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Travel Archives - Vicki Brands

Beach Cruising

My husband and I just celebrated our 3rd anniversary! We made a short trip to Huntington Beach for a few days to relax by the beach. Because I am pregnant, doctors (and the rest of the world) advise us to stay on the continental US to avoid any chance of contracting Zika, which limited our travel options this summer. However, our little beach get away was perfect! We went to the beach, swam in the pool, went to a nice dinner, found a few great breakfast spots, and got a whole bunch of walking and beach cruising in!

We rented beach cruisers one morning and ended up riding for hours; we rode a total of about 28 miles up and down the coast. We rode up to Sunset Beach, back to Huntington and then almost all of the way down the Newport Peninsula, and back to Huntington. It was an awesome workout and definitely doable being 26 weeks pregnant. I would not recommend riding almost 30 miles on a beach cruiser though- your butt will be sore for days after!

For the most part though,  beach cruising + pregnancy = great workout!

16.1 & 16.2 Crossfit Open

It’s that time of year again; Crossfit Open time! 16.1 is done and in the books for me and 16.2 was released tonight!


Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 20 minutes of:
25-ft. overhead walking lunge
8 burpees
25-ft. overhead walking lunge
8 chest-to-bar pull-ups

Men lunge 95 lb.
Women lunge 65 lb.

I completed 104 reps in 20 minutes with my good friend Michelle judging me. Thanks pal! (;

16.2 was just announced tonight:


I’ll take a shot at this workout on Sunday, so for today’s workout, I just practiced the movements to make sure I could do them. I haven’t done toes-to-bar in probably a year…but I can still do them! I haven’t practiced double unders in a while either…but I’ve stillllll got em! Squat cleans are pretty much my favorite lift…so I’ve got those no problem! (: Bring it onnnn 16.2!!!


Beginning on a 4-minute clock, complete as many reps as possible of:
  25 toes-to-bars
  50 double-unders
  15 squat cleans, 135 / 85 lb.

If completed before 4 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
  25 toes-to-bars
  50 double-unders
  13 squat cleans, 185 / 115 lb.

If completed before 8 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
  25 toes-to-bars
  50 double-unders
  11 squat cleans, 225 / 145 lb.

If completed before 12 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
  25 toes-to-bars
  50 double-unders
  9 squat cleans, 275 / 175 lb.

If completed before 16 minutes, add 4 minutes to the clock and proceed to:
  25 toes-to-bars
  50 double-unders
  7 squat cleans, 315 / 205 lb.

Stop at 20 minutes.

Today’s workout to warm up for it:

20 minute AMRAP

5 squat cleans @ 85#

5 toes-to-bar

25 double unders 


{ Weekend Hikes }

This weekend Gerrit & I were blessed with an extra long weekend because of MLK Day, so we decided to spend most of it outside. Being outside and/or going to San Diego is always a good choice (:

Santa Rosa Plateau ~ Murrieta, CA

On Saturday, we hit the Santa Rosa Plateau which is located off of Clinton Keith/ 15 freeway in Murrieta, CA. There are several places to park along Clinton Keith, including the visitor center. If you keep following the road past the visitor center, you will come to two more parking lots, one on the left and one on the right. The one on the right is the one we choose to frequent because they allow dogs on a leash (as well as horses!). Our dogs LOVE coming out here and tend to walk us, rather than the opposite. The trails are fairly flat, but depending on the route you choose, it can get pretty rocky and steep at parts. Our hike on Saturday totaled about 3.5 miles roundtrip. Not bad for a little afternoon hike with the pups!


Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve ~ La Jolla, CA

Today we made it down to San Diego for one of the most beautiful hikes in southern Ca (in my opinion). Torrey Pines was PACKED with families today, maybe because most, if not all, schools were not in session today. Nevertheless, it turned out to be a gorgeous day that included a hike totaling just under 5 miles. Torrey Pines is located off the 5 freeway and Carmel Valley Rd. If you park in the parking lot at the base of the hill, you can walk/ run up the large hill to start your hike. If you’re not feeling so motivated, you can also drive up the hill and park by the Visitor Center (but we all know it’s better to take the hill!).  We hiked down and back on several of the trails lined with beachy shrubs. The trails lead to different view points and one leads down to the beach. Once you make it down to the beach, you can either go back up the trail (which we did) or you can walk on the flat beach back to your car. I highly recommend this hike, especially if you love the beach like I do!


If you have time to take another little trip after, head about two miles south of Torrey Pines Reserve to the Torrey Pines Glider Port. You can sit outside on the deck, enjoy a snack and watch the parachuters take off. It’s pretty neat. And relaxing. And…just go, you’ll see!

Ground Turkey Chili

Here is a great rainy day recipe that you can throw together pretty quickly. It’s delicious, healthy, and super easy to make!

Ground Turkey Chili


  1. 1 lb. ground turkey
  2. 2 cans of crushed/ diced tomatoes
  3. 1 can black beans
  4. 1 pack of chili seasonings, or you can make your own
  5. 1 bell pepper, chopped
  6. 1 onion, chopped
  7. 1 sweet potato, diced
  8. Pepper, garlic powder to taste


  1. Cook diced sweet potatoes until they are almost completely soft. Set aside.
  2. Thoroughly cook the ground turkey in a large pot.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes back in.
  4. Add all other ingredients in any order, including spices.
  5. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Enjoy! (:

Butternut Squash Soup (paleo version)

WOW. This soup was delicious! I have never tried butternut squash soup in my life, but decided to take a shot at it tonight. It was the perfect cold weather dish. Here is the recipe I used, as published on http://paleogrubs.com/


  1. 1 large butternut squash (about 5 lbs)… I used 2 lbs, pre-cut from Costco 
  2. 1 green apple, sliced and cored
  3. 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  4. 2 carrots, chopped
  5. 3 tbsp olive oil
  6. 2 tsp cinnamon
  7. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 1/2 tsp cumin
  9. 1 tsp chili powder
  10. 2 tbsp ghee (I subbed coconut oil)
  11. 3 cups chicken broth
  12. *** I added 2 chicken sausages (Costco) to up the protein content 


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the butternut squash, olive oil, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp cumin. Mix together, coating the squash well. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Next, in the same bowl that the butternut squash was in, toss the apple slices, onion, and carrots to coat with the remnants. Place on a second rimmed baking sheet and add both baking sheets to the oven. Roast for 35-40 minutes until soft, stirring once.
  3. Heat up ghee over medium heat in a large pot on the stove. Add the roasted ingredients and then the chicken broth. Add 1 teaspoon each of salt, cinnamon and chili powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  4. While mixture is simmering, cut and warm up two chicken sausages to use as garnish and to add some protein to this dish.
  5. Using an immersion blender, combine the ingredients until smooth, or transfer to a blender to puree. Serve warm. Sprinkle warmed sausage on top. Garnish with peeled carrots if desired.


First Steps

Hi Friends!

Welcome to my blog! My name is Vicki and I am a 28 year old elementary school teacher, a wife, a traveler, and an aspiring photographer. I developed a love for fitness after discovering Crossfit, of which I was a member of for 3 years. My husband and I now workout together in our garage, where we have built a mini Crossfit gym. I created this blog as a motivational tool for myself to get back to my healthy eating and workout habits after falling short during Thanksgiving break. I know that I can’t be the only one that this happened to, so hopefully you will find some sort of inspiration in my blog as well!

Over Thanksgiving, my husband and I were lucky enough to travel to the East Coast to visit my extended family and play tourists for a week. When we go on vacation, we tend to eat and drink like it doesn’t matter, even though we are no where near close to keeping up with our normal workout routine. We walked a few miles every day during our adventures, which was a decent start.

My plan for this blog is to post travel workout & eating tips whenever my husband and I are out of town, provide you with new recipes I have found or created, document the workouts we complete in our garage, and provide some inspiration to people who think that because they work full time, they can’t make time to workout. I too have to MAKE time to workout and to prepare healthy meals. I choose to make health a priority. Making a healthy life style a priority is the best way to see progress and will allow you to reap the benefits of your hard work!

I hope that you are able to find motivation alongside me, whether you have never worked out a day in your life or are trying to hop back into your routine like me. Enjoy!

<3 Vicki Brands