2016 Marine Corps Marathon Recap.

Well hi there! Sorry for the race recap delay. I am finally back from my Washington DC getaway! Hope all is well in your world. Let’s do a little marathon race recapping, shall we?

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I had such a marvelous time…so fun getting to see college friends and many friends who I consider more family than anything else. This was my 4th time running this race and my 21st full marathon. It’s actually one of the only marathons I’ve run more than once! I just love the challenge of the course, the marines cheering you on every step of the way, and the organization overall. It is hands down one of the best 26.2 experiences around.

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So since I arrived late on Friday we got up fairly early on Saturday to head to the race expo. I loved the change of expo location…the National Harbor which is absolutely beautiful. I kind of wished I had more time to explore this area but I loved it.

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I grabbed my race number, took some pics with Marines and I was ready to go.

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Sunday funday! Race morning was quite the early morning for me. Since I stayed with a girlfriend who lives right outside of DC she was gracious enough to take me straight to race headquarters to jump on the shuttle for the race. This process was actually much more organized than I thought it would be. Since the Metro rail stations opened late a lot of people had to do the shuttle thing that morning to arrive to the race on time. It actually all really worked out and I preferred this honestly over taking the Metro! It was much faster and security check in was a breeze. I got there about an hour before the start and got a pretty pic of the sunrise and cool flyover before the race.

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We got the ready set go and we were off. It’s usually close to 30,000 who run this race every year and we all kind of start together. So the start was slow and it’s a lot of weaving in and out but eventually the crowds thinned out and I made my way through.

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I definitely had a strategy for this race going in. I wanted to ideally get close to the 4 hour mark this time as I knew my training had been pretty on point this go round. And honestly it has been over 4 years since my injury that I had gone sub 4 so even saying that to people as far as my goal scared the living shit out of me. But that was definitely in the back of my mind for the day. I started off strong with my pace and held on solid for a majority of this race. I fought through a couple of side cramps and random issues but I felt good mentally and physically through about mile 22 or so.

Once I hit Crystal City around miles 22-23 there was a ton of energy which really helped when I was feeling super tired and not into it. Then the race kind of winds back around and we end it with a huge climb on to the finish. The Iwo Jima hill ya’ll…it is nothing to mess with. It’s basically a death march with all of the spectators watching so you kind of have to keep your game face on. Around this time I stopped looking at my watch because I knew I was just tired and super ready to be done. When it was all said and done…I came here and did what I have been wanting to do for over 4 years now. Finished with a freaking sub 4! Hallelujah and thank you baby Jesus. Nearly AN HOUR faster than my last Marine Corps Marathon. Yes, I said an hour. That is not a joke.

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I feel really good about that time and it makes me smile. Considering also the random DC heat wave things went better than expected for sure.

I also have another opportunity to really crush it in December when I run the Dallas Marathon and I am hoping for some cool amazing weather.

26.2 number 21 is a wrap. Mission accomplished.

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Anyone else have some races coming up? Best of luck to those of you racing the NYC Marathon this upcoming weekend!

Friday Faves a Day Early.

So since I’m off on a jet plane headed to DC tomorrow (3 days til the Marine Corps Marathon! Woohoo) I figured it would be a great day to do my faves a bit early…yes? I got my morning started with some quick and easy miles around the block. Peace, love and early morning run happiness.

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Let’s get straight to my faves for the week!

Candy corn smoothie? Hey who said candy corn can’t be nutritious. I’m very curious about how maple water tastes though. Interesting.

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-Printing out my packet pickup info for the marathon…I got this email a while ago but am just now getting it all squared away. Haha. So last minute. Well, now you know my bib number and you can stalk me. So you’re welcome.

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Brolympus. Forever cracking me up.

-Super fun sushi night with an amazing friend and colleague and getting to catch up on life and such. The Caesar roll is at Oiishi is freaking phenomenal.

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-Stunning clouds in the sky the last few mornings…although most of my runs have been in the pitch black dark but I got lucky and saw this a few days ago.

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That’s all for this week! I’ll see ya on the other side of 26.2.

What’s new with you? Anything to look forward to this weekend?

MCM Here We Come and Race Day Must Haves.

Happy Friday EVE! It’s a good morning over here…I just found out I AM IN to run the Marine Corps Marathon in the fall! MCM, here we come! This will be my 4th time running this particular marathon and I’m always so excited to get back to D.C. to visit my old college buds. It should be a fun time!

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Getting this email is always like Christmas morning.

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I started off the day with friends in usual fashion getting some early miles in. It was a nice strong 10k with a fast finish at the end. Spring time runs in Texas always tend to be a little sticky and humid but we got it done.

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So speaking of races I have a few items that I like to have handy for a half marathon/full marathon race day. We all know that being prepared and having the right items handy will help to relieve some of the anxiety that comes with getting to the start line.

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Garmin/running watch– My flashy pink Garmin has gotten me through many a race…it just helps me stay on track and stay on pace. Not everyone runs with a watch (and for a few races in the past I’ve left it at home) but generally I like to have this handy for race day. Plus…I mean, if you didn’t record it yourself, did you really run at all? I am just saying.

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Shorts or leggings with a zipper in the side/back– My favorite shorts as of late have been the lululemon speed shorts but I also am loving the Nike printed capri leggings…they are oh so comfy and breathable.

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GU or energy beans– I love these energy beans for a nice boost…they have ‘em all in different flavors or a variety pack…whatever suits your fancy.

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Sunscreen– Especially for those hot summer runs, having a little SPF will go quite a long way. Even if there’s not much sun I do like to have some on to protect my skin.

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Is anyone else IN to run the Marine Corps Marathon?!? What are some of your must haves for race day?

SoulCycle, ArtJamz and Post Race Vacation Recap.

Thank you all for the CONGRATS and sweet words yesterday! I am definitely feeling good after last week’s marathon. Recovery has gone well and I’ve been able to pretty much get back into the groove after my race. By the way, this was without a doubt the best sign out on the course.

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Of course some sushi, wine and good times with friends certainly helps with the whole recovery scenario.

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The first couple of days after the race were very relaxing. I got to hang with my girl Nicole who actually lives in the Maryland area right outside of DC. We went to college together and she is like a sister to me.

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On Monday afternoon we went to the Smithsonian Zoo. I love that this zoo is FREE…it is simply gorgeous and so scenic especially in the fall! If you have not been I definitely recommend you check it out. Lions, tigers, and pandas, oh my.

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The next day we had more chillax time then had Mexican food at Cactus Cantina! Margaritas for everyone.

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Wednesday…Nicole and I reserved some bikes for SoulCycle! I have to tell ya I was super stoked to check out this boutique spin studio. We went to Abby’s 9:30 am class.

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Rockin’ music…pretty yellow bikes, and lots of speedy sprints up hills! It was fun and she definitely kept the groove going with nonstop drills. We crushed what felt like a zillion calories in those 45 minutes. As a spin instructor myself, it was also fun to go to someone else’s class for ideas. I definitely came away from there with lots of cool things to try. If you are in the DC area without a doubt check out the classes and you can go online and see all of the instructors, and even what music they play! The first class is $20 then after that it’s 30 buckaroos a pop. If I was ballin’ out of control I’d for sure sign up. There’s no real membership but you can buy classes by the bundle. Overall it’s a fabulous cardio workout and there is a portion of the class where you use light hand weights so you kind of get some strength training in too. I could see how someone could get addicted to it!

That night we met up with some more of our friends at ArtJamz. We purchased a Groupon which worked out well. It’s very similar to a paint party where you sip wine expect they actually have a bar where you purchase drinks, and you are able to freely just paint whatever you want. They have all sorts of colors and even stencils where you can create stuff. We had fun painting the night away.

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I decided to go for a painting with fall leaves. Seeing all of the pretty leaves in Maryland definitely inspired me.

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Then me, Nicole and my friend Aditi (who I have known since middle school…she moved to DC a few years back then got married) went and got pedicures at the Mimosa Salon. Again, another spot you must check out. They live up to their name…bottomless mimosas/champagne while you get your nails or feet did. They are walking distance from ArtJamz AND they are open until 11 pm on weeknights. Say what?

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That following weekend was Nicole’s 30th birthday weekend. So we drove down to our old alma mater in Virginia for college homecoming. We were greeted with a warm welcome.

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We hung out around campus and reminisced on all of the memories…it was for sure a good time.

Saturday night we did more celebrating and Crystal (my very first roommate in college…we were some wild Freshman) came down to stay with us in the hotel. We hung out at Bar Louie and had some yummy food and drink. Love these ladies.

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We also did a little shopping during the day…and played dress up. Seriously contemplated on getting these blinged out masks.

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Oh and I also did some post marathon running! This was actually in Maryland but man were those leaves gorgeous.

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Have you ever been to a paint party?! Ever been to SoulCycle (I am jealous if you have one nearby! They need to bring ‘em to Texas!!)

My 11th 26.2 – Marine Corps Marathon Recap.

Wowzers…it has been way too long since I’ve been in the blogosphere. You’ll have to excuse me while I come down from the high of a week long vacation. I was back in the saddle this morning teaching spin and rocking it with my a.m. crew.

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And hello, brand new spin bikes! As an instructor, that definitely made me happy to walk in and see these. It was like I was a kid on Christmas morning.

Let’s backtrack to last week! I ran the Marine Corps Marathon…my 11th 26.2. I will keep it brief and do a mini recap here. On Saturday I flew into the BWI Airport via Southwest Airlines. They are the best.

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I met up with my BFF Nicole who was so gracious to take me to the expo to get my race swag. I took a pic with some hot Marines and was on my merry way.

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We had dinner then I laid out my race number and camo headband. I figured it would go along with the occasion.

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Race morning, I was up and lined up to the start. I kind of took my time, slept in a bit and moseyed on over since I was so close to the runner’s village. Check out these guys skydiving to the start line. Awesomeness.

 

 

 

 

 

We took off and I was ready to go. The temps were warm and pretty humid (upper 60s) for D.C. in October. I’ll have to admit I was kind of wanting the weather to be MUCH cooler (when I PR’d this course temps were in the 30s!!) Not only that but I had forgotten that MCM was dang hilly! I regretted the fact that I hadn’t done enough hill training. This course kind of beats my body up. So I held back my pace in the first half, trying to just enjoy the ride. I decided somewhere in the first few miles that I wanted to enjoy this course and actually remember things along my 26.2 journey. Many times when I am racing hard I just don’t take in my surroundings. So I took photos, and relaxed into a groove.

 

 

 

 

 

I also got to see the famous Runner’s World guru Bart Yasso around mile 10. We snapped a pic and I thanked him for being out there to encourage all of the runners!

 

 

 

The sun was beating down on me for most of this run and just kind of made me slow down. I pushed through some issues in the back half and kept running when I really wanted to stop and walk – and honestly just scrap the whole thing. I was proud of myself for NOT giving up and giving into crazy thoughts in that crazy head of mine!

 

One of my goals was to finish this race under 5 hours and I did what I said I was going to do. 4:50 finish. 11th full marathon done…my 4th full 26.2 so far this year, as a MARATHON MANIAC!! 

 

 

 

I have to say this is the best looking MCM medal yet. I am definitely planning on doing this one next year. Even though it wasn’t my record time, it will always be my favorite race and I’ll always be proud to be a marathon finisher no matter the outcome. My next planned race is in a few months and it is a 50K (A little over 31 miles). Your girl will officially be an ULTRA-marathoner!!

After the race I met up with my friends and we got some photos! They were awesome volunteers passing out water and I actually got to see them along the course.

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We celebrated after getting washed up with some vino and cheese. Cheers!

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I will recap the rest of my week long vacation, including a review of the famous SOULCYCLE tomorrow. Stay tuned!

How was your week last week? Did you do anything different or FUN? Who ran NYC or Marine Corps??

TGIFriday Faves.

Welcome to Friday! I am working through the day then off on the first jet plane tomorrow morning to DC for the marathon!! This is me doing the happy dance at my desk right about now.

Plus after the race I’m staying in the area for a week with my best friend Nicole and I get to see all sorts of beautiful college friends. Like these ladies. Makes me all sorts of giddy.

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But I still have loads of packing to do since last night was unproductive after teaching spin. But I guess I have no choice but to get it all done tonight!

Let’s get to my faves this week!

-Some of this was over the weekend too…but we’ll just add it on. Loving spending time with the sweetest mama in the universe. Yes that would be the reflection of my hand taking the pic. Gotta love mirrored sunnies.

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-Awesome servers at Pie 314. If you live anywhere in the DFW area seriously check out this place. They have the most amazing pizza with goat cheese and they will make it for you gluten free.

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Plus the bartenders are always rocking it.

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-Twitter excitement about MCM…so cool to see the folks running it and reading about their journeys with the highs and lows of training.

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What makes a runner? Great read there. More people need to embrace it.

-My new eyeshadow/color palette. And I have a secret…you can get a lot of cool makeup from Ross. Not at all ashamed to say I love me some bargain shopping.

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-This view…that makes running that much more wonderful.

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-Finally getting to check in for tomorrow morning’s flight. Ready for takeoff!

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See you on the other side of 26.2!

What kind of mischief are you up to this weekend? What do you think makes you a RUNNER?

Marine Corps Marathon Tips and 26.2 Checklist.

Last night I finally got my life together and started packing for my trip to D.C. Massage stick and compression socks ready to go. Definitely can’t wait to get this race behind me!

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And of course I am bringing some race shirts along…this weekend kicks off the Dallas 13.1. Last year I was a pacer for this race and it was an incredible experience. Good luck to anyone running it!

I thought today would be a good day to give you some tips for those of you also running MCM!! This will be my 3rd time running it and my 11th full marathon. Very much looking forward to running with the Marines!

And without further ado…a checklist to get you prepped and ready to go, courtesy of Brooks. This would definitely be something good to even print out and take along with you.

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Some quick tips for those of you rocking the Marine Corps Marathon for the first time!

I ran it in 2012 and 2011 and I have to tell you that it is my favorite marathon to date! The historical landmarks, Marines cheering you along the way, and beautiful scenery really keep you pumped up throughout the course!

A few things-

-Make sure you arrive early and give yourself enough time to line up to the start. A majority of the runners will be taking the Metro like you to the race site so you want to be able to allow time for that, as well as time for the porta potties and gear check. I would say to arrive about an hour or so early just to be sure.

-The course is nice and flat with a few rolling hills…there will be lots to look at! Enjoy the beautiful fall foliage DC has to offer! It is very pretty there this time of year. Take the time during the first half to ENJOY the course, and keep your pace in check. Conserve that energy for the later miles.

-The Marines will be at every water stop and mile marker cheering you on! It is so awesome and encouraging to have them there every step of the way.

-The toughest point in the course for me was the “Beat the Bridge” at mile 20 – basically it is a long stretch of road with almost no spectators…it’s the point in the course where you have to dig deep and tap into that MENTAL TOUGHNESS. At this point in the race you have what it takes to make it to 26.2! It’s all mental, all heart. Utilize whatever mantra, positive affirmations you’ve got inside and keep going.

-After you have conquered the bridge, you will enter into the beautiful streets of Crystal City…ahh and the spectators are all around! Feel the energy and the music around you…you are almost there!

-The last little obstacle you will conquer will be the lwo Jima hill! It is right at the end of the race…at this point you will be all adrenaline and ready to just FINISH! Surge up this hill and head to the finish line…you are done!! Celebrate your awesomeness!

-Make sure you take your photo at the end with the Marines and with the beautiful monuments in the background!

**For some of you, this will be your very first marathon. What an honor to say that MCM was your FIRST one! I have to tell you that after you run it once you will want to do it again! Trust me!

Anyone training for a fall marathon…or a spring one? Which one are you running?

4 Days and Weds Spin Playlist.

This week I have plenty of tracks to keep you movin’ and groovin’! I teach my 2nd to last class tonight before I go out of town for the Marine Corps Marathon.

4 days, baby!

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Let’s go for a ride!

GDFR- Flo Rida feat Sage the Gemini: Warm up
Down- Jay Sean feat Lil Wayne: Jumps
Runaway Baby- Bruno Mars: Rolling hills
Bands a Make Her Dance (Bmore Remix): Accelerations
Fancy- Iggy Azalea: Active recovery
Touch 3 Skies (Mashup)- Britney Spears vs Kanye West: Jumps on a hill
1Up!- Just Blaze feat Mysto and Pizzi: Climb 6/7/8
Drop it Low- Ester Dean: Climb 7/8/9
No Mediocre- T.I. Feat Iggy Azalea: Climb 8/9/10
Celebrate- Pitbull: Standing run
Let’s Go Set Fire to the Rain- Adele vs Calvin Harris: Climb 8/9/10/11
Break Free- Ariana Grande feat Zedd: Easy run 5/6/7
Turn Down for What (Remix)- Lil Jon: Sprints
Right Now- Rihanna: Rolling hills
Love Lockdown (Kanye West Cover)- Glass Animals: Cool down

What are you looking forward to this weekend? Anyone else running the Marine Corps Marathon?

Confession Session, Part 2.

-I have been enjoying some pumpkin spice coffee over here courtesy of 7-eleven. Dare I say it tastes better than Starbucks and not only that, it’s much cheaper. I like to mix it with the Colombian roast. Tasty stuff.

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-Still loving this Victoria’s Secret scent and it’s from the summertime. My friend got it for me for my birthday. Makes me feel like I’m still chillin poolside.

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-Lots of yoga and massage stuff going on during this cutback/taper week leading up to Sunday’s marathon. By the way if I could hire a massage therapist to come over to my house every day and rub me down I would. No lie.

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-Obsessed with all things New Jersey housewives. I cannot take my eyes away from my tv screen. Especially with all of this legal stuff going on.

And yes Teresa…you do need to learn how to blow out your own hair. It has saved my life many times.

-I do not have cable tv right now by the way. I’m saving a whole heck of a lot of money. Plus I’ve been cutting corners and finding ALL of my Bravo shows online. FOR FREE. It’s awesome. No I do not regret it one bit.

-On the topic of not having a tv is the fact that I’ve been getting out of the house a LOT more. Hanging with good friends and yes…going on a few DATES with man friends. Being wined and dined is great fun.

Maybe just a little.

-I am without a doubt a last minute packer…leaving for DC early Saturday and I have not thought about not one item I’m going to be bringing with me. I’ll be gone for a week by the way. Definitely time to start at least getting the suitcase out.

-I have been eating a lot of bananas…yum yum good stuff. Which reminds me of this…best marathon shirt ever.

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By the way you can read part one of this little confession session here.

What do you have to confess today?

Spa Event, Last Big Run and Wknd Recap.

Hey hey! I don’t know about you but it’s definitely coffee o’clock around these parts. I taught a fun spin class this morning and we did some speedy intervals to this jam. Way to wake the legs up and get the week cranked up.

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My weekend was packed with wall to wall excitement. First we started things off at a Yelp event. I have been a Yelp member for a few years now so we get invited to all of this cool stuff. Friday there was a relaxing spa event on the terrace of The Worthington Hotel in downtown Fort Worth. Chillax music, chair massages, hand scrub. The works.

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Love the community manager Kendall. She definitely showed us a good time!

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Saturday I was up for my LAST BIG run before the marathon! 10 miles all smiles. With my Marine Corps shirt from 2011.

6 days til game time! I’ve gotta start packing and getting ready for my trip to Washington D.C.

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That night I did church and then went out with the girls and we had pizza, wine and good conversation.

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Sunday I had brunch with my mama at Chino Chinatown! My friend Uno is the chef and owner…I am addicted to the cuisine at this place. Mama and I had chicken lollipops, elotes and their amazing rice with egg on top.

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I especially loved this sign. I have to say the free ice was delicious.

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Me and mama also did a little window shopping at the Bishop Arts District. It was a gorgeous afternoon just perfect for cruising around!

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I also picked up a few things at Sprouts including some purple sweet potatoes and pumpkin spice salsa. Yum yum! Lots of good finds there.

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How was your weekend? Have you found any fall foods/finds at the stores lately?