salt & straw

What I'm Into Wednesday - LA is in Retrograde

Ok, so some of you who are tuned into the more spiritual side of things (and Instagram) might know this already, but Mercury is in retrograde from now until the end of the year. Yay. (That's sarcasm.)

Mercury in retrograde lends the universe to feeling a little more chaotic. Technology tends to quit working like it should. Communication definitely breaks down. And you have more of those "WTF are people doing/thinking" moments.

BUT Mercury in retrograde is also a great time for things like creativity, dreaming, brainstorming, and creating in general. So there's that.

Last Thursday I took a day trip to LA and man, was Mercury felt. It started with a plan going completely awry thanks to the serious (and crazy) wildfires and the day ended with me showing up to take a yoga class (that I was super excited about) at Wanderlust Hollywood - only to find out they had cancelled all of that afternoon/evening's classes to hold an event (without emailing or telling anyone - major communication breakdown). 

All of that being said. I still managed to have a great day in LA - so here are some of my favorites. 

SEE

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One of the things I wanted to do on this trip was go on a mini architecture tour. Little known fact, I wanted to be an architect for a very long time and I have a small fascination with architecture. So when I realized that there was a Frank Lloyd Wright house in the middle of a park in LA that I had never been to, that went on the list. And that quickly led me to wanting to visit one of his son's houses as well. 

I made my way to Barnsdall Park and got to see the Hollyhock House. Even thought it is fenced off and currently being renovated - it was beautiful. 

From there I took a drive into the Los Feliz hills to search out the Ennis House. This one is much tougher to get to. The drive is windy, narrow, and steep - and surrounded with beautiful, giant mansions the whole way (so fun to look at) and then you turn this corner and BAM the Ennis House is staring out at you. It literally took my breath away. There wasn't a great way to park and get a better look (you could if you walked or biked) but man, was that drive worth it.

Lastly, I sought out the Sowden House (by Lloyd Wright - Frank's son). This was literally on a normal street. You could park and walk right up to the gate.

This whole architecture adventure reinvigorated my love for architecture itself. Now accepting applications of other cool places to see. 

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The major win and surprise of the day came in the form of beautiful gardens at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. In my quest for cool architecture, I came across Greystone and was stoked to discover that the surrounding landscape and gardens are open to the public (even though the mansion itself isn't). It was the perfect oasis in the middle of LA. A beautiful, large open space with gardens, fountains, statues, a koi pond and so many small hidden paths. Beautiful views of both the house and the city were aplenty - and on a Thursday afternoon it was almost empty. 

Do yourself a favor and go. It was so perfect and peaceful. 

SMELL

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The other part of my day trip excitement was food (duh) and one of the main stops on my list was the newly opened Eataly. A few things - 1. I totally forgot I've been to the Eataly in Boston (I'm an idiot). 2. I definitely didn't know Eataly in LA was in a mall - until I had to park there. 3. Wow. Overwhelming.

The Eataly in Boston was set up so much more smartly - spread out, easy to navigate, easy to meander through. I felt like Eataly LA was kind of the opposite. Tall ceilings but a warehouse-y feel that was loud, crowded, and difficult to take your time moving through. It felt rushed and like people were impatient. So I guess it felt like LA.

Either way, it's a fun experience if you do go. And yes, some of the food is amazing.

TASTE

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SALT AND STRAW. SALT AND STRAW. They saved my evening after finding out the yoga class was cancelled. I took myself over to the location on Larchmont and indulged. 

Their December flavors are ridiculous - peppermint hot cocoa, a grapefruit eggnog, gingerbread cookie dough, and apple brandy pecan pie to name a few. The clear winner was apple brandy pecan pie. And to my surprise (and delight) they still had sweet potato casserole on the menu from Thanksgiving!

Also to my delight - the lovely guy told me that the Little Italy San Diego location should be open BEFORE CHRISTMAS! There is a Santa after all.

HEAR

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Long drives call for good podcasts. It was tough to pick just one... but this week goes out to:

Radiolab for their episode titled Super Cool.

I won't ruin it for you. Just listen. 

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

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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 - 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...

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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.