november project

What I'm Into Wednesday - Christmas Came Early

Last year we ventured to the faraway land of Cleveland, Ohio for Christmas celebrations so this year we made the executive decision to just stay home.

And while I'm stoked for a low key holiday, it was really nice to get to celebrate early with family as well. Angelo's mom, Vickie, came into town this past weekend and we did our Christmas celebrations with her, Domenica, and Mark. 

Pro-tip: always have baked brie at Christmas. Ain't no such thing as too much cheese. 

DO

Part of my weekend that had nothing to do with Christmas was a workshop at MOSAIC yoga in Golden Hill. It was called Visualize 2018. I have to admit, I had completely different expectations for this workshop. I knew there would be an aspect of talking about the astrological predictions for the next year - but I thought that would be a very small portion. The name indicated that we'd be doing some goal setting, or at the very least, visualization and manifestation for 2018. I'd be lying if I said I was disappointed in the workshop as a whole. 

I know everyone has different opinions on astrology. I find it entertaining and I've always been one who likes to be like, hm that's interesting. But the most I read into it is as a way to get me thinking about myself and the world around me. To analyze - just like reading a book or reading a quote or hearing a podcast might do. Seeing it as a predictor doesn't resonate with me.

BUT, because we're all about focusing on the positives, part of this workshop exceeded all of my expectations - and that was Sophie's yin class. That woman is magical. I'll be going back to yin at MOSAIC as many Thursday nights as I can. 7:15pm for anyone who wants to/needs to join me in some serious unwinding, restoration, and renewal. The power of yin is real. 

SEE

Monday morning found me in the first week of my Boston 2018 training program. Holy crap, that came up fast. After 28 days off of running, I went for 2.5 miles on Saturday just to test it out. But the real fun began Monday morning with NP.

I was pretty excited to be back for this workout because it was at Park at the Park down at Petco - and working out here has been on my list ever since I was a leader of NP.

It lived up to it's expectation. It was beautiful, clean, and challenging - stairs, hills, and a bridge race. 2.8 miles later my butt was thoroughly kicked - man, coming back from time off never gets any easier. 

HEAR

This week's podcast shout out is actually two weeks of the same story. This American Life took on "Our Town" - and the issue of illegal immigration. This two part-er examines life in rural Alabama during the 1990s and 2000s as thousands of legal and illegal immigrants flooded their town to find work at poultry processing plants. It looks at employment, crime, education, and most interestingly (to me) the attitude and interactions of the different demographic groups at odds in the town.

On a larger scale, they were looking to answer the very popular questions about how immigration (both illegal and legal) impact Americans. Does it really take jobs away from American citizens? Do immigrants cause increased drug use and violent crime? Do immigrants cost taxpayers money?

In our current political climate, I thought this was super informative and illuminating on the subject. 

TASTE

So the second part of our "Christmas Day" celebrations consisted of a cookie party with some friends. Here's how cookie parties work:

Everyone makes a different type of cookie. You all gather and eat said cookies. Then you take a bunch of cookies home, swearing you won't want to eat them for a while because of your current stomachache. And then you wake up in the morning and eat cookies. 

When your friends are amazing in the kitchen, you know the cookies are gonna be good. And yes, yes they were. And yes, I've put a self imposed limit of 3 cookies/day on myself. 

SMELL

Between the cheese in the morning and cookies at night, we figured we probably needed some real food.

Enter Mark to save us! Mark whipped up an amazing Thai dinner Saturday evening - and I swear I've never walked into a better smelling house.

Thai coconut green curry soup with mushrooms and peppers over jasmine rice and a papaya and carrot salad that was bomb.

Yay for veggies! Now to figure out how to cook that way. 

What I'm Into Wednesday - Annual San Francisco Trip

This was our fourth consecutive year travelling to San Francisco to compete in the North Face Endurance Challenge Series.

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I was a co-leader of NPSD when we traveled the first two years. We stayed on friend's floors (shout out to Paddy for the floor and Orrin for the entertainment the first year) and on couches in overstuffed AirBnbs. We drove all the way from LA and carpooled with other leaders we rarely see. We attended the North Face headquarters and partook in design talks. And we raced the marathon relay. One year as a two woman team with the one and only Voychick and one year as a four man team dressed up as BG.

Those first two years were nothing but fun.

Last year we headed up and many of us competed in the 50k. We ran the most beautiful trails I've ever been on, shared stunning views, and conquered distances that were new to most of us. It was an epic adventure of a completely different kind.

This year, the fourth, was totally new. The courses were different - they now finished over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco proper. Fewer people went up. We all ran different distances. Yet, it was still magic. There's something about getting a big group of excited, positive. motivating, and funny humans together. It brings out the best in people, and in a city. 

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DO

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See above. Literally. Go do the North Face Endurance Challenge in SF next year. Any distance. Just sign up. It's a blast.

SEE

The day before the race we had a debate/discussion about how to spend our afternoon. It's tempting to want to walk all over the place and sightsee anytime you're in a different city, but especially in SF. There's a never ending list of parks, architecture, museums, shops, and restaurants that I want to check out. But walking the day before running many miles is usually a bad idea. So a group of us chose to venture over to the Exploratorium at Pier 15 instead. Holy crap. It was so fun. The $30 admission price is WELL WORTH IT. We spent almost three hours like little kids running around this museum playing with everything. It's an interactive science museum at it's core and you'll be entertained by the exhibits, the shows, the nerdy stuff, and the fun. Go.

SMELL

About half of our Airbnb was the same folks that shared one in Boston for SUMMIT 5.0 this year. And for a second time, we ate pretty much the same things as a family: Thai food two nights before the race and pizza the night before. This time the pizza was a star. Tony's Pizza Napoletana was the shit. Specifically the Eddie Muenster - fried kale, smoked bacon, calabrese peppers, muenster cheese, honey, and lemon.

HEAR

If you're like me, weekends with friends are amazing - but you crave silence. I've been true to my November goal of not hitting snooze, and with that extra 5-10 minutes I'd usually waste on the snooze button I've been meditating. Truly just sitting in silence, repeating a mantra. It's been a centering way to start my day - whether at home or on the road.

TASTE

No trip to SF, LA, or PDX is ever complete without a trip to SALT AND STRAW. Since the location in SD seems to be taking forever to open (come on guys!) we took full advantage of our last day to eat ice cream. November's specialty flavors are all about Thanksgiving dinner. From a salted caramel turkey flavor to stuffing to mashed potatoes and gravy. But the winner? Everyone was in agreement that Sweet Potato Pie with Maple Pecans took home the grand prize. I'm drooling as I think about it.

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What I'm Into Wednesday - A Reset Week

Have you ever gone on a trip and then felt like you needed a trip when you got back from your trip? We've all been there. I was feeling that way on Sunday afternoon, returning from Joshua Tree, and became determined to not let that feeling carry into the week. This week's list has a little to do with how I managed that.

 

Do:

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Let's start with the trip. This weekend was the first annual #SouthwestCollisionCourse. November Project tribes from San Diego, Los Angeles, and Phoenix converged on a plot of land near Joshua Tree for an evening of racing (6pm - midnight, relay style on teams) and camping. The race was so well organized and the contingent was strong (about 130 people). The plot of desert land worked great for cars and camping and the trail was a fun mix of dirt road (which are apparently private drives, whoops) and challenging trail. All is good in the hood and the event is running smoothly right through the finish at midnight. I have to give my team, the Regul8ors, a shout out. They were so fun, raced hard, and had a blast. Special shout out to Angelo for stepping in when my foot started acting up to run my last leg for me. All the positive aside, this is what I took away from the night: I greatly dislike huge group camping. When I go to nature, I want to enjoy nature. Campfire, star gazing (and Saturn gazing in our case), tent sleeping, quiet nights, and early morning sunrises. There was a small contingent of attendees who decided to take the post race party into the early morning. Like 4:30am early morning. I don't like techno ever, but especially not at 3am. Here's my thoughts: it's fine to enjoy yourself and have a few beers, but be respectful. Respectful of the fact that it's not your property, that there are neighbors nearby, that there are 100 other people who may not want to hear your drunk self yell and blast music, that there are kids, that people might want to sleep after running hard, and that they might want to rise early the next day (well rested) to enjoy nature. It's official, in my old age I've run out of patience.

 

See:

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Last week we began real dog training for Arlo. As in we hired a trainer. James from Who's Walking Who will be coming out once a week for 4 weeks to work on the things that we felt were beyond our ability: attentiveness off leash, not jumping on new people (or old people for that matter), recall off leash, and a little possessiveness with toys. James spent two hours with us and the effectiveness of the training is already noticeable. After talking to a good friend of ours who is a dog trainer, and talking to James, we decided to use the mini Educator with Arlo. It's a low powered electronic collar that delivers a variable (controlled by you) vibration/buzz when you press a button. Let me start by saying that the setting at which we've been using it with Arlo is so low that I can't even feel it when I put the collar on my own body. That being said, it's working really well. He hates it (for now), which is to be expected. Having to pay attention to your parents is no fun. It's exhausting for him to think that hard (which is awesome, see photo above). The only thing I don't like? The serious judgement I get from people who don't own dogs when they hear we are using an e-collar. How do parents of real human children deal with all the parenting shame??? Get off my ass people, he's not your dog and I'm sure you'd rather he not jump all over you. 

 

Hear:

I went into full blown podcast mode on my drive to Joshua Tree. My fave of the weekend was a Radiolab episode entitled Anna in Somalia. It was beautifully done and told a fantastic story about love, literature, and imprisonment. Give it a listen.

 

Smell:

Coffee is not a new topic on this blog. But in my mission to relax into this week instead of approach it with stress I slept in on Monday morning, made myself a large mug of coffee, and enjoyed it in the house - not in a travel mug on the run somewhere. Just being able to sit, to smell the coffee, and to drink it leisurely was heaven. But to make it even better, I made my coffee in the french press (as normal) but added ground roasted coconut and some cinnamon. YUM.

 

Taste:

Upon awakening from a much needed nap on Sunday afternoon I took it upon myself to meal prep for the week. Angelo is out of town for a few days and that normally means my nutrition goes to shit. But I'm getting serious about it. I'm unhappy with a few things performance and appearance wise, and I know that nutrition plays a larger role than even exercise, so I'm on it. That means MEAL PREP. The least amount of work I have to do to eat well on a day to day basis, the better. I roasted some sweet potatoes (or are they yams? What's the difference?) with avocado oil, salt and pepper. I cooked up a mixture of lentils and quinoa in some beef bone broth. And I made a little two bean (black and garbanzo) and corn salad with balsamic and olive oil. Toss those together, add some protein and veggies, and I have lunches and dinners all week. 

 

What I'm Into Wednesday - One For The Books.

I'm writing this week's blog coming off of my final Vinyasa and Vino retreat of 2017. What started as a harebrained idea to combine my teaching yoga with my parent's winery manifested itself into two full blown weekend retreats. And they were awesome.

This second one consisted of yummy brunch and shopping in Portland, lots of yoga, more wine, a trip to Mt. St. Helens, some outdoor games, plenty of food, the best ice cream on the planet, and much much more. 

The six women who came together for this weekend blew my mind. 2 20-somethings who own a nut butter empire, 2 marine biologists, a lawyer, and an engineer. Some of the most intelligent, caring, hilarious, and powerful women in my world. And they bonded immediately. 

It's special to see women support each other, show up for each other, and live without abandon.

I can only hope to fill next year's retreats with more of the same! Want to go? Let me know and I'll put you on the waiting list!

For now, here's some amazingness from last weekend.

xoxo 

LP

 

HEAR

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There's something just so unique about the crunch of gravel underfoot and of heavy breathing in the air. The Saturday morning of our retreat began with a November Project style workout (thanks to the insistence of one of our favorite retreat attendees). So what does one do when in the woods and planning a workout? Use what you have! You picked up a piece of firewood, ran just over a quarter mile, stacked the wood up to build a tall Lincoln Log like structure, bunny hopped up some stairs to the firepit or lunged into the woods. Rinse and repeat. It was funny, hard, and thoroughly enjoyed by all!

SMELL

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The smell and feel of a warm summer afternoon is unmistakable. Being able to sit outside on a patio with a flight of wine and the worlds yummiest charcuterie board is some serious icing on the cake. The last evening of our retreat was dedicated to tasting the white wine (and rose) that my parents make and pairing the tastings with cheese, bread, crackers, spreads, meats, olives, etc. The hours of laughs, refills of glasses, and plates of shared food made for a memorable experience. 

SEE

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The weekend at the winery was bookended with half days in Portland. We started on Thursday on SE Hawthorne with brunch at Harlow (YUM) and wandering through cute and classic Portland shops and ended on Sunday with a trip to Salt & Straw (which is coming to SD this fall, YAY!) and Powell's Books. This quote was found on the wall at one of the shops on Hawthorne. But the food and the vibe of the city's different neighborhoods truly is one you have to see for yourself. 

TASTE

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I mentioned above that two of the attendees to this retreat were the founders of a nut butter empire. Enter Keeley and Erika, co-founders of Wild Friends Foods. What started as a weekend food experiment in their apartment during college has blossomed into a full fledged (and successful) business. Wild Friends has a while variety of nut butters and blends and is found in stores all across America - from Sprouts to Costco and more. Besides the delicious nut butters (which is a reason in and of itself to support the company) the 24 and 26 year old co-founders are powerhouses of business women and inspire the hell out of me. 

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST...

DO

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I did a thing. I wrote a book. Like a real, bound, published book. Critical Anatomy is an anatomy book for yoga practitioners and teachers. The first half of the book is an introduction to the most crucial anatomy and physiology information that you need to practice (or teach) yoga safely. The second half of the book is a workbook that yoga teachers can use in their teacher trainings to instruct future teachers on anatomy. The book has been about a year long labor of love and my mind is blown that it's come to fruition. The test book (as seen in the photo) came while I was gone this weekend and after reviewing it, the book has been made available for purchase. It should be able to be found on Amazon within the next 2-4 days by searching for my name or for "Critical Anatomy"! EEK. Apparently I'm a published author now.

What I'm Into Wednesday - Eclipse Week

As I write this it's Monday the 21st of August. In fact, we're just an hour or so shy of the solar eclipse. But guess what? I'm totally unprepared and don't have eclipse glasses. So I'll be shielding my fragile retinas while all you smart people stare at the sun.

Despite the solar eclipse being the center of most attention for the past week or so, this week's edition of the blog has nothing to do with sun!

Enjoy! 

LP

SEE

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I've been on a reading kick (yay!). I love reading, but fall off the train occasionally and it takes me far too long to pick up a book and start again. Last week I finished The Lost City of the Monkey God (a nonfiction book about an archaeological hunt in Honduras) and started a new novel, The House of the Spirits. It's long, and haunting, and quite frankly tough to read. But I'm enjoying it. I found that I needed something non fiction to intersperse with this novel, something to distract my mind so I picked up The 4 Hour Chef. I haven't read Tim Ferriss in quite some time and never read this book. I'm fascinated - in part because I know nothing about cooking and in part because the examples, stories, short cuts, etc are exactly what I love about his body of work. 

 

HEAR

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Podcast time!  I've talked about How I Built This from NPR on this blog before, but I want to highlight a specific episode this week. I've been feeling a little stressed/lost/unsure of my path for the past few days (nothing in specific, more of a general unease and uncertainty) and I came across the episode with Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. And while I've never worn Spanx, I'm so blown away by her as a female entrepreneur. This is from a different episode, but did you know that only 2% of female entrepreneurs and their businesses ever make over $1 million?? My mind is blown. This was great motivation to keep working, pushing, and edging towards some big goals.

 

SMELL

Sometimes you just crave familiarity. In surroundings, in people, and (for me at least) in food. This weekend I had the weirdest craving for cinnamon toast. My mom used to keep one of those pizza place shakers (that are usually full of parmesan cheese) full of cinnamon and sugar and one of my favorite snacks was toast with butter and cinnamon and sugar. Of course, back then it was white bread, margarine, and white sugar... but I can modify a little today. I used Alvarado Street Bakery bread (yay 6g of protein per slice), coconut oil, coconut sugar, and cinnamon. It was delish. And nothing beats the smell of toast and cinnamon together. 

 

TASTE

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I took Arlo on a half day trip up to North County this weekend. He loves car rides, sticking his head out the window, and going to new places - so this was a perfect outing on a hot Saturday afternoon. Our last stop of the day was at a bakery/cafe called 2Good2B in Encinitas. I simply googled "gluten free bakery" in San Diego county and this was at the top of every list. Holy crap, I can see why. Not only did the bakery case look amazing, but all of the food at the cafe was drool inducing. And EVERYTHING they make is GF, free of corn, and free of soy. I was meeting my friends Amanda and Antonette later in the evening so I picked up a few cupcakes for us to enjoy: coconut passionfruit and GF/dairy free carrot cake. I'm a carrot cake fiend, so that won for me. But I'll definitely be visiting them again!

 

DO

In Vancouver last week, we partook in The Crate Escape. Here's the gist: mobile storytelling event. Run (or walk) around your city to different landmarks with a milk crate. Someone (who volunteered to tell their story around a specific theme) gets picked, stands on top of the milk crate, and tells a story for 5-8 minutes. Then you move on to the next place and start again. It was so fun! A great adventure to see a (new for us) city and to hear stories you didn't know people had. It made me realize how much I love story telling (and truly how bad I am at it). We've become this short attention span, want info now and quick, culture and the art of verbal storytelling is being lost. There are storytelling events in every city. Get out and find one!