Thanksgiving Weekend in the Desert

Hi friends! How are you? Hope you’re having a wonderful Monday. New post is up on the Family page here. We’re back in San Diego after a nice long weekend in Tucson to visit with the fam. When we first got into town, I thought it was going to be such a long trip (since we were technically in AZ from late Tuesday night until Sunday), but it flew by. Before I knew it, we were packed up, enjoying a round of Dunkin’ Donuts with everyone, and saying, “See ya soon.” 

W the fam

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A little recap from the weekend:

Scottsdale adventure

We stopped in Phoenix on the way to Tucson so I could take the PBB advanced pics with James Patrick. He shot all of the pictures for my book + the headshots on the blog, and he is truly amazing.


We checked into the Westin (the Kierland location is awesome!), and woke up early to enjoy breakfast buffet + hit the pool. You know you’re in Arizona when it’s late November and everyone is at the pool splashing around. 


After pool time, I headed down the street to Kierland Commons to get my hair done for the pics. Can we just stop and take a moment of silence for Kierland Commons? I hadn’t been to that area since college, and they have EVERYTHING. It’s a swanky outdoor mall, with tons of cute shops and restaurants. They’re also getting a FLYWHEEL! Phoenix friends, please tell me everything about it when it opens! 

I want Drybar all the time

Drybar rocks my world. It’s so relaxing, the products smell fantastic, and I love the styles the offer. The styles don’t feel overdone unless you want them that way. They’re pretty and put-together enough for an event, but not so that you’re walking around and everyone is wondering which ball you’re headed to. [Also this post reminded me that I finally need to do my at-home blowout video!]


(Guess that movie!)

We shot all of the pics (I think there were 60 total?), headed to Whole Foods hot bar for lunch, and made the short drive to Tucson. The girls were so exhausted from their morning (swimming, trampoline park and American Girl store), they slept the entire drive. It was a Christmas miracle.

Thanksgiving weekend in Tucson

While we were in Tucson, we had the perfect mix of our favorite things: time with family, fun events and outings together, + amazing food

The Pilot has a huge Master’s paper due, so he worked on it at the hotel during P’s naps and after her early bedtime, while I ran around with Livi and all the cousins. We went to the rock climbing gym,

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Trail Dust Town,

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and to see Moana. One day before P’s second nap, we also all went to the zoo.

Zoo w the cousins

Kyle and Meg met us there. Cutest preg ever.

W meggy

Their baby will be here in about 2 months, and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to meet her. I also feel so fortunate that she’ll be born while we’re in Tucson, so I’ll get to be at the hospital cheering for them, just like they were for us.

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We also enjoyed breakfasts and dinners with the fam,

Livi and nana and a date night Saturday night while madre watched the girls. We went to one of our classic Tucson date night spots: Cafe Poca Cosa.

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The menu changes twice daily, depending on what’s available at the market. The servers walk around with giant chalkboards and explain the various dishes. The most exciting option is the Plato Poca Cosa, where the chef picks 3 items and surprises you. No two plates are the same, and no special requests. They were out of pork, and I figured the Pilot could help me with any beef options, so I decided to roll with it. It was a wise choice.

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All of the entrees are served with chips, fresh salsa, rice, beans, tortillas, and enormous salads. The salads are like a jungle of fruits and veggies, topped with oil and vinegar.

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It’s hard to believe that we’ve been going there together for the past 10 years. <3

OTF and Session Yoga

Workout-wise, I got in two official workouts while we were there: an Orangetheory class on Friday,

Orangetheory tucson foothills

and a yoga class at Session Yoga on Saturday.

I’m not sure if I was just feeling extra energized from all of the Thanksgiving sugar, but at OTF, I got the most splat points I’ve ever had. I find that it can be tricky to get into the Orange zone, since I’m used to working out at high intensities and talking the entire time when I’m teaching. The workout was a pretty challenging mix. It was a power day with intense cardio and strength segments, plus 10 all-out sprints alternated with jump squats. Basically, it killed me, and I loved it. 


Class at Session Yoga was equally challenging, but in an entirely different way. My yoga practice has been volatile since P was born, and I’m ready to dedicate more time to it when we’re back in Tucson. Session is my yoga spot, and the vibe, format, and instructors are everything I look for in a studio. I’m also pumped that my Orangetheory membership will transfer while we’re there.

Now we’re back at home! Our suitcases are overflowing with laundry and I have a ton of editing to do to the PBB plans before they’re off to the designers this week, but my heart is happy. I feel like the trip gave me a little bit of energy to get through the next few busy weeks with the upcoming move. We’ll see how I’m doing two weeks from now haha.

Did you travel this weekend? Any awesome travel workouts?

I hope you have a wonderful Monday! See ya in the am with a new booty-lifting workout.



CYBER MONDAY is here! I’m cranking through our Christmas list since I want to have everything wrapped and ready to go when we leave. Some of the awesome deals I took advantage of: 

50% off Old Navy and gap (new sweaters, jackets and leggings for the girls)

An instant pot (because I’ve been considering one forever and it’s $50 off! Please send any awesome recipes my way. I can’t wait to make bone broth and be saved from the evenings where I want to cook dinner and everything is frozen)

Fresh Foam Zantes for 25% off and free shipping 

A sweet deal on a North Face jacket

30% off at Erin Condren (2017 planner!) + free shipping

More Cyber Monday deals:

Tory Burch: 30% off with the code THANKS

J Crew: 40% off with the code MONDAY

TOMs: 25% off + free shipping (my fave booties are here for $69)

Madewell: 25% off with the code CYBERMONDAY

Shopbop: buy more, save more. Up to 25% off with the code GOBIG16

Macy’s: 20% with the code CYBER

Banana Republic: 50% off everything

Express: 50% off everything

Nordstrom: extra 20% off selected sale items (a TON of Hunter boots are marked down, too)

Lorna Jane: 30% off site wide! Perfect if you’re looking to up your activewear game

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  1. Aubrey on November 28, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    I just missed you on Saturday at Session, I took the 8am class! Awesome that you are going to be back in Tucson for a while, you always have great family, fitness and food suggestions! Fave blog 🙂

    • Fitnessista on November 28, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      ahh thank you so much! yes, i just missed you 🙂 i couldn’t wake up for the 8 am haha.

  2. Kelsey Graf on November 28, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Our OTF has been closed here for sooooo long and I miss it! But Thanksgiving morning I did a workout that’s similar and just opened in Minneapolis, Fly Feet Running. If you’re ever in Mpls I recommend it! It was TOUGH and had me sore the rest of the weekend. Then did a circuit class Saturday and went for a run yesterday… I’m trying to get into the mindset of doing 1 outdoor run/weekend through winter (which is when I usually kiss running and all the progress I’ve made goodbye).

    I also need to get some yoga back in my life… I forget home much I love it until I’m back into it!

    • Fitnessista on November 28, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      i’m the same way. i know i miss it, but it’s not until i practice again that i realize how much. i will definitely check out that class next time i’m around!!

  3. Michelle on November 28, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Sounds like a lovely Thanksgiving trip! Thanks for the info on cyber monday deals – can always count on you doing a good round up list 🙂 Happy shopping!

    • Fitnessista on November 28, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      thank you- you too! hope you had a great weekend

  4. Lauren on November 28, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Hi Gina!
    I work at the FLYWHEEL that just opened at the Quarter–when you are back in town, please please come and take a free class–it’s amazing. I am not a teacher, but we have an awesome lineup!!
    Sounds like your trip was fabulous! Hope you get back here soon:))


    • Fitnessista on November 28, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      ahhh no way! i can’t wait to check it out! that might have to be one of our stops on the way to tucson from now on. so many amazing spots!

      • Lauren on November 28, 2016 at 4:24 pm

        You won’t be disappointed:)))

  5. Giana on November 28, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Gina!! OMG, when I’m in Scottsdale a few times a year, I go to Kierland DAILY to get my fill…LOL! It is just magical, right?!?

    • Fitnessista on November 28, 2016 at 9:00 pm

      i was so sad i couldn’t walk around all day! so many amazing things!!

  6. Amber Schumann on November 28, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    GAH! We looooove Westin Kierland! I live in CA, but the company my hubby works for is in Scottsdale, just a few miles from the Westin so we travel with him there occasionally. I can’t even tell you how many hours we’ve spent in that exact spot in the pool. The service at that hotel is unbelievable, and we always can’t wait to come back (do they still do the campfire s’mores this season?). My husband and I dream of vacationing there with friends (sans kids) and renting out that little private island in the lazy river. When we’re visiting with our 4yo, we like to eat a fairly healthy late lunch, and then walk over to Mastro’s for “dinner” and share a Butter Cake (have you tried?! #die). I’ll have to make sure to check out the trampoline park next time we’re there since I can’t imagine 8hrs/day poolside is as doable in December. HA!

    • Fitnessista on November 28, 2016 at 8:59 pm

      ahhh i will check all of these out- thank you!! we can’t wait to go back. i’m a huge fan of westin in general, but that location was particularly amazing
      and yes, they loved the trampoline park! it was like 5 min away

  7. Julia on November 28, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    I have started going to OTF and in my 4 visits have never once reached the splat point goal of 12. I consider myself of above average fitness level and am KILLING myself during the treadmill portion, yet have a hard time reaching orange. Often the intervals are over and my heart rate recovers before I rack up enough time for another minute/point. The instructor is great and has given me some encouraging tips, but not to any real help. I love the class, but it’s discouraging to see everybody else racking up 20-30 splat points when I have 6-8. Comparatively, I’m glad to see you say your highest point level is 17! Any advice?

    • Fitnessista on November 28, 2016 at 8:59 pm

      don’t be discouraged. honestly, i would go by perceived exertion instead of heart rate, especially if you’re fit. the more conditioned you are, the harder it will be for your heart rate to skyrocket, and that’s ok. focus on challenging yourself and having a nice balance in your fitness routine. at OTF, i work SO HARD, and usually i’m lucky to get 8-10 splat points.

  8. Kelli @ Hungry Hobby on November 29, 2016 at 6:50 am

    I’m a Phoenix friend, fun to see your Phoenix and Tucson adventures. Go Wildcats!

    • Fitnessista on November 29, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      bear down! 🙂

  9. Jessica @ Semi-Sweet Tooth on November 29, 2016 at 6:58 am

    Looks and sounds like a fantastic trip!

    Don’t you LOVE photo shoots? When I actually put in the time to look together. Heck yes, I do look like I have a blow out and lightly misted tan all the time, haha!

    Can’t wait to check out your new pics!

    XO, Jessica

  10. Sam @ Hygge Wellness on November 29, 2016 at 11:55 am

    I’m late to the party but… Devil Wears Prada?! I think! lol

    Looks like such a nice weekend! Your sister-in-law is too cute! So cool that you’ll get to be there for them when their baby is born.

  11. Juliana on December 1, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Fun trip! We stayed local and had a beach picnic by the Del. Thanksgiving in a bikini is always better than Thanksgiving in not-a-bikini, amirite? 😉

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