Liz Wilson Yoga

Correndo em Lisboa

By April 27, 2017 balanced lifestyle, Local Living, Travel

#tbt to 8 years ago, just a young little chippy studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain. 

For years I’d been a runner, mostly playing sports and training for those sports. But I ran a lot.

Even though I’d exercised, trained, and been very active for most of my life, I thought I maxed out at 3-4 miles running at one time. Even though field hockey players run 6-8 miles during the course of a game, I just thought I’d never be one of those people that could run long distances.

While living in Sevilla, I loved running around the city as a means of exploration. And staying fit while eating all the yummy Spanish things! I was saying “yes” to pretty much everything while I was there: trying all the food things (anybody ever have cola de toro? It’s bull tail!), weekend trips with people in tiny Andalusian towns, evenings out to see flamenco, grand adventures to Morocco…

So when a group from my program decided to run the Lisbon Half Marathon, I hesitantly said yes. Hesitant about the running aspect, not about the trip to Lisbon.

Six weeks out, I had registered for the race and jumped on board my friend’s training plan.

This was before Strava, Google Maps, and smart phones. So I used MapMyRun to plan out my routes once my mileage was increasing beyond my normal loops. For the most part, this was a pretty painless process. I got to explore new areas of the amazing city in which I was living, which was luckily also flat and at sea level.

The only issue I had one day was taking the wrong connector street. Barrio Santa Cruz is literally the ancient part of the city where the old city developers hardly used a grid plan. Streets are very narrow and wind around in a very confusing manner. I knew I was headed up to a major street that divided the old and newer parts of the city, so when I couldn’t discern which street I really needed to turn on, I just kept running in the “right” general direction. Well…

From Barrio Santa Cruz on the left, I was supposed to run up toward Calle Maria Auxiliadora, and connect with Avenida Jose Laguillo to head towards home, the pink line. Well I ran up a parallel street towards Calle Maria Auxiliadora, but at the point of that giant curve in the street, which dumped me out way far north, the blue line. What was supposed to be a 7 mile run turned into 10. But I got to explore Sevilla just a little more! Funny enough, I was never nervous. I knew I’d make it back to somewhere I knew. I was more worried about missing lunch, which I did.

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25 people from my program ended up traveling to Lisbon that weekend. About half of the group was running the race. It was an absolutely incredible experience! We road the bus over from Sevilla to Lisbon, about a 6 hour ride. I met a man that does that every week. At the time, the economy is Portugal was really struggling. So he worked in Sevilla during the week, road the bus home to a little town outside of Lisbon to spend the weekend with his wife and children, and then road the bus all night Sunday night back to Sevilla for work Monday morning.

Upon arriving in Lisbon, we immediately went and checked in for our race and then explored the riverfront area.

The view from atop the Columbus monument!

We got to see some of the course we’d be running the next day. We ate good food, good pastries, and just generally enjoyed the day in Lisbon.

The actual race itself went a hell of a lot better than I expected! We started across the river at the Jesus statue, ran over the bridge, down to the waterfront, and ran a figure-8 into the finish line. No big hills or anything!

I was still SO nervous! It was the longest I’d ever run, and this race is legit! It’s one of the largest races in the world, so there are TONS of people from all over that have come together to run this race. Like some really serious runners. The one thing I didn’t really like about this race is that with the figure-8 course layout, I could see runners crossing the finish line as I was looping around for the other half of the “8.”

But what a fun way to experience my first half marathon, and to explore a new city! We got to start at the iconic Jesus statue, run over the bridge, and end at the beautiful Mosteiro dos Jerónimos Monument.

I started the race wanting only one thing, to finish without stopping to walk. So I paced myself really well. Too well actually. When I hit the marker telling me there was only 3 miles left, I realized I had quite a bit of juice left, so I kicked it into high gear.

The only thing I wish I’d done differently, other than pacing myself a little better, was buying new shoes when I started training. I brought used shoes to Spain with me, and continued to run and train with those. Shortly into the actual race, my feet started hurting like whoa!

Some of the group had to hop on the next bus back to Sevilla (holy soreness!). The rest of us wandered around the city and ventured to the aqueducts. As sore as we were and as much as we were moaning and groaning walking up that huge hill, I think the adventures thoroughly helped prevent serious soreness from setting in. The desire to explore during our last evening in an incredible place helped to keep us moving.

And then we got to collapse…

With such a large crew, we essentially took over the hostel!

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I ran this race before I really knew anything. I got my first pair of running leggings for this race. Didn’t buy new shoes for training. Didn’t have a handheld water bottle. No Strava or smart phone to track my mileage, pace, route, or take pictures. I just showed up, set my mind to it, and put one foot in front of the other!

I’m actually so excited about my upcoming half marathon! I haven’t run an official race in such a long time. My second half marathon was the Battleship Half Marathon my senior year of college. Then I ended up training quite a bit with Misty, my roommate in Colorado, for her trail half, but never did the actual race.

This 10-mile training run with Misty definitely included hills…

This time I’m coming into it in much better shape, knowing so much more, having better gear, and with a killer support system and training buddies. We’ll be gearing up all summer long with HIIT Yoga and the Summer Sweat Series at Flex & Flow, summer hikes and trail runs, cross training with swimming and SUP-ing when I’m at home… And then the main events for the EMPOWER Race Series and Molalla Trail Race!

While we’ll be running the show at EMPOWER in SF, rather than physically running, it will be so incredibly inspirational and empowering being with all those amazing, sweaty women! (We’ll definitely sneak our own runs in, don’t worry!) Wanna join in on all the yoga and all the running in the Bay Area? Use the code FLEXANDFLOW for 20% off race registration at empoweredraceseries.comNot in the Bay Area and can’t make it there that weekend? Sign up for the virtual race, too! 

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Getting out of the snuggly blanket and GSD’ing

By April 27, 2017 balanced lifestyle, Musings, Yoga

I’m in a slump. A funk. A I just wanna curl up on the couch in a snuggly blanket mood.

I think it’s somewhat universal, at least up here in Portland. We’ve had maybe a few days of sunshine in months, let alone a warm and beautiful spring season. It’s hard to maintain a bright and chipper demeanor when it’s been raining nearly nonstop for months.

Not to mention Mercury was in retrograde last week, again, and it was a full moon. All the crazy, emotional cycles in the world were linked up.

I don’t have time to deal with all that s***! Without going into my to-do list and inserting my schedule, everything I need to do is demanding of my time, focus, and energy. I can’t exactly show up to teach yoga morose, or plan all of the amazing events we have coming up without excitement.

Seriously, ain’t nobody got time for that!

So when things are sad, stressful, lacking energy, or when I just don’t wanna, what do I do to get motivated?

Turn that frown upside down!

I truly believe we have a reasonable amount of control over our energy level and happiness. Not because bad things don’t happen or stress doesn’t exist, but because of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

They say that if you smile, even if it’s forced, it can increase genuine happiness and decrease stress. In my line of work, I pretty much always have to be happy and energetic. Not that I can’t have my bad days and be authentic with that. But overall, teaching power vinyasa yoga and working in the fitness industry, I spend my days motivating people. That can be a pretty damn hard job, even on the best of days, but especially when my RBF feels like it’s been carved by Michelangelo himself.

So sometimes I paste that smile on and wait for my brain to catch up. Sometimes I literally shift everything upside down. By kicking up into handstand even for a moment, I get that head rush and get the blood pumping in a way that only inversions can. I lift back up out of it with a feeling of freshnenss and rejuvination.

Purge!

My closet is in a desperate way. Things are generally where they need to be, but a purge is SO necessary! Things are piled and wedged and layered such that I end up wearing the top layer over and over once it’s been laundered and have completely forgotten about the hidden items underneath. I know minimalism and purging is kind of all the rage right there. There are so many theories out there for organizing and weeding through objects. I haven’t yet developed a strategy of balancing holding onto nostalgic items and purging unneeded things that don’t actually serve a purpose or make me happy.

It seems that this need to organize and purge is part of a general sense of spring cleaning! My #sweatpink sister Katie is on board the anti-hoarder train. Becky, as usual, is pretty much the most organized soul I know. Not only is that motivation enough, but she reminds me that after ruthlessly spring cleaning and purging, you usually get to go shopping! Alyse reminded me today that the general shelf life of a sports bra is 12 months, which for most of us means we need to purge all those old items we hang on to for dear life. I have SO many old pieces of activewear that are lying around, unneeded might I add. Why would I need to hold on to an old sports bra that no longer ever supports the girls when I have AWESOME new bras from lulu, prAna, Handful, and more! (Obviously I don’t need to hang on to these old things at all!)

Great minds think alike.

Nothing makes me feel better about my weird moods than knowing I’m not alone. Luckily I’m surrounded by likeminded people, GSD, motivated, ladybosses that have Superwoman Syndrome and want to do everything they possibly can to the best of their ability. My PIC Nic and I work side by side on most things. She co-manages Flex & Flow with me and we work on many projects together. When one of us feels harried and stressed, the other will look at her with a matching “holy shit” facial expression. My bosses/colleagues/friends/general ladyboss inspirations Jamie, Alyse, and Becky all somehow balance every possible thing in life and manage to do it all gracefully (and sweatily). Starting, owning, and growing thriving businesses (note that that’s plural); marriage; babies; law school; travel; rocking out all things sweaty… When Becky was in a similar “holy shit how do I do it” place, she opened up about how she gets motivated to be the “doer” that she is, including outlining to-do’s, setting and sharing goals, surrounding yourself with an amazing community, and sweating!

Set little goals.

I’m a big fan of to-do lists. Of writing things down that I need to do, and even the tasks that I’ve already done. We get a sense of fulfillment by accomplishing tasks and crossing them off the list when we do.

Often times my to-do list is overwhelming, and I sit staring at it not knowing where to start. Or I start doing everything else first before the few tasks that really need to get done and I just don’t wanna. Luckily I’m not alone in that overwhelmed procrastination. Alyse and Autumn at A Whole Story recently talked about the mental games we can play with ourselves to increase productivity. A few standouts:

“I cannot watch another episode of Gilmore Girls till I write for 10 minutes.”

“Must respond to two emails before I mindlessly scroll FB and IG for an hour.”

Alyse even rewarded herself with cheese for writing that very blog post! Takeaway? That cheese is a worthy goal for humans and lab rats alike, yes. AND that we all struggle with productivity, but there are little mental games and reward systems we can use to counteract that.

Set BIG goals!

I love having goals to work towards! It helps motivate me to put one foot in front of the other, even when I don’t want to. One of the big goals right now is that I have signed up for my first trail half marathon, the Molalla River Trail Race in September. I’m a little nervous because it will be right after I will be at the beach for a few weeks. But I have some awesome steps in place to help me train for it:

  • Flex & Flow Run Club – This group of people pushes and inspires me when we’re out for miles so much! I don’t know if I’d be able to do this without them!
  • HIIT Yoga – pretty much the best cross training cardio workout EVER
  • EMPOWER Race Series – We’re putting on this awesome weekend of running and yoga in August. It will be an awesome boost in sweat and motivation with some amazing people gathering in San Francisco!
  • Summer Sweat Series – We’re hosting an amazing, sweaty, rigorous training schedule over the summer at Flex & Flow, including many amazing bootcamp sessions with Tasha and fun summertime events to gear up for these races!

Never stop learning.

Jamie ruminates on one of my favorite topics today on her blog: the benefits of getting outside of your comfort zone. Doing so means that we’re learning, growing, experiencing new things. Too often we give into the sense of discomfort when it comes to learning new things, and we chicken out and choose to stick with what we know. To me, that just sounds like a quick recipe for getting into a rut. We have to keep challenging ourselves in order to grow and continue to feel fulfilled.

I’ve picked up boxing lately, literally HIIT-ing it to win it!

I was lucky enough to take Alissa‘s Hands On Assists workshop last weekend. It was a small group of teachers and advanced practitioners that came together to discuss and practice, well, touching each other. Some of the assists were ones that I knew (in my comfort zone) and some were new that I got to practice on bodies. Taking part in new activities and further education trainings like this is a great way continue to grow.

HIIT it to win it!

Monday morning, I walked in to teach the 7:30am HIIT Yoga class at Flex & Flow. I was tired, lethargic, low energy, and only wanting to be curled back up in bed. But I turned it on, motivated by the amazing crew that showed up ready to go hard. After an hour of flowing, breathing, and sweating like whoa, my I’m-a-high-energy-yoga-teacher smile and demeanor was a legit sweaty grin! Ian teaches the class before and after me on Mondays. He told me that he loves seeing the change in my energy on Monday mornings, like a light switch. The endorphins, the sweat, the movement, the community all works together to kick my Monday off in the best way possible.

Post Monday am HIIT Yoga vibes….

We’re so excited to get things turnt up and HIIT it this weekend! We’ll be getting sweaty and learning all the HIIT Yoga things with amazing people all weekend long. Doesn’t that just sound like the best recipe for a great time? There’s no way we won’t be leaving the studio after the weekend not feeling motivated and all kinds of yoga high!

You can still join in! Use the code LASTCHANCEFFY, you’ll get 15% off this week’s HIIT Yoga Teacher Training (Expires Friday 4/28).

Onwards and upwards

I love hearing astrological explanations for weird phenomenon and emotional trends. Like Mercury being in retrograde (doesn’t it seem like it always is though??). I took class this morning with Alissa, who is in touch with astrology and energies. She informed me that today marks the new moon in Taurus, which has a fixed quality, grounding energy. It is a moon ruled by Venus, bringing in lightness, happiness, and sensuality. In theory it’s a great time to be setting intentions and making plans.

So how am I going to motivate myself to do the opposite of what I feel like doing?

  • Just start smiling. My brain will catch up.
  • Set dates with friends for work and sweat. And wine.
  • Share how I’m feeling with those close to me.
  • Prioritize my to-do list.
  • Just start chipping away.
  • Set up my reward system to increase productivity.

What are you working on right now? What are your tips for revving your lackluster motors?

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TBT to YTT

By April 20, 2017 Yoga

As we’re nearing the kick-off of our very first HIIT Yoga teacher training here at Flex & Flow, I can’t help but think about when I did my very first YTT. Nearly six years ago. I had to think about how long it’s been since I did my training when Caitlin asked me the other day. In some ways I feel like I’ve been teaching forever, and in other ways like I’m still the new kid on the block.

I remember teaching my first real yoga class. It had been over three months since I’d finished my training, and I had only lead a 15-minute audition before I showed up to my new studio in my new hometown to teach. For the first months of teaching, I planned every class. Now, that’s not uncommon. Many teachers plan a daily or weekly flow through which to lead their classes. But I was so nervous, even though I’m very comfortable speaking in front of groups of people. I was nervous enough that I planned out every breath of the class. Seriously. Every. Single. Breath.

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That sounds like it could be reasonable. But take a look at what my plan would look like:

Inhale: Arms sweep up overhead. 

Exhale: Forward fold.

Inhale: Halfway lift.

Exhale: Plant hands –> step feet back to high plank –> chaturanga

Inhale: Upward facing dog / cobra.

Exhale: Downward facing dog. 

And that’s only half of a sun salutation, which takes about 30 seconds. So you can imagine how long it would take to plan every breath of a class! Other than getting more comfortable teaching, I stopped doing this mostly because it never went according to the plan.

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I would plan a class that built to grasshopper and no one would take side crow, a prep pose for my pinnacle pose. When I first started teaching, it was at a new studio in Ski Town, Colorado. Everyone coming to yoga wanted it as a stretchy counter to skiing and mountain biking, rather than the physically challenging class I had planned. By the time I moved, people were coming to yoga as training and were ready to throw down with whatever I brought. But I had to learn to adjust very quickly, and stopped investing so much time planning a class that I would never complete.


I completed my 220-hour (yup, an extra 20 hours) training in three weeks. That means eating, sleeping, breathing, pooping yoga all day every day for three weeks. I did it during the summer between graduation and moving to Colorado. It was the perfect time to completely devote myself to my training, as was the nature of the immersion program I’d selected at my home studio.

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Apparently I’m a fan of immersions, throwing myself completely into an experience. I have quite the track record: summer camp every year growing up, studying abroad in college, NOLS (aka living in the woods for a month), and all the way to my YTT (yoga teacher training) and retreats.

Diving headfirst into an experience lets me focus my attention without outside distractions! If it had been an option, I would have completed my training over 6 months at my studio where I went to school. I can only imagine how distracted I would have been trying to balance my work load, playing field hockey, and the social life of a college student with studying to be a yoga teacher.

I also love the bond that forms within a group during an immersion experience, whether it’s a trip, a beautiful view, an educational training. To have a companion, or 30, while going through something new, taxing, overwhelming, amazing, challenging, or all of the above only sweetens the experience. And gives you the comfort of knowing you’re not alone, that someone knows how you’re feeling and what you’re going through.

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One thing I loved about my training is we got tidbits of knowledge about a lot, with the intention of going on to further specialize.

So I got to play with kid’s yoga.

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I started to learn how to assist and adjust students.

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We had sessions devoted to all kinds of yoga: Kundalini, Bikram, Ashtanga, Jivamukti, Yin, Viniyoga, Anusara, and more. I loved the overarching vinyasa theme while getting to taste test, so to speak, many other kinds of yoga. Some I’d never even heard of!

Plus we got to experience all of it in beautiful Asheville!

Not too many YTTs include drum circle dancing!

Not too many YTTs include drum circle dancing!


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Ready to dive into the world of HIIT Yoga?! We’re SO excited to be launching our very first teacher training next weekend. This 12-hour intensive training will break down what HIIT Yoga is and how to sequence a class, review anatomy, and discuss how to build your own brand and your business. Plus, we’ll be having all the fun and getting all kinds of sweaty all weekend long!

Need more reasons to join in? Here are 5 reasons joining in on this training is a must from Flex & Flow HIIT Yoga teacher Nicci. You can also get a sneak peak on how HIIT Yoga was created and why it’s so amazing in this interview with creator Jamie King.

AND here’s a special last chance discount code to join in next weekend!

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See you on the mat, and on the gliders!

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This Summer’s Lineup!

By April 12, 2017 balanced lifestyle, Class Schedule, Travel, Yoga

We have so many amazing things on the horizon! It’s obvious we have so much fun, and somehow do it while sweating our faces off. Join in on all the fun things with us!

FFY HIIT YOGA TEACHER TRAINING

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At the end of the month we’re leading our very first HIIT Yoga teacher training at Flex & Flow! It’s a 12-hour intensive training that will go through all the ins and outs of HIIT Yoga, including benefits, sequencing, and anatomy. It’s going to be an incredibly informative, fun, and sweaty weekend!

What is HIIT Yoga all about? Check out Jamie getting after it…

Need more convincing? Here are 5 reasons to join the training!

OUTFOUND

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We’re so excited to be a part of the upcoming OutFOUND series here in Hood River, OR. This weekend will be full of yoga and sweat (ahem, enter Flex & Flow), tons of outdoor activities in the beautiful Hood River area, and presentations given by professional athletes, businessmen and women, and more. It’s going to be a great way to kick off the summer!

BLOGFEST

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It’s getting to be that time of year, to start getting ready for this year’s BlogFest! This annual conference brings together fitness professionals and enthusiasts to learn about social media tactics, work out together, and have a great time in VEGAS!! That’s right, this year’s conference is in Las Vegas!

EMPOWER RACE SERIES

www.empoweredraceseries.com

You may not know this, but you’d have to be living under a rock not to, but I love yoga and running. And I can’t wait to do both in the Bay Area in August for the EMPOWER Race Series! We’re teaming up with Titanium Racing for this yoga and running festival weekend that is going to be one for the record books.

MOLALLA RIVER TRAIL RACE 

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Our Flex & Flow crew and runners will be training this summer not only for the EMPOWER Race Series but also a local trail race: the Molalla River Trail Race! It’s sure to be beautiful but also is reputed to be rather, um, challenging. I’m always a fan of gorgeous scenery while I’m struggling dragging my butt up steep hills. 😉

EMPOWER REATREAT VANCOUVER

EMPOWER RETREAT

Our next EMPOWER retreat is on the calendar, and this time we’re headed to Vancouver, Canada! We’re teaming up with Lorna Jane for this weekend of yoga and exploration in beautiful British Columbia. Spots are limited and going fast, so don’t miss out on getting in on this!

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Rollin’ with ma h-OM-ies!

By March 24, 2017 Class Schedule, Yoga

Back in Colorado, I loved teaching an après-ski rolling class. We got our sore bodies moving in a gentle flow, groaned our way through rolling around on tennis balls, and then ended with some juicy hip holds.

I’m so excited to be leading a similar class this Sunday at Flex & Flow, minus the skiing, of course. This Sunday at 7am, we’re getting our Flow ‘n Roll on!

So why exactly will we be rolling around on tennis balls? That’s the myofascial release part! All of our muscles are encased by a layer of fascia. As we move and go about our lives, as we use our muscles in any and all capacities, those layers of fascia rub together and get stuck. The only way to release those stuck layers is through friction, like deep tissue massage. Or body rolling!

I do love a foam roller, which has a wide surface area and is perfect for rolling my quads and IT bands out. But the beauty of a tennis ball is that the apex point is smaller. That means you can pinpoint the tension and really get in there for release!

So this Sunday, we’ll be gently flowing to get warm, rolling sporadically throughout the flow to release some deep tension, and end with some of those juicy holds. Sign up here!

The only thing you’ll need is a ready laugh, because we’ll be saying “balls” a lot. Giggles will happen.

 

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Never fear, spring is here!

By March 21, 2017 balanced lifestyle, Travel, Yoga

It’s the first day of spring!

I’m not quite sure I’m ready for spring. I love winter! The boots and fleeces, the romantic snow globe-esque ski towns, the powder days, Christmas, the excuse to consume hot cocoa at any time… There’s so much to love about winter!

But between last weekend in Sonoma and this weekend at home in North Carolina, I think it’s safe to say that I’m getting ready for the warmer days ahead.

I got a little sneak peak of spring down in Sonoma last week for our EMPOWER yoga and trail running retreat. I haven’t spent much time in California, other than the fact that I almost moved to San Diego instead of Portland. I was SO excited to spend the weekend in the sunshine, drinking wine, and sweating away with some amazing girls. And I was not disappointed…


We kicked the weekend off a few days early with a little pre-retreat retreat. Jamie, Nicci, and I left Tuesday before the retreat for the drive south, planning to take our time, enjoy ourselves, get in some running, rest, and fun. And what a day for us to leave Portland; packing up the car with all the retreat goodies and supplies and driving south on the 5 in the rain made it easy to head out.

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We drove the 5 hours to Ashland, where we stopped for the night. It was so fun having a delicious dinner at pie + vine

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Sweaters: prAna

… sleeping the snuggliest of sleeps…

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…and running ALL THE HILLS the next morning!

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Caffeinated by only the best, we hit the road for Rocklin armed with our arsenal of road trip snacks and a playlist of 90’s and early 2000’s dance hits (to which Jamie and I absolutely rocked out to!)!

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Staying at Jamie’s mom’s house, we were met with a houseful of people, dogs, and sushi.

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We were blessed with a full day on Thursday in Rocklin. We got to run and lay in the sunshine, have a yoga date with Alyse, have a delicious and productive coffee/work date at Bloom, unpack swag and pack up swag bags, hit up the best Whole Foods ever, binge on Thai food, and bake! Alyse joined us for the baking party! Amazing Grass and Designer Protein were two of our sponsors for the weekend. Armed with wine and delicious ingredients (and IG stories to document every move), we put together some delicious pre- and post-sweat treats for our attendees. [ Recipe 1: Designer Protein; Recipe 2: Amazing Grass ]

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Save 40% on Amazing Grass with the code SWEATPINK2017 at checkout.

Use SWEATPINK for 10% off Sweat Cosmetics! 

On Friday, we headed out to Folsom Lake for a 5 mile trail run before hitting the road for Sonoma.

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Yeah, that’s right, all that and we haven’t even gotten to the actual retreat yet! We immediately kicked off the retreat Friday night with a sunset power flow class with Jamie and a delicious dinner by the pool.

Saturday was the most amazing and most exhausting day. Many of us were up at the crack of dawn (aka 6:15am) for the first trail run. Which turned into part trail, part running up a huge hill on the road next to the ranch. Only a three mile run, but it sure got us up, sweating, and at ’em early!

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This view was totally worth the hill!

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Post-run strip! Suns out, handfuls out! 😉

After breakfast and a mid-morning power flow class, we headed to the Sonoma Overlook Trail for trail run / hike #2. The sun was bright and shining for this one, ensuring we definitely got our sweat on!

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The afternoon was full of downtime / playtime. We laid out in the sunshine by the pool talking, sunbathing, daring each other to jump in the freezing pool…

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Thanks Goddess Garden for keeping my Portland-pale skin safe from the sun!

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Before and after: we immediately realized the water was freezing!

Use code SWEATPINK for 20% off Goddess Garden (valid through3.20.17).

The relaxing afternoon morphed back into kick-butt mode. Jamie led us through an intense hour of bootcamp and HIIT yoga. The sweat… Oh, the sweat, y’all… We ended with a mountain climber interval: three rounds of jog, sprint, rest. Jamie offered to the OG HIIT yoga’ers the option to continue to mountain climbing during the rest intervals. Of course I was next to Kristina during this class, who is one of the most badass women (and mama of 2!) I know, who of course mountain climbed during the rest intervals. I just held my plank and stared at her with sweat dripping off my nose, happy to witness the moment and loved being close enough to hear all the things she was muttering under her breath.

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Alyse rocking her Momentum EMPOWER bracelet!

I ended the sweaty day with a juicy hip-centric class. It wasn’t necessarily restorative, but the entire room positively groaned in appreciation when we got to pigeon! Wine tasting and hanging out after dinner didn’t last long for us as we all collapsed in our beds in sweaty, smelly, greasy piles as soon as we could.

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Coordinating this handstand picture took every last bit of strength I had! Bras: Handful; Pants: prAna

Coordinating this handstand picture took every last bit of strength I had! Bras: Handful; Pants: prAna

Save 25% off prAna using the code POWERPRANA at checkout (valid until 4.15.17).

Sunday, which was also Daylight Savings Time, started off with 6am (aka 5am) yoga with Nic. My sore and stubborn body absolutely did not want to move, but she coaxed the flow out of me. As rough as the practice started, I was definitely moving a lot easier by the end of the class. We headed straight from class to the trails. Exploring Sonoma Valley Regional Park was gorgeous! Quite a few of us decided to hike this one, myself included. I so badly wanted to run it, but my body just wasn’t having it at this point. About two thirds of the way through the hike did I feel warmed up enough to even think about running.

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After yet another delicious meal (seriously, the food was amazing**), we ended the retreat weekend with a two hour inversion workshop. As I said to the workshop students during our closing circle, this is how I fell in love with yoga, the empowerment and playfulness, and why I love teaching. Getting to see the “clicks” that I experienced in my own practice happen for others, helping students do things they never thought they would be able to do, watching their expressions of delight, amazement, and empowerment. It was the perfect way to end the weekend, two days full of challenging ourselves to go further than we all thought we could and feeling the strength in ourselves upon reaching the other side.

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Smiles for days …

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The drive back to Portland was a little less energetic…

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But after a week of running and yoga, of being in the sunshine and around high energy and amazing people, we came back energized and soul-deep happy! And ready for spring…

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And no, this was not taken upon our arrival back in rainy Portland…

Need more proof of how much fun we had?

**Seriously, the food was so good. The food comas were real. Thanks for the french toast on the last day!

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Be Bold For Change

By March 8, 2017 balanced lifestyle, Musings

Today we celebrate 108 years of International Women’s Day, during which we celebrate millennia of girlpower!

I kind of love that this is the 108th year. 108 is a sacred number to many, including in many religions, yoga, and martial arts practices. I also feel the feminist energy is at (nearly)* an all-time high.

*I say nearly because I can only imagine what it was like during the turn of the century and the 70’s. Thanks for setting the stage for us, you badass ladies! 

After years upon years upon years of fighting for equality and shouting “girl power!” from the rooftops, the fight still isn’t over.

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In psychology, there’s what’s called the Madonna-Whore Complex. It supports the idea that women are viewed as either innocent and virginal or sexual. One is demure and the other debase. One is to be respected and married, the other to be f***ed.

It makes sense that something so complex as personality traits and sexual tendencies is so strictly categorized for a grossly generalized evolutionary psychological theory. But even while studying it in college I couldn’t imagine real-life society would be so divisive.

Apparently that’s not the case.

Emma Watson, a Brown graduate and famous actress, is being ripped to shreds in the media and online for having the gall to demand equality for women AND showing cleavage in an editorial photo shoot. For claiming to be a feminist while baring some underboob. Apparently those are mutually exclusive qualities. Apparently you cannot be strong, independent, intelligent AND sexual at the same time.

I think it’s an unfortunate societal norm stemming from the Madonna-Whore, wherein you kept those archetypes in separate parts of daily life, even in separate parts of town. Hello, red light district! Men married Madonna. She was “a lady,” the the one who would bear children, raise them to be upstanding citizens, always take the advice and orders of her husband, vacuum in high heels and pearls. She understood duty and how to navigate society. She was not a sexual being, but rather viewed sex as a wifely duty, a necessary act to consummate her marriage and have children.

Men f***ed the whore. They left their ladylike wives at home with their children to go visit mistresses and “ladies of the night” in brothels to rut, carouse, and debase themselves. They could be themselves in a way they couldn’t with their made-of-glass wives because they didn’t need to respect these female figures intended solely for sex. It could even manifest present day in the inability to perform sexually within a committed and loving relationship.

This sounds like a lifestyle lived long ago when people married for status rather than love. But unfortunately it’s still a prevailing reality today.

Here it is: we can be intelligent and sexual, at the same time. You know why? BECAUSE IT’S OUR CHOICE TO BE WHAT WE WANT TO BE! We can be mothers and go dance on bars. We can own businesses and still love for a man to open the door for us. We can be able to debate topical political issues while wearing a short skirt. It’s our choice to do what we want with our lives and bodies, so get on board and support that. Or suck it up and deal with it, because it’s happening!

Femininism is about giving women choice. – Emma Watson

 

It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation. It’s about equality. I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it. – Emma Watson


I’m currently en route with two of the most amazing girlbosses I know to go meet some more of the most amazing girlbosses I know in Sonoma for a weekend of yoga, running, and wine drinking.

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Not only is it International Women’s Day, not only is it #womancrushwednesday, not only are we on our way to a retreat with some amazing and badass women, but it’s also the year of EMPOWERMENT!

As Emma said in the video above, “feminism isn’t a stick with which to beat other women.”

We had a conversation last night that took a feminist turn. A family member’s gym has requirements of their trainers: they need to “look” a certain way to be trainers at this gym. The female family member said, “Not that I support that, but some of the girls don’t really look, you know, the way trainers do…” We all exploded in feminist rage over this! What does it matter what the trainer looks like?! As long as they know their stuff and are good at their job, it doesn’t matter!

The theme of feminism right now seems to be centered around supporting the fellow female. We need to build each other up, not put them down. Challenge each other to grow, cheer each other on, celebrate our differences.

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Hill sprints to celebrate IWD with my WCW’s!

On our run this morning in Ashland, we did ALL the hills! What better way to celebrate female badassery than to run uphill once, twice, and then throw some extra hill sprints in at the end? Coming down one of our last hills, I saw Jamie had turned around and was running up the short burst another time. Even as I was cursing her under my breath, her actions and big grin pushed me to get an extra hill in myself. And then we had to Insta Stories it, so we had another round too!

It got me pretty excited about running around Sonoma this weekend. And for our upcoming EMPOWERED Race Series in San Francisco, a female running and yoga festival weekend celebrating empowerment. It’s got me motivated to be running all the hills in the meantime…

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What else can we do to #BeBoldForChange? Bums out for change!

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What are you doing to celebrate International Women’s Day?

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Fitcations are THE thing!

By March 7, 2017 balanced lifestyle, Travel, Yoga

What is a a fitcation? It’s a fitness vacation! What is a fitness vacation? I will say this could be confusing as every trip and vacation involves activities in some capacity for me. But a fitcation is a vacation centered around an activity. Surfing in Costa Rica, skiing in Colorado, tango in Buenos Aires, and now yoga in Sonoma!

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So what’s so awesome about a fitcation?

Adventure!

It’s a great opportunity to play outside of your normal sweat routine, outside of your normal places. It’s a good thing to try new things in new places, to put yourself outside of your comfort zone.

I remember walking to my first surf lesson while spending a month in Costa Rica and nearly talking myself out of going surfing. How ridiculous would that have been to be in Costa Rica for a month without even trying surfing?! And all because it made me uncomfortable being out of my element.

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It’s also a great way to explore a new place in an unusual way! Taking tango lessons and spending my evenings in milongas was the absolute highlight of my trip to Buenos Aires.

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While living in Spain, I trained for my first half marathon. Not only did it keep me in shape while eating any and all Spanish cuisine, it was a really fun and unique way to explore my temporary home. Plus, as the race took place in Lisbon, it was a great reason to get to Portugal.

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Guilt-free vegging!

I was asked yesterday, “Do you ever stop moving?!” (To which my dad responded when I told him this, “That’s my girl!) I definitely do my fair share of lounging. I’m a big fan of binge watching shows, curling up with a book and a glass of wine, scrolling through Instagram, window shopping online for jewelry and bags. However, what enables me to guilt-free veg is being active beforehand.

My vacations are no different. After skiing all day, I’m absolutely content watching Friends reruns after dinner all evening. My happy place at the beach is in the sand with a book after a morning of running and surfing. [I’m never so lazy or so active as I am at the beach!]

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Bonding!

Bonding over a fun activity, especially a new one in a new place, really brings people together. Whether you’re traveling with friends or making new ones, it’s amazing to experience it together. To chat over the day’s events over a post-sweat beer, commiserate over sore muscles, and encourage each other out on the trail. It’s one of my favorite ways to make memories…

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Getting healthy!

A fitcation is a perfect way to decompress! It takes my natural destress technique of sweating and moving, and combines it with the fun and relaxation of a vacation.

Stress melts away, I’m constantly moving and sweating, I’m sleeping and eating well…

In my month in Costa Rica, I’ve never been so healthy or relaxed. My daily schedule would have allowed nothing less:

  • 6:30am: run for 45 minutes on the beach
  • 8am: an hour and a half – 2 hours of surfing
  • breakfast of yogurt and a fresh, local, organic mango
  • a few hours at the beach reading and doing yoga
  • lunch and siesta
  • 4:30pm: pre-sunset meditation and yoga on the beach
  • 5:30pm: sunset at the beach watching surfers and babies playing in the sand
  • 7pm: dinner of sautéed veggies or fish tacos
  • 8:30pm: crawl in bed with a book
  • 9:30: lights out

How could a person not be relaxed and stress-free with 30 days like that?

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I’m getting ready to set off on what is sure to be an amazing fitcation! Jamie, Nicci, Abbie, and I are piling into the car to set off for Sonoma in the morning. We’re taking a little pre-retreat retreat by stopping in Ashland and Rocklin on the way down to spend time together, run, and do some yoga.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will be spent at the Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma with an amazing group of people running, yoga-ing, and sipping on local wines. Sounds like perfection, doesn’t it?

I’m in the middle of the not-so-fun part: packing. So what am I bringing along?

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  • Sweat Pink trucker
  • FFY HIIT Yoga Gliders
  • Patagonia’s Nano Air
  • Sosie’s Stacks – I always have a selection of bracelets with me at all times.
  • a few warm layers for the evening (including prAna’s Liana Sweater) and long sleeve run tops for those chilly morning runs
  • one pair of jeans (like prAna’s London Jean)
  • two pairs of casual trousers / sweats (like prAna’s Annexi Pant) – perfect for travel days and lounging with the girls with our frank body facial masks
  • a few yoga tanks (including my Sweat Pink tanks, duh!) – I chose versatile ones that can be paired with the jeans!
  • yoga pants, run tights, and (she writes hopefully) a pair of running shorts
  • Sweat Cosmetics – gotta stay fresh even while sweating!
  • Pataonia’s Torrentshell – gotta always have a rain jacket!
  • a running rain jacket
  • a bikini
  • handheld water bottle
  • a lacrosse ball – I know I’m going to be sore. I already can’t wait to roll away all the soreness with this! So easy to travel with this!
  • sports bras – Can’t wait to rock mine from Handful! All the attendees are getting one in their goodie bag. They’re SO comfortable!
  • Sorel’s Lea Wedges
  • two pairs of running shoes – One is for trail running. The other is super lightweight and perfect for traveling or wearing around. It’s important to not be in the same shoes all day.
  • ankle brace – Though my ankle injury is over a year old, it’s still susceptible while out on the trails. I’ve rolled it again quite a few times, but not badly. So I still wear it as prevention.
  • a yoga mat

All stuffed into my Patagonia Black Hole Duffel, which is mostly waterproof and has backpack straps.

Not pictured but will be coming along: my big camera, my laptop, AfterShokzall the chargers, Goddess Garden sunscreen.

I also made sure to get all the snacks for our road trip! Think I got everything?

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That’s got to be everything, right? Let’s hope so. I’m double checking my bag right now with our packing list Nicci and I talked about on Facebook Live last week!

Next stop, wine country!

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Ready to sprung for spring? #spring4prana

By March 3, 2017 balanced lifestyle, Travel

Spring has not quite sprung, yet. And I’m ok with it!

I grew up in a place with four very distinct seasons, and I loved it. But after years in Colorado with bonus months of winter in lieu of a traditional spring season, aka spring skiing, I’m not quite ready for spring. In Breckenridge, March is traditionally the month we would get the most snow! And we would basically be in continued winter through May or even June.

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April 11, 2014 on Mt Baldy, CO

In my mind, I’m still in the height of ski season. I’m not ready to pack up my coats, fleeces, and boots.

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March 1, 2017 on Mt Hood, OR

However I am starting to think about getting on board with being excited about spring. Sunshine, flowers, sundresses… Some pretty awesome things are coming up, too, which always helps with the excitement level!

We leave NEXT WEEK for Sonoma! I was reminding my mom I would be in California next week, and her response was, “Oh, right, it’s March!” My sentiments exactly. But I’m SO excited to get my yoga, trail running, and wine on in Sonoma!

This program is brought to you by our amazing sponsors: prAna, Handful, Sweat Cosmetics, Goddess Garden, Momentum Jewelry, Designer Protein, frank body, Amazing Grass

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I also get to go home to North Carolina the weekend after the retreat. Woo hoo for some much-needed family time at the beach!


prAna could not have timed the drop of their spring line at a better time! A lot of long travel days are in my future. I am NOT one of those girls that wears dresses to travel, or even jeans. I do try to look put-together for the most part (I’m not in pj’s or anything), but comfort is key. I always shift around while I’m sitting, stretch it out, #stopdropandyoga whenever I can. So lightweight pants or yoga leggings are the best travel wear for me.

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I’m getting to try out prAna’s Annexi Pant, and they totally fit the bill! They are super lightweight, work casually or sportily, and comfortable! They are mostly made out of hemp and recycled polyester, with a touch of spandex. (Do they even make pants without spandex anymore?!) Hemp is ridiculously eco-friendly; it’s safer for farmers growing it and doesn’t require chemicals or pesticides. It also ensures that the product is lightweight, breathable, and wrinkle-free! They make me crave for some warmer weather as it turned into a pretty cold day here in Portland today. I can’t wait to rock them with my Birks!

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This is how you’ll find me at the airport…

Both locations for my upcoming trips are going to have variable weather. Sonoma and North Carolina in March most likely will have warm days and chilly nights. Not to mention all the sweating that will be happening… So layers are what it’s all about! I’m loving prAna’s Liana Sweater! Made of organic cotton and hemp, it’s super lightweight but surprisingly warm! And the off-white color goes with everything! Perfect for over sweaty clothes post-class or with jeans for a night out. It makes for a great, versatile layer, key for travel.

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Jamie is in the Breezie Tank from prAna

As my friend Jamie talks about, there comes a time where fashion has to meet function. Or hopefully it does. Thank goodness for the existence of athleisure and cute and comfy clothes! Clothes that fit my lifestyle and my body type. Clothes that can be worn in so many different ways for so many different occasions.

It’s not that you won’t catch us in heels. I love heels! I was even thinking about wearing heels on my date last night. But you won’t ever see me traveling in heels. Or touring around a city. Or walking to work (though going dancing might equate to the commute).

It’s not that you won’t catch me in jeans, though it’s rare. Number 1, they have to have stretch to them. These are probably the hardest thing for me to find for my body type, so stretch is a must! But a good pair of skinny jeans can be one of the most versatile things in my closet. I can throw on with Birks, cuff with booties, or tuck into knee-high boots. prAna’s London Jean fit the bill perfectly! Luckily, they help me keep my well-planned date outfit in place even if I decided to make the transfer from heels to boots due to the cold evening…

Maybe some new threads from prAna’s spring line will help you get in the mood for spring, too! Use the code S4P17LWY at checkout to get 15% off!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by prAna. All opinions are my own. I truly appreciate the brands that support the Sweat Pink community! 

 

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Live the life you LOVE…

By February 15, 2017 Local Living, Musings

Webster’s Dictionary defines “love” …

Let’s just skip the cheesy crap, shall we. It’s Valentine’s, cheesy crap is expected.

Have I been delivered red roses by my boyfriend on Valentine’s Day? Yes.

Have I been given diamonds by my boyfriend? Yes.

Have I been proposed to at a romantic restaurant on Valentine’s Day? Well, not exactly. I did witness plenty romantic proposals while working at a fine dining restaurant in a historic Victorian house in a ski town, though.

Got enough romantic cheese factor?

I’m actually a huge romantic. I love rom-coms, I’m constantly reading romance novels, Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice are two of my favorite books…

But there are so many kinds of love other than romantic love! I love Valentine’s Day, but I love love more. Let’s celebrate ALL the love!

Happy Galentine’s Day!

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I’m so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing girlfriends! Girls that I can sweat, adventure, talk, laugh, drink coffee and wine, and all around love life with! My mountain girls in Colorado, my yoga chicks, my Flex & Flow tribe, badass women are all around me…

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For the first year Caitlin and I were friends, my parents kept inquiring about our relationship. Most people suspected (or maybe still do) that Caitlin and I are together. Last time I was home and I was chatting with my parents about recents dates, my mom expressed gratitude for what I have with Caitlin. I don’t have to settle for a guy with whom I’m anything less than completely infatuated because I have a partner! I have someone I can do anything with. We adventure and veg, we laugh and cry, we talk about everything (literally we don’t even need music on roadtrips). Everything we do is amazing and fun because we do it together!

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I’m so lucky to have these two babes by my side pretty much every day! We work together, do all the yogas all the damn time, drink all the coffee and wine, eat all the fries and cheese. I laugh so hard with them, I count it as an ab workout. They challenge me to work harder, think creatively, push my edges, run faster, sweat even more… They’re always up for anything and everything! We really are the Three Musketeers.

Family Love

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I truly have the best family ever! We’re a small family, and so close. I’m so lucky to be close with my dad, my mom, and then the three of us together. Skiing, beach sitting, drinking wine, watching Bones, adventuring through Italy, we have the best time together no matter what we’re doing!

Mother Nature

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My love of the mountains AND the beach is oh-so-obvious. Those seem so opposite but the mountains and the beach equally hold special places in my heart. From hauling my butt up a mountain in the snow on my skis to busting a handstand in the sand with the salt air filling my lungs, being outside makes me so happy!

Self Care

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Massages are literally one of my favorite things. I’m rarely as relaxed as I am when I’m getting a massage. [It may look more like Caitlin is torturing me, but it’s actually a Thai massage move!]

Sweat

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Running, yoga, handstands, hiking, skiing, spinning… I LOVE to sweat! It’s a rare day to not sweat at some point. Plus I tend to run pretty warm, so I sweat pretty easily anyways. 😉

Puppies

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I absolutely gush over the pups! I don’t have one myself yet, but I’m lucky enough some of my closest friends have dogs that I get to love on regularly!

Coffee, wine, chocolate

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Yup, this deserves it’s own category! I pretty much don’t go a day without having my three favorite things! I truly buy into the French mentality of having everything but having it in moderation. I love going out to eat, enjoying a nice glass of wine, splitting dessert with a friend, nursing a foamy latte in a coffeeshop…


There are so many things for which to feel love and gratitude. Friends, family, dogs, travel, nature, wine…

We’re still talking about LOVE all week long over at Sweat Pink, too! Head over to Instagram to see what the daily prompt is!


 

My life is filled with love, on Valentine’s Day and beyond… What are you in love with today?

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