Sunday, March 9, 2014

in case you were confused...

In case you were confused, BintheBay is being retired.  You can find the new blog here:

Chantal Marie

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Girls on the Run is an AMAZING non-profit that I have talked about before.  Last May, I ran in their 5k and blogged about it here.  I had SOO much fun running in this 5k, I knew I wanted to be a bigger part of this organization.

I am so honored and happy to share that I am now volunteering as a coach for 11 beautiful young girls.  I meet with them twice a week for 10 weeks and at the end of 10 weeks, we all run in a 5k together.  We have had 2 practices so far and I am already so touched by these sweet girls.  I will be taking pics and posting more later, but for now I encourage anyone to check it out and see about volunteering in your area (there are chapters all over the US).

If you live in SF and want to run in a 5k, let me know!! They have running buddies who volunteer to run with the girls the day of the 5k and I would love to have any of you paired up with some of my girls!  Let me know in the comments if you are interested in the 5k or being a buddy!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Last night I went to see the SF ballet.  They performed three mini ballets- The Kingdom of Shades from La Bayadere, Ghosts (which I didn't love) and Firebird.  Both Kingdom of Shades and Firebird have a special place in my heart.  Shades is just beautiful and an extremely hard ballet.  I actually broke my ankle (and had surgery later) while I was rehearsing for the First Shade Variation (below).

Balanchine re-staged Firebird for the dancer Maria Tallchief.  It was the first major success of the NYC Ballet.  When I danced (way back in the day), I was lucky enough to be taught by Maria Tallchief and she taught us pieces from this ballet.  However, I had never actually seen it!

Source- Maria Tallchief in Firebird
Firebird is also special because it is about a "firebird" from Russian folklore.  She is a rare bird and if captured brings bad luck to her captor.  However, she fell in love with the Prince and allowed him to catch her.  He breaks her heart when her love is not returned.  Despite this, she is incredibly proud, strong, independent and beautiful; she never loses her fire.  I could totally relate to her and was very moved by her during the performance.

Inside the War Memorial Opera House

SF City Hall (across the street from the ballet)

I had the best time.  I was on the edge of my seat watching the whole night.  I cannot wait to go back!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Twosday: Up Close & Personal

I decided to link up with Stephanie today for Twosday.  The theme today is "up close and personal."  Enjoy!

Twentieth Street

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Inca Trail: Days 3 & 4

Day 3 of the Trail we knew would be a much easier day.  There was some up and down, but for the most part it was a gradual descent into the Cloud Forest.  As we entered the Cloud Forest (a jungle), the landscape changed and became very lush.  It was rainy/misty so it made the jungle atmosphere that much cooler.

We had to walk through these ruins to get to our final campsite.

We got to our final campsite around noon.  We beat all of the other groups (everyone camps at the same place before the final trek to Machu Pichu) so we had the campgrounds alone.  We made the most of this and after lunch went to visit local ruins called Winywhyna (I'm sure I spelled this wrong).  The ruins were absolutely breathtaking.  These were my favorite ones from the whole trip.  We were alone at the ruins and it was truly magical.

I sat here looking over the ruins and the river below and had the most magical experience.  It was empty and quiet and beautiful.  Clouds rolled in from below and rose up and words cannot describe the power of the moment.  This point in the trip was one of my favorite and a moment I will never forget.

That night we hung out at camp, had a treat of a little Peruvian wine and had our final dinner together.  Everyone enters the trail to Machu Pichu at the same time and it can get very crowded.  The gate to the trail opens at 5:30am so we decided to get up at 3am and get in line at 4am so we could be one of the first groups to hit the trail.

Unfortunately for me, that night while everyone was sleeping I got VERY sick.  I had the chills and was up all night.  It was torrential downpour all night so when the 3am wake up came around, I was wet and weak and sick.  Given the situation, I had no choice but to suck it up and hike.

My "Inca Family" was an amazing support.  They gave me electrolyte water, carried my day pack, shared their hiking poles and provided much needed moral support.

I knew reaching the Sun Gate and getting to Machu Pichu would be an emotional experience, but given how sick I was, it was that much more special to me.  Leading up to that, as I was walking, I literally just repeated the mantra "I am healthy. I am strong." over and over in my head.  The power of the mind is what got me to the Sun Gate.  When I reached the top of the stairs and knew Machu Pichu was below, when I knew that I had made it, I was overcome with emotion.  I have never felt so proud, so independent and so strong in all my life.  Silent tears rolled down my cheeks the whole walk from the Sun Gate to Machu Pichu.

Our view from the top of the Sun Gate.

My first glimpse at Machu Pichu.

Sick and weak, but so full of joy.

We took a tour of Machu Pichu with our guide.  He provided amazing information about this incredible place and culture.  I was exhausted and still not feeling well so I definitely did not fully enjoy the experience.  However, for me, so much of it was about the journey and getting sick in no way left a cloud on the overall experience.  I would love to go back to Cusco some day and maybe I will take the train to Machu Pichu and see it again.

It was so cloudy when we were at the top earlier, despite being exhausted, we decided to hike back up so we could get the "classic" picture of Machu Pichu from above.  I seriously considered not going because I was so tired/sick, but after everything I had been through, I figured what's one more hike!!  It was TOTALLY worth it and I am so glad I was able to get these pictures and see Machu Pichu like this.

Sorry for the squinting.  It was SOO sunny!!

After we left Machu Pichu, we went to the town of Agua Calientes to wait for our train back to Cusco.  We crashed in this restaurant for hours.  It was so fun to get to hang together after we made it.  It was so sad to say goodbye and leave them after spending every moment together for the last 4 days.

I still miss my "Inca Family" and hope that we all stay in touch, but even if we do not, I am honored to have had to opportunity to know these people and share this life-changing experience with them.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Inca Trail: Days 1 & 2

So while I was in Peru, the big event was that I hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu.  It was about 30 miles and it took us 4 days.

Day 1 started off nice and easy, with a gradual gain in elevation.  Because we were lower, we saw a lot of local people along the way.

Where we started at kilometer 82 along the Urubamba River

My "Inca Family"

We thought this was hard.  Our guide laughed and said this was just the "warm up."  We later understood why he laughed :/

In the first half of Day 1 we got to see these beautiful ruins

Coca leaf tea served with lunch

Post lunch siesta

I did not end up taking any pictures the afternoon of Day 1 because it was so awful.  It was absolutely gorgeous, but strait up for hours.  None of us were used to the altitude yet and we all thought we were going to die haha.  It started raining near the end of the day so we were VERY happy to reach our tents and be done with Day 1.  They brought us tea and popcorn in our tents to snack on before dinner.  All of us inhaled them and agreed that crackers and popcorn never tasted SO good!!

Our campsite 

Dining facilities.  Our chef was AMAZING.  The best food I had in Peru was on the hike.

Morning of Day 2- pretty great view to wake up to, no?

Our group and our AMAZING porters

Day 2 is supposed to be the hardest because you summit the highest pass (14,000ft), go down, summit a second pass and then go down again before you reach camp.  It was BRUTAL.  However, after sleeping at elevation the first night, we all felt so much better and agreed that the afternoon of Day 1 was definitely the hardest.
Me nearing the top of the first pass.

We started down in that hole and you can see the trail we walked up.

My pals and I at the top!

Our whole group at the top

And then we went down, down, down

and then back up, up, up

At the end of Day 2 it started raining again and it ended up becoming torrential downpour the rest of the night.

We got to visit more ruins along the way

Next I will post about Days 3 and 4 (and Machu Pichu).