Buffy the Vampire Slayer and 12 Movies that Motivate

They’ve added all the seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Hulu and I cannot stop. Was anyone else obsessed when it first came out?

buffySeason 1, Episode 7 Angel…so good! {watch it}

Between the witty repertoire, the delightful nerdy realness of the Scooby Gang, the passionate back and forth between Buffy and Angel, Giles and his stuffy/mentory/well-meaning English accent, what wasn’t to love? It’s hard to believe the season finale was 10 years ago.

And then there was Buffy. She was cute, she was stylish, she had attitude and a quip ready at the drop of the hat plus she could kick some serious ass. If the shit hit the fan and vampires started popping up left and right, I wanted to believe I could be just as bad ass. I was not the super athlete as a kid, but watching episodes of Buffy always inspired me to run or do some push ups or to at least walk faster to the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.


Season 2, Episode 1 When She Was Bad {watch}

And those are the great books/movies/TV shows/stories, right? The ones that draw you in and make you want to be the main character or get you motivated to take the world by storm. Here are some other TV shows and movies that always get me fired up to be better, stronger, fitter.

1. GI Jane – Those push ups. Enough said.

2. Clueless – Cher is flawed and even more loveable for it. We get to watch her harmlessly superficial ways blow up in her face, leading her to become increasingly self-aware and to start on a sincere but awkward journey of sel-improvement. Every time I watch it, I get inspired by the idea that while there are always concrete steps we can take to improve ourselves, some flaws should be embraced.


3. The Guardian – The training those in the Coast Guard go through, the physical stamina and endurance they have to develop, the courage they show every time they get sent out in rough seas…so inspiring. Whenever I watch movies like this I wonder, would I make it? Could I push through the pain, the doubts, the panic? Movies like this inspire me to find new limits, or do away with them altogether.

4. Alias – One of my biggest creep factors is anything having to do with the dentist and/or my teeth being yanked out of my mouth. When the first episode aired and Sydney Bristow survived mouth torture just to become a super cool double agent, I was hooked.


5. Mulan – Clumsy Mulan pretends to be a man and joins the army, taking her father’s place and saving his life. She struggles to find herself while pretending to be someone else, and becomes fit, strong and brave. And she saves the day!

6. La Femme Nikita (TV Show and/or movie) – If you couldn’t tell, I’ve got a think for spies and conflicted heroes. The back story of La Femme Nikita differs a little between these two versions, in one she’s innocent and in the other she’s a guilty juvenile delinquent. In both she faces high pressure situations and has to rely on her strength, skills and coolness under pressure to come out on the other side alive and with some sort of her integrity intact.

7. Chasing Mavericks – Say what you will about this movie, but Jay Moriarity displays an impressive single-mindedness in pursuing his passion. That kind of dedication and focus is something I aspire to.

the real Jay Moriarity surfing on his last trip to the Maldives

8. Highlander – Ok, this one might be a stretch but am I the only one who thinks sword fighting is pretty awesome? Cutting heads off, kinda ew. But swinging a broadsword? I could get down with that.

10. Terminator 2: Judgment Day – Linda Hamilton’s arms…and those sun glasses.


11. Hunger Games – This one couldn’t be left out. My favorite thing about Katniss, and this movie, is that she becomes a hero not by choice, but out of necessity. She doesn’t spend her life training for the Hunger Games, she spends her life struggling to survive from day-to-day. She’s gritty, she’s real, she’s focused on getting the job done, and she’s fiercely devoted to those she holds close. And she’s awesome with a bow.

Always, Sierra

Running Ramblings

The early bird catches the worm! Er…trash…

Seagull Alameda

I managed to get yesterday’s run in before the sun turned into a fiery ball of death. Without sweat dripping into my eyes, I could enjoy the views.

20130701_082023 20130701_082033 20130701_084853

It was still warm though, and I spent most of the late afternoon/evening looking like this guy.


Any big plans for the Fourth? Mine involves the two B’s: beer and BBQ :). I couldn’t find any Fourth of July runs where I’ll be, but here are a few local ones if you’ve got the last-minute itch.

Alameda Mayor’s July 4th Parade R.A.C.E.


{race info – Orinda, CA}

Folsom Firecracker

{race info – Folsom, CA}

Thinking about setting off illegal fireworks? Make sure you can outrun the Police Chief first!

run crime

{Race Info – Roseville, CA}

Also, I know it’s weeks overdue (procrastinate much?!), but I had the chance to catch Spirit of the Marathon II when it premiered. I loved it! It didn’t make me tear up like the first one did, but all of the athlete’s (amateur and elite) had stories that were relatable and drew me in. The two Domenico’s and Vasyl Matviychuk are all incredibly funny, and Ylenia Anelli’s energy was contagious. Here are some of the memorable quotes I jotted down:

“I felt like i was somebody.” Domenico after his first marathon & Rome Marathon

“Work, family and running. It’s a matter of the principles in life.”

“Doesn’t matter how many hours [you finish in], everyone has the same emotion.”

“When I’m out running this is my time – not worrying about the future and not worrying about anything in the past.” Cliff

“You simply have to keep moving forward.” It sounds so easy!!

“The marathon originally was and always will be an extraordinary journey.”

“What I’d like to say to everybody listening, to the older people…run, run.” Domenico I think

 I walked out of the theater feeling inspired, two hours well spent!

Always, Sierra 

What would be your dream marathon location?

What are you doing for the Fourth? Any fun runs?

Are you a morning runner or an evening runner?

Let Me Be Brave in the Attempt

This past weekend I volunteered at the aquatic events for the 2013 Special Olympics Northern California Summer Games.  The games took place at UC Davis, also known as el fuego.

July 29th Davis{source}

By the time we got there to check in around 9am, it was already 88 degrees! Over 700 athletes competed in the Games, and some of them got to hang out in the coolest place in town.



The Special Olympics is an awesome organization that seeks to help athletes with intellectual disabilities prepare for life through sports. In the weeks leading up to the Games, the athletes participate in regional qualifying competitions. The different events at the Games include Aquatics, Bocce, Tennis, and Track and Field. The athletes are as young as 8 with no upper age limit, and each event’s heats are arranged so that athletes of similar abilities are competing against one another.

20130629_111240I’ve volunteered at the Summer Games for the past few years, and find it an incredibly inspiring and rewarding experience. Being able to connect with the athletes, to hear their stories, share their joy in victory and their determination to compete with their full heart, has been a gift and a lesson in what overcoming obstacles really means.


The Special Olympics Athlete Oath is is how we should all approach life, shooting for success but acknowledging that true value lies in the attempt and approach just as much as the final outcome.

We stopped by Sonic on the way home. So many delicious choices, so many opportunities for my stomach to be brave. 

SonicAlways, Sierra

What has been your favorite volunteer experience?

What’s your favorite Sonic menu item?

Do you have a favorite motivational quote? Share it below!

Healthier Living Goals: Staying Active on Vacation

I had three goals for Cabo: have fun, get some quality girl time in, and stay active.

Oh wait, make that four goals.

In the past, my vacations have been all about the food…

donuts in seattle

{donuts in Seattle}

Leonard's in Hawaii

{Malasadas in Hawaii}

…and the drank.

beer in seattle

Kona brewing company

Going from a lifelong “I deserve to indulge and relax on vacation” to a shiny new “It feels good to work out anytime, vacation or not” is a work in progress. Sometimes I struggle, and sometimes it’s almost effortless I struggle less.

Our recent trip to Cabo was a big success for me, especially because I had some great workout partners.

Cabo gym time

The first and biggest hurdle was just packing running gear. I used to question whether it was worth bringing the running shoes along when I wasn’t sure I’d even use them. I could be using that precious space for two clutches and a pair of heels!

The thing is, if I don’t pack the shoes, I’m already giving up.

When we went to Cabo, I traveled there and back in my running gear. I didn’t have to worry about cramming the shoes into my carry on, and I was super comfy on the plane. Just walking around in the stuff made me feel like I was a bad-ass, one step away from pro athlete status.



(Sidenote: I took a pair of running capris for travelling only to make sure I didn’t stank up the plane on the way back. You’re welcome, fellow passengers.)

I also brought some running focused reading material for the plane ride there to keep me motivated. I managed to get through at least two articles between daydreams of margaritas and lounging in pools.

My whole goal in wanting to be active on vacation is to explore new places by foot, but that doesn’t mean it’s always going to work out that way. I knew that the location of our resort wasn’t going to be conducive to outdoor runs, but I didn’t want to sacrifice my bigger goals because I couldn’t do exactly what I wanted. That meant some gym time.

Too bad my regular gym doesn’t have this view.

Riu Santa Fe

Everything on the treadmill was in kilometers. Now, I know I should be able to figure out km/h relatively easy and dial in my pace (hello 5K and 10K). My brain, however, refused to do math on vacation, so that meant I bounced around a bit and probably settled for something on the slow side.

Another down side? Apparently three treadmills going at the same time was one too many for the resort gym. A power surge caused all the treadmills to stop with no warning and I almost bit it hard. I think we recovered well, don’t you agree?

Working it out

Since the cardio equipment was a little spotty, I switched things up and focused more on strength. I have a small, free gym at work which is convenient, but it only has dumbbells and medicine balls. It was nice to use some of the strength machines for a change and push my body a little harder and in different ways. Because I stayed flexible in what I wanted to accomplish, I never got discouraged by the limitations I couldn’t control.

Before we left, I didn’t talk to any of my girlfriends about working out while we were there, but I knew that at least a few of them would pack their gear. It’s so much easier to take time away from drinking and sunning when you’re not doing it alone. Y and C were my workout partners at the gym, but all of us also took a water aerobics class together, danced up a storm, and had long walks escapades on the beach. It’s crazy how much of a workout you get just walking in loose sand!

We were in Cabo for about four and a half days, and we were at the gym on two of those days. Trying to build new habits is all about thoughts and intentions, and I rocked it on this trip!

Always, Sierra

Do you have any active vacationing tips?

What are your favorite workouts when you travel?

How do you plan for working out on vacation when you’re the only one who wants to?

Motivation Monday and Ice Cream




It’s been a struggle for the past couple weeks to fit in my work outs. Summer is my second favorite time of year, but with all the gorgeous weather and long days come lots of activities. There have been vacations, road trips, time spent with family, friend’s birthdays to celebrate, fun events to attend, busy-ness at work…the list goes on. It’s easy to fall in the “I don’t have time ” or the “I need this hour of free time to just chill” traps.

“Every time you stay out late; every time you sleep in; every time you miss a workout; every time you don’t give 100% – You make it that much easier for me to beat you.”   – Unknown

And even though I have been making sure to fit in a few workouts a week, they haven’t been at the frequency or the level I’d like. I have more than a sneaking suspicion that I could be putting more into every run, every strength session. So it’s time to kick myself in the butt!

How I get going when I’m not motivated

1. Switch up work-outs. Most of the time I don’t dread the entire act of working out. Instead, I think all day about what I planned on doing, and dread that specific thing. When that happens, I bust myself out of my routine and do something different. The last time this happened I had planned a speed workout on the treadmill, but the idea of running on a treadmill was yawn-inducing. I did a strength session instead and felt revitalized and full of energy after.

2. Change up the location. My neighborhood has a lot of thru traffic and is full of interesting characters. If I can’t get out to run early in the morning, I don’t like running from my house. This means during the week I end up doing runs on the treadmill after work a lot, and that gets real old real fast. When I can’t stand it anymore, I brave the 45 minutes it’ll take sitting in traffic to get to some fun trails or a nice park. It’s a time drain, but being outside and the change in scenery makes me feel like a kid again and puts joy back into the run.

3. Try something new. I just bought a Groupon for barre classes, and I’m super excited to get started. Barre classes are new to me, so I’ll get to learn something new, get a fun strength workout in, and give my body a challenge it’s never seen. Groupon and LivingSocial are great resources for fitness classes and events, but this could also mean doing a (free) run with your local run club if you’ve never partaken or swimming a few laps to enjoy the summer weather.

4.  Read a book, watch a documentary, get immersed in youtube clips, listen to a friend. When I can’t uncover my own motivation, I look for examples of other people’s motivation. Sometimes this means watching an amazing documentary…

And sometimes it just means listening to the Mr. recount his biking adventures and hearing how he pushed himself and how much he put into it. Find the quotes, movies, youtube clips that motivate you, and keep them easily accessible for those rough days.

Now that everyone’s motivated and ready to go…let’s eat ice cream! The Mr. brought me this amazingness the other day.

Dreyer's German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream

Run, don’t walk. Dreyer’s really knew what they were doing, and it’s crazy how much this ice cream tastes like German chocolate cake (one of my favorite desserts ever). It’s a limited edition, keep your eye out for it!

Always, Sierra

How do you get motivated?

What’s your favorite dessert? Your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Do you have a movie or quote or book that gets you fired up?