knockaround

Top 20 of 2017

In doing some reminiscing about my journey, I realized that I've been a part of the health and wellness universe in a professional fashion since 2005. 12 years of working as a personal trainer, physical therapist, running coach, and yoga instructor. In those 12 years I've been privileged to have been introduced to countless numbers of wellness brands, companies, individuals, and products. Some have been passing trends. Others don't quite live up to the hype. But a few are everything you want them to be, and much more. 

I want to use my platform to be able to share what I've found that I absolutely love. The brands, companies, products, and people that are doing something special, something different, and something extraordinary.

The Top 20 of 2017 was born from this desire. 

Between December 1st and December 20th I'll be profiling each brand, product, and the people behind it on Instagram. Sharing my story of how I came to find the brand and why I love them so much. Not all brands and companies are directly health related, but hey, happiness is part of health as well. Many of these companies have been incredibly generous to participate in giveaways with products and experiences so you can enjoy them too. And no, none of these companies has paid me to be on this list. I reached out to all of them to express my gratitude for what they do.

This blog serves as a round up. A place to find all of the information you could want in one spot. And a sneak peak into which brands you can be snagging sweet rewards from!

Enjoy!

FOOD AND NUTRITION

Wild Friends FoodsDo you love nut butters? Do you love stories of young people following their dreams and building successful businesses from their dorm rooms? If so, than you'll love Wild Friends Foods.

Nuun HydrationIf you're like me, you grew up drinking sugary sports drinks that shall not be named here. Why? Because that's all we knew/had. Well, there's something better. Plant based, all natural, much lower in sugar, and cleaner overall. That's nuun. And that's just a part of why I love it.

RXBARProtein bars that aren't filled with lab grown ingredients are incredibly hard to come by. So when RXBAR first showed up in my life, with it's ingredients clearly labeled on the wrapper, I was stoked - and skeptical. We know protein bars that taste good are even harder to find. Well, they nailed it on both fronts. 

Four Sigmatic - Everyone hears the ads on podcasts and most of the time we tune them out. When I heard about mysterious "mushroom coffee" on Tim Ferriss' podcast, I couldn't get it out of my head. I love coffee and I'm super into other mushroom based supplements...what happens if you put them together? Magic, it turns out. 

101 Cider House - If you're a local San Diegan you know we have a plethora of breweries, but finding good cider is a whole different story. Most cider is sugar laden and ultra sweet. Not 101 Cider House. With buzzword ingredients like activated charcoal and spirulina, this is a totally different experience. 

BoochcraftA local brand that figured out how to take kombucha and make it boozy? That is enough to get me interested. Add in amazing flavors and great people and I'm sold. 

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters - Coffee sure has come a long way. From the days of Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks to a micro roaster on every corner. DHCR is consistently the best - the secret? Great coffee AND even better employees (the vegan donuts don't hurt either). 

Chosen Foods - When a friend goes to work for a new company, ends up loving her job, AND the company makes the best avocado oil on the planet, you take note. 

Beaming Cafe - I'm a firm believer in routine. And part of my routine calls for Friday morning breakfast porridge bowls from Beaming and morning meditation at the beach. A routine that makes me feel so damn good. 

Muir Energy Gel - We've all taken a Gu on a race course. We've all experienced the gut rot that comes along with it. What if you could take a gel, made of real foods, that would give you the energy without the digestive issues? You can. And it's made right here in La Jolla. 

BODY CARE

Schmidt's Naturals - It's no secret, I sweat. A lot. It's one of my favorite parts of working out. And I've heard over and over how dangerous traditional deodorant and antiperspirant can be for you, but can something natural actually work? Yes, turns out it can. 

Saje Wellness - Essential oils can get a bad rap. Many of them are sold through multilevel marketing businesses and use cheap source products, which makes them both shady and unappealing. Not Saje. This Canadian brand has been doing their natural wellness thing for more years than most, and it shows. 

Defense Soap - Wait? So a soap product made to keep wrestlers and martial arts guys from getting nasty things off of sweaty mats can actually be really great for your skin (and for clearing acne) too? This one is perhaps my favorite find. 

CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES

lululemon athletica - I won't bore you. I LOVE lululemon. The people, the philosophy, the collective, and yes, the clothes. My life would not be the same without them. And I don't mean that superficially. It's true. 

Knockaround - One can never have too many pairs of rad shades. And when those shades are made by equally rad dudes, locally, and for an affordable price, that's even better. 

Milestone Running - We might as well call this my second home. This local running store is so much more. It's home to a community of smart, connected, hilarious, friendly, and special people (and one special dog). Cheers to many more years creating with these crazy folks. 

Ciele Athletics - Introduced to me by some ultra running friends, this small hat startup has nailed the game. Incredible performance, even better looks, and (because they're made in Canada) the friendliest faces ever. 

Stance - When your socks are the coolest part of your outfit, you know the brand is doing something right. From partnering with huge names to collaborating with small groups, Stance has made their debut into the run world a stylish and successful one.

STUDIOS

Spirit Yoga Studio - Fun fact: Spirit was the very first yoga studio that I regularly attended upon moving to San Diego. When they first opened their doors it was all donation based and it was evident that the community surrounding the space made it special. While lots has changed in the years since then, the community feeling has not. And that keeps bringing me back, as both a student and a teacher. 

F45 San Diego Downtown - What? Paid fitness has made the list? Yup. When the paid fitness studio elicits the results like this one has, it deserves a spot. I have F45 to thank for my muscles - and for giving me a space to exercise them once again.  

What I'm Into Wednesday

Prior to beginning this post, I had a running list of what was going to be included this week and a general idea of what I was going to talk about. And while much of that running list has stayed the same, I want to start in a different fashion than I had originally planned.

I'm just going to open this post with a plea. To be smart (and to practice what you preach). Listen to your body. It knows what it wants. And sometimes it doesn't want to run a 50k. So why run it? 50k or not, you have nothing to prove to anyone besides yourself. And as my friend Mike so eloquently put it the other day, we all do this "fitness" thing to feel good - mentally, physically, about ourselves. If it stops feeling good, why are we still doing it that way?

So, 50k out - trail marathon in. And I'm feeling better already.

Onward.

SEE

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A couple of years ago I was introduced to a local San Diego sunglasses brand, Knockaround. We all know how it goes: buy super cheap and ugly sunglasses and they'll last you years but splurge on a fancy pair and you'll break or lose them within weeks. Knockaround solves that conundrum. Make super cool, unique sunglasses at a price that is easy on your wallet and that won't make you sad for days if something happens to them. Their stuff is the shit. Great colors, a few classic shapes, and fun designs. AND they're into community - they'll be throwing shades my direction for my 2018 retreat attendees!

SMELL

Again and again, the smell of coffee is one of my favorite things. Even coffee that is spilled allllll over the table, chairs, and floor in my living room. And it wasn't just any coffee. It was Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee. What? Yup. Tim Ferriss is my guy and a few months ago I finally got around to trying this superfood coffee that sponsors his podcast. They have two coffee variations - chaga and cordyceps and lion's mane and chaga. Cordyceps and chaga is their "stay awake" varietal while the lion's mane and chaga is their "think" varietal. They each only have 40mg of caffeine (way less than coffee) but keep me awake and focused without any caffeine headache or energy drop. A serving is less than $2 - well worth trying out, at least. I'm sold.

TASTE

Let's just stick with coffee. I'm on a neverending search for the best almond milk vanilla latte in San Diego (and the world). After a fantastic Sunday morning (more on that below) a group of us went to Copa Vida in East Village for coffee and brunch. My first time there and this fancy ass coffee spot did not disappoint, despite somehow completely losing/forgetting our order. When the AMVL finally did show up, it was one of the best yet. It's moved to top three in San Diego for me!

HEAR

My wonderful friend Amanda makes quite a few appearances in this blog and today is no different. She's (perhaps) the biggest Vulfpeck fan on the planet. Don't know who Vulfpeck is? You should listen to their Spotify immediately. And then specifically listen to their new release, Baby I Don't Know Oh Oh. They're magic. 

DO

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Bodies. In. Motion. The end. It really was the most fun. Here's the simple concept that Angelo and I have developed for BIM: bring people together, out of their comfort zones, to get their minds active and their bodies moving, in creative and unique ways, in new places in their cities, with people they don't know. It's a simple idea of comm-UNITY. And Sunday's re-kickoff to more regular events couldn't have been more perfect. 60+ people ran, rode bikes, or rolled on blades along the waterfront to a top secret location to practice yoga. They ended up under one of my favorite public art pieces in San Diego, Roman DeSalvo's Riparium in Ruocco Park. The morning couldn't have been a better launch to all of the amazing events to come. Follow on Instagram to make sure you don't miss out!