Monday, February 20, 2017

Fit: Side Plank with Leg Variation

There are few postures that equal parts challenge me and make me feel like a total badass. Side plank (especially with a leg variation) is one of those postures. 

Side plank is a great posture for your back, arms and core. Plus, it helps improve balance and challenges stability. I've been teaching side plank in all of my C2 classes lately, because no matter where you're at in your practice, you'll always find a new way to push and challenge yourself within this posture. 

But first things first - side plank certainly isn't a challenge you'd do with out some adequate warming up. To warm up for side plank, focus on movements that warm up your shoulders, upper back and core. Cat/cow, side body stretches, thread the needle and high plank pose are great postures to warm you up before attempting side plank. 

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

Side Plank with Leg Variation (Vasisthasana)

1.) Start in high plank pose. Stack your shoulders over your wrists, drop your hips in line with your shoulders, squeeze your core and press back through your heels.

2.) Squeeze your legs together and drop your heels to the left. 

3.) Press down through your left hand and extend your right arm up toward the ceiling. 

4.) Open your chest toward the right side of the room and press into the pinky side edge of your left foot. Stack your hips on top of one another and press your hips toward the ceiling.

5.) Engage your core to lift your right leg up toward the ceiling. Flex your right foot and squeeze your right glute to lift higher. 

6.) Stay for 4-5 breaths and come back to high plank. Then repeat on the other side. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Recipe: Strawberry banana chia bowl

I've got to be honest with you, breakfast for me is usually an absurd amount of coffee and a smores flavored Quest bar (those are GREAT, by the way). But on the days where I'm putting a little more effort in, my go-to is a chia bowl. Chia bowls FTW.

Also important to know, I'm terrible at eating bananas on time. Without fail, every time I buy bananas, they end up ALMOST going bad, so I'm forced to eat four in a day or freeze them. So the last time I made chia bowls, naturally I had extra bananas to use.

If you like strawberry banana anything, this chia bowl is for you. It's really easy to make, and the flavor will wake you up and help start your day off on the right foot. And it looks great on camera if that's your thing. 

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

Strawberry Banana Chia Bowl
Makes one serving

Chia seeds: 3 tablespoons
Coconut milk: 1 cup
Shredded coconut: 1 tablespoon for pudding, 1 tablespoon for topping
Banana: 1 whole, chopped
Strawberries: 1/2 cup 
Almonds: 8-12
Flax seeds: 1 tablespoon

1.) Mix the chia seeds, coconut milk and shredded coconut in a bowl or mason jar. Mash the banana and add the banana to the mixture. Stir well and refrigerate overnight.

2.) In the morning, remove the chia mix from the refrigerator and stir well. Add strawberries, almonds, flax and coconut. Stir and eat! And pair with coffee, because obviously.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Music: Love Notes

Happy Valentine's Day, sweethearts! Short and sweet (pun intended) post today. Enjoy these love tunes for whatever your plans are today (I recommend the first playlist for date night in, cooking etc., and the second for a killer V-Day workout or Galentine's Day dinner). You name it, one of these playlists will work.

If you're free today at 4:30 p.m. and live in the Twin Cities area, join me for a Valentine's Day Yoga Sculpt class (I'll be teaching to the second playlist!) Let's sweat. And then eat all the chocolate and peanut butter. 


Enjoy today. All my love,

Monday, February 13, 2017

Recipe: Sriracha Carmel Corn

We're T-1 days from Valentine's Day, and I'm basically living off of sugar, red wine and chocolate at this point. And I'm spending more time in the kitchen than normal. 

One of my favorite recipes to make around this holiday is sriracha carmel corn. I made it first in 2014 (see here), and it's been a go-to of mine ever since. If you're looking for something hot and sweet to make this week, this is your new go-to.

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

Sriracha Carmel Corn

Popcorn kernels: 1/2 cup
Coconut oil: 1 teaspoon
Unsalted butter: 1/2 cup
Brown sugar: 1/2 cup
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Sriracha: 1 tablespoon
Baking soda: 1/4 teaspoon


1.) Preheat the oven to 250 degrees fahrenheit.

2.) Heat coconut oil in a large pot and place three kernels of popcorn in the oil. Once all three kernels pop, remove from the heat and add 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels. Cover with a lid. Once kernels start popping, shake the pot to prevent the kernels from burning. When the popping stops, immediately transfer popped corn into a large bowl.

3.) Melt the butter in a saucepan on high heat. Once melted, add the brown sugar and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, and allow it to boil for roughly 4 minutes. After four minutes, stir in baking soda and sriracha.

4.) Gently pour the mixture over the popcorn and stir with a spatula until the popcorn is coated. 

5.) Lay popcorn on a baking sheet or pan. Place in the oven and allow to bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

6.) Enjoy! Goes best with chocolate and red wine. Or whiskey. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Local: Black Coffee + Waffle Bar

Black Coffee + Waffle Bar is one of the hidden gems of the Como neighborhood and Northeast Minneapolis. My friend Kelsey and I have a birthday tradition at this place, which usually lasts 3+ cups of coffee and a few hours (and yes, we smell like waffles when we leave).

Here's how Black works. It's located right on a corner, and the building curves and wraps around it. The outside of the building is jet black with their modern, pristine logo painted across it in white. Once you head inside, you head straight to the counter. Black always has 6-7 waffles on their menu, and another "special" waffle of the day (I always go for the Naughty waffle without whipped cream ]I actually think it's the healthiest one on the menu]). You also order a coffee because obviously. 

You then take your number and head to a table (there's two rooms of tables). Indie rock is obviously playing. The people behind the counter are smiling and super nice. You drink your coffee. You order another.

THEN YOUR WAFFLE COMES. And you're pretty sure life doesn't get any better than that.

Also, just check out their website (insert heart eye emoji). Time to go get a waffle. Happy Friday. 

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

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Style: Winter Gear

It has been one mighty chilly week in Minneapolis (thankfully, we're looking at 30s and 40s next week). But this week, it's all about layers. And a lot of them.

For me, winter is always about layers (freezing one second, balmy the next). On any given day, I'm wearing one or all of these bad boys below. I consider them staple pieces and have had most of them for a few years now. Quality over quantity FTW.

Flannel: I have a handful of flannels from J. Crew, and I love every one of them. The quality is great, and the boyfriend fit looks great when paired with leggings and boots. I'm currently obsessing over this one right now (it's in my cart. help me).

Wool socks: It's gotten to the point where I pretty much only have wool socks, and no other socks. And I'm not super mad about it. I recently purchased a(nother) pair from Madewell, and really like them.

Vest: This was a "big" purchase for me. I purchased it right before I went to Iceland and have been wearing it almost nonstop ever since. I love my Patagonia vest.

Hat: I also love my "North" hat. If you don't have one, the time is now.

Boots: These boots are sold old, the brand doesn't really exist anymore (NorthPass). But Sorel makes a very similar boot that keeps your feet warm in snow and rain.

Leash: This one is a year round staple. We got this leash at Chuck and Don's a few years ago. I'm unsure of the brand, but it's braided and hasn't been affected whatsoever by Camp's pulling and craziness on his walks.

Now let's bundle up (currently 5 degrees...)

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Fit: Hecco x CorePower Yoga

Oh man you guys, sometimes I get to work with some seriously badass people.

That happened last November on one particularly sunny day at CorePower Yoga. We partnered with a friend of ours, Hector, who owns Hecco. He shot some Yoga Sculpt and strength training photos of us, and made us feel totally badass in the process.

One thing I want to say about fitness photos - the majority of what you see isn't always all that accurate. It's really easy to think you're unhealthy and really "don't have it all" when comparing yourself to the people you see in fitness photos online. I've certainly felt that way before, and when we finalized the photo shoot with Hector, I knew we wanted these photos to be different.

First and foremost, Hector is amazing. He was able to make us feel so strong, powerful and comfortable in front of the camera. And by doing that, he was able to capture real, raw fitness photos.

The best part about these photos is that they aren't edited. We aren't slimmed down or airbrushed. We didn't have our hair and makeup done. We came straight from a 6 a.m. BootCamp workout with sweaty hair and added tinted lip balm. We put on dry clothes, and challenged ourselves to wear sports bras to expose our most vulnerable body parts. We cheered each-other on, took deep breaths and just had fun.

Cheers to women standing with women, being strong, feeling proud of their bodies and doing the damn thing.

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Style: Valentine's Day For Him

I like this holiday. A lot. I've posted about it here, here and here (there's more too). Regardless of whether I've been single or in a relationship, I've always enjoyed Valentine's Day. Love is something we should always celebrate (self-love, love for a significant other, family, friends etc.) Plus, I love giving gifts (and treating myself, too!) What a great holiday.

What I love about living in Minneapolis is that there are so many incredible local artisans to shop from. If you're looking for a Midwest gift for your beau (or any other guy in your life), you're in luck! I've also included a few products from some of my favorite national companies.

Happy shopping, friends.

Flannel: Is it safe to say that every man needs a good flannel? I hope so. Especially in Minnesota, these things are as prevalent as snowflakes. If your guy doesn't have one (or if he needs another), I love the flannels from J. Crew. They fit well, are high quality and are totally affordable.

Minnesota coasters: MN Leather Works is quickly becoming one of my favorite Minnesota brands (you'll see a few of their products in this gift guide). These coasters are great for any guy who calls Minnesota home. They're durable, locally made and stylish. I can't imagine a living room that these would look out of place in. 

Espresso: YES COFFEE. Dogwood Coffee Co. has some of the best coffee in the Twin Cities (I'm currently drinking their Mixtape blend this morning). I haven't tried Bear Hug Espresso yet, but I've heard the best things. You can't go wrong with this one. 

Watch: Nixon makes a great watch. I've always believed a watch is a great go-to gift, and I love the leather band on this one

Book: If you're guy is a whiskey buff, give this book a try. It goes into detail of how to make whiskey, and the history of whiskey in the United States. Plus, it would look great on any coffee table or on a bar cart. 

Candle: LAST CHANCE FOR THIS CANDLE! It smells like campfire. It's in an awesome glass container. Buy it now. 

Hot sauce: This hot sauce is made in St. Paul. ST. PAUL! The Midwest, where people typically don't enjoy spicy foods. But this stuff is soooooo good. Hot sauce is such an unconventional gift, but it totally makes sense for this holiday (plus, it's local). And it's SO affordable. 

Men's bag: A travel bag is so necessary for any guy, whether you're going on weekend getaways or taking long trips. I love Duluth Pack because their products are made in Minnesota and have a lifetime guarantee. 

Toothpick holder: For the guy who has everything - a toothpick holder! I've never heard of these before but the minute I saw them I was hooked (leave it to MN Leather Works to blow us away). I know so many men who grab a toothpick every time they see one at a restaurant. What better way to always make sure you have one available than in one of these nifty leather holders? 

Shave club: I've always thought Dollar Shave Club was an excellent gift. Men need razors, and this company delivers them monthly, and the quality is great (side note, Hayden has a subscription and loves them).  Also, he purchased one for himself, so I can't get one for him (guys, am I right??)

Sunglasses: Sunglasses are a great gift - every guy can use a nice pair of specs. I've always been a big fan of Ray-Ban, and love the aviator look. 

Headlamp: This might be my favorite gift on this list. A head lamp! If your guy is outdoorsy and likes hiking, or if he tinkers around outside in the dark, a headlamp is a great gift. Hayden and I are heading to Alaska next month and are buying two of these soon (nerd alert). 

Thermos: This is the best mug I've ever owned (and I've owned a lot of mugs). It keeps hot beverages warm for 10+ hours (I haven't tried cold yet, but I'm sure it's an incredibly long time). Plus, I don't think these things ever go out of style. 

Pocketbook: These are my favorite notebooks. They're small enough to fit in your back pocket/glove compartment/backpack etc. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Presently: February

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

Making: salads for lunch and it's getting a littleeee boring. Suggestions are welcome!
Watching: Nashville on Hulu (I have a full season to binge, which is basically a dream come true).
Doing: all the things. This month feels beyond busy already.
Thinking: about waking up and having coffee in ALASKA later this month. Can't wait.
Visiting: with my sister on the phone when we can. I miss that girl.
Rocking: dirty hair (no surprise) and a very stiff neck after a little fender bender last week.
Spending: time on my laptop plowing through emails, and time on my mat stretching and decompressing.
Shopping: on Amazon for last minute Alaska items (think headlamps, protein bars etc.)
Eating: dark chocolate milk balls from Lunds. Oh my god. I get a pass because it's February but dear goodness.
Drinking: a lot of coffee. And red wine at night.
Missing: having weekends off. Each of these February weekends is packed with yoga and working and everything else.
Planning: details for our trip, including dogsledding. Can't wait.
Working: long (but very fulfilling) hours. Which is why this vacation will be oh so sweet.
Reading: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. Part of my February reads.
Wanting: to spend more time working on new postures and inversions in yoga.
Enjoying: cuddles with Camper whenever I can get them.
Writing: blog post after blog post. It feels good to be back at it.
Pinning: not as much as I'm used to! I've been slacking on my Pinterest game lately.
Cooking:...more like "watching Hayden cook." I'm not mad about it.
Pondering: what would happen if I just stayed in bed all day and never left...
Listening: to the new songs from John Mayer. I'm a fan.
Liking: these past few sunny days in Minneapolis. It makes me feel like spring might actually be coming sooner rather than later.
Feeling: like I need to get back on my healthy eating train. It would be so great to feel amazing during these busy next few weeks.
Noticing: that drinking kombucha every day makes me feel great. It's an expensive habit, but I'm not sure I can tackle a homemade brew at this point.
Going: to drink coffee all afternoon. Is that allowed?
Debating: growing my hair our really long or chopping it again. Long or lob, what do you guys think?
Loving: wearing wool socks and slinking around the house in an oversized sweater with a big mug of coffee.
Marveling: at the good a truly positive attitude can do (and how necessary it is).

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Style: Valentine's Day For Her

I really do love Valentine's Day (I've talked about it quite a bit over the years, especially here, here and here). A holiday that's all about self-care, loving yourself and telling those who are you special that you love and appreciate them? That's a big 'ole yes in my book.

Whether you're buying for your girlfriends or yourself (both are V acceptable), I've rounded up some of my current favorite products (many of which are made locally). It's time to treat yourself. For any and all reasons. 

Skin care: Mad Hippie sent me some skincare products and I'm lovin' every one of them. These products are all-natural, cruelty free, GMO free and almost entirely vegan. They're also gentle on your skin and are gentle on your wallet. And guess what? $1 of every web sale goes toward wildlife conservation. YES. 

Camera: The 90s have come back in full-swing style wise, and polaroid cameras are V cool right now. I had one at some point and wish I knew where it was. A polaroid camera is a unique gift that most gals wouldn't necessarily buy for themselves, but likely wish they had (me right now). 

Wristlet: This is the super hip 2017 version of the Coach wristlets we all carried around in college. Minnesota Leather Works is a local company that makes high quality goods, including this wristlet (plus, the price point is SO GOOD at $55). 

Candle: I love Illume! They're a local company that makes delicious smelling candles (this one is coconut milk mango - how good does that sound?) Plus, I love the porcelain container it's in. And the price. The price is THE BEST ($13.50)

Nail polish: The gals at butter LONDON sent me these three nail polishes to try for Valentine's Day, and I've had them on my nails since the minute I got them (currently wearing Mum's The Word, post on that soon). The nail polish is really high quality, and it goes on SO WELL (it makes me look like a manicurist rather than a toddler dipping my nails in the bottle). I'm obsessed. 

Coffee: Dogwood is a local coffee company, and they just to happen to make some (I drink quite a bit of it). I've had this blend before and I would recommend it to any coffee drinker. Plus, it's called the "Mixtape" blend. How romantic is that?

Bookmark: I actually can't think of a more practical gift than this. I love my books, and hate bending the corner of the page over to hold my spot. Investing in a bookmark sounds like such a great idea, and I can't believe I haven't done this yet (anyone want to give me a gift? This is a good one right here). 

Lip balm: I'm so loyal to Burt's Bees it's silly. I love their tinted lip balm because they provide a hint of color while moisturizing your lips at the same time (I'm currently wearing Red Dahlia). 

Headlamp: You can LOL at this all you want, but I'm dying for one of these bad boys for our Alaska trip. Let's be real, I'd probably find a hundred ways to use this around the house too. 

Book: I'm bringing this book with me on our trip, and I can't wait to dive in. This line sold me on the book: How we come to feel at home in our towns and cities is what Warnick (author) sets out to discover in This Is Where You Belong. She dives into the body of research around place attachment—the deep sense of connection that binds some of us to our cities and increases our physical and emotional well-being—then travels to towns across America to see it in action. Inspired by a growing movement of placemaking, she examines what its practitioners are doing to create likeable locales. I hear part of her book takes place in MN. Can't wait.

Lotion: I haven't tried Illume's lotion, but if it's anything like their candles, it has to be amazing. CorePower is currently selling this scent in a candle version, and it smells amazing. The idea of lathering up with is is unreal. 

Pullover: Patagonia might just be my favorite brand ever. Plus, THIS IS CURRENTLY ON SALE BUY IT NOW. For you. Or your girlfriend. Or your friend. Or for me, you know, whatevs. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Mood: February Feel

I don't know about you, but I'm beyond happy to kiss January goodbye. 

February, you've always been one of my favorite months. While the air is still frigid and the ground is covered in snow, we feel warm. We feel love. We feel comfortable. We're reminded that spring isn't all that far away, and we can eat all the candy we want. 

Plus, oversized sweaters, cozy hats and all the flannel are still v acceptable. 

Don't mind me, I'll just be over here eating endless amounts of dark chocolate and peanut butter cozied up under a down comforter. Best month ever. 

(Psssst, you can use this bad boy for your desktop image! Save it and "tile" it. Yaaaassss.)
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