Bridal Shower

Over the weekend, my friends and family threw me the most perfect bridal shower!

Nick's aunt Karen, one of my most favorite people in the world, hosted the shower at her house and she and my best friend/maid of honor Courtney, along with a handful of my other friends, could not have planned a more perfect and "me" shower.

I wanted something really relaxed where my closest people could all be together and just spend the afternoon celebrating! From the decorations that fit my wedding color scheme perfectly to beautiful hand-made favors by my soon to be sister in law to the chocolate peanut butter cake, everything was amazing. It has honestly been one of the most humbling experiences to see how many people near and far genuinly share my excitement and happiness for the big day.

We spent the afternoon drinking champagne and eating a very Claire-approved lunch of salad, quiche, couscous and shrimp salad. Courtney set up an adorable mimosa bar and there was of course, lots of fruit and crackers to snack on as well.

Once everyone ate, we played a few games including a hilarious Q&A game that my friend Becca set up with Nick. She sent Nick a list of 25 questions and had him record a video answering, and then I had to answer them. Every time I got an answer wrong, I had to chew a piece of gum and it got to be pretty disgusting once I had 12 pieces of gum in my mouth. 

Once the games were over Nick showed up and it was time to open presents with the help of Courtney's daughter and my flower girl, Emma.

And then it was time for cake! Courtney ordered the cake from my favorite bakery, SugarBakers, and it was the best I've ever had. Not only was it gorgeous but it the flavor was perfect for me - chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. 

Overall Saturday was just such an incredible day with so many people that I love. I can't believe our wedding is less than TWO months away!

Race Day Prep

Tomorrow I will be running the Zooma Annapolis 10K!

Zooma was my first half-marathon, and I've ran the 10K a handful of times since. Despite the fact that the bridge at mile 4 is absolute killer, I find myself going back year after year for more.

Don't know why.

Throwback to my first half marathon. Look at those baby faces!

Throwback to my first half marathon. Look at those baby faces!

This will be the first race I've run since the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler back in the beginning of April and I wanted to share a couple of training tips that have worked well for me over the last month and a half.

1. Consistent speed work. For the last 8 months or so, my running during the week has been based primarily around speed work and HIIT and I have seen incredible results. My long runs are typically on either Saturday or Sunday so I use Monday, Wednesday and Friday to work on getting faster. I am by no means a running coach but I've been doing between 3-5 miles of sprint intervals as well as other speed work (that I'll include in a later post) and I've found that it makes my longer runs much easier. I actually feel like I'm running slow on the weekends when I'm really at race pace.

2. Focus on nutrition. I think a lot of people assume that increasing mileage means throwing some nutrition rules out the window. I've read plenty stories about how runners have actually gained weight because of the hunger + mindset of eating whatever you want post-run. While I'm a huge proponent of balance (hello, I love ice cream) I do believe that nutrition is one of the most important pieces of training for a race. I've been focusing on fueling my body with all kind of healthy fats (literally all the peanut butter), fruits and veggies, and whole grains. I've also focused on making post run nutrition a priority and making sure to eat something high carb and protein post run for optimum recovery.

3. Stretch. I am notoriously bad at making time to stretch. Unless I go to yoga, I almost never dedicate enough time to stretching. While I'm still not doing a great job, I've been making an effort to stretch and foam roll on the weekends after longer runs and it is making a huge difference. I'm planning on getting back into the yoga studio more often after the race so more to come on that!

I'll be back Monday with a recap of the weekend and race details. Happy Friday!

Austin Bachelorette

I'm back from celebrating my bachelorette weekend and can't believe that the weekend has come and gone! It's kind of crazy to think that the next big event on the horizon is the wedding. (!) My friends flew in from all over the country (Raleigh, Denver, Nashville, Philly, NYC, Connecticut, DC, San Diego, Baltimore) and made it, hands down, the best and most fun weekend of my life. 

We spent a long weekend in Austin and drank and ate our way through the city and then some. My plane left Baltimore bright and early Thursday morning and I got in around 11:30 along with my maid of honor, Courtney, and one of my bridesmaids, Elle. Since everyone else was planning to get in later in the afternoon/night, the three of us walked around and made some important stops: liquor and grocery store.

Once we got back, we hung out and eventually all the girls started trickling in. I was totally stunned when I walked out from showering and the living room/kitchen had been totally transformed - my friends are the BEST and decorated the house so cute! They really thought of everything I could have ever wanted, from adorable fiesta-themed decorations including a custom sombrero that I wore nonstop to Nick and Bentley cutouts (that we took everywhere) to your typical, fun bachelorette themed props. The bright colors were so cute, so my style and definitely set the mood for a fun weekend. They also strung up sports bras, headbands and running shorts above the couch rather than lingerie as my gifts - talk about perfection. To say I have the best and most thoughtful friends would be an understatement.

Friday morning we woke up and, at my request, made our way over to RIDE for a spin class. You know your friends really love you when they go to a ridiculously tough spin class on your bachlorette party without any hesitation. 

Class was AWESOME and the best way for us to kick off a weekend of drinking. In true Claire style, we walked to Blenders and Bowls for acai bowls after class. It could not have been more appropriate or perfect for me.

By the time we walked back to our house, it was time to get ready for a night out. With 13 girls having to shower and get ready in a house with 3 bathrooms, we needed a little bit of time! We spent a few hours getting ready and drinking at our house (totally bringing back ALL the college memories!) and then headed out for dinner and drinks at Moonshine. Dinner was amazing, thanks to the best sweet potato fries of my life, and the drinks were so good. We spent the rest of the night on 6th Street at the rooftop of The Blind Pig, pretending we were back in college again.

PS - how cute are these tattoos my friend (and bridesmaid!) Swapna ordered?! I loved them.

Saturday morning was a little rough, as to be expected, and we ended up lounging around the house for a few hours before getting ready for the afternoon. We wanted some real Austin food (read: margaritas, guac and tacos) before heading out on a boat for the afternoon! Yep, boat. Nick surprised us and paid for a boat to take us out on Lake Austin for a few hours. He truly is the best.

We went to el Alma for lunch where we ate the best guac of our lives along with some pretty amazing margaritas and tacos. We had a ridiculously hilarious time at lunch and continued the party on to Lake Travis!

We were on the boat for a few hours and ended up docking next to a group of boats with other bachelor/bachelorette parties. The four hours went by so quickly as we went from boat to boat meeting and partying with tons of others celebrating with us. Even though the weather wasn't spectacular (literally the only cloudy day in Austin) it was still a blast and the boat day was by far my favorite part of the weekend.

Once we got back, we drunkenly ate more chips, guac and pizza at the house before meeting up with some of our new boat friends in a fun part of Austin called Rainey Street. We stayed out with them and ended up taking the party back to their house until 4:30 AM. Let me just say, I party like that pretty much never. When we got back home, we ended up Facetiming Nick (and Bentley!) until almost 6 AM, which left me with about 3 hours of sleep Saturday night. 

Sunday morning passed in a whirlwind of packing, cleaning and saying goodbye to my friends on early flights. Five of us ended up walking to grab brunch - more tacos! - before heading to the airport. All of the partying without any sleep definitely made for a rough flight home and Monday morning, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. It truly was the best weekend of my life and I can't wait until we are all together again in just a few short months. I'm officially ready for the wedding now!

Favorite Fruit Smoothie Recipe

If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, then you may or may not be sick of seeing me post the same smoothie almost every single day.

It's fruity. It's simple. It's so good.

I literally crave this smoothie at least five times a week and there's likely no end in sight to that craving now that it's getting warmer. I love it for breakfast, I love it for lunch, I love it for dinner. I love it after a hard workout because the almond milk and yogurt provide an extra punch of protein that my muscles need and the fruit helps deliver the carbs that are essential to recovery. It's incredibly easy to make and tastes 100 times better than any smoothie you could order at a juice bar. 

Below you'll find my personal preference of fruit and yogurt flavors, but you can alter to your taste however you like.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen berry + kale mix (strawberries, cherries, blueberries, blackberries + kale)
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 cup Silk protein almond milk
  • 1 container Siggi's yogurt (strawberry is my favorite but any flavor works)

Directions

  • Layer ingredients in blender. Add frozen fruit first, then milk, then yogurt.
  • Blend until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Top with sliced fruit and enjoy!

Welcome to PB & Ponytails!

Welcome to PB & Ponytails! After taking about a year off of blogging, I'm excited to get back into it with a new blog name, look and direction. One of the things I love most about blogging is the community and connection, and I've been missing that in a big way lately and hope you'll find this space to be inspiring, motivating and welcoming. Here I'll be sharing everything from workouts I'm loving to healthy recipes I'm cooking to every day thoughts and ideas on life. 

So, here's a little bit more about me!

I work and live in Baltimore, Maryland. I am the Social Media Director at a full-service ad agency and love my job. Like really love my job. I get genuinely excited to go to work every day and while I don't take it for granted, I believe that everyone can and should find happiness in their 9-5. You spend so much time working that you should at least be doing something that you love!

When I'm not at work, you will most likely find me at the gym or the yoga studio. I love to run, take BodyPump classes and balance it all out with hot yoga. The Baltimore fitness community is really thriving right now and I am really enjoying the opportunity to be a part of it.

On top of all of this, I'm currently planning my wedding! My fiance Nick and I got engaged last February and our wedding is August 26th. So far I am loving the wedding planning process and will be sharing more details as we get closer to the big day. I can't wait to walk down the aisle and marry this man.

Oh, and I'm a bit of a crazy dog lady. But with a dog this cute...how could you not be?