As a blogging dietitian that works in tech, some days I feel like I live behind a screen. At my desk, on the sofa, or in the palm of my hand, there are always emails to send, blog posts to be written, tweets to reply to or food photos to be edited.
I’ll even admit, my phone, not my husband, is often the first thing I interact with in the morning and the last thing I look at before going to bed.
Technology is wonderful but at times it completely consumes me. Being constantly connected makes it nearly impossible to leave work at the office and all too easy to miss out on special moments with loved ones as well as the tranquility and beauty of everyday life. It’s only when I unplug that I remember how good it feels to focus my attention on other things like reading the pages of a good book, developing a new recipe for the blog or enjoying a meal at the dining room table with my husband.
The other day I looked up from my laptop and noticed the basket of fresh ollalaberries on the table that we picked up from the farmer’s market last weekend. Those berries inspired a technology break that led me to my favorite room in the house––the kitchen.
The kitchen is one of the few places I’m truly able, and actually forced to unplug. For some strange reason our internet doesn’t reach there. It has something to do with the materials in our 90 year old walls but I admit, I kind of cherish it. When I’m able to walk away from my laptop and put down my phone for a little while, I head to the kitchen. There it’s just me and my senses––the sight of colorful produce spread out on the counter, the sound of veggies sizzling in a skillet, the smell of cookies baking in the oven, and the flavor of a delicious dinner, or dessert, to enjoy with my husband.
Speaking of dessert…
Have a taste.
This three-berry crumble is summer on a spoon. Top with ice cream for an easy, crowd-pleasing dessert or, if you’re like me, enjoy over plain Greek yogurt with a cup of coffee before 10am.
For the filling
- 1 pint ollalaberries or blackberries
- 1 cup strawberries, quartered
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon sugar
For the crumble
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
- 2/3 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- generous pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9” pie pan and set aside. In a small bowl, combine flour, cinnamon and sugar. Add to berries and gently mix until evenly coated. Set aside while prepping the crumble topping.
Combine butter, oats, brown sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, work the mixture until crumbly.
Transfer filling to pie dish and top with crumble. Bake for 25-30 minutes until topping is brown and juices are bubbling up through the top. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving. Top with ice cream or enjoy over Greek yogurt and a cup of coffee if it’s before 10am.
Looking up from the screens that capture so much of our attention every day not only improves our productivity but enables us to be more present in our daily lives. This summer I’ve partnered with smartwater to spread the word about their #lookupsweepstakes––a challenge to technology-tied gals like ourselves to look up from our laptops and put away our phones and be inspired by something nearby.
Want to take the look up challenge too? Post an Instagram photo of something that inspired you to look up, follow and tag @smartwater and use the hashtag #lookupsweepstakes. There’s a trip to anywhere in the U.S. up for grabs!
This post was sponsored by smartwater through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about smartwater, all opinions are my own.
At this weekend’s Wanderlust Festival, one thing popped out at me: the numerous variations of yoga that have sprouted over the past several years. There seems to be at least one for each letter of the alphabet: Acro, Aerial, Bikram, hot, hula, Suspension, Stand-up Paddle, Yin––many of which are offered at Wanderlust.
Though the expansion of yoga practices might lead some traditionalists to wince a bit, I went in with an open mind, excited to explore some of the different forms and gain new experiences.
Before getting my yoga on, I kicked Friday morning off the same way I did every other morning, with a quick stop at the Kashi hut for a big bowl of cereal and milk. Throughout the festival their awesome crew made sure I had a good breakfast and a full supply of granola bars, which actually came in handy with so many back-to-back sessions.
After breakfast I headed to a suspension yoga class run by OmGym’s Founder Sarah Kellett. As Sarah explained it, she originally developed this unique practice as a way to help her personally recover from a spinal injury she suffered in a car accident. Since 2005, she has focused on the benefits that OmGym can have on spinal health, a lot of which is focused on spinal decompression and increased blood flow to the brain. The head rush was intense at first but the pressure subsided and my spine stretched long the moment I fully relaxed into the pose.
After Suspension Yoga, the hubs and I then went to an AcroYoga class. AcroYoga, founded in 2003 by Jenny Sauer-Klein and Jason Nemer, blends yoga with acrobatics, giving it a more playful feel than most types. Over the course of the class, Jenny focused on helping us cultivate trust and playfulness through partner supported conditioning, acrobatics, massage and, my favorite, partner flying.
Photo: Eric Ward
Later that day, I was lucky to try out one of the hottest trends in yoga: Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga. It sounds a bit gimmicky but I have to say, it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in my entire yoga practice.
Taking my practice from the mat, where I normally feel grounded and safe, to a board floating on water high atop a mountain, allowed me to connect with nature in a way I’ve never been able to before. Gazing out over my fingers at the rippling water instilled peace in my practice, while staying balanced on the board (and out of the cold, mountain water) kept my body fully engaged and my mind focused.
Photo: Amy Hart
One thing I observed at Wanderlust is that yoga isn’t about finding one style and committing to it. Exploring yoga from different angles and experiencing feelings and sensations you never have before is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to really, truly, make your practice your own.
What different styles of yoga have you tried before? Has trying several types allowed you to grow your own practice too?
I’ve never been to a yoga festival before and when Kashi invited me to attend Wanderlust at Squaw Valley this year, I really didn’t know what to expect.
I’ve been practicing yoga for about 4 years now, having started during my years in grad school. For me, it’s always been a mental release, a restorative workout, a way to breathe deeply and put things in perspective. Somehow being grounded on my mat has kept me that much more grounded in the everyday.
But the first day of Wanderlust has also given me a new and even more appreciative perspective of yoga, not just as a practice but a way of life. It’s kind of incredible to see how one discipline like yoga can bring so many people together in such a positive way.
Squaw Valley village is buzzing with activity, people filled with the energy of exercise and the beauty of the surrounding mountains.
The Yoga philosophy highlights and emphasizes so many things that are good for this world: a nurturing and protection of our earth, a gratitude for every breath, the caring for people around us that make us a community. Here at Wanderlust, that couldn’t be more apparent.
Today, I woke up and headed to a yoga class at 8am. I felt a little creaky at the start, but it ended up being a refreshing and fun way to start the day. I actually wondered what this world would be like if everyone started with an hour or two of yoga each morning. I’m guessing pretty great.
After enjoying a late morning coffee, I headed to ChiRunning, a class that broke down the fundamental physiology of running, and made me realize I’ve been running with the wrong form for nearly 25 years now. Mind blown.
I love that Wanderlust offers activities not just for yogis but for runners too––even if that class left me a little freaked out with just one week until my first marathon.
Unfortunately just before my mountaintop Stand Up Paddle Yoga class, the heavens opened and hail the size of Kashi clusters came down. I was a little disappointed but in the end, it didn’t matter. The collective vibe of a yoga festival like Wanderlust enriches the soul and can instill hope, positivity and warmth in all of us––no matter what nature throws our way.
Every time I walk out of a yoga class, I find more and more parallels between the elements of my practice and the way I try and live my life. Sure, yoga is an exercise activity for a lot of us, it helps with our flexibility, our core, our breathing. But practically-speaking, a lot of what we learn on the mat can positively impact our ordinary routines outside of the studio if we can incorporate practicing them into our everyday lives.
Here are three yoga principles I’ve been working on off the mat that have changed me for the better:
1) Activating and engaging the senses –– Those of us who practice regularly are conditioned to do this the moment we step on our mats, but it’s easy to lose this awareness in the repetition of our daily routines. Just the other day I walked out of the gym as I normally do, eyes locked intently on my phone scanning for any important emails that may have arrived during my 60-minute class. Thankfully, a rush of fresh air redirected my attention to the sky, and only then was I able to forget about work for a minute and soak in the brightness of that perfect, sunshine-filled morning, a rare occasion here in San Francisco during the summer. Now I try to make it a point to take a breath of fresh air when I first walk out the door each morning. These sensory moments can be both powerful and rejuvenating, if we give them the chance.
2) Finding balance –– Just like finding balance on the yoga mat takes practice, I constantly have to work at my awareness of the right balance in my day-to-day life, as well. I have a tendency to think big, often overcommit and, at times have a hard time leaving work at the office. We all can get caught up in that. Part of that stems from the fact that I truly enjoy my job and love writing this little blog of mine. But engrossing myself in both has meant a lot of late nights not snuggling next to my husband and some exhausting mornings. Just like I think about my balance during a pose, if I consciously think about my work-life balance, I do a lot better. While writing blog posts late into the night used to be the norm, now it’s the exception, and I’ve found I have a renewed love for this little pastime. Balance perpetuates itself. It’s not easy, but finding it in one area of your life will allow it to spread to others.
3) Energizing Your Body –– No matter how challenging, a great yoga class always leaves me feeling energized. But all too often we deprive ourselves of the three basic things that rejuvenate us daily: sleep, movement and nourishment. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but repeatedly sacrificing sleep for productivity, workouts for work, and nourishing foods for whatever is quick and convenient will leave our bodies depleted and run down––possibly even sick. I’m guilty of all three on occasion. Since starting to train for my first marathon I’ve been super focused on my sleep, nutrition and exercise. Having the pantry and fridge stocked with nourishing, pre- and post workout foods, like my favorite Kashi granola bars and avocado toast has helped keep me fueled. Working restorative workouts like yoga into my schedule has also helped keep my legs energized and injury-free during throughout the entire 15 weeks of training.
These are just three simple keys that I wanted to pass along: lessons that we’ve all learned one time or another but that my yoga practice has reinforced over the years. It’s a constant work in progress but it’s a definite improvement.
A special thanks to Kashi for sponsoring this post and for giving me the opportunity to represent them at Wanderlust in beautiful Lake Tahoe later this week! As a pioneer in the natural food industry and top provider of Non-GMO Project Verified cereals in the U.S., Kashi strives to provide great-tasting, nutritious foods that are natural, minimally processed and free of artificial additives and preservatives, and it shows.
I’m headed to beautiful Lake Tahoe this afternoon for three fun-filled days at Wanderlust. I’ll be posting recaps of my adventures here on the blog but for real-time updates, find me on Twitter and Instagram!
PS. Heading to Wanderlust too? Tweet me and let’s try to meet up!
We all know I have a J.Crew problem. Imagine my excitement when I opened their email this morning and saw they’re offering an additional 50% off all sale today!
Currently in my cart is this gorgeous necklace (I purchased this one earlier this season and am obsessed!), a new chambray since I’ve worn my other one to death, a sleek silk racerback which will be perfect alone or under a blazer, and these mini-wedge espadrilles. Aren’t they cute?
Get in on the deal with code: TODAYONLY