Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Fit: Puppy Pose

This month has been a whirlwind. With a to-do list down to the floor, plus the current cultural and political climate we're currently in (major WTF, right?), making time to be on my yoga mat is proving to be more important than ever before.

On Monday afternoon, I took my boss Stephen's C2 class. I had so much to do, and my brain was telling me to skip class and knock out a few more items on my list. I'm so thankful I didn't listen. Moving and breathing with our CorePower community was exactly what I needed. I've never once regretted taking class, and always feel rejuvenated after a good sweat. And that's exactly how I felt on Monday (looming cold aside...)

He taught puppy pose in his class (I've been doing the same in my C2), and it's such a great posture. Puppy pose can be taught at any point in class, but it tends to feel good early on as your body is warming up and your muscles are lengthening. If you haven't tried puppy pose, I recommend giving it a shot! It can feel especially good first thing in the morning, during the day after sitting at a desk, or at night before bed. 

Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana)

1.) Start in tabletop pose. To do this, stack your shoulders over your wrists and bring your hips over your knees. Engage your core and pull your shoulders away from your ears.

2.) Walk your hands out toward the top of your mat. Let your chest melt toward your met. Press your forehead into your mat.

3.) Stack your hips over your knees (hips naturally come further forward, so keep them pushed back). Try practicing in a mirror to ensure your hips are over your knees).

4.) Pull your shoulders down your back, and press your palms into your mat. You should feel a nice stretch in your upper back and shoulders. 

5.) Breathe and enjoy.

 || Photo is property of Mountain Shadow Morning. Must give credit. ||

Monday, January 30, 2017

Style: Black Letter Board

Sometimes random Amazon purchases turn out to be the best gd thing ever.

The brewery I work at has an amazing vintage felt letter board (I am beyond obsessed with it). Ever since I started working there, I knew I wanted one of my own for my home. But lo and behold, those bad boys are expensive.

Insert Amazon. I did a bit of research (about 2 minutes) and found a significantly cheaper plastic version #impulsebuy. Impulse buy or not, it's one of my favorite things in my apartment.

I've changed the quote a few times since I bought it (one to creep out my roommate Nick, another to celebrate the holidays, and below is the current quote). It's the perfect way to change up the space without having to buy anything new. It's hanging right next to the bar cart, and is certainly a focal point.

For reference, this is the board I bought. Highly recommend!

 || Photo is property of Mountain Shadow Morning. Must give credit. ||

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Style: Camp Hudson

Did I mention I work a day a week at a brewery? 

It's called Able Seedhouse + Brewery. And it's amazing. The beer is so good and the people who run it and work there are are some of the best people I know. They're warm, talented and are always down to do something cool.

Insert "Camp Hudson." My coworkers decided it would be a great idea to have a beer brewing contest so we could learn a little bit more about how beer is actually made (don't be fooled, we're all experts in drinking it). So we paired up and got to work.

Katie (cute little blonde below) and I met at Able. And she's quickly become one of my closest friends. We share a mutual love for all things outdoors, Patagonia gear, good beer and our pups (see Able's cute post about us here). So naturally, we had to pair up for this competition. And let me tell you, we were the underdogs (by a long shot).

Katie and I had never brewed beer before. Not only that, but we barely knew how beer was made. Also, neither of us had ever had a job that had anything to do with cooking or science. So, we got to work.

Lo and behold, Katie and I took second in the competition for the taste of our beer, and first place for our branding (this is where we knocked it out of the park, because naturally). Here's what we did.

We decided to craft a West Coast style IPA with a single malt and single hop (Simcoe). The simcoe hop has pine and passionfruit notes, and is always referred to as a "she" hop. DONE DEAL, we feminists want the lady hop. After we brewed, we got to work on the brand.

We love our pups, so the name "Camp Hudson" (Camp is my pup, Hudson is Katie's) came pretty quickly. With this in mind for our brand, we named our beer the "Four Legged Ranger IPA." Our pups + the great outdoors? Done deal.

From there, we created a logo. And then we had our coworker Isaiah shoot some photos of us (more of his work here). And then, the whole thing came together. 

I introduce to you: Camp Hudson (available nowhere but oh so good)

About Camp Hudson:

Morning campfires, the first catch of the day, canoeing in uncharted waters and midnight skies. The best things happen outdoors, and we just want to be outside in it. With our pups. Enjoying every second (with a good beer in hand). 

Camp Hudson represents that place you hold close, that you keep coming back to - your first camping spot, the hiking trail with the ​killer​ overlook, the ​hidden falls. We're hoping this is the beer you drink when you can't be there in person, and the beer you take with you when you make it back. 

About Four Legged Ranger IPA:

There's something special about the bond between a pup and his trailmate. We made this beer to be the third wheel on all your adventures. The Four Legged Ranger is a single malt, single hop-style IPA brewed with Simcoe hops. With flavors of pine and passionfruit and a woodsy aroma, this beer was made for the outdoors, just like you and your canine companion. 

Oh, and we bottled the Four Legged Ranger in bottles and liter size growlers. Easy to pack and even easier to sip at the end of a long hike. 

ABV: 4.5%

About the brewers: Katie

Katie loves Hudson (her black lab pooch). She's also obsessed with the salty sea, ​​running rolling trails until she can't feel her toes, and slamming cheese curds the local dive bar. She's a master of making up new words and smiling to get out of trouble. 

About the brewers: Courtney

Courtney loves Camp (her pitbull lab rescue). She's also a big fan of hot coffee over campfires, s'mores with peanut butter and her worn in Tevas. She's an avid collector of flannel blankets and makes it to her yoga mat (almost) every day. She's also known for hiking as high as she can go (and leaning over the edge a bit), but we forgive her for that.

|| Photos are property of Isaiah Photo and Mountain Shadow Morning. Must give credit || 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Beauty: Lob Love

Just about a year ago now, I was in a total hair rut. My hair had been long (and I mean like, halfway down my torso long) for years, and it was looking flat and totally unkept with my yoga lifestyle. I desperately needed a change, but wasn't looking for something too drastic...

Thank goodness for the lob.

The "lob" (long bob) has been holding steady as a go-to hairstyle for girls on the go, but it's gotten even more popular as the effortless "I woke up like this" style is emerging. Which is perfect for me, because if you think any effort goes into my hair on a daily basis, you are mistaken.

My girls at Haus Salon in Minneapolis gave me a killer lob (and some brulonde locks) earlier this summer, and I'm obsessed. I'm due for another cut and color soon, and the lob look is totally here to stay.

What do you think about this effortless look? #VObsessedOverHere

one || two || three || four 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Style: Home Tour

I've moved quite a bit since moving to Minneapolis for college in 2008 (wowza, that dates me a bit). I've accumulated pieces here and there for every place I've lived. Recently, I've been focusing more on getting rid of things I truly don't need. While I love the idea of having a stockpile of furniture and decor to restyle my place any time I'd like, it's not realistic (especially considering I'm likely moving again in May [in Minneapolis, not out of state!]).

Even though I'll probably be moving again soon, I'm loving the place where I live right now. It's the lower level of a duplex in Northeast Minneapolis (my favorite 'hood). While it's rough around the edges, it has so much charm (think arched doorways, original wood trim, a beautiful floor and swinging kitchen door). So I thought I'd give you a little tour.

Here's the thing about house tours and social media in general - more often than not, people like to paint the picture that their life is perfect. And to those people, if your life is as perfect as your photos I SALUTE YOU AND PLEASE TEACH ME YOUR WAYS. But that's not how things are at my house. What you see is what you get (and as a note, I didn't even show you all the messy things, like Camp's toy bins or his fur in the corner of every room).

But here's what you will see - my actual home. I didn't clean up before taking these photos (but I do make my bed every day). I didn't mop, dust, move photos or do anything out of the ordinary; this is how my home looks and feels. It's not perfect, but it feels warm, comfortable and contains all of my favorite things (goofy pup included).

This is the view of the living room from the dining room (when I began taking photos for this post, it was the end of December, so you'll see the Christmas tree in the mirror reflection. Also, that mirror has YET to be hung). There's a fireplace to the right, which doesn't work and holds up the TV. I love how big this room is, and how the rug pulls everything together. 

There's a large foyer off the side of the dining room (large enough that my entertainment center doubles as a table with extra storage). I dig the archway into this room.

Side note: those bins are filled to the brim, and the corkboard on the wall on the left is NOT hung straight. But I tried, right?

Right off the living room is the dining room (there's a big arched doorway that leads into it that still is adorned with winter spruce needles). I love the dining room. It's so big and anchors the entire apartment. I splurged on the chairs and found the table on Craigslist. We spend a lot of time in this room (I mean, just look at that natural light!)

More views of the chairs. And the rug. And the floors (insert heart eye emoji). 

There are three large windows off the dining room, so naturally, I've used the window ledges for framed photos and succulents. It's likely these plants will die soon. Also, there's old radiators everywhere. 

I'm a candle hoarder. I'm loving these from Rume Candle Company and Kit + Ace. There's usually eucalyptus in the wooden vase but I'm unprepared this week. #reallifethings

This is one of my favorite pieces. My mom and I thrifted this metal cart last summer, and cleaned it and spray painted it gold. We've filled it with all our favorite things, including deer horn bottle openers, coasters from our favorite supper club (The Silvercryst in Wautoma, WI) and Bulleit American Rye Whiskey. (If you're wondering where the wine glasses are...we drank some wine this weekend and they're currently in the drying rack). 

This is Camp's corner of the house. I received all of those pieces of pup art as gifts, and love them dearly. Naturally, Camp laid on that sheepskin rug nonstop when it was in the living room, and now that it's in the dining room, he has yet to lay there. Also note, ALL THE DAMN SPRUCE NEEDLES ON THE FLOOR.

The dining room has a lovely built-in buffet. To adorn it, I hung some very random pieces of art. The piece in the middle is a painting of some old school "explorer?" Who knows, I got it from an antique store. 

These are a few trinkets in the corner of the buffet in the dining room. I received that yellow card from one of my best friends and had to frame it. It's one of my favorite pieces. Also, we were the "foxes" in high school, so that little fox has a piece of my heart. It sits on top of a birch log that my dad cut for me. 

It's true, Camp gets to sleep on the bed. I currently have red flannel sheets and a big wool blanket from Faribault Woolen Mill on the bed now. In the spring/summer I change it out to dark gray sheets with a gray and white duvet. There's a special Ray LaMontagne poster above the bed from his most recent Minneapolis show (there's also a sweet love note behind it from my guy, and I don't think I'll ever have the heart to take it down). 

I'm a big reader, and you'll find books (and dust) everywhere in my apartment. Plus picture frames. The black and white photo is one of my favorites of me and my dad on the lake when I was three or four (FYI, he has a mullet and I have crazy curls). The photo in front is one of many from my trip to Iceland with my friend Riley. I think about that trip every single day.

WE HAVE A SWINGING DOOR! It goes from the kitchen to the dining room. Camp is deathly afraid of it, so we prop it open with a Buddha. We had a lot of bets on whether that Buddha was heavy enough to hold the old wooden door open (I said no, boys said yes). Boys: 1, Courtney: 0. 

The kitchen is where this place gets super weird. The house was built in the 1800s, and the kitchen hasn't been updated to fit modern-day appliances (so our refrigerator is blocking cabinets). The cabinets we do have are super generic and cheap (the original cabinets were removed). Also, there's no real light in here. But this little corner of all my cookbooks is one of my favorite parts. 

We have a large rug in the kitchen (it's sizable, even with how weird it is). It really helps pull this odd space together (although, it requires constant washing due to our dirty shoes, which is a big pain in my booty). That's also a fresh pot of coffee (full to the brim). And for the record, I am in the midst of drinking all of it (I took this photo this morning against my better judgement to not share my not so cute kitchen with you).

I kind of love this refrigerator (we had to get a new one since we moved in). But I don't like it because it's new (although, it is nice that it's new). I like it because it's filled with holiday cards, wedding save the dates and article clippings from my mama. It's also adorned with all the Bulleit Rye Whiskey we've drank (and for the record, there's another bottle that fell on the floor that I just can't reach). 

Remember when I said this kitchen is weird? There's a weird shelf in the middle of the room, so I've put all my wooden spoons and 5-6 more picture frames on it. Because I think that's what you do with weird space? Who knows. 

This bathroom makes me laugh. It's small, has very old yellow wallpaper and zero storage. I've used these metal carts to hold everything I need. They don't look great, but they get the job done. Also, there's a clawfoot tub so that makes everything better. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fit: Hollow Back Handstand

Happy Tuesday, babes! I took yesterday off after a long weekend of yoga teacher training. When I started teaching yoga and managing at CorePower, I knew leading yoga teacher training would be part of my role, but I never envisioned how important that part of my job would become to me.

I had always wanted to be a teacher. Always. When I was younger, I had "teacher" versions of old textbooks and would set up my pretend classroom in our basement and teach my imaginary students. And of course, life happens and my path changed a little bit (I ended up majoring in journalism). I've always been happy with the major and path I chose, but there have certainly been days where I've thought about teaching again.

This is where life comes full-circle. I didn't end up teaching high school English like I'd envisioned, but here I am, teaching yoga and leading teacher training. Having the opportunity to find my passion for yoga and teach and share it with others has wholeheartedly filled my lifelong passion of wanting to teach others.

So, time to bring some of that to the blog, yes?

Hollow back handstand is one of my favorite inversions. I love that it's more accessible than other inversions due to the support of the wall, and that you experience a strong, energizing heart-opener in the process. It also helps open the front line and back line of your body, and just so happens to look kind-of cool in photos (obviously). 

Hollow Back Handstand (with wall support)

1.) Plant your hands shoulder width distance apart on the floor, roughly 1.5-2 feet away from the wall.

2.) Keep one foot on the ground, and kick up with your other foot until the back of your legs connect with the wall.

3.) Lower your hips further down the wall (in doing so, your chest and rib cage will broaden, and your back will bend).

4.) Press your chest forward, engage your core and pull your shoulders away from your ears. 

5.) Press your booty into the wall. Straighten your legs, squeeze your legs together and point your toes. 

6.) Breathe and enjoy.

|| Photo is property of Mountain Shadow Morning. Must give credit. || 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Recipe: Blackberry Chia Pudding

I've always loved chia pudding, and on the Whole30, it's a really easy way to prepare breakfast (plus, you can do it ahead of time, so major props for that). I've been trying out a few different variations, but this version with coconut and blackberry was definitely a favorite!

A few things about Chia - you have to appreciate a little bit of crunch and an interesting texture. If you can eat oatmeal, I don't think chia is that much of a stretch. If you haven't had it before, I recommend making one serving and trying it out before you make a large batch.

Another note about chia - I've eaten it both hot and cold and love both versions. There's no real right or wrong when it comes to eating it. It should stay good in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Blackberry Chia Pudding with Coconut and Almonds
Makes three servings

7.5 tablespoons chia seeds
2 cups almond milk
1.5 cups blackberries (one cup for chia prep, half cup for garnish)
3 tablespoons unsweetened, shredded coconut (two tablespoons for prep, one for garnish)
3 tablespoons slivered almonds (for garnish)

1.) Mash blackberries until they are the consistency of jam. Add coconut.

2.) Add chia seeds and almond milk to jam mixture and mix thoroughly.

3.) Separate into small mason jars. Refrigerate overnight.

4.) In the morning, stir chia mix. Top with additional blackberries, coconut and slivered almonds.

5.) Enjoy.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mood: January Feel

Oh, January. I secretly love this month. It's a month of bright white snow, endless coffee and new beginnings. Plus, hibernating is completely acceptable. 

Hint: If you're looking for a new desktop image that matches your mood for this month, save the image below and "tile" it for your desktop. Instant January goodness.

one || two || three || four || five || six 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Style: Winter Goods

I firmly believe winter can be a good thing. Yes, a good thing. That is, if you have the right gear.

As Minnesotans, we know winter happens every year. And that every year, it'll be cold, snowy, icy, frigid and dark (specifically today - FULL OF SNOW). But this year, I'm determined to not have it also be miserable. A friend of mine, Brandon, (he's an incredible photographer, more on him here) told me he and his family made a pact to not complain about winter. Not at all. Instead, they invested in great outdoor gear and spend as much time outdoors as possible.

I want to be like Brandon. So I bought some stuff and am complaining less.

Purse: My parents bough me this incredible Duluth Pack purse for my birthday. I have a handful of Duluth Pack items and love them all. They're well-made, from Minnesota and last a lifetime. This badboy fits everything I need on a daily basis, and then some. I'm obsessed (and the price point is affordable).

Mittens: I bought these SmartWool mittens a few winters ago and *luckily* haven't lost them yet. They're warm and match with everything and are my go-to anytime I go outside. 

Hat: I bought this hat at REI when I bought my SmartWool mittens (mostly because they matched and I needed a good beanie). It's basic, matches with everything and was V affordable. This particular style isn't available anymore, but this one is and is just as cute

Boots: I got these booties at Nordstrom Rack a few weeks ago. I was looking for something that wasn't a full boot or an Ugg either, and I'm loving these so far. The heel was really tough and was hard to get on at first, but over time it's getting much easier. I can't wait to trek around Alaska in these bad boys (oh yeah, have I mentioned I'm traveling to Alaska in February?!)

Whiskey: While gear warms your outsides, it takes a good whiskey to warm you up internally (or at least, that's what I tell myself). Hayden and I have become obsessed with Bulleit Rye Frontier Whiskey. We drink it with a little bit of water (and we currently have a collection of empty bottles on top of the fridge...)

Watch: This watch is THE BEST. It matches with almost everything and affordable doesn't even begin to explain it ($36). It's also water resistant and lights up, which is perfect for being outside after the sun sets. 

|| Photo is property of Mountain Shadow Morning. Must give credit. || 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Presently: January

|| Photo is property of Mountain Shadow Morning. Must give credit. || 

Making: chia pudding breakfasts with lots of coconut and all the fruit. Posting a recipe very soon!
Watching: Captive on Netflix (pretty dark, don't watch this one alone) and This Is Us (my mama got me hooked and I can't stop).
Doing: dishes. Food prep makes 'em pile up in the sink (for the record, I dislike doing dishes, but not as much as I dislike taking out the garbage).
Thinking: that winter really isn't that bad. We know it's coming every year, so let's embrace the North.
Visiting: the Stillwater Ice Castles sometime in the next few weeks. Embracing the North, right?
Rocking: the biggest North Face crew neck sweatshirt almost nonstop. And feeling zero shame about it.
Spending: money on groceries! Food prepping and eating healthy means a lot of trips to the grocery store.
Shopping: at the grocery store. January sounds like such a thrilling month for me, right?
Eating: no grains, dairy, legumes or added sugar.
Drinking: coffee and I'm still allowing myself some alcohol. I work at a brewery, I get a pass!
Missing: the sunshine. There's something very cozy about being in the dark for much of the day, but it'll be nice when the days start getting longer.
Planning: our Alaska trip! We have our tickets and lodging, but now we're determining what we're doing each day. We're mostly excited to be in Denali on its 100th anniversary and see the start of the Iditarod.
Working: a lot of hours managing the studio and leading Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training.
Reading: The Nordic Theory of Everything. Great read so far.
Wanting: PEANUT BUTTER (not allowed on Whole30).
Enjoying: morning coffee/work sessions with my BFF Riley at my apartment. It's a great way to see each-other, work and not spend money on coffee at a coffee shop.
Writing: blog posts on blog posts! It feels good to be back.
Pinning: clean eating recipes and outdoorsy photos.
Cooking: curry with cauliflower "rice." I found a great sauce at Trader Joe's and it couldn't be easier to make. Quickly becoming my go-to meal.
Pondering: whether to grow my hair out or chop it shorter.
Listening: to The 1975. Their music is great for my C2 classes.
Liking: my new 2017 planner. Writing things down and seeing my calendar on paper helps keep me much more organized than my online calendar does.
Feeling: like I'd like to hibernate for a few days. Doesn't staying in bed for days at a time sound so, so nice?
Noticing: how hippie-esque the wallpaper in my bathroom is. I don't hate it.
Going: to white knuckle it the entire way to the studio today. Minneapolis, dis snow is cray.
Debating: a quick girls weekend trip to Laguna Beach with Riley. A little sun and sand sounds perfect.
Loving: waking up after a good night's sleep.
Marveling: over how good people are. A little smile and kind words go a long, long way.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Life: A Few Good Books

While I dislike the idea of making resolutions every year (we usually fail them, right?), I do like the idea of finding subtle changes to make in the new year that will make this year even greater than the last. One of the big changes I'm making this year is to make more time for reading.

I've always been an avid reader, and I never, ever feel guilty about purchasing a book. But even though my apartment has books lying around every year, it has been difficult for me to make time to read all of them. 

Circling back to those little changes for this year (wait for it...) my goal is to read two books each month. WOW I KNOW THAT SOUNDS CRAZY I FEEL CRAZY EVEN TYPING IT. Last year, I maybe finished 4 books. This year, my plan is to do that by the end of February.

You know the term "biting off more than you can chew?" Dear goodness I hope I didn't just do that, because this is in writing now.

Below are the first 12 books I'll be *attempting to* read by the end of June. In my adult years, I tend to gravitate more toward non-fiction books, and am excited to dive in to these reads below (I'm already a few chapters into The Nordic Theory of Everything and it's so, so good).

They say misery loves company, and while I'm by no means in misery reading these books, I would love for you to join me! 

...aggressive cliche on my part? Clearly I'm not being any less dramatic in 2017. 

|| all books are available on amazon.com || 

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