natalie venuto

natalie venuto

Workin’ on my fitness

Ever since I stopped taking ballet classes and rehearsing for performances most days of the week for hours on end, my fitness level has definitely suffered. I still keep up with regular walks/hikes, yoga and pilates and occasionally swimming, but I know I need to push myself more, especially since I love the feeling of being active as soon as I leave my desk job each day.

Palo Alto has too many fitness options to choose from, which I love, so I decided to check out a few before my free Crunch membership started when Bitcasa moved to the new San Mateo office in July. So far, I’ve checked out Equinox (I was a member for most of 2013-2014); uforia studios, SoulCycle, The Dailey Method, Pure Barre, The Bar Method, and Core Studio.

At Equinox, I loved that the $150/month (partially subsidized by work) included an amazing gym, unlimited fitness classes, a saline rooftop pool, a beautiful spa, impeccable locker rooms with cold eucalyptus towels, Kiehl’s products, and a eucalyptus steam room. I never regretted a trip to Equinox, but I found that, after a while, I wasn’t totally challenged by the workout classes anymore (my favorites were Danceation, TRX, Pilates, yoga) and wanted a change for a bit.

I knew that SoulCycle was acquired by Equinox in 2011 (I wish SoulCycle classes were included in an Equinox membership), so it made sense that everyone was raving about the workout. I decided to give it a shot and absolutely loved it! Downsides: $30/class + $3 shoe rental (a few dollars cheaper if you buy a 5 or 10 class package; $20 for your first class; includes free shoes your first time); getting used to clipping in/out of the bike. After you get used to it, it’s the only way to spin. I recently took a spin class at Crunch wearing just Nike running shoes and I wished I’d had spin shoes. Everything else is wonderful. I love the atmosphere: lights off, clean studio with great branding, candles, motivational quotes on the walls, teachers who push you to places you never thought possible, upbeat music that makes you feel like you’re at a rave, and the high you feel is better than any drug could possibly be!

I’ve done barre classes for years, and I love Pure Barre out here (I loved in back in Michigan too!) The problem I was running into was similar to my problems with Equinox – after a while, I wanted to switch things up. I checked out The Bar Method, which wasn’t challenging enough – I didn’t even break a sweat – and The Dailey Method. I liked The Dailey Method, but again, if I’m getting up for an intense 6am workout, I want to sweat along with my resistance training.

Uforia Studios and Core Studio are both right down the street from my apartment in Palo Alto. Uforia is a cute boutique studio in an old church, and it’s beautiful! The prices are about the same as most exercise studios in the area – it averages out to between $18-24 per class, depending on your package. The staff is wonderful and the Grit and Revolutions (spin) classes are great. I’d go more often if I didn’t have a free Crunch membership through work now.

Core Studios uses SPX machines and it’s hands down the best core workout I’ve ever done. My first class was $15, first month once a week package was $79, and they just offered me a $99 monthly unlimited class, so I’m looking forward to toning and strengthening in August.

In addition to these classes, I’ve tried yoga, pilates, and spin at Crunch. I’m looking forward to checking out boxing, cardio kickboxing, pole dancing (!), and other weight/cardio/resistance training classes.

I also try to hike in the Bay Area (and beyond) as much as I can. It’s so beautiful here; the weather is always perfect and the hills make a killer (and free!) workout that’s fun to do with friends and visitors.

I’ll keep this blog updated as I try more fitness classes! I’ve even turned myself into a morning person – the way these classes work (booking online in advance) does not allow for cancellation without penalty, so when my alarm goes off at 5:20 (and 5:30… and 5:40), I’m out of bed and ready to go!

Summertime in Northern Michigan

I haven’t been great about documenting my travels this year. Here’s the quick overview: I got stuck in the polar vortex in Michigan in January, took a last-minute 36-hour Michigan adventure in February, ran a half marathon with my partner in crime Caitlin in DC in April, got to spend some time with my sister Melissa during a long weekend in Houston in May, met up with my best friend Ethan five days in Hawaii over Memorial Day Weekend, went on a rafting and camping trip near Sacramento and Folsom in June with some Bay Area friends, spent a day in Napa in June with my friend Stephanie who just moved to Hawaii, and spent the Fourth of July on Lake Tahoe. Next on my list is my favorite place: Northern Michigan! I’m flying to Traverse City tonight and spending the next ten days with family and friends in that glorious place.

There’s just something about summertime in Northern Michigan. It doesn’t quite feel like summer in the Bay Area – it’s always 70s and sunny, and at my new office in San Mateo, it’s always breezy and sometimes foggy. I love this weather, and I love that I get to experience it year-round, but there’s something to be said for enduring months-long winter, getting up in the darkness to scrape off your car, hoping your fingers won’t freeze as your breath fogs up your glasses, trekking to work or school on questionable roads, and then anxiously awaiting the first day of spring where even in 50-degree temperatures, everyone is acting like it’s already summer. That “thawing” period makes people realize why, exactly, they deal with the winters every year, even if most of them say THIS IS THE LAST YEAR. The months that aren’t winter (and even parts of winter!) are absolutely glorious, but especially summers.

Summers in Michigan are magical. Ask 99.9% of people who have spent time there in the summer will agree wholeheartedly. The people are so friendly and excited about everything. Traverse City has been named to so many “best of” lists by reputable travel, food/wine/beer and news sources that I’ve lost track. Lake Michigan is hands down the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen, and I just cannot WAIT to get there.

Some recent events:
California Beer Festival
4th of July in Lake Tahoe
Rafting on the American River and camping near Folsom Lake + making an epic s’more out of rice krispie treats, Hershey’s, Nutella, marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies, Oreos and Graham crackers
Park days in San Francisco
Bitcasa HQ moved to San Mateo
Brunch / walks in Palo Alto
Some recent events:
California Beer Festival
4th of July in Lake Tahoe
Rafting on the American River and camping near Folsom Lake + making an epic s’more out of rice krispie treats, Hershey’s, Nutella, marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies, Oreos and Graham crackers
Park days in San Francisco
Bitcasa HQ moved to San Mateo
Brunch / walks in Palo Alto
Some recent events:
California Beer Festival
4th of July in Lake Tahoe
Rafting on the American River and camping near Folsom Lake + making an epic s’more out of rice krispie treats, Hershey’s, Nutella, marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies, Oreos and Graham crackers
Park days in San Francisco
Bitcasa HQ moved to San Mateo
Brunch / walks in Palo Alto
Some recent events:
California Beer Festival
4th of July in Lake Tahoe
Rafting on the American River and camping near Folsom Lake + making an epic s’more out of rice krispie treats, Hershey’s, Nutella, marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies, Oreos and Graham crackers
Park days in San Francisco
Bitcasa HQ moved to San Mateo
Brunch / walks in Palo Alto
Some recent events:
California Beer Festival
4th of July in Lake Tahoe
Rafting on the American River and camping near Folsom Lake + making an epic s’more out of rice krispie treats, Hershey’s, Nutella, marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies, Oreos and Graham crackers
Park days in San Francisco
Bitcasa HQ moved to San Mateo
Brunch / walks in Palo Alto
Some recent events:
California Beer Festival
4th of July in Lake Tahoe
Rafting on the American River and camping near Folsom Lake + making an epic s’more out of rice krispie treats, Hershey’s, Nutella, marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies, Oreos and Graham crackers
Park days in San Francisco
Bitcasa HQ moved to San Mateo
Brunch / walks in Palo Alto
Some recent events:
California Beer Festival
4th of July in Lake Tahoe
Rafting on the American River and camping near Folsom Lake + making an epic s’more out of rice krispie treats, Hershey’s, Nutella, marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies, Oreos and Graham crackers
Park days in San Francisco
Bitcasa HQ moved to San Mateo
Brunch / walks in Palo Alto
Some recent events:
California Beer Festival
4th of July in Lake Tahoe
Rafting on the American River and camping near Folsom Lake + making an epic s’more out of rice krispie treats, Hershey’s, Nutella, marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies, Oreos and Graham crackers
Park days in San Francisco
Bitcasa HQ moved to San Mateo
Brunch / walks in Palo Alto
Some recent events:
California Beer Festival
4th of July in Lake Tahoe
Rafting on the American River and camping near Folsom Lake + making an epic s’more out of rice krispie treats, Hershey’s, Nutella, marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies, Oreos and Graham crackers
Park days in San Francisco
Bitcasa HQ moved to San Mateo
Brunch / walks in Palo Alto
Some recent events:
California Beer Festival
4th of July in Lake Tahoe
Rafting on the American River and camping near Folsom Lake + making an epic s’more out of rice krispie treats, Hershey’s, Nutella, marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies, Oreos and Graham crackers
Park days in San Francisco
Bitcasa HQ moved to San Mateo
Brunch / walks in Palo Alto

Some recent events:

California Beer Festival

4th of July in Lake Tahoe

Rafting on the American River and camping near Folsom Lake + making an epic s’more out of rice krispie treats, Hershey’s, Nutella, marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies, Oreos and Graham crackers

Park days in San Francisco

Bitcasa HQ moved to San Mateo

Brunch / walks in Palo Alto

What might happen if an American football coach coached soccer

"Ties and no playoffs? Why even do this?"

"That’s not a tackle… that’s just slidin’ around!"

"How many countries are in this country?"

Wine tasting in the Santa Cruz Mountains / Saratoga yesterday with our friends Oliver and Rachel
Wine tasting in the Santa Cruz Mountains / Saratoga yesterday with our friends Oliver and Rachel
Wine tasting in the Santa Cruz Mountains / Saratoga yesterday with our friends Oliver and Rachel

Wine tasting in the Santa Cruz Mountains / Saratoga yesterday with our friends Oliver and Rachel

I love Project Juice! The juicer Grant bought me for my birthday is pretty awesome, too.
I love Project Juice! The juicer Grant bought me for my birthday is pretty awesome, too.
I love Project Juice! The juicer Grant bought me for my birthday is pretty awesome, too.

I love Project Juice! The juicer Grant bought me for my birthday is pretty awesome, too.

New summer shoes I’m loving: Tieks, Toms and Rainbow sandals. I also love those Tieks in nude, but they only come in patent leather in that color – too shiny for my taste. Tieks has fantastic customer support, and they’re extremely well-made, versatile and comfortable shoes. I’m very excited to kick off summer with some great shoes.
New summer shoes I’m loving: Tieks, Toms and Rainbow sandals. I also love those Tieks in nude, but they only come in patent leather in that color – too shiny for my taste. Tieks has fantastic customer support, and they’re extremely well-made, versatile and comfortable shoes. I’m very excited to kick off summer with some great shoes.
New summer shoes I’m loving: Tieks, Toms and Rainbow sandals. I also love those Tieks in nude, but they only come in patent leather in that color – too shiny for my taste. Tieks has fantastic customer support, and they’re extremely well-made, versatile and comfortable shoes. I’m very excited to kick off summer with some great shoes.

New summer shoes I’m loving: Tieks, Toms and Rainbow sandals. I also love those Tieks in nude, but they only come in patent leather in that color – too shiny for my taste. Tieks has fantastic customer support, and they’re extremely well-made, versatile and comfortable shoes. I’m very excited to kick off summer with some great shoes.

What a great Monday! @kojakitchen @ #willowsmarket food truck night + a lovely hand-written note accompanying a #littlebluebox from @tieks! 💕 (at Food Truck Monday)

What a great Monday! @kojakitchen @ #willowsmarket food truck night + a lovely hand-written note accompanying a #littlebluebox from @tieks! 💕 (at Food Truck Monday)

#everydayisbikeday #biketoworkweek #startuplife @bitcasa 🚲 (at Bitcasa)

#everydayisbikeday #biketoworkweek #startuplife @bitcasa 🚲 (at Bitcasa)

Exploring #Houston with mah main b!tches

Exploring #Houston with mah main b!tches

@venutom’s dog Blue! 💙 #houston #puppy (at Houston Heights, Texas)

@venutom’s dog Blue! 💙 #houston #puppy (at Houston Heights, Texas)

Kickin it poolside with @venutom #houston #everythingisbiggerintexas (at Uptown Post Oak - Houston, TX)

Kickin it poolside with @venutom #houston #everythingisbiggerintexas (at Uptown Post Oak - Houston, TX)

Dieter Rams: Ten Principles For Good Design

writtentheme:

Good design:

  1. Is innovative - The possibilities for progression are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for original designs. But imaginative design always develops in tandem with improving technology, and can never be an end in itself.
I’m not sorry that this is a photo of [delicious] food. Chili on top of cornbread baked in a mason jar? I love #sanfrancisco  (at Victory Hall & Parlor SF)

I’m not sorry that this is a photo of [delicious] food. Chili on top of cornbread baked in a mason jar? I love #sanfrancisco (at Victory Hall & Parlor SF)