Yoga for St Jude

Hello!

With 1 month away from my half marathon in NYC, I have been working hard on putting together an event to raise money for St Jude. So far, I am only about halfway to my first goal of raising $1500 for the children of St Jude ($2500 being my stretch goal!).

Luckily, Land Grant Brewing in Columbus, Ohio has joined forces with me to help! For those of you in Columbus, Ohio – mark Saturday, February 27th on your calendars! I will be teaching a 45 minute donation-based yoga class at the brewery beginning at 11 am. Following the class, $1 from every beer purchased will be donated to St Jude!

You can sign up on the Facebook page here – please arrive at 10:30 to fill out a waiver & secure a good spot to practice in the brewery!

For anyone not in Columbus, please consider donating to the children of St Jude. They are cheated of their childhood by having to battle cancer, and every child deserves to be stress free!  St Jude takes care of every expense for the child AND their family, including treatment, lodging, flights, etc. St Jude is such an amazing organization, not just for taking care of children with cancer, but also researching/finding cures for cancers.

You can learn more about St Jude here!
You can donate to St Jude here – even if it’s $1, every penny counts!!

Thank you all for your support <3

Yoga For St Jude Nina Elise Yoga

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.

munich1

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).

oktoberfestbeer oktoberfest day 2

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!

DAY1augustiner DAY1augustiner4

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.

oktoberfestmenu oktoberfestmenu2

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.

oktoberfest5

oktoberfest4 oktoberfest3

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!

Traveling Yogi: Backpacking in Europe + Oktoberfest in Munich!

Hello all!

Ever since I got back from Belize, I couldn’t help but begin to plan my next adventure: 1.5 weeks in Europe, visiting Switzerland & Germany. I have never traveled to Europe, let alone by myself, so I am terrified… but so excited to go! Once I started planning, I had to narrow down to just 2 countries because it was getting a little overwhelming (Italy, I am coming for you next year!). I’ve literally spent hours planning this trip already, and I still have a lot to do… I’ve only booked my hostel for Munich, so I’ll be booking everything else in the next few weeks! Below is my schedule so far:

Day 1: Fly to Geneva, Switzerland

Day 2: Arrive in Geneva early AM
check in at hostel
Rent bike and tour the city
visit the broken chair
Yoga class! (Any recommendations?)

Broken Chair

Day 3: Day trip to Chamonix French Alps

Chamonix

Chamonix Tour

Day 4: Travel to Lausanne/Montreux
check in at hostel
hike/explore
check out chocolate/cheese factory & eat my body weight in delicious swiss chocolate

Day 5: Travel to Grindelwald
check in at hostel
Yoga Class in morning/afternoon
bungee jump or paraglide! **anyone ever do this? I am terrified!

Day 6: Travel to Munich via train
check in at hostel, get situated
buy dirndl for Oktoberfest!

Oktoberfest
Day 7, 8, 9, 10: Oktoberfest!
hit the Schottenhamel tent for first beer pour of the festival
hang out with fellow Americans at the Hofbräu tent

Day 8, 9,10: Explore Munich
visit Olympiaturm (flying fox!)
Canyoning
visit Theresienwiese – Maiden of Bavaria
Tour Andechs Monastery and Brewery
Visit Hofbräuhaus

Day 11: Fly back to the US

I started out wanting to end my trip in Italy, but it got to be too much in too little time. So for now, extra time in Switzerland and Germany! Transportation is probably the main thing that is stressing me out – do I need to book ahead of time? How much time do I need to take into account when traveling via train/air in Europe? How do I know what trains to take in between cities/countries? Do I need to purchase ahead of time? I am so excited to plan and travel this trip all by myself, even if it seems a little daunting. Has anyone traveled to Geneva/Oktoberfest? Any tips for a newbie solo backpacking in Europe? I would love to hear about your experience !

Spicy Sweet Potato Chili

One of my co workers brought in a vegetarian recipe, and i tweaked it a little bit to make it un-vegetarian 🙂 Mostly because I wanted to use my sisters grass-fed beef from her farm. Her cows are so happy! Recipe is below – it is a perfect mix of sweet & spicy!

Chili

Spicy Sweet Potato Chili

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 medium onions, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 lbs ground beef from pyma love farm cows
  • 3 medium/large sweet potatoes, diced
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 jar (24 oz) mild salsa
  • 2 cans (15-19oz) black beans – use liquid (I used one can of bush’s bourbon brown sugar beans & 1 bush’s black bean fiesta)
  • Spicy Hot Sauce to Taste
  • 1/2-1 bottle of bourbon/pumkpin beer (to reach desired consistency)

Stovetop:  In 4-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until soft – about 4 minutes.  Cook beef in a separate pan & drain fat. Stir in all remaining ingredients to garlic and onion pot except black beans.  Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook 12-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.  Add beans, cook 5 minutes or until heated through.

Crock Pot:  Saute onion and garlic as above. Place in crockpot. Brown ground beef, drain fat and add to crockpot. Put all ingredients in crock pot and cook on low setting 6-8 hours.

Can serve with cheese, tortilla chips, saltines, etc.

**Please note this recipe can be made vegetarian! Just exclude the meat 🙂

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