saje

What I'm Into Wednesday - The Most Wonderful Time...

Well, it's officially December - which means we are officially into holiday season. Thank you to the lovely humans who officially waited until December hit in order to decorate, blast Christmas music, and get extra festive. I appreciate it, November is far too early. 

So, in honor of embracing the holidays, here we go - let the holiday themed blogs begin!

SEE

IMG_2472.JPG

This Sunday I had the honor of being the speaker during an event to celebrate the grand opening of Saje Wellness in the La Jolla UTC mall. The theme was talking about community wellness, and how the path to bringing wellness to your community has to start with bringing wellness to your own life. It was an amazing experience (and kind of emotional) to recount my path, my journey, through adolescence, high school, college, and my twenties to where I am today. 

I was so happy with the turnout (such an amazing group of women who came out) and with the space! If you haven't actually been into a Saje store - find one near you. They nail the in store experience and you will immediately feel your wellness improve just by stepping in. 

DO

IMG_2328 (1).JPG

We are in the first week of the #Top20of2017 giveaway - and it is a blast! We know that it's always fun to give gifts and presents away to people and this is no different! It's been so enjoyable to play Santa Claus and shower giveaway prizes and gifts - on people I both know and don't know. 

People would be lying if they said they don't love free stuff, especially free stuff that they win. Are you playing along? Follow me on IG @thelpinsd and follow each day's instructions!

SMELL

Winter means Crockpot season. And Crockpot season means SOUP! This week I made a chicken sausage/lentil/couscous concoction - spicy andouille chicken sausage, lentils, couscous, tomatoes, spinach, bell peppers and chicken bone broth. So tasty, very healthy, and surprisingly filling. 

Any suggestions for other soup recipes to try out?

HEAR

Last week I started a new end of yoga class tradition - seated meditation. You're probably saying, "what"? That's definitely not new. True, but a consistent seated meditation isn't something I've been doing at the end of every one of my yoga classes and it's something I've been wanting to incorporate.

So last week we started with 60 seconds. This week we're up to two minutes. As I said last week, 60 seconds simultaneously isn't a long time and is also a really long time. In this busy season it can be challenging to find 60 minutes to spend on your mat or 20 minutes to meditate - but you can always find 60 seconds to sit somewhere quiet and listen to your breath. Try it out. It's powerful.

TASTE

lebkuchen-cookies.jpg

Okay, it's time to confess: cookies are my absolute weakness this time of year. I love love love holiday cookies - gingerbread, shortbread, pepperminty chocolate things. Basically everything in the Trader Joe's cookie aisle. And I'm also okay with indulging. So I bought my first box of holiday cookies from TJs last week - glazed Lebkuchen. These soft, chewy, spiced molasses cookies disappeared real fast. And they were delish!

Best part of holiday cookies? Doing a cookie exchange with friends. What should I make??

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 "Fall" Edition

IMG_8194.JPG

EDIT: This post was written prior to the events that happened in Las Vegas on Sunday evening, October 1st. It feels weird to post just another normal Wednesday blog but being able to live our normal lives without fear is one of the things that makes being an American special. So before we get to that normal Wednesday post, let me just say this: do something. Stop reading this blog, open another tab in your computer or on your phone. Schedule an appointment to donate blood, search for a non-profit that you'd like to donate to, send a quick email or phone call to your local representative and lobby for mental health or gun control or DACA or women's rights, go to the store and buy supplies for a hard hit area like Puerto Rico. Just take a moment, quit with all the thoughts and prayers baloney, and go do something. This blog (and everything that you do on the computer or your phone) will be right there waiting for you when you return. Because you're lucky. I'm lucky. We're all so very privileged. We can read and write these silly little blogs and go about our normal days. Not everyone can right now. So let's do something, collectively. 

End plea.

Onward

"Fall"

DO

One of my all time favorite meals is soup and grilled cheese. It's warm, comforting, and delicious. But nobody wants to eat soup in the summer heat. So we finally have had a chilly (I use that term lightly) evening or two and I took full advantage. My choice? Baron's Market. Not only do they have absurd brownies (with samples out, always) but they have a whole soup bar! I went with vegetarian chili - corn, beans, slightly spicy. Just perfect! These days I'm off the dairy so I replaced the grilled cheese with avocado toast. I don't care how "basic" that is. It will always be yummy. Do you have a favorite soup and sandwich combo?

HEAR

Time to spread the podcast love around. I just finished up How I Built This with Starbucks founder, Howard Schultz. We're all familiar with the current iteration of Starbucks but it was fascinating to learn the beginnings. I had no idea that it originated as just a store to buy coffee beans or how innovative they were with things like employee healthcare. While many of us (myself included) tend to poo poo Starbucks these days in favor of local, small roaster coffee joints - it was a fantastic reminder that none of the coffee scene as we know it today would exist without Starbucks. 

SMELL

While we may have a few hours during a few days that feel reminiscent of fall, it certainly doesn't smell like fall in San Diego. Saje to the rescue! Their diffuser blend called Mountain High fixes all of that! Mountain High has pine, balsam, and spearmint to make your home feel woodsy, fresh, and invigorating. 

SEE

IMG_8192.JPG

Another weekend, another long run. In the prep for the North Face Endurance Challenge San Francisco 50k in November we've been putting in some serious weekend miles. This weekend we took to Mission Trails for another shot at the 5 peaks and we were met with an unexpected friend: clouds and fog! It was perfect running weather for about half of the run and made for some incredibly stunning views. Yay for cooler temps!

TASTE

Trader Joes has done it again. They absolutely nail the fall and winter themed specialty food products. I'm not a pumpkin spice fan, so I usually fare well and come out unscathed during October. They tend to get me with the gingerbread and peppermint flavored items in November and December. But I did discover a new favorite item out now: Apple Cider Jam. Chunks of apples in a cinnamon-y jam. Reminds me of apple pie filling (not quite as sweet) and is absolutely delish with peanut butter on some toast! Get yourself some. 

What I'm Into Wednesday - I'm A Planner

A little behind the scenes info - I write this blog post on Mondays (usually). So that means that as of the writing of this week's post I haven't yet gone on my solo day. Spoiler alert: next week will probably be centered around my adventure.

But here's one of the cool things about planning adventure. Often, just the planning is fun! I'm a planner by nature so deciding what cool stuff to do with an entire day off has been a blast. More on that later. Anywho...

 

Hear

I mentioned last week that I've been on a podcast list. So of course, this week's hear is another podcast recommendation. This week I enjoyed a This American Life episode entitled "A Not-So-Simple Majority." It was an in depth look at an interesting case of a school district battle in New York that, of course, was indicative of much deeper cultural issues. What brought them to the surface was a large population of ultra conservative Jewish people in the district, who don't send their kids to public schools, taking over the public school board. It was fascinating, gripping, sometimes sad, very frustrating, and eye opening to an example of the battle that takes place in different ways around this country every day. Give it a listen.

Smell

One of my biggest worries getting a dog was that our house would start to smell like dog. Enter the magic of Saje once again. Their diffusers solve all of my worries. I have two different assortments of scents and having the ability to pick, choose, and decide how I want my air to smell (and therefore my house to feel) is amazing. Plus, did you know they help purify your air? Over time the collect dust and other particles from the air, trap them, and let them fall to the ground. Sweet!!

Taste

When I go to the farmer's market I love to make the rounds and see what looks good that day, but I definitely have my favorites. And one is the hummus guy! You know the one - he sells both hummus and garlic spread. And while the garlic spread is to die for, it's the hummus I'm obsessed with today! If you've never tried the Almond Date flavor of Majestic Sprouted Hummus you've been missing out. It's sweet - which sounds like it would be weird (but isn't) - and has the best texture. I try to catch him either at the Little Italy farmer's market on Saturdays or in Hillcrest on Sunday!

Do

This week is all about planning! Even just for a little day trip, I love sitting down at my computer, looking at a map, planning a route, researching fun (and off the beaten path) things to do, deciding where to have coffee, where to eat, and picking people's brains for suggestions. This week's adventures will take me to Orange County. And by the time this is up, I will already be back. I can't wait to recap the adventures and finds next week!

See

Speaking of finding fun things to do, I have to include my favorite website of all time. I'm obsessed with Atlas Obscura when it comes to finding weird, creepy, unique, fun, and unusual things to do in cities that I'm visiting (or even in SD). They have the best curated sights, museums, landmarks, and otherwise non-touristy stuff. Check it out, but be ready to spend hours perusing their site!

What I'm Into Wednesday - The UGH Edition

Sometimes you just feel....UGH. What do you do? No, seriously, what do you do when you feel that way?

I need alone time. I had a convo with the bf earlier this week about this (he totally gets it) but what came up that was kind of funny was that alone time for me means really, truly, alone. And having a dog makes that tricky. 

What's one to do? Well, I got a sub for my Tuesday yoga class next week and am taking a solo day.

Suggestions on where to go and what to do are being accepted as we speak!

This blog has nothing to do with that. Enjoy.

Hear

The next few weeks will be full of podcasts for the "hear" section of this blog. While I was doing my little corporate gig last week, I spent a lot of time in the car and caught up on the past few months of podcasts (I've been slacking). This week is all about a This American Life podcast titled "Act V". It's a whole show dedicated to a prison performance of Act V of Hamlet. It tackles the similarities between the murderous story line of Hamlet and some of the real life crimes committed by the men in the play, as well the struggle we can feel with getting to know someone and then finding out dark things about their past. It's fascinating.

Smell

While I wish they'd disappear overnight, my foot aches and pains are sticking around. Luckily (as noted in last week's blog) I have lots of tools in my toolbox these days. One of which is Recovery Balm by Saje. Yup, my favorite Canadian essential oil/wellness brand is back. This balm is the perfect consistency for massaging (ouch) the foot and smells wonderful. Spoiler - only available in Canada. Call a friend up north!

Taste

We went to a classic summer picnic last Saturday evening with some friends. I'm talking complete with grilled chicken, corn, veggies, etc. Naturally, the only thing to top it off would be a classic summery dessert! I found a gluten free berry crisp recipe on Food Network, altered it a little (why do they put so much sugar in things?), and it was a hit! Check it out - and my suggestion: ditch all of the sugar and use about half the amount of coconut sugar in the topping only. PS It makes a great breakfast the next day!

Do

Urban hammock. We all love sitting in a hammock reading a book, but for some reason most of us have decided we can only do that if we are somewhere like a lake or camping. Why? I asked myself this question and set my hammock up on our front porch. I strung it up between the two front porch pillars. It was heavenly. Immediately upped the relaxation level! I highly suggest it. And if you're looking for a good hammock, look no further than ENO (no, I'm not affiliated with them in any way). 

See

Last week (I think?) I posted an IG photo about the stuff we don't see on social media. The "other" stuff. The shitty things. The things that go wrong. It felt so good to do. To break that pattern of only showing the highlights. Well a good friend read it and thought so too, and in response sent me a link to a heartwrenching story. Be prepared, this does not have a happy ending. But it was a powerful piece on a collegiate runner who committed suicide. It's beautifully written and, I think, will strike a chord with most of us. Even if it doesn't feel like it relates to you specifically, we have all felt this way about social media at some point. Just know you're not getting into a happy story.