Hello from Ives & Christy
Our desire is that the ula and us blog inspires, educates, and provides practical tips and tricks to help you conquer your individual summits.
I have been an inspirational quote and motivational book junkie since I can remember. I have always craved something more and I was able to gain bits of wisdom and advice here. Although my roots shaped me, they do not define me. I also recognoize that fear is a real thing. It creeps in when clarity arises, it will do everything in it's power to stop us from from making decisions that are aligned with our greater purpose. For me, it has become increasingly important to feed my soul with bits of motivation and truth to remind myself that I am the owner of my dreams and that fear and excuses are the only thing standing between my dreams and reality. No matter what you believe in, I think we can all agree that it's important to deepen our soul, grow personally, and gain clarity on what we want out of this life.
One tool Ives and I both use to nurture our personal growth is podcast and motivational books. We wanted to provide you with a list of some of our personal favorites that have helped give us energy towards this dream of ours and that we continue to use to gain clarity and light us on fire for life. The first inspirational book I ever read that I can remember, which made a huge impact on my mindset at a young age was, The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon. It goes through 10 rules to fuel your life, work, and team with positive energy. It's all about refocusing your thoughts and although it's been so long since I read it, I truly think it changed the way I think and has helped me stayed positive throughout the years.
-The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris: It's more than just a motivational book, it's the definition of "busy doesn't always mean productive". He helps you navigate how to escape the 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich.
-You are a Badass by Jen Sincero: To give you a taste, here's a quote from the book: "The Universe wants us to succeed and wants us to partake in all it can offer by sending little wake-up calls. The only thing we need to do is to learn to be aware of them. The things that we want to have already exist in the universe. The money that seems elusive is already there for the taking. The life partner we want to meet is already alive. The things that we want to experience are already available to us. We just need to manifest those things into our reality."
-The Universe Has Your Back by Gaby Bernstein- tranform fear to faith, I just started listening to the audiobook and am going to put the meditation practices into place!
-The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F by Mark Manson: I haven't read this one, but have heard crazy good things about it and is another Ives has dug into.
-Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson: This is one is also one of Ives' favorites, but who wouldn't want some insight from Richard Branson??
On the list to read:
-Girl Wash your Face by Rachel Hollis
-The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
-How I Built This with Guy Raz - Hands down my favorite podcast, Guy interviews the founders of now HUGE companies like Lululemon, Kate Spade, 5 Guys, Patagonia, Sam Adams... the list goes on and they give you the good, bad, and ugly from the very beginning!
-Side Hustle School with Chris Guillebeau - Any curious in what goes into a side hustle? Chris shares real life stories and advice on how to make your side hustle a success! I also have the book, Side Hustle (which I didn't mention above, but it's a great step by step guide on how to get your side hustle started)
-Goal Digger with Jenna Kutcher- This is a business specific podcast, giving expert advice on how to conquer your goals and create a thriving business!
-Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations- Need I say more?
Some I have been wanting to check out:
-Eventual Millionaire with Jaime Tardy
-This your Life with Micheal Hyatt
-The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes
-Bulletproof Radio with Dave Asprey
In order to see big improvements, you have to put in big effort.
I am a firm believer that you cannot just want or wish for something and expect it to be handed to you. Making goals reality, no matter how big or small, takes effort. Now, I also believe there are different types of effort. So let me share a little bit about my marathon running history with you. I am by no means an expert on the topic, but I have 3 years and 4 marathons of real life experience.
I was never a “runner” or an “athlete,” but I have ALWAYS been stubborn and driven. Running intimidated me, but one year into my running affair, I signed up and completed my first marathon –Rock n Roll Seattle in 2015. It was more to prove to myself that I could train for and succeed at a race. I will be honest, I had wanted to time qualify for the Boston Marathon (BQ) on my first race. Probably not the most realistic goal for a first marathon, but that should give a lil insight into my personality. I trained by running 2 days per week and cross-training with spin classes and HIIT classes. I had fractured my ankle in 2012 and didn’t want to run “too much”. One of my running days was my long run, which increased each week by about 10-20% of the previous week’s mileage. The other run day was usually anywhere between 3 and 8 miles. I didn’t do a run taper and I didn’t really have anyone to train with so I had a lot of solo time. I didn’t realize they had updated the Boston Marathon qualifying times and I thought I had for sure made the cut off based on my pace (3 hours 37 minutes 22 seconds). I ended up missing the BQ by a little over 2 minutes! I was devastated, sore, and hungry. Literally, hungry from running 26.2 miles, but also hungry to sign up for another marathon and make my BQ dream a reality.
I took some time off running and signed up for the Wenatchee Marathon in 2016, which was a fairly flat and fast course. Only downside is that this race is in April, which means the bulk of training is during cold, rainy Seattle winter (not V FUN). I did not really learn my lesson and trained in a similar way, but with the encouragement of my husband and pup on the course I PR’d and made the Boston qualifying time by just under 3 minutes (3 hours 31 minutes 53 seconds)! I don’t know if I was more excited when I BQ’d or when I actually found out that I was accepted to run the Boston Marathon in 2017. BUCKET LIST! Boston would be marathon number 3 and about 6 weeks before the race, I joined Club Seattle Runners Division (CSRD).
So logically, I signed up for marathon number 4 –California International Marathon (CIM) 2017 with her and I slowly integrated a bit more hill and sprint training, running 2-3 days a week instead of just 2. My two goals for this marathon: don’t get injured and help my friend BQ. I even told Christy the weeks leading up to the race to not let me hold her back. If I felt the old injury bothering me, she should keep reaching for her goals. You can read more about our race in her blog post, but spoiler alert: WE DID IT. Both of us ran our fastest marathons on this notoriously quick course (3 hours 27 minutes 57 seconds). After running Boston and racing with no pain at CIM, I decided that I wanted to run all 7 Major World Marathons by the time I turn 35. This led to signing up for Chicago Marathon 2018.
I have decided to try something different for marathon number 5. I could be wrong, but I know that I am ready to commit to a more runtensive (mileage intensive) training program. Limting my running to twice weekly and augmenting my training with cycling classes works, but I also truly believe that I can race smarter and faster. The train smarter part: I decided to focus on strength training more intensively the past 2 months to build more core and glute stability before logging extra miles. I also started going to Tangelo Health 1-2 days per week a few months before training to prepare my body for the mileage it would be taking on. I cannot say enough POSITIVE things about the team at Tangelo! The train faster part: I reached out to Ashley, former collegiate track star and badass group fitness instructor for help. I wanted to ramp up the mileage gradually, integrate tempo runs/sprints/hills, and still be able to cross-train with weight lifting. She created an amazing training guide for us. She also shared some wisdom: not to become obsessed with following the guide to a T. LIFE HAPPENS. If you can’t get the miles in on a particular day, adapt and add some more on another day. I hope to keep you all updated on how this training cycle goes with blog posts along the way. In the mean time, I encourage you to take a step closer to your next big goal. TO THINK YES, NOT NO.
It's FINALLY here. We promised to share our ULA Travel Guide for Palm Springs with you all and man does it make us want to go back! If you followed along on instagram, we went to Palm Springs for a wellness weekend girls get away in April. Both of us needed a reset, a break from work, and wanted the perfect mix of sweat and relaxation.
When To Go:
We wanted to avoid the Coachella crowds and did not find out until after we booked our flights that we were going during the Stage Coach Festival weekend. Oops! Honestly we did not have any issues with the festival being the same weekend as our trip since we avoided the Coachella Valley. The city itself was probably a bit sleepier because most of the visitors were either at the festival grounds or at their Air BnB rentals. The airport is literally less 5 minutes from the main strip of restaurants and bars in the city and we were able to get around easily with our rental car!
Just a heads up that the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival takes place the middle two weekends of April and Stagecoach Festival wraps up the last weekend of April.
The best time of year to visit Palm Springs is between January and April. The temperature is perfect and for us PNWers it's a great time to escape the grey and rain. If you really LOVE THE HEAT then you can brave the weather in May through September, but expect the temp to creep into the 90s to 100s! We don't know about you all, but that makes it hard for us to lay out or hike. Alternatively, in the Fall, October to December, temps start to cool down. So you could also plan a getaway then as a good mental reset before the stress of the Holidays :)
Where We Stayed:
Everyone has different preferences when they travel. We both prefer to spend our money on activities and food (duh) rather than a fancy resort. Renal options were also limited given the Stagecoach Festival attendees. We did a lot of research on Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park, Desert Hot Springs, and Palm Dessert. We were definitely leaning toward glamping in Joshua Tree so that we could sleep under the stars, but decided for our first trip that we didn't want to just limit ourselves to the park. Palm Springs hotels tended to be a bit pricier so we picked middle ground and stayed in Desert Hot Springs. Desert Hot Springs is known for it's mineral spas and a spa treatment was a MUST DO for this wellness weekend.
The El Morocco Inn & Spa was a great, quirky oasis to relax for the weekend. This quaint, boutique inn has all the amenities. We stayed in a cute poolside room decked out in Moroccan-inspired tapestries. There was cold water and iced mint tea lemonade available throughout the day, as well as an assortment of dried fruits. The complimentary breakfast was a perfect way to start the day. There were hardboiled eggs, granola, fresh and dried fruits, avocados, veggies, and plenty of other light breaks goodies. Our favorite part of our stay was the onsite spa with various packages. We booked a combination of the Marrakesh Melting Massage with their Moroccan clay treatment. IT WAS DIVINE. Note to anyone that is trying to party, this isn't the place for you.
We may have gotten a few looks for too many belly laughs when we enjoyed a homemade marg before heading to dinner on Saturday night.
If you are looking for alternate places to stay, this article from The Everygirl gives a great breakdown on where to stay based on various budgets.
Where We Ate & Drank:
Your girls LOVE to eat and enjoy a good adult bevvie. We received so many great recommendations from friends are places to eat. I think we had about 15-20 suggestions and with less than 48 hours, there was only so much room in our bellies. Below is a quick breakdown of our meals, but here is a list with some noteworthy options!
Our flight landed around 10 PM and we decided to celebrate right away. We found ourselves at Bootlegger Tiki. The cocktails are so fun and the name of the bar describes the vibe and decor perfectly! The bartenders are a great resource if you find yourselves stuck choosing between drinks (menu anxiety is a real problem and we both have it). The tiki bar also shares a space with THE BEST coffee spot in the city. We literally drove back Saturday morning for cold brews before our Bikram pilates class.
After Pilates we went back to Palm Springs and hit up the ACE Hotel Pool Party. This pool was highly recommended by friends and it was so different than we expected. Most of the pool parties we have attended have been Vegas style. The ACE Hotel opens its pool to guests of the hotel and outsiders for a small fee. We mingled with bachelor/bachelorette parties, families, and faces from all over. It was actually a great chill vibe with a DJ spinning in the background. YOU MUST ORDER THE FROZEN WATERMELON MARGARITA. Game changer. (If anyone has a great recipe, please share.) Along with our cocktails we inhaled our favorite version of lunch. We preach balance and our food choices reflect it. The frites and season crudités were the perfect combo of savory, salty, greasy, crunchy, and fresh wrapped into one meal.
After day drinking we went back to our inn to relax and freshen up for dinner back in Palm Springs. If you can only make it to one place to eat in Palm Springs, then make it Birba. From the cute courtyard dining to the mouthwatering wood-fired pizza, this is the type of restaurant you want to keep going back to. We split the three kale salad and a pizza. Literally, the perfect dinner. After dinner we made our way to the Workshop Kitchen and Bar, but to be honest we were exhausted from a full day and ride-shared back for some much needed zzz's.
We bought snacks on Saturday to bring on our hike/road trip to Joshua Tree. Lunch ended up being a typical hiker's meal: hummus, fresh cantaloupe (we snagged from our break buffet), crackers, wasabi and soy roasted almonds, chocolate, and coconut H2O. Nothing fancy, but so satisfying. After our adventures, we went back for our luxurious spa day and decided to continue the simple, healthy treats with a vegan dinner pre-flight. Native Foods Cafe dishes up some amaze vegan cuisine. We opted to share the kimchi bulgogi jack fruit tacos and the BBQ chicken salad. If you are looking for great vegan, another spot that we wanted to check out was Natural Sister's Cafe by Joshua Tree.
Breakfast daily was enjoyed poolside at our inn. However, there are SO MANY PLACES we wanted to try.
Where We Sweat:
We wanted to a bit of everything while on this wellness getaway: a hike, a run, and a studio/group fitness class were on our to-do list. Desert Hot Springs has plenty of hikes and activities in the vicinity. We woke up early on Saturday and decided to explore our city with a road/trail run combo. This was a great way to get some mental clarity before venturing out for the day! After our sub 3 mile run, we freshened up and hit the road en route for that epic cold brew before our pilates class.
Inferno Pilates HIIT. It's as pleasant as it sounds. Leave it to Christy to find the hardest, hottest yoga and pilates studio on vacation ;). The class was at 11:15 which allowed us plenty of time to ease into the day and lasted an hour so we had the whole afternoon to enjoy poolside after. Since the studio is heated to 95 degrees and 40% humidity, the desert heat poolside didn't phase us one bit after the class. This is a great bodyweight, dynamic work out that leaves you in pools of sweat. Detox to retox anyone?
Sunday was our Joshua Tree exploring day. Initially, we had wanted to do a sunrise hike, but that was before tequila came into the picture and we realized sunrise was at 6 AM and we had an hour to commute! We woke up and drove the hour from our inn to the start of Ryan Mountain Trailhead. This 2.7 mile round trip hike boasts 1062 ft of elevation gain, but the summit views are worth the steep ascent. If you regularly hike in the PNW, this trail won't seem too bad. At the top we did a little content shooting with some HIIT workouts, but we also took time for ourselves. Mindfulness and reflection was a great way to enjoy the desert. There are so many other trails in the park, but due to our limited time, we stuck just to the one.
Why We Want To Go Back:
So obviously our list of restaurants and bars alone means we need to do another adventure to this gem in the desert. But there are a few other activities that we are dying to check off the list.
Our Palm Springs Bucket List:
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway + Hiking Mt. San Jacinto State Park
Joshua Tree Overnight (starry skies and desert hikes sounds pretty spectacular to us, Barker Dam is a trail we'd love to see)
Bike Tour of the Neighborhoods/Architecture
Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
Indian Canyons Trails
Azucar Bar for cocktails
Cheeky's or FARM for Brunch
Copley's or The Pantry for a fancier din din
If you have any recommendations or other activities that we might have overlooked please drop a comment below!