lululemon

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 - The Canadian Edition

This past weekend was the 2017 SeaWheeze Half Marathon. In case you don't know, SeaWheeze is lululemon's signature race. It takes place in their hometown of Vancouver, BC and pretty much takes over. 

To give you an idea of the fanaticism surrounding this race, here are some details:

- It sells out in about 12 minutes each year. 10k runners. 12 minutes.

- The exclusive runner's store (where you can buy - for full price - exclusive prints and colors of their clothing) opens on Friday at 7AM but people line up starting around 7AM on Wednesday. 

- This year's fan favorite, the rainbow reflective clothing collection, sold out within 23 minutes. You can buy yourself some run tights on eBay for about $1000.

And what's crazy to me is that this is all about the clothes for many of the people, which totally overshadows the amazing race itself and the post race festival.

This was my 3rd year pacing (as a Pace Beaver, they call them in Canada) and each year gets better from logistical, entertainment, and support standpoints. 

Plus Vancouver is one of my favorite cities of all time. So in honor of that, this week is all about the trip!

HEAR

In the yoga world there is no shortage of people to look up to. Longtime teachers, Instagram celebrities, and talented local teachers abound. One of my teachers and mentors in the yoga game is Goldie Graham. I've learned so much from her and share many of the same values and opinions in terms of the yoga world as her. We're lucky enough to have her as a local teacher here in San Diego (sorry, Bostonians) and she was selected to teach at the Sunset Festival post race. Over 8000 runners showed up to practice yoga in beautiful Stanley Park before the evening concert from Cold War Kids and Young the Giant. Goldie was calm, collected, commanding, present, and nailed teaching this class. It was so fun to be a part of, to listen to, and to watch go down. 

DO

This is an obvious one: RUN THE RACE! In my third year as a Pace Beaver I've had a few opportunities to reflect on just why pacing this race is so much fun. The course is fantastic, the crowd support and support from lululemon is unparalleled. But it's really about the runners and my fellow pacers. Pace Beavers are all ambassadors from around the world who are selected to come to Vancouver and pace a time anywhere from 1:35 to 3:00 in the half marathon. We're there to be your time keeper, your safety watcher, your motivator, and your entertainment. It's so much fun to help people crush goals, to watch the human spirit tackle the half marathon, and to do it all with other badass ambassadors by my side. I'll be back as many years as lululemon will have me!

SMELL

My knowledge of food of different cultures is very, very limited. I'm a picky eater and I get nervous to try new foods. Vancouver has an amazing food scene and I was determined to take advantage of it. Enter Kosoo. This Korean fusion restaurant was near the hotel we stayed in our first night in Van and was amazing. It smelled so incredibly good, had lots of veggie options (meat weirds me out), and tasted just as good as it smelled. Check it out if you find yourself in Vancouver!

TASTE

I'm dedicating this to all of the breakfasts on our trip. Looking for donuts? Go no further than 49th Parallel and Lucky's Donuts. Something more substantial? Our last morning in town we hiked up the Grouse Grind (get there too... worth the sweaty mess you'll be afterwards) and then headed to Red Wagon. Why? Pancakes topped with in house smoked pulled pork and pork belly and jalepeno cornbread just to name a few reasons. Moral of the story? Sweat hard to eat harder. 

SEE

Grizzly bears. Yup. If you climb the 1.3 miles and 2800 feet straight up Grouse Grind you'll get to a mountaintop with a lumberjack show, a wild bird show (hello, bald eagle!) and GRIZZLY BEARS. Two orphaned grizzlies now live at the top of Grouse. When we got up it was cold and rainy, which resulted in most of the other tourists seeking shelter but clearly didn't affect the grizzlies, who walked straight up to the fence. I'm talking like 20 feet away. It was amazing, breathtaking, and really freaking cool. Climb yourself up there!

What I'm Into Wednesday - Monday Mornings

Having a non-scheduled schedule is something I try to never take for granted - and one I wouldn't give up. I can't imagine going back to a 9-5. But with freedom can come discomfort. I function best with some routine, some consistency. So I've been working towards gaining that in my days. Whether it's through consistent workouts or consistent work spaces, routine breeds discipline. And discipline is good.

My Monday morning routine? November Project followed by coffee and breakfast. And then I head to La Jolla for the morning to work at The Post (the co-working space in lululemon) before teaching a noon yoga class at Buddhi. This is where these posts get drafted weekly! Looking for a good work spot? Join me here.

On to the post...written at The Post.

Taste

I'm pretty sure I've written about The Champ from Dark Horse Coffee Roasters in the past. And if not, my mistake. But the variation of The Champ using cold brew instead of espresso is insanely good. Especially when you have it made with in store made oat milk (instead of regular or almond milk). YUM. Cold brew, oat milk, honey, cinnamon. I'm currently working on trying to recreate this at home. Results TBD.

Smell

When I walk into The Post to work, I'm struck by the smell of lululemon as a retail store. Mainly it smells like new yoga mats, which is a very distinct smell. And probably a weird one to like - but oh well. That brand new rubber, not yet sweat covered, pretty rolled up mat is just a comforting smell. Plus, they are the best mats in the world.

See

Last Tuesday I went on a solo daytrip to Orange County. I told you all to expect a recap in this week's blog post - and the next few items are just that! One of my stops was at the Thousand Steps beach in Laguna. I didn't even know this existed until I was researching cool things in OC and I'm so glad I went! Spoiler alert: there are only two hundred and something steps BUT still worth it. Looking up at the stairs and at the ridiculous houses that dot the cliff line above the beach/cove is amazing. Not only are the houses themselves insane, but many of them have private staircases and ELEVATORS or RAILCARS to take people to and from the beach. WHAT? So cool. 

Do

My other favorite stop from the day was at the Aliso Summit Trail. This was located in the mountains above Laguna Beach in Laguna Nigel. This easy, meandering trail boasted unbelievable views of the ocean as well as of the massive mansions that dotted the trail. However, the coolest part (nerd alert) was the fairy houses along the way. A local resident (or multiple) started building tiny fairy houses and scenes all along the trail. They had different names, different scenes (think library or troll bridge) and they were just adorable. It reminded me of being a kid and hiking on Prince Edward Island in eastern Canada and building fairy houses in the woods. Just a cute addition to a beautiful walk.

Hear

While I took Tuesday as a day off of work to reset, I still found myself craving good, motivating podcasts for my car time. I listened to most of the episodes available of How I Built This. First, I love the host (Guy Roz). He's great. You can also hear him host TED Radio Hour. And second, I love hearing firsthand experiences of other entrepreneurs. These are some of the biggest names out there and hearing about their struggles, their path, and realizing that what they went through isn't all that different than many of the things I feel like I'm going through is awesome. Plus they are so candid and open. My favorite of the day? Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS. Takeaway? When speaking about your business plans, product, or services don't use phrases like "my idea is...". Ideas don't spark confidence (from yourself or others). Instead speak in terms like "my business does..." or "my product/service is..." Words have power. 

What I'm into Wednesday - Single Parent Edition

People have told us that getting a puppy is like having a baby. I've never had a baby, but I'm not sure I'd go that far. Yes, it changes your routines and priorities and there's an element of lack of sleep that is similar, but I can put my puppy in his crate for 30 minutes to take a shower. Can't put babies in crates.

That being said, I was a single puppy parent last week while Angelo was in LA working...and man, it's tough. I realized very quickly how much I take advantage of having a partner to split parenting duties with and I'm so thankful he's there for it all!

This weeks entries have absolutely nothing to do with the puppy. I just wanted to share that sentiment. Be grateful for those in your life who help you. That's all.

xoxo

LP

See

This viral video of 2 year old toddler twins having a seriously fun fort building, pillow fighting, brotherly bonding night while they were supposed to be sleeping got me. It's adorable. It's hilarious. It makes me want to know what my puppy will do when he's home alone (eventually). May have to invest in some sort of camera. 

Smell

Let's get weird on this one. I like the smell of new yoga mats. It's rubbery, and kind of chemically smelling, but for some reason it's familiar and comforting. lululemon is testing out some new mats with different types and levels of grip and I was lucky enough to practice on them (and have been since Ambassador Summit last year). I'm already a fan of my lululemon mat, and most things lululemon, but these are innovative and awesome. Stay tuned. 

Hear

My good friend Danny was surprisingly in town this weekend and turned me on to a new (to me) podcast: How I Built This. By NPR, this podcast is all about entrepreneurs of businesses and brands you know and love and how they built them. It's a fascinating behind the scenes look into the minds of some of the smartest and most successful business people. And it's shorter episodes (think 45 or so minutes). And it's NPR. So you know it's good. 

Taste

This is sort of obscure, but it's my blog, so here goes. I love applesauce. I've had some amazing homemade applesauce recently (thank you Amanda!) but I'm too lazy. My go to? Sprouts brand original applesauce with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Nothing but apples. And for some reason so refreshing! Hydrating! Satisfying of my sweet tooth. Plus, it's great for baking healthier versions of breads and muffins. 

Do

I don't know if I've ever mentioned it before, but I'm sort of a type A person. Go, go, go, do, do, do and occasionally breathe. A goal of mine was to slow down and do more to decrease my stress levels (hello, cortisol) and boost my parasympathetic nervous system. So, I've been going (almost) weekly to yin yoga with Sophie at Mosaic Yoga in Golden Hill. Thursday nights at 7:15PM this magical class, combined with reiki, goes down and feels like it literally resets all of my nervous system in 75 minutes. 

Recapping August - And Looking Towards September!

Recapping August - And Looking Towards September!

As one month closes and another approaches, I enjoy taking a trip down memory lane and recapping my monthly activities. I find that it's easy for me to always be focused on what's next - the next goal, objective, project, etc. - or to remember only the things that didn't go according to plan in the past month. Writing this blog recap allows me to express and feel gratitude for the cool shit that happens in my life - and then get stoked on the next big thing!