Not Born to Run

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram you already know I signed up to run my first half-Marathon. Something I never thought would become a goal for me. The idea of running more than a mile– which was what I ran during high school P.E. class and never again– seemed excessive. Seriously, when I began I had no endurance. At all!! The most I could do was half a mile on a treadmill which rendered me winded with tight, painful calves. Forget about it! Not my thing.

Pre- 4mile run this morning. #marathon #venice #RnRSD14

A post shared by Christian Vera (@christianverapics) on

Fast forward to July 2013. I start reading the little best seller called Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. Yes, I know what you’re going to say… yada yada. No, I didn’t suddenly become a Tarahumara wanna be, but it most certainly piqued my interest in running. And just like that the running seed was officially planted.

Fast forward again to December 2013. I learned my good friend Cristina was running her first half-marathon. I bombarded her with questions about it and she convinced me that it was something I should do. We met up at a running store called Road Runner where I, after being tested on a state-of-the-art computerized shoe fitting system called The Shoe Dog, ended up buying the Brooks PureConnect 3. I loved them because they fit snuggly around my feet and they felt secure. Before running in them I hit the gym from some cross training to get used to them. I still loved them.

Except… my calves didn’t. It turns out that one of the reasons my calves were killing me after short runs was because I was using the front of my foot to run. Back to the running store… I needed just a tad more padding under my foot. After several visits to both Road Runner and Runner’s Den, and after failed attempts at running in three different types of shoes, I finally found the pair that seemed to be a perfect fit: ASICS Gel Nimbus 15. Lots of room in the toe box, lightweight, supportive for my neutral feet and good looking… but, the best part was that my calves weren’t killing me with pain after just a short half mile. I also stretched and iced them A TON.

ASICSWhat’s really important to stress here is that running is hard, BUT soooo rewarding. Getting started was challenging: from getting up extra early to calf pain to breathing to nutrition to shoes. Getting used to this new “lifestyle” was not easy. I had to learn about eating potassium and carbo-loading. I had to endure the initial pain of rolling my Iliotibial band (IT band) with a roller to relieve the stress on my knees. All of that, though, was worth the rush you get after each run. The sense of accomplishment after every new goal distance reached. The sweat running down your face and back proving your body is responding. The very visible change in your body after a few weeks of training. The ability to eat ANYTHING you want after a long run. The feeling of bliss!!! The part of the book… is true. At least for me it is.

SIDE NOTE: I wrote the first draft of this post on Sunday with the intention of posting Monday morning after my 7-mile run. I was feeling elated at about 6.7 miles for this new personal accomplishment. Except, at that exact moment I also felt the most intense pain on my right foot. It forced me to stop running and I limped all the way back to my car. I made a doc appointment for the next day (today) and figured I might as well get to work. It was painful walking on/off set with my throbbing foot, but my awesome bosses sent me home a few hours early so I could elevate the limb.

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Icy Windy City

My weekend trip to Chicago was a total delight! I got to see one of my best friends, Tiffany, before she moved out of Chicago AND there is a little surprise for my younger sisters, Fatima and Mariana, that came from the trip! Keep reading….

Millennium Park

Even though I forgot my heavy coat for this trip I had a light wool jacket and an oversized H&M scarf to wrap myself in. I also wore my favorite Levi’s Jeans and over the knee leather boots.

I was lucky to be there on a weekend that boasted the “best” weather they’ve had in months. On Saturday we had a high of 39′ with the very predictable wind of the city. We were tempted to stay in, but who are we kidding?! We had shopping and sightseeing to do. On foot! We made it to Millennium Park and took the mandatory photo with Anish Kapoor’s “Cloud Gate,” more commonly known as “The Bean.”

Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor.

Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor.

The couple behind me started kissing just as Tiff was about to take the photo. Did they photobomb my pic or did I creep on their kiss…?

The next day we met up with our friend John for brunch and the three of us walked to the Navy Pier. There’s a really cool booth I had to visit in order to get something special for my sisters…but before we get to that…we walked to Jane Addams Memorial park where we took these photos. Yes, the kid in us came out to play and why not hang from a tree!!

Continue reading

Scarf Yourself DIY!

No secret… I like scarves. From silky and colorful to bulky and monochromatic, I have them all. They can easily dress up a simple outfit or give you an pop of color. They keep you warm on a cold day. The greatest thing is that there are not rules to scarves. Including making your own! Here’s a little Scarf DIY idea you can easily do.


STEP 1: Go to the fabric store and pick a cool fabric. One morning last week I had a few extra minutes before going to work so I stopped at a fabric store on my way to the RTM studio. I thought that I could make a new scarf if I found a cool roll of fabric.

Fabril Rolls

I didn’t find anything that I liked and, feeling defeated, I headed straight for the door. Just then, as I walked down the isle leading to the door I noticed a pile of remnants and… BINGO!


Right on top was a light blue remnant. The texture was very silky and I especially loved the embossed polka dots. The color was unlike anything I have in my closet.  I also really liked the way it draped when wrapped. So, I had it measured and took it home. The best part of this “fashion find” is the price: $3.24! Pretty awesome, right? No need to spend too much cash on this project. Continue reading for the rest of DIY.  Continue reading

Learning the art of Scuba Diving

The first time I sat on my anchor chair at RightThisMinute and saw a slew of extreme sports videos I knew the daredevil in me had been stirred. My goodness, I wanted so bad to be the race car driver going 150MPH on a track. Or the skier jumping off a helicopter to ski the mountain top powder. Or the wingsuit pilot that was “Grinding the Crack.” Granted, I’ll continue living vicariously through Jeb Corliss when it comes to wingsuit flying, but there are a number of sports I can more easily put under my belt. Like scuba diving. Don’t laugh!


I must say: I’m terrified of sharks. The thought of encountering sharks in open water sends a chill down my back. BUT, the idea of facing that fear is more fascinating than fear itself. So, I reached out to a good friend and PADI dive instructor, Jeff Ranby, to help me get certified. He’s been teaching for years and has traveled around the world on diving adventures. It was time for us to get to work.

I also got my friends Sol and Leonardo to get certified with me and after syncing up our busy schedules we made it happen. Leo manages a cute boutique hotel in Arizona and we were able to use their pool for the “confined water dive” portion of the certification. I must say… the sunny winters in Arizona are pretty awesome!


I’m very excited to share this experience with one of my best friends, Sol Ballard. She is a fantastic inspirational speaker who once was bullied because of her […]  Continue reading

Barcelona… t’estimo.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

(La Sagrada Familia)

And so… after realizing that I had not taken a real “vacation” for more than 10 years I decided to make it happen. Time goes by so fast and we become so entranced in the servitude of our jobs/careers that we forget to explore the world. We forget that there’s a marvelous world outside our own.

So, after very little convincing… my very good friend Tiffany and I decided to hit Europe together.  Weeks later, after some logistical planning, we were ecstatic to finally have our plane tickets and hotels booked! Barcelona, Nice, and Paris awaited. Continue reading

Red Sedona

Ladies at Resort

(Wearing my trusted distressed Levi’s, silk Kenneth Cole tank, H&M scarf, and Michael Kors belt purse–my favorite accessory when traveling.)

My good friend Nadine Velazquez and I decided to take a trip to Sedona, AZ a couple of weeks ago after talking about it for almost 2 years. She took a break from her role as Deputy D.A. Emma Rios in the TNT show Major Crimes and I was eager to spend time with my friend! I really can’t tell you how amazing this place is. We enjoyed relaxing and especially loved hiking around this magical place.

West Fork trail

One of our hike destinations was the West Fork Trail. The trail is about 3 miles long with lush green vegetation, the West Fork Creek, and magnificent red sandstone cliffs that repeatedly left us in awe. It will take you several hours to hike the entire distance since the round trip is about 6 miles long. Continue reading

iL TOCCO My Heart

My dear friend and chef extraordinaire Gabriele Bertaccini invited me to be a special guest at one of his über exclusive Culinary Mischief dining events by iL TOCCO.  “Thirty passionate food and wine lovers come together in an elegant loft space or unique location to share an exclusive dining experience with friends or people with similar interests.” Every Mischief dinner is held at a different location with a unique six course menu, giving the epicurean in all of us a one of a kind dining experience. Notice I’m gushing? I am! Not just because I admire Chef Gabe as a person, but because his creations are nothing short of exquisite.


Gabriele founded iL TOCCO Food in 2008 and has become a force to reckon with. It’s no surprise given that at just 13 years old he landed his first gig at a restaurant which helped fuel his passion for the culinary arts. His story is awe inspiring… but, his creations are even better. This Culinary Mischief: “An Italian Culinary Love Affair” was held at the Clayton on the Park in Scottsdale, AZ.  Continue reading

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