The NYC Summer (Sand) Bucket List

As I write this, sitting at the airport about to board a flight to Nantucket for one of many getaways this summer, I semi-ironically decided to write a post about the city I tend to leave so often these hot few months. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I love New York with all my heart. I was born in Manhattan, raised in Manhattan, left to Connecticut for College, and then to Portland for AmeriCorps, and then I returned to the city that birthed me. I return, again and again, because wherever I go, I am a New Yorker through and through. I’ve been a New Yorker in Oregon, in California, in Cuba, in Florida, and all over the globe really. And while staying in NYC 24/7 is definitely unsustainable for me (hence the frequent getaways), there is so much the city that never sleeps has to offer…especially in the summer!

Here are my recommendations for what to do during a summer in NYC (all tried and true, I promise!).

Shakespeare in the Park

 

I miss the days of camping out in Central Park, getting kicked out when the park would close, and then ushered (pun intended) back into the outskirts of the Great Lawn. Shakespeare in the Park is one of my absolute favorite initiatives in NYC. Put on by the Public Theater and held at the Delacorte Theater smack dab in the middle of Central Park, the whole experience from waiting in line for hours for those FREE tickets to seeing the show itself is so, so special and worth it. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is headed into its third week!

Outdoor Yoga

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There are quite a few options for this one and I’ll list all of them below. All have rotating teachers. Click the links to find out more. Oh, and all except the Laughing Lotus one are fo free!

Smorgasburg

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Smorgasburg is this former Portlander’s dream. Series of the most gourmet and hipster food trucks line up in both Prospect Park and Williamsburg. There are plenty of picnic tables and small bites to enable trying out a wide variety of yummy-ness.

Wanderlust 108

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I ran the 5K and did the meditation + yoga in this mindful triathlon almost two years ago and it was such a highlight! Find out more by reading a former post here. It’s coming up in the beginning of September.

The Rockaways

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photo via nycgovparks.org

My mantra for beaching it up in the Rockaways is as follows: TAKE THE A TRAIN! Last summer, I seem to have forgotten that I am in fact a New Yorker and let the boyf drive and finding parking was one of the most miserable beach experiences of our lives. If you go, suck it up and take the A to the depths of Queens. Get off. Walk a few blocks to the boardwalk. Grab arepas and taro fries (a must!) at Caracas. Then, find a spot on the crowded beach and soak up the sensory overload…and the sun.

The Yoga Teach Recommends: How I Spent My 4th of July Weekend

I am rarely in the city on July 4th (and yes, I am one of those painfully self-aware obnoxious New Yorkers that refers to this one tiny city as the city). Yet this summer, I had so much travel planned before and after the holiday weekend that I knew I’d need to spend this holiday weekend at home…and it was just so fabulous! Walking around New York and simply living my life minus the massive crowds in the heinous humidity and work / giving myself the abundant permission to relax…it was just what I needed. I went in with very few solidified plans. It turned out that most of my friends were in town as well and equally excited to take advantage of the manageability of this usually chaotic urbanity. Being patriotic and therefore consuming media and doing activities that encourage critical thinking and deep questioning about the country we live in can – and, I think, should – be done all year round. Take what you like from this post and do it / consume it any time of year.

This Fourth of July weekend,

I ran…

The Rise Up 5K

I’d been training for this 5K for a few months now and am so humbled by and grateful for the process of steadily improving at something with a beginner’s mind (post on why I run forthcoming). I did it with my friend E and we accomplished our one goal: to run the whole way. As we exited Corona Park, we reflected on how great it felt to run for such a good cause (the proceeds / registration fees for the Rise Up 5K go to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Immigration Law Center, the Trevor Project, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. I can only assume that they’ll continue happening across the country and cannot recommend it enough (lots of people walked the whole way as well – it’s a 5K that’ll meet you where you’re at)!

I did yoga at…

Laughing Lotus and taught yoga at Harlem Yoga Studio.

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the lovely Laughing Lotus welcome area

I lounged in…

Central Park’s Great Lawn.

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I ate at…

Community Food & Juice (for that post-run brunchy brunch) and Sweetgreen. I love the summer seasonal menus at both of these spots!

 

I listened to…

This OnBeing episode on the power of telling all of US history, especially the parts white supremacist culture has tried to hide all these years. It blew my heart and mind wide open all at once.

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image by Titus Kaphar / Jack Shainman Gallery, via OnBeing.org

The Hamilton Mixtape. Not gonna lie. I was pretty hardcore about having this playing the entire Fourth of July. The Hamilton Mixtape takes history – a complicated, convoluted, amazing, and often deeply problematic set of narratives – and breathes life and power into it so that we can use a recognition of history on our own terms to understand how to shape the future. BTW, “Helpless” by Ja Rule and Ashanti is my absolute favorite.

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Civics 101 (Podcast). This podcast is amazing! In short (10-15-minute long) episodes, Civics 101 is a podcast from NPR that explains the roles of various jobs in the White House and essentially, how our government functions (both in its intended ways and in the inadvertent roles it takes on).

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How did you spend your Fourth of July weekend? What are the ways in which you stay civically engaged? … What’s your favorite song on the Hamilton Mixtape?!

written at moss cafe while sipping my very first matcha latte

Travelogue: Weekend in Chicago

Last weekend, I went to Chicago and had an unadulterated blast. We did so much in so little time and caught up on sleep. What I love so deeply about traveling is the way time seems to slow down and speed up and take on a life of its own all at once. That weird stretching and tightening of time was the making of a phenomenal mini-vacation. Here’s what we did:

Art Institute

I’ve been to Chicago before and knew that this time, I needed to go to the Art Institute. The spaciousness and quality of the museum represents what Chicago is all about: all the goodness cities have to offer without the cluttered feeling they often give off.

Bad Apple Brewery

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image via Pinterest

This place had an overall awesome vibe with an insanely lovely waitstaff. It made me really realize I wasn’t in New York anymore. The burger I had, too, was extremely satisfying (it was topped with fig puree and goat cheese!).

SoulCycle

The Hip Hop Saturday class we took at the Southport location (which is in such a cool part of town!) was absolutely phenomenal. Kirsten opened class with my fave track from the new Kendrick Lamar album, and it was at that moment that I knew I was in for a kickass ride.

Amazon Bookstore

I didn’t know that these existed before coming across this one! I love going to bookstores as a core way of exploring a new city, and this concept store (basically, it’s Amazon prime, but with physical books) was not a disappointment in the least! They also had a Stumptown Coffee Roasters inside (score!).

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Confession: I’m not a huge ice cream person, but the #basic in me is a major lover of frozen yogurt. Jeni’s, which is known to have the best ice cream in the midwest, has their own way of making froyo: with buttermilk! In case you can’t tell by the joy on my face, it was absolutely delish.

Violet Hour

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We went for before-dinner drinks at the chicest cocktail bar I have ever been to in my entire life: Violet Hour. I went there during my first trip to Chicago, and it was classy AF.

Big Star

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Image via Groupon

Right across the street from Violet Hour is Big Star, where we went for delicious tacos and an avocado-pumpkin seed salad that had me smacking my lips. It was an overall joy-filled time!

Intelligentsia

En route to the airport, we had to stop at Intelligentsia because a major way to know a city is through its coffee (in my humble opinion). When I walked in, I had a sudden desire to be a freelancer there.

Where’s your next weekend vacay? Care to share the fun places you go? 

Travelogue: My Week in Indiana

2017 is and will continue to be a year of travel for me! You can expect plenty more posts like these, inspired by both domestic and international travel, and can see them all in sequence by using the hashtag #travelogue2017. While this blog began as a yoga blog and you can be sure – like any daily practice – I will feature a yoga studio or two per city, I am deeply grateful for a yoga practice that seems to fit into my life naturally without dominating all my travel. There are only a few cities in the world that boast yoga as a main attraction (i.e. Portland and San Francisco). So, sit back, relax, and get ready for some well-rounded travel writing!

Oh, Indiana! The hoosier state! On a long walk to Upland Brewery with my boyf who recently moved back to his hometown of Bloomington, we talked about the people we became friends with in college, and the geographic diversity that attending a small liberal arts school in the middle of Connecticut miraculously gave us. While I grew up in Manhattan, I can count on one hand the number of New Yorkers I befriended in college. Instead, I have friends all over the country (some all over the world!) and that has opened up a myriad of opportunities for travel. That, and being in a long-distance relashe, make getting on a plane a monthly occurrence!

Without further ado, here’s what we did, and what I recommend to do, in the hoosier state!

Bloomington

Laughing Planet + Soma

Our first stop my first day in Bloomington was a familiar one. Laughing Planet is one of those quirky chains (two words that can tend to feel like oxymorons) that exist in both Bloomington, Indiana and Portland, Oregon. Their burrito bowls are innovative yet somehow simple and delish. They can also, if desired, provide a welcome break from all the (ethical and sustainable) meat eating that B-town has to offer. One of the great things about Laughing Planet is that it’s housed right above Soma – this lovely and adorable coffee shop that I so wish was in my college town.

Busman’s Holiday

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On Thursday, we went to see a local band perform. The band is composed of two brothers and some other musicians that chime in for various other songs. Both bros have great voices, though one is the lead vocalist and the other drums on a suitcase! It didn’t take long to realize that most people in the crowd knew them personally. I quickly downloaded their music on Spotify and couldn’t recommend it more!

Upland Brewery

Portland and Bloomington have more in common than Laughing Planet. Something I’ve missed from my time away from the East Coast is brew culture. Breweries have a whole ethos to them that is hard to replicate. They are relaxed, easygoing, and have prioritize quality with all that they serve. We went to Upland my second night there, and then I made us return three days later because I loved the vibe so much. The beer, too, is above par (oh, and all of their meat is locally and sustainably sourced – environment for the win!).

Know Yoga Know Peace

I went to a $5 class (those are offered once per day) at this studio tucked into a street in downtown Bloomington. I’m a sucker for the integration of yoga philosophy into the asana practice without being too over the top and I’d say that this beautiful dimly-lit studio accomplishes that. It was a welcOMe break from the more fast-paced vinyasa flow that my New Yorker self has become accustomed to, and left me feeling like I had breathed deeply which at the end of the day is the marker of a meaningful practice.

Hopscotch

The one coffee shop besides Soma that I passed through was Hopscotch (a walk away from Know Yoga Know Peace). This Café had a way more hipster-y vibe. I got a turmeric latte with espresso and was able to sit outside with a copy of the New York Times, which was lovely. Inside was a hub of laptops, working students and professionals.

Indianapolis

Milk Tooth

Usually, I tend to not feel like a foodie. Going to Milk Tooth, however, and the sheer enthusiasm I felt before, during, and after that meal, definitely made me cross over into foodie territory. We may or may not have planned this whole trip to Indianapolis to be able to go to this acclaimed restaurant on a weekday so that there wouldn’t be a weekend brunch rush. If we did…it was totally worth it. The layout of this restaurant was kind of tent-ish (there were no walls facing the outside seating area), allowing for tons of natural light to pour in on that sunny day. The silverware and napkins on each table was stored in Café Dumonde tins (way to my heart!).I ordered a blueberry buckwheat scone, chickpea frisée salad, and root vegetable latke. N ordered an escargot tartine and carrot cake waffle. We feasted!

Record Store

With full bellies and doggie bags, we walked along Mass Avenue to check out Indy. We came across a fantastic record store (that also had a cafe inside!). We perused and N even managed to find a few $3 ones to buy and play on his legit unreal custom-made speakers that we used for more than one dance party of two.

Columbus

Miller House Architectural Tour

We also took a day trip to Columbus, Indiana. Full disclosure of my New Yorker self here: I didn’t know Columbus, Indiana was a place. I am learning that the point of travel is to broaden horizons and to de-center the places we know to be home. This can only happen when bubbles get popped. It is a shame I didn’t know about Columbus, Indiana beforehand because dang, is it awesome! We went on an architectural tour of the Miller House, which is owned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. From the website:

In 2000, the Miller House became the first National Historic Landmark to receive its designation while one of its designers, Dan Kiley, was still living and while still occupied by its original owners. The house showcases the work of leading 20th-century architects and designers: Eero Saarinen, Alexander Girard, and Dan Kiley.

What I particularly loved about the house was the conversation pit and Finnish suite-style minimalist bedroom – common area design. I was fascinated from start to finish and could not recommend this tour more as a way to gain context for so many architectural designs we take for granted today.

Anyways, that’s the story of this New Yorker’s time in the Midwest. So grateful for this trip, and all the discoveries along the way!

Philadelphia in a Short Weekend

When we talk about weekend getaways, we often talk about them in terms of the “long weekend” (three to four days of pause + refuge from work). That whole notion changes for me come October when I start working six-day weeks. That said, I’m doing what I love while striving to practice self-care, which makes it more than okay. So, the weekends when I have a full two days off become my own version of a “long-short weekend” (happiness is inversely proportional to expectations, right?!).

The first weekend in October, my guy and I took a short weekend trip to Philadelphia. It. Was. So. Much. Fun. While I grew up on the East Coast (he didn’t), I have never spent any real time in Philly; I’ve only passed through the city. So much of it felt like Portland…this could have been because we were there on a rainy day and ate donuts – two very Portland-y things. It was an utterly chill way to spend 36 hours. Here’s what we did…I recommend all of it.

Food Tour: Michael Solomonov
Upon entering Philly, we needed food and knew that we wanted to check out Michael Solomonov’s amazing restaurants. Solomonov, most commonly known for Zahav (and the drop-dead gorgeous Zahav cookbook), has a network of restaurants with all different – and yet the same essential – vibes.
Dizzengoff

Our first stop was Dizzengoff, which is the name of a street in Tel Aviv. It has a basic menu of hummus plates with a small variety of toppings, as well as Sunday shakshuka brunch. In short, you can say we tried everything during the trip – that’s the beauty of short menus. That, and the fact that with a minimalist menu, they utterly master their offerings. Highlights included skillet shakshuka straight out of the oven and the pita made right in front of us.
Abe Fisher
Abe Fisher was the destination. I believe we made a reservation there before we made a reservation at a hotel. The entire time we ate this MIND-BLOWING meal there, we were also in shock that no one has come up with Jewish comfort food fusion cuisine to this scale before. It was so, so incredible. Each of our many courses, as well as the complimentary tasting bites they brought out along the way was a highlight, but here’s what I will likely always remember:
  • Matzo Ball Gratin
  • Latkes topped with Beef Tartare
  • Mini Rugelach with Bacon Date Filling
Federal Donuts
Unbeknownst to me until our car ride back into the city, Solomov is also responsible for the famed Federal Donuts. While we did not try the zaatar fried chicken, the donuts were excellent (and I am most definitely not usually a donut person). I brought back a box for the roommates and the churro and tres leches donuts seemed like the biggest hits.
Museums
Mutter
Right after we ate at Dizzengoff, we headed over to the Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians. Overall, I’m really glad that we went, though to be honest I don’t think I was able to handle the bottom floor. The bottom floor contained all the reasons why I did not go into the medical profession. The gore, anomalies that could not get figured out, and cadavers creeped me out, even though I wish they didn’t. That said, the top floor was insanely cool. The Civil War exhibit contained a whole part of history – the medical component – that does not get told as often as it needs to. It made me realize how recent most of our medical technology is (Mutter, a doctor from Philly, was the first one to use general anaesthesia as we know it today in the United States). The top floor also had a special Brothers Grimm exhibit with models of what the fictionalized medical anomalies in many of the Brothers Grimm stories would look like in real life.
The Barnes Foundation
The premise of the Barnes Foundation musuem is incredible. From the website:
The Barnes Foundation was established by Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” The Barnes holds one of the finest collections of post-impressionist and early modern paintings, with extensive works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine, and Giorgio de Chirico, as well as American masters Charles Demuth, William Glackens, Horace Pippin, and Maurice Prendergast, old master paintings, African sculpture, American paintings and decorative arts, antiquities from the Mediterranean region and Asia, and Native American ceramics, jewelry, and textiles.
Because the foundation is a displacement of art from Barnes’ original home / house into a more museum-like setting, it felt crucial to keep in mind that the layout and pairing of the art work was all his individual intention. Albert Barnes was a prestigious doctor with, clearly, a sizeable amount of money, who arranged his art in peculiar ways. While I was on sensory overload, I was also reminded of my deep love of Renoir and Degas. Seeing them almost in concert with one another and the more Fauvist art of Matisse was, to say the least, inspiring.
Architecture
Beth Sholom Frank Lloyd Wright
We went on quite a lengthy tour of Beth Sholom, a synagogue designed by Frank Lloyd Wright located just outside Philadelphia. The exterior was, to say the least, bizarre. It legit looks like the synagogue from outer space. The inside was elegant and modern, yet imposing because of the architecture itself and Frank Lloyd Wright-ness of it all. I highly recommend taking this tour if you’re in the area. We got a lot of bang for our buck in terms of history, all that we were able to see, and context for it all. The coolest part was that the synagogue saved every single hilarious and meaningful correspondence between Frank Lloyd Wright and the rabbi who instigated this project, Mortimer Cohen.
Houses
Because I was traveling with an architect, we also stopped by some very interesting houses on our way out of town: the Vanna Venturi House in Chestnut Hill and the Escherick House.

Recalibrating

That night, I was sad to have this short vacation be over. Upon returning, I realized how much I value – and on a deep level – mini vacations squeezed in amidst the busy-ness of everyday (school year) life. Within an hour of getting home and dropping off some donuts for the roommates, I was off to SoulCycle to get my sweat on. It felt necessary and cathartic to do something intentional after so much fun.
What are some weekend trips you’ve been on recently? Any you’re excited to embark on?
written from bed

Edinburgh in Four Days

This post is part of my EuroTrip 2016 series on the blog.

What a phenomenal trip! Now that I’ve woken up at home in Harlem after a great flight back on Virgin Atlantic, I’m opening up the travel journal to reveal the best of the last leg of this trip: Edinburgh, where my sister, E, is studying abroad. She gave us a fabulous tour of this lovely city that doubles as a college town; it is special in that it is as much one as it is the other.

Here are the sights I saw, the art I experienced, the food I ate, and the libations I drank!

SIGHTS

 Royal Mile + The Castle – On our second day, we took a very long walk up Royal Mile to arrive at the Castle. After a fairly expensive admission fee, we explored the premises of the castle that seems to have maintained its original state except for the fact that the canons that decorate the periphery are likely modern replicas. That, and, many of the vast wings of the castle are now museums dedicated to battle and dress of the time. The highlight was getting to see the Scottish Crown Jewels. A large theme of this trip is that there is something to say for living history – history that is still in use today. The Crown Jewels are excellent examples of that phenomenon.

The University – The University of Edinburgh contains within its grounds the oldest student center in Europe! It even includes a library bar!

Calton Monument – This huge statue of pillars located a short climb up a many-stairs park looked practically two-dimensional because of the lines along it.

St Giles Cathedral – It wouldn’t be a EuroTrip without visiting quite a few breathtaking cathedrals. St Giles was a newish cathedral with some remnants of old times. Our lovely guide took us into the Thistle Chapel where royalty prayed. While the cathedral was made / renovated in 1911, though parts remain from the 15th Century.

Arthur’s Seat – On our third full day in Edinburgh, we hiked the famous Arthur’s Seat. The view from the top was absolutely breathtaking.

FOOD

  • Bread Meats Bread – It’s the Bareburger of Edinburgh for sure.
  • Checkpoint – We became regulars at this delicious establishment that has really good vegetable dishes.
  • Grey’s on Greenmarket – Delicious salad + salad boxes + wraps for under five pounds!
  • Farmer’s Market – You must visit the macaroon lady! And the record booth owned by a Beatles collector who bears a strong resemblance to Paul McCartney.
  • Loudons – The last food stop on this trip had the most delectable flat whites!

LIBATIONS

 

Lovecrumbs – I am legitimately obsessed with this cafe. It has amazing flat whites + teas. I went there for teatime, to write my postcards, and just to get the morning caffeinated libation.

 

Hula – This was the first cafe E introduced us to in Edinburgh. We all got flat whites, and their date-sweetened “Snickers” bar is delish.

 

Panda + Sons – Whiskey…because Scotland. I got a cocktail called the Birdcage. It was brought to me inside a huge glass cage and, as the bartender lifted the cage off the drink, smoke emanated from it.

Meadowlark Cafe – This cafe located to the left of the Meadowlark Yoga Studio (post forthcoming) and has freshly-pressed green juices.

 

Anteaques – E smartly made a reservation for us here as soon as it opened. It is tucked away in a very non-touristy neighborhood and hit the spot immediately after that big hike up and down Arthur’s Seat. It is what it seems: a spot for afternoon tea inside an antiques shop. It was super old-fashioned in the best possible way; no technology whatsoever, and it truly encouraged us to pause, sip our tea, out our unbelievable scones (with their signature rose petal jam!) and relax.

London in Four Days

This post is part of my EuroTrip 2016 series on the blog.

Cheers from Edinburgh, where I actually have more time and less external stimulation to reflect on London, even when I experience a new place in the U.K. I thought that it would be nice, for the purposes of this blog, to take a categorical inventory of all the places I went to in London, with just a few words about each. That way, if any of you, readers, are planning a trip to the U.K. soon, this can be a quick + curated reference!

Without further adieu, here are the sights I saw, the art I experienced, the food I ate, and the libations I drank.

SIGHTS
Regents Park – I was impressed by the number of outdoor areas there are to experience in such a metropolitan city. Regents Park was an excellent first one and led us straight to downtown.
The Lloyds – N aptly described it as “what 1980s architects thought the future would look like.” The Lloyds are a series of banking buildings with cranes permanently lodged atop them. This architectural landmark literally looks like the guts and intestines of a building, with elevators and pipes on the exterior for all to see. 
St Paul’s Cathedral – Not too old, but exquisite to look at.


The Tower – Here began my tour of my beloved Philippa Gregory books. While the area around it was quite touristy, the sight itself was the pinnacle of well-preserved history.


The Thames – To exit the Tower, I proceeded to take a long, solo, contemplative walk along the River Thames. It was absolutely beautiful with grand bridges with even more historical significance.


Westminster Abbey – While I didn’t go inside Westminster, I did get a good vibe for its grandiosity and continued function to this day. The coolest part of seeing historical monuments in London is that they are living history; many of them are still in use! Seeing as it was a Sunday, I got to see the guard of Westminster lock the gate.

ART
British Museum – This is an ironic name for a museum because it is really a global museum of art from all around the world. I could go back ten more times and still not see everything.
National Portrait Gallery – I loved the small room Bronte exhibit that is going on until April, I believe. Located at a side entrance to the National Gallery, it is a very accessible and manageable museum to see a variety of focused art.
National Gallery – This museum was definitely on par with, if not larger, than the Met, if the Met had even older goods + art.
Victoria + Albert Museum – This was definitely our favorite because it was a museum of real, usable artifacts that spanned time periods. It all felt perfectly curated.

LIBATIONS
Fortnum + Mason – This unbelievable shop of tea, everything that could possibly be associated with tea, and beautiful stationery was actually the highlight of my whole London trip. Breathtaking + energizing = bliss. 
Foyles – While this was a five-story-tall bookshop, I spent most of my time there at the cafe, which was definitely the best bookstore cafe I’d ever been to! I had a delicious crushed ginger tea! Also, the cafe is right next to the bookstore’s art gallery. Very cool for book lovers, tea lovers, and art lovers alike!


Fifty-Five Bar – I got my first of two smoking cocktails there, called “The Zombie” (i.e. a flaming corpse reviver); this place is located in Camden Town.

FOOD
NOPI – One of Ottolenghi’s finest restaurants with unbelievable food. A highlight was getting to see the kitchen right from where we sat!


Hawksmoor – We ordered an insane full-on English breakfast for two there. When I say insane, I mean it was the fullest platter of breakfast meats (many of which I did not know actually existed) I’d ever seen! Like I said when I went to Cuba, I had to say it again…goodbye, vegetarianism.

Marvelous Monday

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Image via QuotesGram

Yes, I know that is not an alliteration we hear often. But yesterday, my Monday was, quite simply, marvelous. As I walked up the hill to work this morning, I contemplated how happy the simple things can make us. I also contemplated – as I usually do before writing a blog post – what readers would get out of reading about the little things that I enjoy. I was filled with doubt; why should it matter what I did on a Monday night to readers of this blog? And then I thought of what I admire most about the blogs I read: the insights into the everyday. Increasing our own exposure to different habits that work for other people can shine a strong light on the habits that might work for us. So here you go: my Monday night, and I hope that you get something outta this!

SoulCycle

I’d been to one SoulCycle class before, and I think it just wasn’t with the teacher I needed to get hooked. While I am afraid of becoming an Upper West Side cliche, I think I kind of loved it. I was grinning ear-to-ear the whole time while the instructor, Elianna, led an amazing 45-minute class that left me hitting the pillow so hard. Also, the W92 SoulCycle staff is absolutely lovely; they made me feel so competent when it was only my second time and on the studio’s dime.

Sweetgreen

After SoulCycle I trained over to Sweetgreen Columbia before class and got the most delicious Kale Caesar (I have endless appreciation for quality ingredients and cohesive branding – something that SoulCycle and Sweetgreen have in common).

Grad School

My grad school class last night blew. my. mind. We learned about literacy and how people learn to read in the most effective ways. These are things that I am so endlessly interested by. It feels amazing to sit up, alert and ready, in a class full of intelligent people.

There’s a great satisfaction in knowing that we’ve made good use of our days, that we’ve lived up to our expectations of ourselves.
Gretchen Rubin, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

The Yoga + Coffee Guide to Portland

One of my most favorite pairings in the world is that of yoga + coffee. Caffeine takes on its ultimate effect after that natural buzz of a great yoga class. Portland – the home of Stumptown Roasters – is a city that is definitely known for its coffee culture. With the creation of YogiNation and the gentrification of all neighborhoods into yoga studio pods, Portland is also a haven + hub for the asana practice. One week away from transitioning out of Portland and back into New York City, I am starting to deem it time to finally publish the post that lingered in my mind eleven months ago, when I first moved here and started benefiting from incorporating my favorite pairing into my day to day. So, without further adieu, here is your yoga + coffee guide to this awesome city of roses. Oh, and this list is actually totally geographically based (a rarity for this directionally-challenged blogger), ranging from Southeast to Northwest Portland.

Yoga Union + Good Coffee

image via yelp

Yoga Union

  • Location: 50th + Lincoln
  • Vibe: Hard-Core (The fact that they have Paleo snacks upfront was of no surprise to me when I did my first new student special there last August.)
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Chris Calarco + Annie Adamson
  • Asana Style: strength-building + muscle definition
  • Intention: Advancing the practice.

Good Coffee

  • Location: 48th + Division
  • Vibe: Uber Friendly + Young (A barista helps me carry a separate mini carafe of almond milk to my table.)
  • Style: Berlin-esque (The furniture is very un-American; think sloping leather chairs and geometric tables.)
  • Brew: extra strong
  • Intention: Kill ’em Keep them coming back with kindness.

People’s Yoga + Common Grounds

image via citysearch

People’s Yoga

  • Location: 44th + Belmont
  • Vibe: Dedicated + Full
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Jessica Garay + Audra Carmine
  • Asana Style: vinyasa with heart
  • Intention: Feel a sense of complete spiritual flow + fullness while practicing in a room filled to the brim with like-minded people.

Common Grounds

  • Location: 43rd + Hawthorne
  • Vibe: 80s Anonymous Hippie
  • Style: Living Room Cozy / Eclectic
  • Brew: cheap, but decent
  • Intention: Coffee and print media for the masses!

unfold + St. Honore

unfold

  • Location: 33rd + Division
  • Vibe: Slow + Steady
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Leigh Drake + Tony Roberts
  • Asana Style: yoga therapy
  • Intention: Unconditionally welcoming.

St. Honore

  • Location: 33rd + Division
  • Vibe: French Patisserie
  • Style: High-Quality European
  • Brew: strong (to be tempered with a delicate pastry)
  • Intention: Provide a large space for people to do with what they wish, be it mingle with one another, take their kids when they wake up too early on Saturday, have work meetings / first dates, or get work done.

Grinning Yogi + Dapper & Wise Coffee Roasters

image via portlandfresh.com

The Grinning Yogi

  • Location: 30th + Division
  • Vibe: Fierce + Kickasana
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Chase Connolly + Tori Greising
  • Asana Style: lotus flow
  • Intention: Provide a dance-like flow that allows students to lose themselves in movement + the themes it’s paired with.

Dapper & Wise

  • Location: 31st + Division
  • Vibe: Up-and-Coming Relaxed Freelancer
  • Style: get sh*t done + relax while doing it
  • Brew: strong + chocolatey
  • Intention: Provide high-quality straight-up coffee in this roasting company’s first cafe, in a neighborhood that lacks straight-up artisanal coffee.

Bhaktishop + Little T Bakers

image via chocolate hippos

Bhaktishop

  • Location: 26th + Division
  • Vibe: Ooey Gooey Devotional
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Lisa Mae Osborn + Monicka Koneski
  • Asana Style: lunar vinyasa
  • Intention: From their website – a “celebration of the gifts of this deep, dynamic and divine tradition that is yoga to a wider community through integrated, intelligent practices, grounded and authentic spiritual study, therapeutic principles and in general, a deeper way to go about living life.

Little T Bakers

  • Location: 26th + Division
  • Vibe: Yummy
  • Style: educated + filling
  • Brew: medium roast
  • Intention: Eat delicious food on your way to work in the morning!

Art of Movement + Ford Food + Drink

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Art of Movement

  • Location: 12th + Division
  • Vibe: Weird
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Nick Mattos
  • Asana Style: grungey Ashtanga with a twist
  • Intention: Provide something for every counter-culture yogi.

Ford Food + Drink

  • Location: 12th + Division
  • Vibe: Spacious Freelancers
  • Style: passing time + working grind
  • Brew: medium roast
  • Intention: Get stuff done in good + anonymous company.

Yoga Bhoga + Water Avenue Coffee

Yoga Bhoga

  • Location: Water Avenue
  • Vibe: Holistic
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Emily Light + Kris Olson
  • Asana Style: vinyasa meets physical therapy
  • Intention: Care for body + soul with intention and attention to anatomy.

Water Avenue Coffee

  • Location: Water Ave (same building as YogaBhoga)
  • Vibe: Quick Coffee
  • Style: read a good book
  • Brew: Water Avenue Coffee Roasters
  • Intention: Pass the time in a place that smells deliciously of coffee.

Yoga Pearl + Prasad

Yoga Pearl

  • Location: 9th + NW Davis
  • Vibe: Fancy
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Chris Calarco + Sarah Lakey
  • Asana Style: power vinyasa
  • Intention: Get a holistic yoga experience with an intense amount of ambition on top!

Prasad

  • Location: inside Yoga Pearl
  • Vibe: up-scale hippie
  • Style: holistic yoga food + drink
  • Brew: unsure (they’re more known for their tea + smoothies, which I can attest to as being ah-mazing)
  • Intention: Do your own thang while having a bowl of sheer deliciousness or cookies made of agave + nut butters that will fuel your yoga practice.

YoYoYogi + Barista

image via endlesslyenraptured.com

 YoYoYogi

  • Location: 13th + NW Hoyt
  • Vibe: Sheer Awesomeness
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Alex + Kristi Cole (yes, they’re a father-daughter pair)
  • Asana Style: joyful flowing cathartic vinyasa flow (yes, I am being redundant on purpose – it’s just that good!)
  • Intention: Move so fast and with such flow that you forget what you’re feeling when you walk in the door and walk out with those feelings processed + feeling good!

Barista

  • Location: Same building as YoYoYogi (the smell of coffee wafts into those classes)
  • Vibe: a bar for coffee
  • Style: chill + efficient
  • Brew: strong
  • Intention: Get your work done or meet up with someone in their outdoor seating; equal measure take-to-go and stay and enjoy.

Fave To-Go Food Brands

Here is what I look for when I look for to-go health food brands:

  • Low glycemic index
  • Portable
  • Cute packaging (I judge books by their covers, I just do!)
  • High protein
  • Minimal ingredients

Many of these “qualifications” I’ve cultivated go hand in hand; they are natural byproducts of eating whole foods. However, what I’m including here are whole foods that don’t require any fuss…because they come packaged and are therefore less obviously whole. That’s why I find these finds so special. Here’re the goodies my tummy has been loving lately.

Betsy’s Best Bar None

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These are my favorite post-yoga breakfast! I especially love the cinnamon cardamom ones!

Kind Bars

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What I love about KIND Healthy Snacks is that they are true to their brand name; they promote kindness on a global level through offering grants and video contests. Insider tip: go for the ones with less than 5g sugar.

Core Defender Oatmeal Meal Bars

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Talk about a meal on the go! The minimalism of these ingredients and the protein content make Core Defender Meal Bars a total winner and – I rarely say this – worth their $4 per bar.

Siggi’s Icelandic Yogurts

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If you can believe it, Siggi’s are actually a creamier version of Greek yogurts!

written at good coffee on se division st in portland, or