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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

EuroTrip 2016: Day -10

The above photo of me as a baby emotes perfectly how I’m feeling now, pre-trip. I’m 10 days out! In 10 days, I will be galavanting in the UK with my guy (in London) and then with my sister (in Edinburgh). At this point, I can actually say that I’ve been looking forward to this trip for years. I’ve wanted to go to London for as long as I can remember and when reading Harry Potter, I wanted desperately to go to Edinburgh, the place where J.K. Rowling’s magic began.

But what does my (brattily-named) EuroTrip have to do with this blog?

huge part of Growing Up On OM has to do with doing everything that life has to offer mindfully. Travel is one of the hardest and most rewarding things to do mindfully. Travel inspires us to life life to the fullest. Going someplace new and stimulating offers countless opportunities for personal growth and development. The yoga of traveling is challenging to maintain, but during this trip…and especially when traveling with loved ones – there is nothing more important than maintaining a balance of excitement, enthusiasm, and positive energy.

During AmeriCorps, I did a lot of event-planning. The rule of thumb with event planning is to have a solidified plan ten days out of a given event. That way, there are ten days to modify that plan…but at least there is something in place to modify in the first place.

Ten days out from Big Ben, here’s my plan:

Sights to See

  • Fortnum & Mason
  • Westminster Abbey
  • The Tower 
  • Borough Market 
  • Millennium Bridge
  • British Museum
  • Elgin Marbles
  • Foyles Bookshop
  • Daunt Books
  • Sir John Soane’s Museum
  • V&A museum
  • National Portrait Gallery  (Vogue 100, Charlotte Bronte Exhibit)
  • Hamstead Heath
  • Calton Monument
  • Rose Leaf Cafe
  • Arthur’s Seat
  • The Castle
  • Camera Obscura
  • Elephant Cafe
  • Meadowlark Yoga

Sanity Plan

  • (Possibly) Try TriYoga Camden (London)
  • Yoga at Meadowlark Yoga (Edinburgh)
  • Purchase Lara Bars for Trip
  • Journal, Journal, Journal
  • Airborne Vitamins
  • Meditation + Pranayama on Planes

Blog Inspiration

In ten days time, expect updates. I’ve always wanted to be a travel blogger, so this blog will most definitely take on that format when I am abroad. After all, it’s all part of #growinguponom.

Living Yoga Gala

On Friday night, I went to my first gala. It was by far one of the most grown-up things I feel like I’ve done. Especially in Portland. I have been yoga networking my way into substitute-teaching jobs at studios in my neighborhood. One of those studios is Unfold, a lovely institution that believes deeply and holistically in partnerships between yoga service organizations. They offer their space to Living Yoga and as a result, Living Yoga offered up a table to them at their annual gigantic fundraiser of a gala.

And a gala it was!

Remember how last week I wrote a blog post about Portland nonprofits? Well, I can now consider myself pretty immersed in all three that I wrote about. I went from a day of school garden training with Growing Gardens to dressing and doing my makeup for an event with Portland’s wealthiest and fanciest. (Yes, I had a little bit of double-life syndrome come through.) When the MC at the event got on stage after the lavish cocktail hour, he said, “Welcome to the best-dressed yoga class of your life.”

These events, I learned, are a great opportunity to talk to others about their paths, overhear conversations on what different yoga service organizations have to offer and glean inspiration straight from the source. It is also a good opportunity to recognize that, well, yogis know how to party.

The above video is a true testament to the work that Living Yoga does and all that yoga service is capable of doing. It was a fabulous (and I do not use that adjective lightly) way to start off the weekend. Talk about nonprofits who know how to do and fund their service in style!