Flotation Therapy + Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!

This past week has been an absolute whirlwind – between running 17+ miles for my half marathon training, I picked up another yoga class to teach on Sunday, booked my flights for March (Florida & NYC!!!), had a long-overdue christmas party at my apt with my family, tried flotation therapy, and became a wine & cheese expert. Don’t worry, I got some sleep in there!

First off – Family came over to celebrate a late Christmas since my Sister and her husband were in town. Insert: pizza, lots of wine, more wine, presents, drunk baking and opening presents! It’s always fun when my mom and all of my siblings get together – we are all goofballs.

siblings

Saturday I ran 5 miles with my MIT group – and met a few new friends in the 9:15 pace group. I am seriously loving training so far! Slowing down my pace while training has made running so.much.more.enjoyable. I don’t mind running the miles, and the speedwork on Wednesday’s is so much fun! Big shout out to Nikki for inspiring me to join 🙂

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Early Afternoon run in the rain!

(Side note – if you would like to support my run by donating to St Jude, you can find my fund page here. Every cent helps, and your support is so much appreciated!!)

After my run, I went home and showered before heading to Whole Foods with my cousin. She had some amazing blueberry wine, and we decided to build a cheese board and make an afternoon out of it!

Cheese and wine

After chatting with the Whole Foods cheese dept, we bought a bunch of different cheeses and curated an amazing cheese board to go with the wine – I was in a food coma for basically the rest of the night!

Cheese Plate

Yes, that is all amazing cheese-that slice in the middle that looks like cake? Yep -baked lemon ricotta cheese that is literally life changing.

After going to bed at 9:30 Saturday (I am such a grandma on the weekends these days!), I taught my first back-to-back yoga class Sunday morning – and can you believe it, my 8 am class was still BOOKED (over 40 people!), while the added 9:30 class only had about 20 people. (Personally, I would have slept in for an extra 1.5 hours ;))

I loved teaching both classes – the energy is so different based on the size – bigger is more fun, more laughs, and much, much less space. A smaller class is a little less loud, but I can give more one-on-one attention, which I love! Teaching yoga has been such a (wonderful) surprise for me – I never in a million years thought I would teach again (I taught gymnastics in college, but that’s very, very different!). It’s taught me to face a lot of fears, and while I still get nervous teaching my classes, it has helped me grow, be more creative, and get out of my comfort zone 🙂

After my second class, I rushed over to try Flotation Therapy – which is basically floating in a salt-water filled tank in complete darkness & silence for an hour. I know what you are thinking… WHY?! For a few reasons – It’s a form of meditation, for one. It’s great for relaxation & reducing stress, and increases healing time for any type of injury (seriously wish I knew about this post-ACL surgery!)… I also bought a groupon, which means it was half the cost of a normal session. You can read more about the benefits here.

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Hallway to the Float rooms

Float Therapy 1

Post-Float area with hair dryers, lotion, etc.

You need to arrive 30 minutes before the appointment to sign a waiver, watch a short video, then are given a tour of the treatment area.

Float Spa

After showering, you put in ear plugs and enter the tank. It’s a really weird feeling, because you are literally floating on water without being held up by anything (in 10 inches of water). BTW – that pod is actually HUGE in person – There was room for 2-3 of me!

Float Therapy 2

After my 1-hour session, I felt a little off-kilter once I stepped out of the pod to shower – kind of like stepping off of an elevator, but it lasted for 5-10 minutes. After that, I felt fine and relaxed. Followed up with 15 minutes of oxygen therapy & tea, I felt like I could nap for hours!

It’s actually pretty pricey – $80/session – or $300 for 3-6 months, or something like that. I kind of wish groupon offered a package deal of 3-6 sessions, as you are supposed to notice the difference after 3+ floats. I am going to see how I feel in the next few days, and MAYBE go again (If I win the lottery and have a ton of extra money to spend on floating in salt water ;)).

So that’s been my past week – this week, I need to begin packing for my weekend in San  Francisco! Packing for 2 days of nothing but yoga workshops at the Yoga Journal Event, plus 3+ days to explore the city.

So what’s everyone else been up to? What’s your favorite cheese/wine pairing? And have you ever tried flotation therapy?

Secure & Steadfast

“Snow drifts on a mountainside
Ready to fall
Icy roads
Unfit for walking

Always trusting the dark
The only constant
When the sun betrays
Hiding behind clouds

The challenge of life
Is finding your footing
When all steps seem to be hidden

Light your own fire
Keep it burning bright
Trust the path
Even when all blocks your way

There is nothing more inspiring
Than two feet that won’t stop walking
And a heart that burns with passion

All is ok.
All is ok.”

-Nina Elise, Secure & Steadfast

Weekend Update, Impromptu Travel & 5K Recap

Sooooo where to begin? Things have been absolutely crazy the last month, and I have barely been able to keep up! A few things:

New job – yep, after 2 (LONG) years of working in ecommerce, I quit my job. New job = a new chapter in my life, advance in my career, and less stress. Besides the longer commute to work, I couldn’t have asked for anything better! Well, unless I was traveling for my job, but that might be in the not-too-far-away future 😉

Running – I decided to run a 5k on Thanksgiving – so lately, I’ve been making time to run 2-4 miles a few times a week, as well as signing up for a 5k this past weekend as a preparatory race. The race was called “The Donut 5k” – you get to eat donut holes every mile, then are handed a half a dozen donuts once you cross the finish line. Of course it was a no brainer to sign up! Unfortunately, I didn’t feel so good from going out Thursday and Friday night… but, fortunately, my body magically decided it was fast – and I ended up running the race in under 24 minutes! First place in my age group, 7:41 pace. Considering I had major knee surgery last year, I am incredibly grateful for the progress I have made in running – the body is capable of amazing things!

donut run nina elise

Travel – I took an impromtu trip to the beach in FL on Monday this week – yep, for 1 day. I needed some time to relax before starting my job, and even though I only had 1 day to do it, I did it right! After teaching my Sunday yoga class, I booked a flight 6 hours before take-off – went to a yoga workshop for 2 hours – then hurried to the airport to catch my flight. I arrived in Florida around 1 am, slept, then went to the beach from 11 am to 5:30 pm at night. I read, napped, and swam in the ocean. At night, I hung out with family. It was the most perfect day trip I could have asked for! Tuesday I flew back to Columbus at 4 pm, managing to somehow run errands, go shopping, and meet friends for dinner. Travel is awesome, but sometimes it lacks in the sleep department. But – that’s what the weekends are for, right??

west palm beach yoga

jupiter florida

fit blonde yogi beach

Yoga Teacher training – only 2 more 10-hour Saturday classes before I am DONE! This 200 hour training has taken quite a toll on me mentally – but in a good way! I have been learning so much, and there just are not enough hours in the day to study. Also – I will be putting on my first ever workshop next Friday! Update to come on how this goes/possible future handstand workshops in Columbus!

One More Thing…
body building warehouse protein powder
My friends over at body building warehouse were kind enough to send me some samples of their products – whey protein from happy European, grass-fed cows. I finally was able to give their protein shakes a try – the hot chocolate (YES, a hot chocolate drink that’s good for you!!) and Banana Peanut Butter. I consider myself pretty smart, so I decided to mix the 2 together – banana + chocolate + peanut butter = Gods gift to humankind.. so basically, this was an amazing shake. I recommend mixing with ice/a frozen banana + milk (I used almond). You can find a huge range of products at their site – check them out here, it’s hard to find good quality protein mixes these days! There are also non-dairy flavors too, so there is something for everyone!

protein shake body building warehouse

That’s it… for now! I’ll be posting a recap in the coming weeks of finishing up my yoga teacher training, more races, and moving! Also – where will I be traveling next?? More to come on this 🙂 Hope everyone is having a fabulous week!

Traveling Yogi: What I did in Munich, Germany

What you all have been waiting for… my last post on my travels to Europe! After experiencing 2 straight days/nights at Oktoberfest, I decided to actually explore the city a little bit more. And with one day left, I went on a bike tour in the morning, and a pub crawl at night – best way to end my time in Munich! Below is a summary of my last 2 days in Germany:

Monday, September 21:

After being out until 2 am the night before & coming back to my hostel with someone in my bed, I was not exactly ready for my alarm to go off around 7 am. I scheduled a last-minute bike tour for 8:30 am – 4 hours long – with Mike’s Bike Tours. It was highly recommended by quite a few people I met while traveling, and its an easy way to see the city. I am not much for museum hopping or history, but the tour guide was absolutely hilarious and made the 4 hours pass by so quick.

mikesbiketour2015

We toured a few churches, learned about the history of hofbrauhaus, the city, hitler, politics…

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Stopped at a nude park….

munichpark

and stopped at the world’s second largest beer garden for lunch (and some beer!). Yes, we all drank and rode our bikes back to the city. Total norm in Munich.

beer garden munich beer garden

We also got to watch some awesome surfers ride a wave on a river… dangerous, but very cool to watch!

mike bike tours

After returning our bikes, I decided to walk around the open air market a bit – basically a huge market with lots and lots of fresh food. I would go here every day and buy all of my groceries from the vendors if I lived in Munich.. this place was amazing! It’s pretty similar to a farmers market, but way bigger.

open air market

I was meeting up with a friend I met in Geneva/Chamonix for dinner, so I decided to head back and rest a bit beforehand. I barely got any sleep the entire trip, and I finally gave in and took a much-needed nap.

I met up with my friend at Fraunhofer, and it was seriously amazing.

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I ordered some sort of dumpling dish – and you never know what you are going to get, because it’s always different at every restaurant you go to in Germany. And beer. Because, when in Germany… Also – Franziskaner Weissbier is now one of my favorite beers ever. Something about banana beer always gets me… Where can I find this in the US?!

german food final night

After dinner, we hopped around a few bars, grabbing a few more drinks before heading in at midnight.

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Sunday, September 22:

I got up around 7/8 am, checked out of my hostel, and headed to the airport.

adios, hostel

adios, hostel

I wanted to check out the airbrau brewery – a brewery at the Munich airport – before leaving. And no matter how much I travel, I always need to be at the airport 10 hours before my flight leaves, because I have awful anxiety about missing my flight.

Anyways, I was going to check in, but my flight area didn’t open until 12:30. And it was 10:30. Soooo it was time for an early lunch at the brewery… and it didn’t disappoint. I mean, who wouldn’t want beer, cheese, pickles, sausages, and bread for breakfast?? And I am being dead serious. German food forever changed my taste buds… although, I still steer clear of sauerkraut. heck.no.

airport brewery

After finally being able to check in around 1, I find that my flight is delayed for a few hours. I ended up sitting and chatting with a couple from DC, so it wasn’t too bad. Except I had an awful sinus infection, and my nose would not.stop.running. Luckily, I found medicine at the airport, and the 9 hour flight to Canada wasn’t awful. However, I arrived back to the states around 11/11:30, and I hadn’t slept for over 24 hours. So, you could say I was ready to sleep when I finally got to my apartment. And jet leg – you are a real thing. I felt like I was walking around with my brain in the clouds until Friday afternoon!

So that sums up my first trip to Europe – I hope you enjoyed reading about it, and that it might be helpful if you ever decide to travel to Switzerland/Chamonix/Munich! I am thinking my next trip will be Iceland – has anyone ever been? Any other ideas where to go next? 

Traveling Yogi: Oktoberfest Part 2

As promised, I am finishing up a summary of my adventures at Oktoberfest in a second blog post (You can find the first part here).

Sunday, September 20:
To preface: I never really thought too far in advance about Munich – I figured I would meet people and figure it out after I arrived. With that being said, my first day at Oktoberfest proved to be pretty exciting, and full of a LOT of beer. When I woke up the next morning, my body told me it needed a break. So, I kind of listened to it 😉

I had a few things to knock off my to-do list, and the olympic park was one of them. Once I drank a few bottles of water, I headed over to the train station & bought a 1-day train pass around the city – about $6 Euro. I didn’t even get lost, which is saying a lot – my directional learning disability seemed to resolve itself while traveling 🙂

I got dropped off at the station next to the BMW museum – which was cool to look at, but it wasn’t something I really wanted to see. Munich is way more spread out than the towns I went to in Switzerland, so I had to walk/travel quite a bit more to get places. Because of that, I stuck to the things I wanted to see and didn’t make any detours unless I had extra time.

BMW museum BMWMuseum

I wanted to go ziplining over the olympic stadium, so I started walking towards the general area I thought the stadium was at. Lucky for me, my sense of direction was on point, and I ended up finding my way to exactly where I needed to be. There was a LOT of walking involved! Which is fine, because I had to walk off all the food and beers I had the day before. The park was so beautiful, and there was so much to look at… I could have spent an entire day there!

After arriving at the stadium, I bought a ticket for ziplining – which, when originally looking at online, it seemed a bit more exhilarating. Since jumping out of a cable car 450 feet above a lake in Switzerland… not so much. But, since I walked that far, I decided to go for it – how many people can say they ziplined across the olympic stadium in Munich?? An hour later, I was geared up, and walking up the side of the stadium to the platform. The guide asked if I was going to do a backflip  – to which I  laughed at – but then realized he was serious. But, like I said, after bungee jumping, i thought “what am I even afraid of??” So I ended up doing a front flip off the edge, and ziplined to the other side. Nothin’ to be afraid of.

ziplining

After I left the park, I walked back to the train and decided to make a detour. Which, knowing me, I would totally get lost. Luckily, I am a smart girl, and I ended up exactly where I wanted to go: Hofbrauhaus! (Funny side note – I met a few more people from Ohio on the train there – Buckeyes are everywhere!)

hofbrauhouse

I didn’t stay and eat, but I wandered around and explored all of the rooms – the building is huge! So much music, drinking, food… just an overall happy place to be on a Sunday at 2 in the afternoon. It was raining a little bit off and on the entire afternoon, AND it was pretty cold. So, I don’t blame people for staying indoors and having a fun Sunday!

After I left, I ended up exploring more of the area, finding a ton of gorgeous buildings and fun shops.

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Also, I walked. A Lot. And then walked some more. My feet were tired and I had not eaten anything since I woke up, so I headed back to my hostel around 3 pm. I was hungry, and the receptionist at my hostel recommended a local restaurant, so I headed back out, thinking I was going to grab a bite to eat and take a nap afterwards. Fortunately, adventure seemed to always be around the corner for me, and I ended up meeting some new friends at the restaurant I went to.

A group of friendly guys from England & Australia were having a beer before heading off to Oktoberfest, and they invited me to join them. What other answer would be acceptable besides “of course!”?? After getting changed, we headed to the Oktoberfest grounds – to Lowenbrau Tent, which is known to be the friendliest tent at Oktoberfest! We made friends and sat down (you need to be sitting at a table in order to get a beer), but ended up getting kicked off the table… the people who reserved and paid for the table showed up, and they were not very happy with us. Luckily, we found another table, and were able to drink and eat until the tent closed down at 11. I did handstands on the table, someone bought me a hat, we ate pretzels and german food, and danced on the tables from 5-11. Also, keeping in mind the 4-5 liters of beer I drank the night before, I stuck with 2 liters on my second night – more than enough for a tiny girl like me 🙂

lowenbrauview

My overall review of the tent can be summed up as this: families, younger kids (think age 16-22), mediocre beer and pure craziness. There were a lot of things that I witnessed in this tent that I wish I never saw (lewd men, male nudity, etc). Don’t get me wrong – I had an absolute blast! But I will say that the Armbrustschützenzelt tent was hands down my favorite tent (of the 3 I went to).

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oktoberfesthat  oktoberfest day 2 2

oktoberfest222  lowenbrau2

After the tent closed, the we hung out and went on the bumper cars, and the guys went on a few of the rides (I watched – I don’t know how anyone could go upside down after drinking that much beer?!). While watching everyone on the rides, I was given a rose…. I could definitely get used to this in the states 😉

oktoberfestrose

We all headed back to the hotel/restaurant, grabbed a drink, and danced some more. I finally decided to call it a night around 1 – I had a bike tour to catch at 8:30 the next morning and needed to get a little bit of sleep!

Upon arriving at my hostel, I was very quiet, as I did not want to wake up any of my roommates. To my surprise, there was someone sleeping in my bed! I felt like I was in the story of Goldilocks & the 3 bears – except there was a dude sleeping in his underwear in my bed instead of a sleepy, blonde-haired girl (me!). Needless to say, I was not happy. So, I turned on the lights, and told him to get the heck outa my bed. It was pretty comical watching him stumble across the room and into the top bunk, so I couldn’t be too mad! I woke up to a few guys getting up at 7 am to head back to Oktoberfest – and the guy who had been sleeping in my bed couldn’t find his phone OR his pants… The Oktoberfest struggle was real! LOL

My spontaneous second-day at Oktoberfest ended up being an awesome addition to my trip (I had only planned on going 1 day) – so for anyone else heading out to Munich next year, just plan on 2+ days. The experience and the people you meet are totally worth it – you will never regret german beer & new friends!

For anyone that has been to Oktoberfest – what was your favorite tent? Do you have any other tips/info that I didn’t talk about?

Traveling Yogi: Oktoberfest Part 1

Hello!

One of the main reasons for going to Europe was not just to eat endless amounts of chocolate in Switzerland, but also to attend Oktoberfest. I have heard so many amazing things from friends who have gone, so I just had to experience it for myself! Below is a recap of my first Day at Oktoberfest – I will write about my second day in another post, there is just too much to write about!

Friday, September 18 – Day 1 Munich:
6 am: Walk to Train station from Hostel
7 am: Catch train from Interlaken to Munich

After waking up at the crack of dawn, the hostel employees were still up drinking.. They tried to convince me to stay another night, or at least for a drink (at 6 am)… I politely declined, as I had a train to catch! So, I was given a roadie and sent on my way. There were 2 connections on the trains, and I was lucky enough to find a couple headed to Munich – we worked together to figure out what trains to get on, although we were still running to catch our connections!

After getting on the final train in Zurich, my train car was smoking because the heater was broken. I initially had planned to get some sleep and read a bit, but I couldn’t stand the smell. So, I decided to switch cars… and I am so glad I did! I ended up on the “party” train and met some awesome new friends. I can’t believe I even tried to be a hermit and sleep the entire way… There was always some sort of excitement to get caught up in!

DAY1munich train ride

The Swiss are very, very friendly people. As soon as I sat down, I was given a beer and food. Most didn’t speak English too well, but luckily there was someone from Chicago on the train. Sometimes it is just nice to be able to speak to someone that can understand you!

DAY1munichtrainride DAY1munich train ride2

From 10-1:30 pm, I drank, ate, and made new friends. After arriving at the Munich train station, I walked across the street to my hostel and checked in. I got settled into my room full of bunk beds, and headed out to find my outfit for Oktoberfest! After wandering around Munich and going into a few shops, I finally found my Lederhosen outfit. I opted out of wearing a dress because, well, I hate how they look. I don’t think they are cute… lederhosen, however… shorts with pockets, can’t go wrong with that!

leiderhosen

Fast forward to dinner – remember those Ohion’s I met back in France? They were in Munich for Oktoberfest as well, so we met up at Augustiner Keller for dinner. The beer garden was huge, and the basement was even bigger! I highly recommend stopping here for a bite if you are in the area. After 1/2 liter of beer + a belly full of pretzels, sausages, potatoes and eggs, I was ready for bed!

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DAY1AugustinerKellerbeer DAY1augustiner3

The following morning, we all met back up at 7 am for the first day of Oktoberfest!

OktoberfestNina

We waited in line for over 2 hours at the Schottenhamel tent (most well known for where the first keg is tapped + all politicians/celebrities are at) until finally, we made it to the Beer Garden.

oktoberfest wait oktoberfest line

schottenhamelbeergarden

It was FREEZING, and PACKED, but luckily there were heaters over top of the tables. We ordered food, which took forever – pretzels and half chickens – and we sipped on sparkling water while we waited for the festivities to start.

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Pretzel the size of my head oktoberfest1

The first keg was tapped, and we finally got our first liter of beer around 12:30 pm – well worth the wait! Everyone was getting a bit impatient – it was hard to wait 5.5 hours for a beer, but all was forgotten once we started drinking.

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Oktoberfest33 Oktoberfest2

The tent was packed, and we ended up staying until 3:30 pm – there was no way we were getting into the tent (some people bribed to get in, and the bouncers were not very nice!), so we headed off to the Armbrustschützenzelt tent to see if we could actually get inside (it had amazing reviews based on what I researched beforehand).

Armbrustschutzen tent

Luckily, we were able to get inside AND find a table, all while meeting new German friends. Unfortunately, getting the table meant accidentally chugging an entire liter of beer on my part, so this is where things started to get a bit hazy… but absolutely entertaining. Everyone was so friendly and we ended up having an absolute blast!

Armbrustschutzen_2

Around 7-7:30, I headed back home – catching a cab, because there was no way I could maneuver my way back to the hostel! I had only been drinking beer since noon, so I was hungry – luckily my hostel had a restaurant, and I ended up ordering 3 plates of food… much needed after drinking 4-5 liters of beer! I also made some new Australian friends, and I hung out and ate with them until around 10-11.

Overall, my first day at Oktoberfest was a blast! I met amazing, interesting people and drank lots of GOOD beer! I am not a beer lover, but German beer has converted me. And the food… I thought German food was gross… until I ate my way through Munich. Besides sauerkraut, everything I ate was amazing. Potatoes, pretzels, sausages, cheese…. I could live on that and be a very fat, happy woman. If you are headed to Oktoberfest, make sure you order the half chicken and eat unlimited amounts of pretzels… it makes the experience that much better!

oktoberfest2015

So after an entire day of Oktoberfest, I wasn’t sure if I was up for another day.. However, traveling solo with an open mind means you never know what will happen next… with that being said, stay tuned for Oktoberfest Part 2, as well another post on what I did (besides drink ;)) in Munich!

Has anyone ever been to Oktoberfest in Munich? If so, what tents did you like the most, and what was your favorite part about it? I would love to hear about your experiences!

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