Friday, November 17, 2017

Vacation Snaps: Hiking the Burgess Shale in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

Remember a few weeks when I posted about the lululemon Seawheeze half marathon I ran this summer?

Well, what I didn't mention is that right after I finished the race, Mr. Man and I hopped on a plane to Calgary, Alberta, Canada to spend some quality time visiting my family in the in Bow Valley.

While we, of course, spent a good portion of our week in the area being lazy and catching up with our loved ones at my family's home in Canmore, Alberta, Canada (near Banff national park), we also made a point to get outdoors and enjoy a few hikes in the area -- namely the Geoscience Foundation's epic 13-hour Burgess Shale hike to the Walcott Quarry.

See, several months prior, after hearing my parents rave about their time on the hike (there are fossils involved!), I convinced Mr. Man and a few of our friends to boldly sign up to accompany me on the mega day hike this past August.

Bless them all for dealing with my crazy ideas.

To prep for the Burgess Shale hike, a few days before our adventure, Mr. Man and I did a warm-up hike at Ha Ling near Canmore to get our lungs and legs acclimated to the higher altitude. To be honest, Ha Ling is a bit steeper than the Burgess Shale hike and sort of scared us into thinking we couldn't handle the longer hike to the Walcott Quarry. We were huffing and puffing the whole way!

Needless to say, the day of the actual long hike, we were both a bit nervous.

On the day of the hike, we woke up super early and headed to our meeting spot in Field, British Columbia (about 1.5 hours away from Canmore) to climb, climb, climb our way up to some fossils (you can read more about the hike details here)! Here's a few cell phone snaps of our journey:

It was a long, semi-steep hike and really, with a little training, I feel like anyone can do it with enough perseverance!

Although I brought my professional camera, I was so focused on the hike I didn't take too many photos, but here are a few I captured of the day:

Have you ever been on an amazingly epic hike before? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Morning Madness: Bright and Early Shoot for Amy Rizzotto's Yoga Heights' Boot Camp Class

I love a good morning shoot.

Sure, its painful when I first wake up at 5:45 a.m., but once I get shooting, I just love the bright, pure energy that seems to radiate from all my early-morning photos.

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of shooting an early morning boot camp session (taught by Amy Rizzotto!) for the fabulous team at Yoga Heights and enjoyed every minute of it. Everyone was so bright-eyed and excited to sweat -- it was an awesome way to start the day.

Even though it was a little bit dark outside to start, I think the photos really captured the excitement of the bootcamp class. I mean, look at those smiles! Take a look:

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Promotional Sunrise Shoot for Yoga Heights' New Studio in Takoma Park, MD

For those that don't already know, I do a lot of work for the wonderful DC-based yoga studio, Yoga Heights.

In addition to being fabulous studio owned by two fabulous ladies that I couldn't adore more, Yoga Heights is also a rare yoga space that celebrates every body, every level and every budget.

With so much "Instagram yoga" floating around on the internet these days, making people thing that yoga is about being a skinny minnie doing crazy poses in beautiful places, its refreshing to have a wholesome studio like Yoga Heights so close to home.

The even more exciting thing about all of this is that Yoga Heights is expanding to a new neighborhood later this year with the opening of their new Takoma Park location. Clearly, this big news called for a sunrise shoot to collect new photos to promote the upcoming location.

Even though it was an early, muggy late summer morning, and it took us a little while to wake up, I think this shoot is magical. The smiles from the Yoga Heights team plus the warm morning light make me smile every time I flip through this photo set.

Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Flashback: Mini Session for Love & Carrots

Remember several months ago when I mentioned, back when I was in grad school, that I was working with the wonderful local business Love & Carrots?

Well, here's some updates for you. A. I'm not in grad school any more (I graduated!). B. I finished my project for Love & Carrots and they are using it in full-force! and C. I brought my camera to my final meeting with the Love & Carrots team and captured these sweet photos for them to use across their channels.

There are so many things I love about these photos -- between the smiles, the rich greens and the natural setting, I almost can't pick a favorite shot from the bunch!

Maybe I'm a little biased from working with this team for a whole semester, but I think all of these photos totally capture the passion and dedication the Love & Carrots team has towards their work creating edible gardens around the DC area.

... and at the very least, these guys look like VERY happy gardeners. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

DYK I Love to Sweat + lululemon's Seawheeze 2017 Half Marathon Recap/101

I have a secret. I'm totally obsessed with all things sweaty.

My not-so-secret love affair began over twenty years ago, when I was five, and played my first softball game. From there, I discovered volleyball, yoga and then found my true lifelong sweat love -- running.

In all seriousness, I really do love to workout and fitness is a huge, huge part of my everyday life.

In particular, I spent a lot of my sweat time either doing yoga (I'm actually in yoga teacher training right now, but more on that later!), [solidcore] or running.

Speaking of running -- earlier this year, after I finished up grad school, I got back into my half-marathon running groove and travelled to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to run the lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon.

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Guys. Let me tell you. I love a good half marathon -- but this race was outstanding! From the pre-race day expo to the free swag to the post-race brunch to the actual race, I had an outstanding time.

Here's a little recap/101 of the weekend for anyone who might be interested in running next year's race:

lululemon's Seawheeze 2017 Half Marathon Recap/101

Signing up for the race: Signing up for Seawheeze is almost a race in of itself. I logged on right at the moment that the race went life to sign up and the race was sold out in 5 minutes. Crazy! I highly recommend being 100% ready to go if you want to score a bib -- and be prepared that you still might not get a bib. If you can't score a bib right away, don't worry. There's a bib-swap program and lots of Facebook groups where people try to swap/sell bibs over the months leading up to the race due to scheduling conflicts, injury, etc.

Mailed swag: When you sign up for Seawheeze, you must enter in your shorts size and choose from two different styles of shorts during the registration process. A few months before the race begins (right when your training starts!) surprise, surprise, you get mailed a packet with a pair of limited edition Seawheeze lululemon running shorts in your size. This year, I chose the looser ladies option and loved the black and while flowered pattern.

In addition to getting mailed a pair of shorts, this year, I also got mailed a training calendar and training instructions packet featuring recipes and workouts. I actually followed this training regimen and found it to be excellent. Fun fact, this year, this information was also available online and I know there was also an app (I didn't used it though).

Registration: Once the big race weekend finally arrived, we (Mr. Man so nicely travelled with me) headed to the Vancouver Expo center to register and was pretty impressed with the check-in process. While I did have to wait in line, it moved quickly and there were plenty of volunteers telling me where to go, etc. Once I got to the check-in booths, I scanned my registration email and received a lululemon string backpack (this was also my checked race day bag!) filled with a few goodies. I also received my shoelace timing chip.

Free expo swag: After registration, we headed out into the Expo space where I enjoyed taking some photos in front of Seawheeze decor, scoring some samples from Nuun and Saje, applying a temporary tattoo and even participating in a lululemon bra-fitting study. After that, we headed to explore Vancouver and then to our Air BnB for the night to get some much-needed shut eye.

Race: The day of the race started pretty similarly to other race I've ran: there was the standard warm up, followed by squishing into overcrowded pace corrals lead by "Pace Beavers" (aka lululemon ambassadors in blue shirts), followed by a slow, trickling start. Once things got going, however, I really enjoyed the course and the race experience. I particularly loved the race cheer stations scattered throughout the course -- how fun!

Post-Race: As soon as I crossed the finish line, I was immediately given my medal, a pair of shades, a bottle of water and a wet washcloth (nice touch!). I was also offered a Vega bar (meh, I don't like these) and instructed to pick up my free post-run brunch. The boxed brunch was surprisingly delicious -- a local company in Whistler made the boxes and they were DEVINE! I also scored a free runner's reward from Saje one my way out of the race area. After I ate my lunch and cleaned up, Mr. Man and I headed into Vancouver for the day to explore.

Sunset Festival: I was pretty tired after a day of running and exploring Vancouver, but Mr. Man and I decided to head the the Sunset Festival (aka lululemon's giant yoga class + post-race party) to see what it was all about. We missed the yoga class part of the festival as well as the concert opener, the Cold War Kids (oops) but got to see Young the Giant play. We didn't stay too long because we were tired, but people seemed to have a great time and I saw lots of fun touches floating around the gorgeous Stanley Park venue, like lounge stations, tasty food and signature lululemon beers.

All in all, my favorite parts of experience, besides running, were sporting my free lululemon shorts (woo!), scoring some sweet Saje oils and swag, sampling new Nuun flavors (I'm so obsessed now) and the free post-run brunch box.

Mr. Man even got up early to cheer me on -- how nice is that?

I hope I can run this race again next year!