Los Angeles

Thanks for reading my Hawaii recaps! I enjoyed writing them and sharing pictures of our adventures and it’s nice to look back and relive it a little bit. Especially in rainy Oregon….:)

We got back from Hawaii and then two weeks later, we were back at the airport! (We booked Hawaii a year ago and then a few months ago, one of Michael’s favorite bands reunited after like 20 years for just a few shows, so my parents babysat Logan for a long weekend and Michael and I flew to LA!)

It was a quick trip. And busy. PDX is usually a great airport to fly out of. We got there early, got through security quickly and had a leisurely breakfast and then boarded our flight…only for it to be cancelled. I’ve never had something like this really happen before and it was stressful. (When I was 18 and about to fly home from London, our flight got cancelled –before we got to the airport–that it was cancelled due to weather in the states so we actually got 2 extra days in London!)

Anyways…PDX…so like we sat on the plane for over an hour while they tried to fix the technical issues (YIKES!) and then let people off the plane temporarily, which turned into a full-on cancellation.

Michael was super stressed because he had tickets to the concert for Thursday and Friday night and if we didn’t get to LA, he’d miss it. We got another flight to San Francisco and then to LA. It was SUCH a long day. ๐Ÿ™

We arrived at LAX (three or so hours later than planned), got our rental car and I drove Michael to Hollywood and dropped him off (it took an HOUR to drive 11 miles, and that was taking all the backstreets!).

Then I drove back to the airport where our hotel was. We stayed at the H Hotel near the airport because our flight home was going to be SO early. I stopped at a Ralph’s and got a salad, a bottle of rose and some yogurt and ate dinner in the room (and I MIGHT have gotten a Krispy Kreme donut too) and crashed.

Friday I got up and worked out in the hotel gym, which was really nice! I did the elliptical and some weights while Michael slept in (he got in late from the show).

Then showered and we got breakfast at Hash . It was really delicious!

Then we went to Marina del Ray. We were in Los Angeles a bunch of years ago and never made it there. So I wanted to check it out. We went to Burton Chace Park and walked around and saw a TON of sea lions!

I posted some videos on my instagram if you want to see. There were so many!

We walked around and then went to Venice Beach and walked around there, did some shopping and sight seeing before heading back to the hotel (with a quick stop at In-n-Out for lunch!).

Everywhere in LA there were Kobe Bryant tributes, too. I saw a bunch being painted as I drove by them, too.

There was a ton of art all around Venice, which is cool. Venice Beach is fun. I could have spent more time there.

Friday night I dropped Michael off at the second show in Hollywood again and I stopped by The Grove to check it out. It’s basically an outdoor mall that kind of reminded me of Caesar’s Palace shopping in Vegas.

For dinner Friday night I drove to Santa Monica and ended up walking around the Promenade a bit and then had dinner at The Misfit. The Misfit turned out to be the restaurant Michael and I went to last time we were there! I just kinda stumbled upon it. It was good.

I got two appetizers: the crispy brussels sprouts and the mussels with sourdough and chorizo sausage in a tomato and fennel broth. It was all very delicious!

After walking around some more I went back to the hotel and fell dead asleep again!

Garmin VivoFit Heart Rate Monitor Review

For Mother’s Day Logan (Michael ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) got me a new heart rate monitor as a gift. I’ve been talking about getting a Garmin for a few years now.

I’ve been a faithful Polar HR monitor wearer for years but I feel like the Polar watch has gone downhill the last few years. I’ve had nothing but problems with them. The battery life is not great and even replacing the batteries when it dies, I was having issues with the watch just not working anymore. The price point for the Polar is “cheap” enough that whenever the battery replacement crapped out on me, I could just buy a new watch. But that was a pain and felt like a waste of money. It also irked me that I was basically having to buy a new heart rate monitor every year. I don’t know why the battery replacements wouldn’t work (at least 50% of the time). It was very frustrating.

So I started to look into some of the entry-level Garmin watches and I got really overwhelmed with reading reviews and trying to figure out which one would be best for me that I gave up.

I was really excited when Michael got this watch for me because he’s in IT and a tech guy and he reads ALL the reviews about this kind of stuff and is very knowledgeable about what is good, what is crappy, what features to look for, etc.

What I need in a watch or app is pretty basic. I want:

  • Calories burned
  • Heart rate
  • Miles ran/biked

That’s pretty much all I’m looking for. But this watch has so much more! It has dozens of activities to choose from. You can personalize it a bit, too. It also tracks steps and sleep.

I use the Garmin Connect App on my iPhone. I synced it with the watch and a few times a day itย syncs automatically with the app and updates everything. ALSO, a cool feature, you can connect it to your MyFitnessPal app and it will record your steps/calories/activities in the app for your day. I like that feature. One less place I have to LOG everything! It just does it for me.

If you want to read a step by step instruction of the watch, with photos, check out this link. It was very helpful for me when I was first learning my watch. My review today is more about the functionality of it.

I didn’t think the sleep tracking would be all that interesting to me, but after using it for a few weeks I actually kind of liked that feature. It was interesting to see how well ย I slept — it tracks light sleep, deep sleep, and when you are awake. It’s funny seeing the graph for the nights I get up with Logan!

It also tracks steps, which is interesting to see how active I am but I don’t really track the steps in any other way so I rarely look at that info. I will say that at work I have a standing desk and I walk around a lot to the printer, mail room, around the office, etc, so I move a lot during the day. The only time I really sit at work is in meetings!

Fitness

I’ve used the Garmin watch for a few different activities now. Hiking, walking, running, cardio in the gym and strength training.

When I used it hiking in Bend, I feel like the calorie count was WAY off. But I didn’t wear my Polar heart rate monitor to compare (I had planned on using both for the first few weeks to compare the stats and see how accurate the Garmin is).

I’ve worn it going for walks–long and short–and I also feel like the calorie burn is a little on the high side. Again, I need to wear my Polar on my next walk to compare the calories and see. Maybe I’m wrong.

Running — It’s accurate and it works great! I’ve worn it running outside three times now and I compared it to my Polar heart rate monitor and the Cyclemeter iPhone app for mileage and it’s accurate in the mileage and it’s accurate in the calories burned within about 10 calories.

I’ve worn it running on the treadmill once and the mileage was NOT accurate. It was off by about half a mile. Which is no big deal to me because I have the mileage on the treadmill I can look at. I am more concerned about it being accurate when I run outside.

Running on the treadmill gave me a fairly accurate calorie burn, when I compare it to the Polar HRM. It was about 20 calories more than the Polar. Not a big deal. Anything more than that and I’d be concerned, but 10-20 calories isn’t a huge deal to me.

The above photos were from my treadmill run. I started the Garmin 1 minute late and stopped it 1 minute earlier than the Polar, but despite that, the calories were pretty close. This particular run was 3 miles on the treadmill but the Garmin thought I did 3.58.

I like the screens that show heart rate and distance. It’s easy to scroll through and see quickly while you are doing the activity.

Swimming – I wore it in the pool to check it out. The first big issue I have with it? It doesn’t track heart rate while swimming. I found that odd and I’m not sure why it doesn’t do that. It gave me a calorie count at the end of my swim session but I doubt it’s reliability because it didn’t link in my heart rate. At this point in my life, swimming is very very easy and I’m very efficient when I swim–meaning, I don’t burn the same amount of calories in a session as I used to.

I highly doubt I burned 440 calories swimming. I wear my Polar HRM once or twice a year in the pool just to check in and see where I am at calorie-wise and it rarely changes–one session according to Polar is between 300-350 calories burned. So that is a little disappointing.

I do like that it gave me the break down of the strokes, etc. It also synced to the app and gave me info:

I kind of love the charts and break down of pace and when I rested and stroke info. One other glitch? When I tried to swim some laps with the paddle board, it stopped counting my yards. I guess it’s calculating everything by arm movement. That was kind of frustrating.

So in that particular session I did 2000 yards, even though it didn’t quite calculate it correctly.

PROS

  • No chest strap!!! It’s just the watch
  • Long battery life in between charging
  • It finds GPS quickly and doesn’t seem to lose the GPS signal
  • Accurate mileage and calorie burn
  • Easy to use
  • Syncs with Garmin Connect app for full data
  • Touch Screen on watch
  • LOTS of features
  • The watch is light and fairly comfortable
  • It notifies you to move if you’ve been inactive for too long

CONS

  • A lot of features that I’m not sure how to use yet, if you’re not really “techy” it can feel overwhelming
  • Sometimes it takes too much time to scroll through all the screens on the touch screen watch
  • It doesn’t show your calories being burned DURING the activity, only once you are done
  • Exercise limitations–You can add more activities to personalize it but it would be nice to have other options instead of just “other”
  • The limitations in the pool are a big con for me

I haven’t had a chance yet to test it out biking. I’m hoping to bike to work sometime in the next few weeks and write a review on it then.

QUESTION: What kind of heart rate monitor/activity tracker to you use? Thoughts?