I’m working out. It’s like a way to make me do at home workouts. That being said, I haven’t watched an episode or done a strength workout at home in weeks (FML). Anyway, here are workouts you can do while Netflix binging.

Surfing casual 80-foot waves. NBD.

Food
A requirement to be my friend: we have to order a bunch of plates when we go out to eat and share everything.

Did you buy 20 different types of non-wheat flour on a quest to make the perfect gluten-free whatever? Yeah, me too. Here’s how to use them up.

An easier way to make a grilled chocolate sandwich.

I don’t know about you but the last thing I want to do when I come home from work is to cook dinner. These simple easy dinner ideas are right up my alley!

BRB, running to Pressed Juicery to buy a Compartes X Pressed Juicery Bar.

Watch
I went to an event at Facebook HQ this week and heard the CMO of Lyft speak. She was great! I’m obsessed with this spot they did with Jerry Rice as a Lyft driver.

The Ultimate Guide to San Francisco Part Two: Restaurants

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Your Guide to San Francisco Restaurants, just in time for your trip to the city for the Super Bowl or vacation.

This is the second part in the Ultimate Guide to San Francisco series. I’m teaming up with my friend Kristine (who has lived here her entire life, so she’s an expert) where she’s telling you where to work up an appetite (spoiler alert: SoulCycle).

It’s no secret I love to eat, consider myself a foodie and love giving restaurant recommendations and/or judging you based on where you eat while you’re in SF. Unless you’re lame and go to like, Rainforest Cafe (I swear there is actually one in the city), it’s hard to have a bad meal in San Francisco.

I could talk about food all day and where to eat in the city but since you’re here for a limited amount of time, I’ll cut to the heavy hitters and can’t miss spots. This list is by no means comprehensive. And if you’ve missed it before, here are the best vegan restaurants in San Francisco and the best coffee shops in San Francisco.

The Marina
My stomping grounds!

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Blue Barn Gourmet
Home of the $20 salad (I swear they’re worth it… and only $20 if you get ahi tuna but you need to get the ahi tuna), they have chef-created salads or Make Your Own. They also have soup and sandwiches if you don’t want to eat a bowl of veggies.

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Delarosa
Because man cannot live on salad alone when visiting SF, there’s pizza that involves burrata cheese.

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Rose’s Cafe
This is where you want to brunch in the Marina because breakfast pizza is a thing.

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NOPA
Stands for North of Panhandle, right by the Full House House.

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NOPA
My favorite restaurant in the city, duh. Go for brunch or dinner but make reservations or eat at the bar. I love eating at the bar though sooooo…

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Nopalito
NOPA’s Mexican little sister, go early if you want in. Last weekend I went with three people at 8:30 and was told they weren’t taking parties bigger than two any longer!
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The Mill
If you haven’t heard, San Francisco invented fancy toast. Pony up the $4 for a delicious piece of Josey Baker Bread with all the spreads. Better yet, take a friend and get all the breads and all the spreads.

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Little Chihuahua
If you don’t want to blow your entire paycheck on a meal, head to Little Chihuahua for a burrito, tacos or some of their crack salsa verde (it’s seriously that good).

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Pacific Heights
Elevation gains, beautiful houses and even better views.

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The Progress
This place won a James Beard award and I think maybe has a Michelin star. Anyway, make reservations because that’s the only way you’ll get in, unless you date one of their chefs for a hot minute, not that I know about that or anything.

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State Bird Provisions
If you can get in I totally respect you and you win at San Francisco. I still haven’t been but you should go so I can eat vicariously through you.

Basik
The best acai in SF – and also on the Big Island in Hawaii at their original location, where I fell in love with them. You’ll wait in line so go for broke and get a large when you finally get to order.

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The Mission and Portero Hill
Everything that’s right about SF as far as food and wrong as in everything else.


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Craftsman and Wolves
Just go get a Rebel Within and call it a day. It’s a soft-boiled egg baked into an asiago and sausage muffin.

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Farmhouse Thai Kitchen
There’s a ton of well-known Thai places (Les Rois, Kin Khao, Hawker Fare) and trust me, I’ve tried most of them, but this place is my jam. They have blue rice!

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Bi-Rite Creamery
The best ice cream in the city, duh.

Plow
Because you want to wait in line for brunch for two hours.

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The Tenderloin and Hayes Valley
Also known as the Trendyloin also known as not a place I frequent (well, Hayes Valley is super nice).

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Souvla
How do I not have photos of Souvla on my phone? Legit one of my favorite places in the city. Fast-caual Greek food — order at the counter and choose from veggie, lamb, chicken or pork in a salad or a wrap. Leave room for their frozen Greek yogurt for dessert. They also have a solid and affordable wine list.

Huxley
If you’re determined to eat avocado toast while you’re here, go to Huxley because theirs has uni on it.

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Chat with me:
Do you want to visit any of these restaurants? Where do you want to eat in SF? What other places here do you love?

The Ultimate Guide to San Francisco Part One: Logistics

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Traveling to San Francisco for the Super Bowl, work or a vacation? This is the first part in a series of my Ultimate Guide to San Francisco.

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I’m alive! I know, you’re as surprised as I am. When you have a new job and your old job and a packed social schedule and freelance projects and workouts and life sometimes blogging falls to the wayside. But I missed you guys!

This is the first part in a series of posts about San Francisco in which I capitalize SEO search terms for the Super Bowl. That ish is about to shut the city down. I am only bike commuting/walking from now until whenever the hell the city is open again. Lola is tuned up and parked and I might drive her around the parking garage to be sure she gets some exercise.

ANYWAY, so in the next couple of weeks my friend Kristine and I will tell you where you should eat, drink and sweat in San Francisco. Be sure to check back on both of our blogs for the next round of tips — and special deals while you’re here!

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Things You Should Know Before You Go:

  • Please don’t call it San Fran.
    Please please please. It’s San Francisco. Or SF. Never Frisco. NEVER San Fran. I don’t know who made the rule but my uncle told me that before I ever moved here (he travels a lot here for work). San Fran just sounds kind of brash once you think about it, doesn’t it? Like, I love you if you’ve said it… and I won’t correct you. But you will definitely stand out as a tourist if you call it San Fran while you’re here.
  • California is not 80 degrees and sunny every day.
    San Francisco is honestly usually between 60-70 degrees year round and either foggy or sunny. Except during El Niño when it will rain for 40 days and 40 nights. You’ll need closed-toed shoes, at least a light jacket at all times and pants.
  • You are not going to wear a bikini at the beach.
    Or lay out. You probably need a parka at the beach even in the summer. Actually, especially in the summer because that’s when it’s the coldest here.

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Getting Around

  • Uber/Lyft
    Ride-sharing was started here. If Uber or Lyft are expensive in your city, they’re pretty much a $5-$6 ride anywhere in the city if you do Uber Pool or Lyft Line. Yeah, it’s like kind of strange the first time getting in a car with strangers but also… it’s still a lot better than riding the bus.
  • MUNI/Bus/BART
    I don’t know how these work. Sometimes I ride MUNI if I have an appointment downtown or I need to go somewhere on the other side of the city and don’t want to pay for a bazillion dollar Uber ride and don’t want to drive. AKA sometimes when I run across the city and need to get home. You’ll need cash ($2.25) or a Clipper card (you can buy these at Walgreens) for a ride and if you have the Google Maps app, just open it up and choose transit and it will tell you how to get there. I still don’t know where to find bus stops though.
  • Walk
    Yeah there are hills but the city is infamously walkable. Just walk fast if you’re in a sketchy part of the city (aka The Tenderloin/Civic Center/Parts of the Mission and SoMa). Google Maps/Apple Maps will tell you how to walk places. I walked the city to find my neighborhood so you’ll never know where you’ll end up.
  • Drive
    I wouldn’t recommend renting a car. Parking is awful and expensive — even more so if you’re staying in a hotel (aka like $50+ dollars a night). If you want to go out to wine country or something, rent a car for the day or hire a driver.
  • Bike
    There’s bike-rentals and public bike shares throughout the city. Bike lanes are also pretty plentiful. I beg you though — if you’re renting a bike, please pay attention to people walking and running, especially on Marina Blvd (you’ll ride this if you’re riding to Golden Gate Bridge). I have to basically avoid walking or running that way from 9 a.m. onwards on the weekend lest I get run over by a tourist on a bicycle who is using a selfie stick to Snapchat his ride or something.

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Where to Stay

  • Airbnb
    Without a doubt, I suggest staying in an Airbnb. Hotels here are not in desirable parts of the city. Look in the Marina District, Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights or Russian Hill. But also I’m like super particular about where I am located.

What to Pack

  • Practical shoes for walking
    I never wear heels anymore, unless I’m going out and I’m going via Uber/Lyft. Just pack athletic shoes/flat booties/whatever has some support because you’ll do a lot of walking.
  • A jacket
    60 degrees in San Francisco is a lot colder than 60 degrees anywhere else.
  • Workout clothes
    Even if you don’t plan to workout you’ll probably get here and get so wrapped up in the culture that is SF that you’ll want to go on a hike. You can go to Lululemon and buy something of course but our sales tax is like… 10%. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Chat with me:
Do you have any logistical tips for a trip to San Francisco? What else do you want to know about visiting SF? What are your favorite things if you’ve been here before?

Now Trending – Best Links Week of 1.3

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Best links of the week including how to build a macro bowl, best running shoes for flat feet, affordable island getaways and the one ingredient to upgrade your food.

Photo credit: 1 / 2 / 3

It’s been almost a month since I’ve shared my favorite recent reads with you. Oddly enough, besides personal posts (talking about things like lightening up on yourself or achieving goals) these are my favorite posts to write.

I had so many holiday links to share but they kind of aren’t relevant now. I always think I’m going to be productive and write when I’m in Pittsburgh but instead I focus on spending time with friends and family. It was particularly hard to come back west this time (but I missed my friends and SoulCycle and decent Mexican food).

Travel
I’m all about Airbnb but sometimes you just gotta stay in a hotel! These hotels are gorgeous and affordable.

If you live in a part of the country that is bitterly cold, you might want to check out one of these affordable island getaways.

This post basically had me planning a trip to Ojai.

Lifestyle
Isn’t it a bummer when shows are like the best ever and then they totally jump the shark and you never even watch the series finale? (I never gave up on Lost or The OC, but totally stopped watching like 5 of these other shows.)

Sometimes we’re all over-worked and over-scheduled and burnt out and need to say no and take some “me time“. I try to leave one night a week open (at least!) to relax, catch up on freelance/blog stuff, make a healthy dinner… basically anything that isn’t an immediate obligation to be somewhere.

Totally loved the story behind Instagram filter names! I wasn’t crazy to think Reyes was about Point Reyes! Let’s just not name our kids Valencia if we’re reading this post, okay?

26 work habits we all need to break in 2016.

Running and Fitness
SoulCycle is partnering with Target to have pop-up studios in 10 cities: Atlanta, LA, Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas, Nashville, Denver and Seattle. Make your account and be sure to ride if they’re in your city!

If you have flat feet, these are the running shoes for you.

Tina Muir is such an inspiration to me — not only because she’s an amazing runner but she keeps it real that elite runners do things like indulge and gain weight.

Food
100% NEED these rainbow bagels in my life.

Were you like me and you binge watched Master of None in like a week? Here are 5 things Aziz and the show get right about food (that taco truck scene has been me numerous times).

Sometimes it takes one ingredient to upgrade your food… why have I never put miso on sweet potatoes?

I’m doing this goofy thing where I cook one new vegetable a month in 2016. I’ve already hit two for this month – turnips and parsnips. Spiralized Parsnips with Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale and Feta was so simple and so delicious.

All about the macro bowls. Hit your 2016 resolutions by making some of these delicious bowls.

Chat with me:
DOES YOUR CITY GET A SOULCYCLE X TARGET POP-UP? (Why doesn’t SF?!) What TV show did you love and never finish? What do you think Aziz and Master of None got right about food?

2016 Goals

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A reflection on my 2016 goals and a look back at how I did on my goals for 2015.

2015 was kind of a crash and burn year for me. I can safely say I have never been so happy a year was over. I actually said “Bye, 2005” at midnight accidentally because I was so over 2015.

Emily and I were texting (duh) on Friday and she said she loved New Years because it felt like a clean slate. And honestly, this year, it does feel like a clean slate to me. I’m sticking with three attainable goals for this year: one physical, one personal and one professional. Shit, am I getting it together?

2016 Goals:

  • Run a 3:45 marathon
    I said I wanted to BQ this year but my Achilles injury majority set me back, including having to throw in the towel for the LA Marathon. I’m toying with running Pittsburgh again and I’m definitely entering the lottery for Chicago. If I don’t get into Chicago, I’ll run Portland.
  • Travel More
    I traveled the least in 2015 as I have in years. In 2014 I was be-bopping around somewhere every other week. Also I hated where I lived so… that’s a thing. Anyway, I already have a trip to Tulum booked and plans for Nashville, Vancouver (again) and maybe a few others (Seattle, Austin (again), Europe of some sort or Morocco, somewhere super secret but insanely cool, and hopefully Cuba with my dad).
  • Work on Something That Ends Up in AdWeek
    Well, I guess now’s as good a time as any to mention I accepted a new role on the Social Media team at Old Navy, minus me changing my LinkedIn and Facebook after a couple too many glasses of wine (which in my case, is any number over one glass). So yeah, trying to do epic shit.

Let’s see where I netted out for my goals for 2015. They were way too aggressive, which everyone told me, but you know, 2015 Cassie just couldn’t listen.

  • Run a 1:45 half-marathon: Fail. I didn’t even work hard enough to try. I did take like ~2 minutes off my time throughout the year. If it happens in 2016, cool. If not… well, that’s what 2017 is for.
  • Run a full marathon (Pittsburgh Marathon – 4:06)
  • Get Back to my Happy Weight: Fail. I’m actually further from it. But I’m working on it again. While learning how to love and accept myself. I’m going to say hating myself is keeping me from weighing what I want to weigh. So I’m just going to work on balance this year.
  • Stop Snacking After Dinner: Another fail. But I am getting a little better with not letting myself get ravenous hungry at night, hence why I would snack after dinner. I’m also doing better at saying “Shut up stomach, you can have breakfast in the morning” and going to sleep.
  • Strength Train Four Times Per Week: Remember when I said my goals were too aggressive? I’m working on this one, too. Except like, when I can. And saying at least 15 minutes but ideally 30.
  • Go to Yoga AT LEAST Twice a Week: I went maybe once a week. Whoops. I do have a monthly unlimited pass to the new Baptiste Yoga in SF and I like that walk a lot better than the walk to Yoga Flow and I can also easily ride my bike there. And I like that studio approximately 100 times better. It’s no Amazing Yoga, but it will do.
  • Go to SoulCycle Once a Week: That happened like 5-6 times a week in November/December thanks to my Achilles injury.
  • Juice More Regularly: I did use my juicer more this year. And I also bought Pressed Juicery Greens 4 like it was my job.
  • Post Four Times a Week on AGIT: I think I posted like, ~3 times a week on average.
  • Improve My Photography: Not where I want it to be, but a definite improvement on the past year.
  • Business Plan: This like, is half-started. I realized I would have to move home to make this happen and I’m just not in any hurry to leave SF now.
  • Actually Go Surfing: I went surfing a decent amount of times this year and took a Surfcation to Sayulita, which I would like to make an every year thing (at least the Surfcation part, but maybe the Sayulita part because my surf instructor was hot).
  • Be More On Time For Things: I’m going to say this improved. Having to be on time for shit you pay for (SoulCycle, your therapist) makes you more on time for other things.
  • Stop Procrastinating: Nope. Still procrastinating.
  • Visit One New Country: Counting Mexico.
  • Visit Vancouver: Seawheeze! And already registered and have a house for Seawheeze 2016!
  • Take More Advantage of the West Coast: Going to take a hard fail on this one. I went to Big Sur. That’s it.

Chat with me:
Did you achieve your goals for 2015? What are your goals for 2016?

Raw Snickerdoodle Cookies (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo)

Raw Snickerdoodle Cookies

Raw Snickerdoodle Cookies are made with no refined sugar, dairy or grains and don’t even require an oven to bake! The perfect holiday treat for everyone in your life.

Remember the plight of the Snickerdoodle LARABAR? I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own. But it’s Christmas/[the holidays if we are being politically correct], so I had to make them into cookies instead. And they have five ingredients, one of which is salt so it doesn’t even count. They’re Paleo, gluten-free, vegan, raw vegan — basically, unless you have a nut allergy specific to cashews, you can nosh on these cookies.

Raw Snickerdoodle Cookies

I had my first snickerdoodle in elementary school. My social studies class (which was my favorite class, BTW) had colonial school days where we all sat on benches and wrote on hand-held chalkboards and dressed up like it was 1776. It was clearly my favorite day ever because Felicity was my favorite American Girl doll and I had tried on just about every colonial dress in my grandmother’s costume shop until I found the perfect blue dress of my dreams. (It’s so East Coast to have that much of a need for colonial dresses… I don’t think anyone on the West Coast remembers that Williamsburg and the Mayflower and Pilgrims were a thing.) Also involved in colonial school days? Snickerdoodles.

Raw Snickerdoodle Cookies

Apparently snickerdoodles were a traditional colonial cookie. Everyone was required to bring in two dozen snickerdoodles and there were like two dozen kids in my class so obviously we ate snickerdoodles for a straight month, not that I’m complaining. Also thinking about the work from parents that went into colonial school days makes me never want to have kids because I can not deal with that type of pressure.

Since everyone knows what a snickerdoodle tastes like (and I swear these taste like snickerdoodles, you know I wouldn’t lie to you), I want to just let you know how huge of a dork I was in elementary school because it kind of relates back to Christmas. I was so obsessed with every American Girl doll and especially Felicity that I wanted to live in Williamsburg, Virginia. I’ve actually been there no less than three times — once with both of my parents, once with school (re: colonial school days) and once with my dad on our way home from the Outerbanks when I was in middle school.

Raw Snickerdoodle Cookies

I planned on going to college at William and Mary when I was little just so I could live in the same town as a fictitious doll. My craziness clearly started at an early age. I should chat with my therapist to figure out what this all means, especially because I lost my shit last winter when it rained too hard in SF and the power was out and I didn’t have cell service so I was bored.

Okay, it’s the holidays and you have things to do so whip up these raw snickerdoodle cookies and relish in the fact I’m secretly kind of nerdy. (An ex-boyfriend once asked what the nerdiest thing about me was… I said my obsession with North Korea but clearly it’s my obsession with American Girl dolls. And yes, I had all the original seven. Duh.)

Raw Snickerdoodle Cookies

4.7 from 3 reviews
Raw Snickerdoodle Cookies (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo)
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Raw Vegan, Vegan, Paleo
Serves: 15 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dates, soaked for at least 10 minutes
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of pink himalayan sea salt
Instructions
  1. Put dates and cashews into your food processor and combine until a ball forms. Occasionally scrape down the sides as needed.
  2. Add cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt and continue to combine.
  3. Place ball in refrigerator in a covered dish for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Roll mixture into 1" balls then pat down with your hand or a spoon to make into a cookie.
  5. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week or the freezer for up to one month.

Chat with me:
Are you judging me for having every American Girl doll? What is the nerdiest thing about you?

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