Tag Archives: christian

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

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

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

Fancy Pants!

I found these golden pants by chance while shopping for socks to take on an upcoming trip to the homeland. They’re basically jeggings (shhhh!) The key to wearing something bold like this is to forget you’re even wearing it. Just think of them as another pair of jeans.

Fancy Pants

Gold pants, white knit sweater, denim jacket, black high heeled combat boots, and an eBook. I took a sec to read a book from my e-reader after our shoot for the day at RightThisMinute wrapped. To see a cool RTM segment with this look click here.

Photos by Alicia from Alice in Pictureland

Japanese Tea Ceremony

It’s always fun to partake in new experiences and learn something new about another culture. Recently I went to RO HO EN, the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix, Az. They host traditional Japanese tea ceremonies once a month thru May and I was lucky enough to score a seat in one of them. It is customary to serve Matcha tea.

Hands and mouth must be rinsed before the tea ceremony with water from this basin called a Tsukubai.

Hands and mouth must be rinsed before the tea ceremony with water from this basin called a Tsukubai.


The Tsukubai is a basin used to rinse your hands and mouth as a purifying ritual before entering the tea house for the ceremony.

Once seated the hosts bring your a sweet sugar bar and a ginger cooking to sweeten your palate.

Once seated the hosts bring you a sweet sugar bar and a ginger cookie to sweeten your palate.

Drinking the matcha tea. The tea bowl must be held over your left hand and the right hand must grab the bowl from the side.

Drinking the matcha tea. The tea bowl must be held over your left hand and the right hand must grab the bowl from the side.

The Ro Ho En is an authentic 3 1/2 acre Japanese Stroll Garden. 1,500 tons of hand picked rock stone footbridges. Lanterns. More than 50 varieties of plants. A 12-foot waterfall. A Koi pond with over 300 colorful Koi fish.

The Ro Ho En is an authentic 3 1/2 acre Japanese Stroll Garden. 1,500 tons of hand picked rock stone footbridges. Lanterns. More than 50 varieties of plants. A 12-foot waterfall. A Koi pond with over 300 colorful Koi fish.

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