So, I have a confession. I don’t love mango salsa. I’ve always liked the idea of it. I love mangoes… I love salsa… why shouldn’t I love mango salsa? Turns out I do, but only sans many of your typical salsa ingredients.
Store bought mango salsa often just tastes like regular salsa with mangoes added in. I basically just feel like sugar has been added to my salsa. That, combined with the fact that my SO doesn’t like mango salsa in the least (or at least so he thought), has kept me away from it for a while now.
But then, I found a mango salsa recipe that I can’t get enough of! I knew I wanted to do a slow cooker dish the other week and the SO was craving some pork so I pursued the blogs for a good, healthy pork slow cooker dish. I landed on Skinnytaste’s Slow Cooker Jerk Pork with Caribbean Salsa. The recipe didn’t have too many steps and looked fairly healthy for a pork dish. That, plus the fact that Gina (Skinnytaste author) said her husband loved it, made it a no brainer. I didn’t even really think about the fact that the Caribbean Salsa meant mango salsa until later. But the fact that it was just mangoes and no tomatoes was a good sign because my SO actually does love mangoes – just not mango salsa!
The pork had to cook for 9 hours so I put it in Monday night and prepped the mango salsa Tuesday morning. I then put everything aside in the fridge until it was time for Tuesday’s dinner. Or at least that’s what I thought.
Shortly after prepping the salsa, it was time for lunch. I had some leftover tilapia from the night before I needed to use up but wasn’t sure how. The taste of the mango salsa came flooding back into my mouth (obviously I had a few bites while prepping it!). The mango salsa would be the perfect fit for my tilapia. And it was Taco Tuesday so I had to run to the store and buy some corn tortillas to wrap it all together. Best lunch of the week by far.
Not only did Skinnytaste’s Caribbean Salsa pair well with the pork like planned, it became a lovely addition to my meals throughout the week. The mango, the avocado, the lime juice… the flavors were mouthwatering and I was pretty disappointed when I ran out. But the SO also loved it so I’ll definitely be making it again, whether it’s with the jerk chicken or something else entirely!
Caribbean Salsa Recipe
1 Haas avocado, diced*
2 large ripe mangoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped*
1 1/2 tbsp chopped red onion
1-2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2-3 tbsp fresh lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl
Season to taste with salt and pepper
Refrigerate salsa until ready to serve
*The key to making this salsa so delicious is making sure you have ripe avocado and mango. If they aren’t ripe yet, it’s worth waiting! To speed up the ripening process, store the fruits in a brown paper bag in your kitchen.
Last week, I co-hosted an Arbonne Facial Party with some friends from work. I needed some treats for the party and thought this was the perfect time to try out protein balls for the first time. After all, I keep drooling over them on Instagram. Plus it would give me an opportunity to share Arbonne’s protein powder with the girls!
I had some carob chips in the pantry and found a protein ball recipe that would use them up. The recipe was so simple that I honestly wasn’t going to post about it. But then Laura B., my co-host (and name twin), showed up with another delicious treat filled with Arbonne protein. And now I can’t stop munching on my Carob Chip Protein Balls or Laura B.’s Vegan Almond Joy Protein Bars and I have to share these two recipes with you!
Carob Chip Protein Balls
The Carob Chip Protein Ball recipe came from POPSUGAR. As you’ll see, it is super simple. All you have to do is mix together almond butter, oats, protein powder, egg white, stevia, and carob chips. You then roll the mixture into little balls and pop it into the oven for six to eight minutes.
The recipe on POPSUGAR only makes six balls. Trust me when I tell you you’ll want more. Just go ahead and double the recipe.
To make this a completely vegan treat, you could substitute the egg white with a vegan substitute such as aquafaba.
Vegan Almond Joy Protein Bars
This is the second time I’ve had Laura’s almond joy bars. The first time was at an Arbonne Wellness Open House, an event that focuses more on Arbonne’s nutrition products than skincare lines. I remember the bars being incredible, and when I tried them again last week I had to ask for the recipe.
Laura B. found her recipe on The Healthy Maven. While I haven’t yet made it myself, it also looks fairly simple. I especially love that there’s no baking involved – making it the perfect treat for the summertime!
Like the protein balls, the almond joy bars do not contain any refined sugar so they are much lower on the Glycemic Index.
Plus, they have protein to keep you full and help repair your muscles! Laura also used Arbonne’s vanilla protein, but any protein powder will do. The Healthy Maven recommends Epicure’s Sweet Coconut protein, which I imagine would give it an even stronger coconut taste. You could definitely still taste the coconut in Laura B.’s recipe though, so don’t fret if you don’t have coconut-flavor!
More Healthy Party Snacks
I put out a few other snacks alongside the protein treats to complete the spread for the Facial Party:
Baby carrots and hummus
Light White Cheddar Popcorn
Alyssa’s Healthy Vegan Bites (I recently found these at Publix and everyone I’ve shared them with is always blown away by the fact there are only 45 calories per cookie!)
Brownie Bites… because 80/20 rule : )
These healthy-ish snacks only took a few minutes to pull together and could easily be used at any small gathering of friends.
Share your favorite healthy party snacks in the comments and let me know if you try either of the protein treat recipes. I’d love to hear about the different variations you come up with!
**Laura Kay is an Arbonne Independent Consultant. If you are interested in learning more about Arbonne’s safe, pure, and beneficial products please contact her directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I started thinking about writing about Wanderlust Festival it was somewhat overwhelming. At Wanderlust Festival Stratton, I went to over ten classes in two days and I took copious notes on many of them. The classes ranged from running a 5k with the first female American to run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days to Dharma Yoga with legendary yogi Sri Dharma Mittra to cooking classes on how to use fiber for detox. And that’s not to mention the many informal, mind-opening, interactions in between with musicians, wellness vendors, and fellow Wanderlusters.
I mentioned to Alexis, the friend I went to Wanderlust Festival with, that I didn’t know how I would remember all the amazing insights from the weekend. She then reminded me of what Seane Corn told us during “The Yoga of Awakening.” The inspirational and internationally celebrated yoga teacher told us during our practice to not worry about remembering every single piece of advice we receive during the weekend. Instead she encouraged us to keep ourselves open, take it all in, and see what stays with us a few days later.
So, lucky for you, I won’t be writing a ten-page blog post on every detail of my amazing weekend at Wanderlust Festival. Instead I’d like to share with you some of the thoughts that have resonated with me one week after Wanderlust Festival. I can’t explain why these are the insights, ideas, and advice that have stuck with me, but here they are!
Laura Kay’s Wanderlust Festival Takeaways
Community is king. My Wanderlust Festival started with an early morning run alongside Becca Pizzi, the first female American to complete the World Marathon Challenge. There were just a handful of us so we really got to know Becca and learn about her incredible experiences. (And don’t
worry, she slowed down the pace for us!) After hearing Becca’s story about running 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days I couldn’t help but think that running must have been the easy part. The logistics of making sure she arrived in each continent before the start of each race (no, she did not have a private charter plane), finding a place to shower after each race, and securing armed guards to run alongside her in unstable countries were overwhelming. Luckily, it sounds like Becca had a fantastic team supporting her along the way and different family members met her in each country. Becca’s community in Boston even stepped up to take care of her daughter whom she had to leave at home for ten days, the longest they had ever been apart.
Stop waiting on someone else to and give yourself a massage. At the end of the first day, Alexis and I went to “Rolling in the Deep (Fascia): Full Body Surrender Self Bodywork.” The class included live music by Ida Jo, instruction by David Vendetti, and self-body work tools. The self-body work tools included magical balls and rollers that provided relief to my muscles from head to toe. Imagine foam rolling, but more intense. While I was definitely in a little pain after the class, my whole body felt lengthened and the idea of doing this every night was quite appealing. And as David (one of the funniest yoga instructors I’ve ever had) said, “You’re not going to find someone that loves you enough to give you a massage every day, so go buy yourself some self-massage tools.”
Stretch every day. This is so simple, and something I should already know given my obsession with stretching is one of the reasons I named my blog what I did. And I do already recognize the importance of stretching, but Wanderlust Festival was a timely reinforcement of just that. I had not been stretching as deeply the past few months and only had gone to a handful of yoga classes this year After just two days and six yoga classes, I came home feeling rejuvenated. My body was of course a little sore, but it was the kind of sore that felt good. Not to mention I was much more flexible!
Don’t mix fruit with starch. While showing us how to make Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding, Christa Orrechio shared a number of insights on how certain foods can affect your body. She spoke about getting enough fiber, the right mix of omegas, etc., but the most surprising thing she shared was that you should never mix fruit with starch. Did you immediately think of your banana on your peanut butter toast or the blueberries in your oatmeal? I sure did! Apparently when you mix starch with fruit the starch cuts off the fruit from digesting and the fruit begins to ferment. This causes most people to think they have gas or IBS, but, in reality, they just need to keep starches and fruits 30 to 60 minutes apart (30 minutes if the fruit is first, 60 minutes if the starch is first). Who knew!
Mindful eating can be a meditation. Nicole Centeno really spoke to me. It was pretty obvious why once she gave a little background on herself – a type-A, career focused woman that struggled with eating during college and then discovered mindfulness. When she started feeling anxious again later in life she tried to go back to the traditional meditation she had learned as a coping mechanism in college, but this time it did not work for her. Instead, she found meditation in cooking and eating. I could already totally relate. Today Nicole makes a conscious effort to eat one meal a day by herself in complete silence. This reminded me of how much I love waking up before everyone else and having my breakfast in silence. But Nicole takes it a step further – she turns her phone to airplane mode and puts in headphones. The idea of trying to fit this into my life is a little daunting but I can totally see the benefits of it and would love to at least try doing it a few times week. Not only would it allow me to meditate, but it would also allow me to really focus on my meal and how it makes me feel.
Yoga can still be tough without chaturangas. On Saturday afternoon we went to a class called “Look, Ma—No Hands” with Sara Clark. Sara knew we’d be doing a lot of chaturangas and down dogs throughout the weekend so she designed an entire practice without any of those. I suspected the class would be a little easier, a bit of a break, but Sara still found a way to lead us through a challenging Vinyasa flow. I still got sweaty and it ended up being one of my favorite practices of the weekend! Note: there were so many amazing practices throughout the weekend that focused on different aspects of yoga – I’ll likely need a separate post to share the highlights of each of them!
Believe in your gut. “Believe in your Gut” was the tagline on the chalkboard outside the “Find Your Food Fork” (or food demo) tent that was constantly serving up Tropicana’s new probiotic drink. This theme was carried throughout many of the cooking demos and Speakeasy talks throughout the weekend. The theme even carried into one of my yoga classes. While we moved through one of the more intense Vinyasas I’d ever experienced, Lauren Imparato shared her story around how she learned to trust her gut after the book publisher she was feeling uneasy about ended up screwing her over. It was ironic that this was the theme for Wanderlust Festival because it has also been a theme of my year. 2017 has been all about following my gut instinct – from starting this blog to choosing to leave my job and pursue my MBA in a new city. This year I have also been more in-tune with what I am putting in my body and how it makes me feel (see my posts on giving up sugar for Lent and taking a break from caffeine). Without going into too much detail, I’ve found that the better the food I put in my mouth moves through my body, the better I feel overall.
Okay, so this still ended up being a pretty long post, but I hope you learned something from it as well! And final disclaimer – I can’t promise that I’m not also going to write separate posts about individual speakers and classes that moved me : )
I’ve recently come across a few people who don’t like leftovers. I absolutely cannot understand it. I practically survive on leftovers. Not only do they save time and money, some leftovers taste better than they did the day before!
Crock-Pot recipes are pretty much designed for leftovers. You can make a huge pot on Sunday and have it all week.
Simple dishes like pulled chicken can be used in a variety of ways – on tortillas, on salads, on buns. Even unique dishes, such as this Thai Peanut Chicken can be surprisingly versatile. I ended up having it with noodles, on brown rice, in a taco, and on nachos!
And then there are Crock-Pot dishes such as chili and soups that straight up taste better a day or two later. As the dish sits, the ingredients combine and create so much flavor.
If you’ve ever tried dieting, I’m sure you’ve heard the trick about boxing half your meal before you start eating. I don’t usually go as far as asking for the box up front, but I rarely end up eating my whole meal at restaurants. I’m a small girl and the portions are just so big these days! If you have a little self-control, the oversized portions can be a blessing though. You can basically get two meals for the price of one!
You don’t have to save exactly half of everything either. Oftentimes, I’ll enjoy all the fresh vegetables in a dish while I’m at the restaurant and save half the protein for later. I can then add the protein to some mixed greens and my salad is ready to go for lunch the next day.
While I love leftovers regardless, it is always nice to add
something fresh to them. Mixing leftovers with greens into a salad is easy, but it’s not the only option. The other day I had leftover fajitas from Cheeky’s and I added some fresh avocado to them when I got home.
Leftovers don’t have to come from a Crock-Pot or a restaurant. Most nights, I’ll make four servings for dinner. This gives my hungry SO an extra portion that night and me an extra portion for lunch the next day.
One of my recent favorite leftover salads was one I made on a day that I was trying to clean out my fridge before going out of town for a week. I had made Skinnytaste’s Sheet Pan Shrimp with Broccolini and Tomatoes a few nights before and didn’t want to let that shrimp go to waste. I chopped up the shrimp and broccolini, placed it on top of my remaining baby kale, added in leftover cauliflower rice, sprinkled on a little feta cheese, drizzled on my last sliver of lemon, and tossed it all up. It was surprisingly delicious and I was able to use up multiple leftovers!
Your leftovers may not always magically pair together like they did for my Kale and Shrimp Salad. But that doesn’t mean your leftovers have to spoil. Think about if there’s a side dish you could buy or make to enhance the leftovers you have. The other night we had an awkward amount of chicken teriyaki stir fry leftover. It wouldn’t have filled both of us, but we didn’t want it to go to waste. We decided to order a sushi roll to complete our meal.
What are your favorite leftovers? Share in the comments!
I have been a little MIA lately. Work trips, family emergencies, and apartment searching has left little time for my blog. But I guess that’s why it’s called theSTRETCHEDlife!
I am currently on my way home from a trip to Arizona and wanted to share with you all some lovely meals that I prepared while I WAS at home.
I knew I would be in town the week leading up to Memorial Day so that Sunday I picked three recipes from SkinnyTaste to try. Of course I didn’t ended up making each dish the night I planned because life/work happens, but by the end of the week, I had tried them all and had leftovers to enjoy! Each recipe was delicious and kept me full, but not too full. Even better, these SkinnyTastae dishes were simple to make.
Naked Greek Feta-Zucchini Turkey Burger
Of the three recipes I picked out, this one was by far the most time consuming so I made it on Sunday night. It was still pretty simple though – just a matter of shredding the zucchini, chopping a few vegetables, and measuring out the seasoning.
I ate the burger as recommended – no bun, Greek salad on top. For my SO, I toasted up two slices of wheat bread to act as a bun. He needs to eat a little more than I do!
The burger must have been pretty good because my SO had a second that night and I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next two days. I simply threw some mixed greens into Tupperware and topped it with the Greek salad mixture and the chopped-up turkey burger. I then mixed it up with some Tzatziki as dressing.
One Pan Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Broccoli
This recipe couldn’t get much easier. I had chopped the broccoli on Sunday so when I got home from work I just had to chop up the parsley and garlic. Once that was done, I threw everything in a pan and did a Tone It Up video while it cooked.
My chicken breasts were on the larger side so they took closer to 45 minutes to cook. This was perfect because my workout video was 30 minutes and I wanted to make cauliflower rice to go with the chicken. I had shredded the cauliflower on Sunday and was able to rice it following Minimalist Baker’s instructions while the chicken finished.
Sheet Pan Shrimp with Broccolini and Tomatoes
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any easier than the Parmesan-Crusted Chicken, I fell in love with this one pan shrimp and broccolini recipe. I defrosted frozen shrimp in the fridge while I was at work and when I came home I pretty much just had to remove the tails from the shrimp, chop the ends off the broccolini, and halve the tomatoes.
I served this one with quinoa and my SO liked it much more than I expected. The fresh lemon added a lot so don’t forget that at the end!
What’s your favorite SkinnyTaste recipe? Share in the comments below!
I had seen this decadent skillet cookie all over Instagram and was so excited to finally try it when Sugar Free Lent was over. I ended up making a few tweaks to Rachael DeVaux’s recipe and decided that my creation would be more accurately called Cashew Carob Chip Cookie Bars.
Carob Chips: Rachael’s recipe called for “½ Eating Evolved Midnight Coconut Chocolate Bar (no added sugar), chopped into small pieces.” I didn’t have time to make it the Whole Foods (the only place I know near me that sells Eating Evolved), so I picked up Chatfield’s Carob Chips at Publix instead. I had never tried these before but found them to be a great vegan alternative to chocolate chips. I’m not sure my SO even noticed they weren’t real chocolate chips!
Baking Dish: Part of the glory of Rachael’s original recipe is that it’s made in a skillet. However, many of us, including myself, do not already have a good baking skillet. Thus, I went with an 8×8-inch glass baking pan.
Baking Time: I originally thought that the height of my batter in the 8×8-inch glass baking pan would be similar to Rachael’s in her 8-inch skillet and that the baking time would be similar. It turns out the glass pan needed some more time. When I took it out after 21 minutes it was still very gooey. I would recommend leaving it in for at least 25 minutes. Once the inside is a little firmer, you can go ahead and turn the broiler on for a minute or two to give your bake a crisp top. Just be sure to keep an eye on it in the broiler!
I knew it was a good recipe when I came home from work just two days later and saw this:
My SO who claims he doesn’t like sweets, and has definitely never expressed interested in dairy-free, gluten-free, or grain-free desserts had devoured the dish. There’s not much more rewarding than that : )
Karena, Katrina, and their massive Instagram following (#tiuteam) convinced me to try the Tone It Up Bikini Series. If you haven’t heard of Tone It Up, here’s a clip from their website:
Karena and Katrina, the founders of the Tone It Up have brought a fresh approach to fitness with their fun, energetic, girlfriend-to-girlfriend method of getting fit. Since founding Tone It Up, they have built a brand of fitness products, community, retreats, nutrition plans and have graced the pages of Shape, SELF, In Style, Women’s Health and featured in Forbes and People.
Their Tone It Up Nutrition Programs and beach workouts inspire millions of women to live the life of their dreams every day.
Happy So Far
The 8-week Tone It Up Bikini Series started 2 weeks ago and I’ve enjoyed it so far. Karena and Katrina, two energetic Southern California beach babes, can be a little overwhelming at first. But you quickly start to fall for them when you start to realize how positive they are, how much they motivate you, and how hard they kick your butt each day.
The first week, I was barely able to do any of the workouts because I was working until 8pm or later every night and was on the road for two days. I typically try to work out on the road but when you stay up until 1am working on a presentation for the next morning, sleep becomes more important.
This past week I really got into it. I was in town all week and my schedule was manageable. I was impressed by how challenging the Tone It Up workouts were. When I woke up to work out Tuesday my legs were a little sore from the HIIT workout the morning before. After finishing the 35-minute Coachella Booty & Abs Workout that morning (I’d subbed this for the live workout, unsure I’d still be motivated to work out at 7:30pm), I was nervous I wasn’t going to be able to walk. I then still had to do 15 minutes of totally toned with Katrina. And to be sure, Katrina’s workout included more glute and ab exercises!
While there are no rest days in the Bikini Series (I know, I’d never heard of this either!), Karena and Katrina did give me some breaks later in the week. Thursday I was finally able to let my legs recover with some yoga, and on Saturday part of the workout was just a “walk with friends.”
The biggest complaint I have so far is the Tone It Up website. There is content everywhere and I find it difficult to navigate. Sometimes I even find myself googling “Tone It Up + (whatever I’m looking for)” because that gets me their more quickly.
Also, I reached out to their customer service over a week ago and still have not heard anything back. I accidentally created two accounts using different email addresses. My downloads are on one and my profile is on the other. I’d really like to merge the two but can’t seem to get in contact with anyone!*
*Update: Two days after originally posting this article, Tone It Up support reached out to me and fixed the issue with no questions asked!
Despite the website challenges, I am excited for the next five weeks of the Bikini Series. I am already thinking about how the Daily Workout will be a great resource for me even after the Bikini Series on days that I am just not sure what I want to do for exercise. I love that most of the workouts only require a light set of hand weights. I can squeeze them in at home or on the road.
Now, whether or not I can continue to fit in a Bikini Series workout everyday is the big question. The fact that the workouts are only posted for 24-hours helps motivate me to get them done, but it also doesn’t leave me with much flexibility. I’m not sure how I’ll fit all the workouts in during crazy work weeks.
While I continue the daily workouts, I am also planning to look into their Nutrition Programs. I’m not sure I’ll sign up for the full nutrition plan just yet, but I’m sure I can find some good inspiration from their Recipes.
Stay tuned for more updates on my experience with the Bikini Series and Tone It Up!
I was eating lunch with someone recently and they ask me, “What is with this chickpea trend? Why am I seeing them everywhere?”
I am not sure where this year’s chickpea trend started, but I am excited about it. Chickpeas have traditionally been used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. I became hooked on them when I was studying abroad in Greece, and I have been eating them ever since.
What’s more, they even have PUFFED varieties of chickpeas. If you haven’t tried the Hippeas that have taken over the shelves at Starbucks, you are missing out.
So why should you hop on the chickpea bandwagon?
5 Reasons to Jump on the Chickpea Trend
Extremely Versatile – Chickpeas can be used in so many
ways. You can toss them on a salad, throw them in a stew, or grab a handful of crunchy ones as a snack. That’s not to mention all the delicious things you can do with chickpeas once they’ve gone through your food processor (think: hummus).
Low in Calories – Chickpeas only pack 269 calories per cup. That’s 3x less than a cup of almonds.
High in Fiber – Don’t want 269 calories with your chickpeas? No worries, with 12 grams of fiber per cup (nearly half of the recommended daily amount for women), you will feel satisfied after just a handful.
Low in Fat – Chickpeas only contain 4 grams of fat per cup, and none of those are saturated or trans fats!
Plenty of Vitamins and Minerals – Containing 10 different vitamins (including B vitamins that help you convert food into energy) and a number of essential minerals (including calcium, iron, and potassium), chickpeas are a nutritious addition to any meal.
One Last Note
When possible, avoid canned chickpeas as they contain a significant amount of sodium (700mg per cup). The canning process also reduces some of the nutrient levels. However, I am a busy woman, and I certainly understand that sometimes it’s either canned or nothing. Even if canned, chickpeas are still a much healthier option than a bag of chips!
Well, technically it was 46 days of no added sugar. The 40 days of Lent does not include Sundays, and I certainly suffered through many Sunday Fundays without sweets!
I would be exaggerating significantly if I told you giving up sugar for Lent was life changing. However, it did open my eyes quite a bit.
In general, I live a pretty healthy lifestyle, so giving up sugar did not change my eating habits from one extreme to another. Still, I did have to cut out some go-to foods since sugar is everywhere. For example, the list of ingredients on the Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes that I had in my pantry a month ago included evaporated cane sugar and honey. The total amount of sugar in one serving was only 4 grams, so not bad compared to other cereals, but still it was off limits.
Condiments were even trickier. Ketchup, salad dressings, stir-fry sauces… sugar, sugar, sugar. I am looking forward to being able to add some of these back into my diet. At the same time, I will try to limit these sugary foods and stick to no added sugar alternatives where possible.
What I found over these past 40 days is that I really don’t need sugar. Sure, I had some strong chocolate cravings here and there. But those went away and I usually found myself satisfied after a piece of fruit instead.
The problem is that no added sugar products are expensive. If nothing else, this challenge made me acutely aware of how much easier it is for the wealthy to eat healthy than it is for those not as fortunate.
Now that Lent is over, I will continue to limit heavy desserts as I have in the past. It will be nice to be able to indulge on special occasions though. The key will be making sure the treat is worth it. Today, Easter Sunday, I will certainly let myself enjoy a dessert. But I don’t even really like cheap candy and milk chocolate so binging on that wouldn’t even be that fun. Instead I will probably opt for a homemade dessert or a little dark chocolate bunny.
I just wrapped up an incredible day at Wanderlust 108 in Atlanta. Wanderlust 108 is the world’s only “mindful triathlon.” It includes a 5k run/walk, a 75-minute yoga flow, and a 30-minute guided meditation. And that’s not to mention the marketplace and extra activities going on throughout the day.
Two years ago, my friend (also named Laura) and I went to Wanderlust 108 Atlanta in Piedmont Park. However, it was a cold, rainy day, and we weren’t feeling yoga in the mud, so we left after the 5k.
We were both excited that today turned out to be beautiful and sunny so we could experience the full triathlon. Wanderlust 108 also moved to Historic Fourth Ward Park (right next to Ponce City Market) this year, and we really enjoyed the new location. Parking was easier than at Piedmont Park and the 5k route was a lot of fun.
While I wish I could have captured all the amazing moments from the day for you through my camera, it was impossible. Mindfulness is at the core of Wanderlust 108, and a big part of mindfulness is being present. Pulling out my camera phone in the middle of the spontaneous dance party that broke out mid yoga flow would have taken away from the special feeling that arose throughout the community in that moment. Regardless, I’ve tried to capture some of the highlights below.
After we checked our bags, we headed over the infamous Wanderlust wooden arch for the pre-run stretch led by Amanda Nurse. Before I knew it, I was running out of the park and up a steep hill with hundreds of other health nuts. While starting off on a hill was rough, I was happy to be coming down hill at the end! I also loved that the route took us along the beltline and past some of Atlanta’s best street art.
I have no idea where I placed, and according to my watch I didn’t even run a full 5k. But the great thing is that’s not what it’s about at Wanderlust 108! At Wanderlust 108, no one is competing. It’s about pushing yourself and enjoying the moment.
Once everyone finished the 5k, we all gathered back together in front of the main stage. Chelsea Korus guided us through a yoga flow which was enjoyable for experienced and beginner yogis alike. The practice was filled with laughter and good music.
My favorite part of the day was when the DJ took over the yoga session and we all crowded the stage jumping around to a mash-up of songs including Shout! The DJ didn’t just encourage us to let loose. He also encouraged us to bond with those around us:
“Turn and face the person next to you. This is the true Facebook. Link up with the person next to you. This is the true LinkedIn.”
We retreated to our mats after the dance party to finish off the yoga session. Next up on stage was Noah Levine, a Buddhist teacher who found mindfulness after being incarcerated and dealing with substance abuse for the majority of his childhood.
The sun was blaring hot by the time the meditation started, but I still found some peace of mind through the session. Having practiced mindfulness myself for many years, I enjoyed hearing Noah’s story and was reminded of how important it is to bring attention to the present moment.
Historic Fourth Ward Park was filled with various vendor tents for Wanderlust 108. During our break between the run and yoga, Laura and I checked out the free samples, merchandise for sale, and face painting. Given how many times we went back to try different flavors, our favorite tent might have been the Perfect Bar. The Blueberry Cashew was pretty delicious.
The samples helped tide us over after the 5k, but by the end of the meditation we were pretty excited to pick up our picnic lunches. The picnic lunch included a Wanderbowl, a Siggi’s yogurt, a La Croix, and a chocolate treat. I chose the vegan Wanderbowl – the vegetarian option included cheese and sour cream in addition to the brown rice, black beans, avocado, and mango salsa. It was all quite tasty, and even better, it came with a Wanderlust tote! (Can you tell I love free stuff?)
You could also sign up for afternoon activities such as AIReal yoga, AcroYoga, and Hooping. While these all looked fun, we decided to make our way home after lunch.
All the early afternoon classes were booked and we didn’t feel like waiting around in the hot sun. I used to try to stay at events through the end just because I felt like I should or that I might miss out on something. I realized recently that this can taint the memory of a great event. So today, instead of leaving Wanderlust 108 too hot and exhausted, I left feeling happy and accomplished!