OptiFast New You Prize Trip

**FYI, those on OptiFast Full Fast, this post contains photos of delicious food**

Remember back in June when I found out that I’d been selected as one of the winners of the OptiFast New You contest?

Well, this past weekend, Adam and I set off on our “Luxury New York City Weekend” courtesy of OptiFast! I hadn’t been to NYC since I was 17 and a high school senior, and I was looking forward to seeing the sights, tasting the foods, and enjoying the city as an adult.

After being greeted at LaGuardia Airport by a guy holding a sign with my name (and I totally forgot to take a picture), we were chauffeured (literally!) to Le Parker Meridien, a beautiful boutique hotel in Midtown, a stone’s throw from Times Square.

After settling in to our room and changing into more public-appropriate clothes (as opposed to the loungewear we flew in), we went for the first of many walks. We saw Times Square, Carnegie Hall, the old Paramount building, and loads of others. Our ultimate destination though? A New York standby: The Carnegie Deli.

IMG_2575.jpg

We split an enormous corned beef sandwich, and I had a childhood favorite: an egg cream! Seltzer, chocolate syrup, and a touch of milk… so good. So New York.

Of course, we took the obligatory Times Square selfie:

IMG_2572.jpg

After a brief stop back at the hotel, I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen since high school! Chrissy and I met when I was in 5th grade, and we played the flute in band together all through middle school and high school. She went on to be a professional flautist, and lives just outside of NYC. We met for a drink, and later a slice of pizza and dessert. I’ll spare you those photos, but this one is cute!

IMG_2608.JPG

Friday brought more exploring: East Village, Alphabet City, and an ultimate stop to meet up with Adam’s cousin at Katz’s Deli.

IMG_2611.jpg

We sat at the very table from “the famous scene” in When Harry Met Sally, and I had the best sandwich of my life, and yes, another egg cream.

IMG_2630.jpg

IMG_2632.jpg

We ventured into SoHo for a phenomenal dinner, but I’ll spare you all the photos from that.

Saturday was makeover day! After a relaxing massage at the Moonshine Spa in our hotel, I met up with Marcia (the other female winner) and Arleni, our OptiFast contact. We walked to the salon and I was greeted by my “team” for the day. I got highlights, a haircut, a manicure, and my makeup done… I felt like royalty! The results were phenomenal… I still feel so pretty!

IMG_2648.jpg

IMG_2646.jpg

We had a lovely cocktail reception with the winners and our spouses, and then Adam and I went to the famous Iron Chef Morimoto’s sushi restaurant for the sushi of our lives.

Sunday brought more exploring, a trip to FAO Schwarz, a walk down 5th Avenue, and an amazing brunch.

I went in to this trip, as I had with my others, wanting to have no regrets. I didn’t want to regret choices I’d made, nor did I want to regret those I didn’t make. So yes, I indulged, but we also walked a ton. Sure, I had a drink or two, but they were at lighter meals. It’s all about balance! My success was proven at the scale today too, I was only up POINT TWO pounds between my Spain trip and NYC. I call that a win.

Traveling: Then & Now

I’ve been lucky enough to spend a good portion of my Summer break traveling which, after years of a weekend trip here or there, has been truly amazing.

Last summer, my sister and I went to Key West, Florida for a few days at the very end of the summer. I ended up getting strep on the trip, and apart from that, I was generally sick and tired all the time. We walked around in the heat, and I ended up being 2-3 strides behind my sister the whole time. She told me that she was so worried about me. This was my favorite photo from that trip:

IMG_0058.JPG

This year, I spent a week in and around Portland, Oregon with one of my closest college friends. I told her when I booked the trip that I wanted to do “all the outdoorsy stuff I physically couldn’t do last visit”. That last visit was two years ago. This was me and Ericka on that last visit:

IMG_0258.JPG

So, Ericka planned all sorts of fun things for when I was in Oregon. We hiked miles upon miles in beautiful places, but there were two moments where I just stopped and appreciated how far I’d come. We were on a trail at Silver Falls State Park and we just kept going and going, up and down hills, taking photo after photo of gorgeous waterfalls. At one point, we took a short little dirt trail to a rather hidden waterfall, and I took off my shoes, waded in the water, and climbed up onto a rock to take a little breather. Considering I was breathless in that photo above after walking up a short flight of stairs, this was quite an accomplishment. We ended up hiking almost 9 miles that day!

IMG_1500.JPG

A couple days later, we took a short road trip up to Crater Lake, quite possibly one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been. We hiked about 3 miles that day, and there was only one point where it was just “too much”. I mean, really, a 45 degree angle for miles at a time is hard for everyone!

IMG_1595.JPG

Just this past week, my mom, her best friend, my sister, and I all went to Barcelona, Spain and the Mediterranean coast. We’d spent months planning, and surprised my mom with the trip for her birthday back in May, and it was every bit as amazing as I’d imagined it would be. We walked a minimum of 12,000 steps each day (thank you FitBit!) and I was able to keep up with my sister this time! We even talked about how I wasn’t “scurrying behind her” on this year’s vacation. These are a few favorites from this year’s trip:

IMG_1840.jpg

IMG_1881.jpg

IMG_2180.JPG

And just so you don’t have to scroll up to see, here’s a comparison of last year to this year:

936086_10100312899169665_7144751079156884987_n.jpg

Now, let’s talk food a minute. I’m a huge fan of food, obviously. On both my trips, I generally ate what I wanted, but the quantities were significantly different than in the past. In Oregon, keeping low-carb was really easy, as Ericka is gluten-free. We enjoyed amazing meals, I think I may have overeaten once, and I rediscovered my love for peanut butter.

In Spain, I was bound and determined to eat as much authentic food as I could, and yes, this included carbs. I had fruits, bread, desserts, wine at lunch and dinner, and enjoyed thoroughly every last bite. I ate a ton of seafood, sucked the stuff out of shrimp heads, drank Fanta Limón, and don’t regret a thing. The minute I touched down on US soil, it was back to plan: a salad at the airport during our layover, followed by a lettuce wrap for dinner before I went to bed at 8:45 p.m. I can say today that I’m proud of myself for indulging the way I wanted to without overdoing it, and I have no regrets about what I didn’t indulge in.

I do, however, regret that I didn’t bring back any jamón iberico… sigh…