Gym Hair: Long or Short?

When I started going to the gym every morning in February, I had very long hair. I’d thought for a long time about chopping it all off, but the thing really stopping me was my gym routine. I knew cutting it short would actually require more work and time than longer hair and that I would have to prepare for the cut by adding a straightener to my gym bag.

For a long time, I didn’t cut it simply because I wasn’t sure how to transport a hot straightener around my bag without burning a hole somewhere! After searching a long time online to try and find some kind of heat resistant cover or bag, I had the bright idea to just go to the grocery and buy a silicon baking mitt and flip it inside out to store the straightener. It works just great and the next night I chopped my hair off!

I was a little surprised how many of the regulars at the gym exclaimed how nice short hair is and how much faster it would be than long hair. Personally, this is just not the case. This length of short hair definitely requires a lot more time and effort on my part!

Short Hair:


  • Short enough that it is possible to wash my hair at the gym and blow dry it.
  • No more showering at night just to wash my hair and let it dry in the evening.  Uses less water at home and overall at the gym with the timed showers. Lets me stretch the use of my bath towel at home out further. (We are not a one-use towel kind of family!)
  • My hair doesn’t get caught under my gym bag or purse anymore! This used to be a small problem with long hair. I would sweep it to one side as I put my bulky purse or gym bag on one shoulder, but for the other shoulder I would inevitably get some of my hair painfully caught under the straps. Every. Day.


  • Harder to keep hair sweat-free while working out = needing to shower and shampoo a bit more often, especially after runs.
  • Harder to keep hair dry while showering on days that I don’t wash it. I have to blow dry parts of it and re-iron almost every day, whether I washed it or not.
  • Blow drying a whole head of hair takes SO much more time than not doing it at all. If I got some of my hair wet in the past, I used to blow dry a bit at the neck and my bangs when I had them and that was about it.
  • Straightening this short style takes a lot more time than straightening my hair at home once or twice during the week with long hair.

Long Hair:


  • I can tie it all out of my way pretty easily, even with bangs, which required clippies. The main problem with short hair is that it’s impossible to tie up the back at the base of the neck where the hairs are very short. Keeps the hair cleaner and sweat-free when I’m not washing!
  • Minimal to no blow drying required because the hair is drier overall. This saves so much time!
  • No straightening at the gym. Also, such a time saver.


  • Hair is too long and too much of it to have time to realistically shampoo and blow dry it at the gym. This did not really bother me much though, to be honest.
  • Extra showering at home specifically to wash the hair. Kind of a waste of water and I would have to plan when to do it between social events so it had enough time to dry before bed.
  • Hair gets caught under gym bag. But this is a general problem of long hair. Always gets caught under things, like the husband…!

Anyway, I really liked having long hair and knew that overall, it would save me time at the gym if I kept it long. I am really enjoying the new short do because it’s exciting to have short hair again after years, but the long hair was also really pretty and some days I miss how easy it was to pull it all out of the way, particularly on days where I’m caught running out of time with a half-straightened head of hair and running to catch the train.

With long hair, I would sometimes come to the gym 20 minutes later a couple days a week, but now I pretty much need to get up at 6:15 every day and alter my routine a bit to fit the shampooing in. Some days it means doing less eye makeup, but it still works out alright.

Does your hair length impact your exercise routine?

Gluten-free San Juan

I wanted to do a quick write up on the restaurants we visited in Puerto Rico before they slip out of my head. I learned on this trip that I need to be a lot better about researching restaurants before a trip to find gluten-free friendly options, but hopefully these reviews will be helpful to some celiacs heading to PR in the future!

Mango’s Ocean Park
We arrived in Puerto Rico after a very long day of traveling. Transferring in America takes up a lot of time! We were also jet lagged so we slept in for a long time and then spent around an hour trying to figure out where to go for breakfast before we landed at Ocean Side Cafe.

I enjoyed a nice fruit salad and eggs. We really liked the coffee here too and we would have come back again, but every other day we got up earlier and this place doesn’t open till 12, so we never went back. 🙁 It was a shame because this was one of the only places in PR we found that served fresh fruit, which was a little disappointing for PR in general.

La Chola
This was the first restaurant we went to dinner for with my new diet and it wasn’t really advertised as gluten free, so I was nervous. The wait staff spoke some English, but the menu was all in Spanish and I had no idea what I was ordering. The guy thought it would be OK, but as we waited for dinner I was terrified what would come. I honestly felt sick to my stomach anticipating what would arrive for dinner. Kay realised I was freaking out and told me it would be fine, but my anxiety was getting really out of control.

I was really close to crying by the time the waiter brought our food, which happened to be delicious by the way. It turns out we had ordered ceviche and it was totally fine to eat. I loosened up a little once we were eating and that was when I started to realise that I’m nervous before my food comes and was much happier to not be thinking about food on that trip.

We went to Basilia’s on our second morning after figuring out that Ocean Park was not open. Basilia’s is kind of like an old school diner. The food is good and hearty, but not super special. The first time we went here for breakfast I was using my Spanish GF cards and made sure to be very clear that I could not have any bread or anything like that. They were very friendly and accommodating.

The second time we came for breakfast, I ordered an omelette that didn’t mention any bread and I freaked out when it came with both toast and french fries, which I also refused to eat. I pushed them all on to Kay’s plate and brushed the crumbs off my plate with a napkin before starting to eat. That was where I learned my lesson of always mentioning celiac and gluten to the waiter no matter what is on the menu.

We also came here for dinner one evening because we knew the food was pretty good and easy for me to find something to eat. For dinner I had mofongo (mashed plantains) with shredded pork and it was oh so good. It was a little uncertain whether fried food would make me react, but I seemed OK with the plantains.

Pinky’s had a lot of good reviews on Yelp and promised GF eating, so we went there the third morning because we figured we shouldn’t just go back to Basilia’s. Really, we should have done just that. We waited in line to be seated because the restaurant was packed on a weekday and then the menu basically only had a cob salad for me to eat. Yay…. I mean, not.

The worst part was that Kay’s breakfast  gave him some food poisoning, so he lost his breakfast later and felt a bit sick all day. We did not return to Pinky’s again. The food was overpriced for the lack of quality.

La B de Burro
This place was really close to our guest house and actually had pretty good reviews for tacos. I was also a bit nervous about ordering here because it seemed like the staff didn’t know

We decided to indulge in some churrasco on the last evening in PR. We figured that a meal full of meat would be pretty safe and we were right, although we might have overdosed on beef. The first two cuts of beef were very, very good, but after that there was a lot of filler meat. There was also way more meat than two people could ever eat and it wasn’t worth stuffing mediocre meat down our throats.

We ordered pina coladas with dinner, something I rarely indulge in, and by the end of the meal we were both supremely stuffed. I’m glad we got a chance to have some churrasco here because we didn’t end up going again with Kay’s brother in Miami.

Eating gluten-free in San Juan was not terribly hard, but breakfast was definitely the hardest meal. We went to a cafe one day and asked about breakfast. While we were waiting for coffee, the waitress had already started a continental breakfast for us without letting us know that there was no menu, only a set meal with toast and more toast. Kay noticed her putting a bunch of toast in the toaster and told her we were sorry, but we’d have to go eat somewhere else.

It was definitely frustrating to arrive at places hungry and then have to find a new location for breakfast and dinner. That’s why planning gluten-free options is so important!

Swiss Saunas

I don’t know about you, but growing up in America, nobody ever taught me how to enjoy a sauna. My Dad’s gym had one and it was generally regarded as a nice hot room that you could go into for 10 minutes or so, in your bathing suit of course. I didn’t get it.

It wasn’t until Kay and I used one of our wedding gifts, a romantic weekend at a wellness hotel in the mountains in Switzerland, that I had the opportunity for Kay to teach me how the sauna experience here works.

1. Get naked. Most saunas and wellness areas here have a no swimsuit/clothing rule to cut down on bacteria in the sauna. Most people wear towels inside and by “wearing”, I mean sitting on the towel to keep sweat off the bench.

I don’t have any qualms about sitting naked in front of men and women in the sauna, especially since I started doing it with Kay. It’s just considered normal here, but sometimes I think about how strange it would be for a lot of my family and friends back in the States. Heck, even some of my German colleagues think it’s a bit weird how things are mixed here.

2. Take a shower to clean yourself. You’re going to sweat later, but this is to keep the sauna cleaner.

3. Get in the sauna and sit or lie down for 10-15 minutes, soak up the heat.

4. Exit the sauna and take a cold shower. In Switzerland at least, they often have fun means of cooling off either with over-sized rain shower heads, buckets that dump ice cold water over you, or a tub of ice cold water.

5. Relax for 20 minutes outside in the wellness area. Read a book, drink some hot tea and let yourself succumb to total relaxation.

7. Repeat the process at least 2 to 3 times. This is key! The same way you work the muscles harder with a few sets of repetitions, doing multiple rounds of sauna will unwind you further and further. By the time you leave, you’ll be nice and relaxed.

The pictures above are actually from a spa room in my friend’s apartment complex that she can rent out for the evening. (Sooo cool!) Using the sauna again reminded me that I have access to one through my gym, so I made a point to finally try it out. I’ve been going to the gym since February and had yet to check out the wellness area!

Now that Kay is gone for a month, I decided to make a bit of a thing by going to the sauna on Friday evenings. After my first time, I was SO impressed. I thought the gym sauna would just be a hot sauna and a place to relax in between sessions, but they had a 60ºC women’s only sauna, 100ºC mixed sauna, mixed steam room, lots of fun showers, including the never before seen cold bath… I was in heaven! They even had typical spa features like foot bath seats (with heated seats… OMG, the comfort!) and what seemed most impressive to me, was the hot tea in the relaxation area. It was like the cherry on top.

I was not expecting such a complete sauna experience from my gym, all included in what I’m already paying. I left after three hours the first Friday and two hours this last Friday. After both sessions, I came home feel warm and sleepy and I slept incredibly well. I will definitely be enjoying the sauna regularly this winter!

Now I just have to work on Kay to get him to switch to my gym so that we can visit the sauna on the weekend together when he’s back. It’s so close to home, it doesn’t make sense for me to pay to visit the local swim club wellness area (we did in July when it was so cold) especially when it’s even further away.

Have you done a proper sauna experience in a wellness spa? Would you ever go nude in a co-ed sauna?

Gluten-free Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles were a pretty sore spot in the gluten aftermath earlier this year. They were one of the few cookies that actually made me cry as I thought about making them with my mother all those years growing up. They were one of the only cookies I would ever make here.

After my last (and first) gluten-free cookie attempt, I was pretty skeptical that anything good would come of snickerdoodles, but Kay’s birthday is coming up this weekend and he’s going to be away, so I prepared a care package for him this week using a Land O Lakes gluten-free snickerdoodles recipe.

They are actually not half bad!

The dough rolled out relatively normal, like snickerdoodles should. I didn’t even have to stick it in the fridge before forming the dough balls. I was just a little unsure about how long to bake them for. I had two trays in the oven and while I swapped their places mid-baking, they did set up a little differently from each other.

Tray #1 I took out when they looked “done” like normal snickerdoodles and they are quite fragile, but seem baked enough. Tray #2 I left in a little longer because they cracked and you could see gooey uncooked insides, which is something kind of weird to happen with normal snickerdoodles. They were a little more brown when they came out and the bottom of the cookies are noticeably more burned or browned tasting. Not bad, but not my favorite.

Overall though, I was pretty happy that this was a successful recipe! Instead of their gluten-free flour mix, I used the Migros Aha Flour mix 1:1 and it was fine.

Next time I will make them I will try doubling the recipe and see if they still turn out the same. This recipe made about 20 cookies, but you can always use more snickerdoodles, wouldn’t you agree?

Ryffel Running

Since I started the daily gym in February, I’ve been meaning to buy a new pair of running shoes. After a few months working out, my five-year-old Adidas were looking pretty worn down and I’d never really “run” with them before joining the gym. I had started looking for new shoes in a few stores and I was pretty overwhelmed by all the options out there.

Kay recommended that I check out the Ryffel Running centre at SportXX to have a professional analyse my feet and help me pick out shoes based on my feet and running style. I was over at SportXX one evening to pick up a replacement heart rate monitor band because I broke the one that came with Kay’s Adidas HRM, so I decided to have a look at the shoes.

A salesman approached me and asked me if I was looking for something and first I had to ask where the HRM bands were because I didn’t want to buy a whole new heart rate monitor too, just the band, but then I decided to dive in and just ask about shoes. Normally I pretty much abhor talking to sales people in stores, but I figured I would have to if I wanted an analysis and some help.

The salesman was so nice, he made me wonder why I don’t ask for help more often! He gave me a full analysis of my feet on their machine and seemed very knowledgeable about running. He spent almost a whole hour analysing my feet and then helping me try various shoes and watching my gait as I ran around the store in them.

In the end, there were not quite large enough women’s shoes for me, so he actually put me in a pair of men’s shoes. I think he was afraid of losing the commission if I wouldn’t buy that evening, but I’m a pretty impulsive buyer sometimes and after spending an hour there, I also just wanted to have my shoes sorted.

I wound up with this pair of Adidas Energy Boost shoes for around 200CHF, which is a heck of a lot of money for some sneakers, but I felt like I was paying for the service of him finding a good match for my running style. I sure hope he received a commission for that sale! Kay was also impressed that I spent the whole hour talking to this guy in German. It was like a mini-German lesson during the week.

The shoes are a nice neutral base to use for treadmills and I can start running a little with them outside. (Baby steps with running, you know?) I’m excited to use my new shoes and work on running more! In December, Kay and I are planning on joining the Silvesterlauf, which would be my first race as an adult.

Have you had your feet analysed to buy running shoes? What was your experience?