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Archive for May 28th, 2012

So far, I’ve spent the majority of my MDW exploring and finding NYC treasures, and it’s reminded me why I LOVE agenda-free long weekends in the city.

Here are a few goodies worth scoping!

1) Hiking Yoga

I’ve mentioned my friend Rachael several times before, but it’s worth noting that I am also close with her sweet mother Jacqueline (Jacquie) as well. Jacquie knows my love of food & fitness, and she often sends me articles that I might find interesting. Last week, she sent me a snippet about a growing phenomenon called Hiking Yoga!


Eric Kipp, founder and owner, integrated his passion for exploring the nooks and crannies of San Francisco with his yoga practice. As a tour guide, he led groups in Hawaii, Alaska, and California for many years. Hiking Yoga became his platform to get people in their bodies, explore their community and enjoy the beauty of nature and friends. (Hikingyoga.com)

The concept is simple genius—you hike, and you make yoga pit stops along the way. Nature, a bit of cardio, a lot of stretching and a rare moment or two of mental clarity, all provided by one $20, 90-minute session?!

As soon as I read about Hiking Yoga, I knew I had to give it a try. I forwarded Jacquie’s email to my roommate Carina and she immediately agreed to sign up with me for the Saturday 10 am session. At 20 bucks a pop, it’s not a bargain, but it’s at least $10 cheaper than most ‘private’ workouts I’m familiar with (Soul Cycle, Pure Barre etc.)

[Quick aside and TMI ALERT] We met up with our group at a pre-selected location, but before we headed off into the park wilds, I decided a bathroom pit stop was in order. I have the world’s smallest bladder, as anyone who’s spent a significant amount of time with can verify.

I’ve learned that dignity must be abandoned in these situations, so I went for the closest option…

Erm, excuse me RITZ concierge, please ignore our 9:30 am backsweat and spandex and allow us to use your pristine bathroom.

And they sure did! I was actually blown away by how friendly and accommodating the Ritz staff was per our request. The true meaning of service lives on :).

So, we (Carina and another hike member accompanied me) used the lovely facilities and continued on our merry way!

Fit for a king backpack and greasy ponytail

After that royal treatment, how did our hike stack up?!

Yoga Hike reigns supreme! It was awesome! The hike took about an hr, 45 in total and wound us through beautiful areas of Central Park that I’d never seen. Every 15-20 minutes, we’d stop and spend about 10 minutes practicing beginner’s yoga. Nothing was particularly hard, but I got my heart rate up during some of the steeper hills and more difficult poses. Our instructor was friendly and knowledgeable, and I loved the opportunity for some KYP (Know Your Park)!

Two Classes Converged in a Green Wood.

All in all, it was truly a pleasant experience from start to finish. It reinforced how gratifying, how important for the human soul it is to combine exercise with the outdoors as much as possible.

For my wallet’s sake, I won’t be Yoga Hiking every weekend, but I absolutely will sign up again for the occasional fix :).

The next two NYC discoveries occurred at a street fair!

I’m embarrassed to say that often consider these fairs a nuisance and skirt around them when I’m in a hurry (always). Yesterday, I took the time to walk the entire length of the fair at a leisurely pace, and was delighted by the quality and variety of goods on display!

These winners in particular stuck with me:

2) Spices and Tease

I smelled this booth before I saw it, but nothing could have prepared me for the gorgeous and exotic spectrum I encountered!

They truly had every combination imaginable and unimaginable—from couscous and omelet specific spice blends, to tea flavors such as Chocolate Ginger, Kir Royale and Mango Pineapple Chili.

Everything smelled exactly, magnificently as it was labeled.

The schnozberries taste like schnozberries!

PLUS, what a fabulous name! The actual Spices and Tease store is located purty far up on 97th and Broadway, but if you ever find yourself headed towards/in that vicinity, I would absolutely suggest checking this out! You can also order online through the website HERE.

3) The Cupcake Bartender

This booth drew a slightly different but equally enthusiastic crowd, with shouts of “GET YOUR DELICIOUS CUPCAKES HERE, WITH OR WITHOUT ALCOHOL!”

Wha?!

That’s right—the Cupcake Bartender combines your two favorite rushes into one portable and aptly decorated treat!

“Specializing in Alcohol Fortified Cupcakes”.

People were going NUTS snapping these babies up! I didn’t catch many of the flavors, but there were definitely a few oohhhs and mmms over something with Hennessy in it, and I know the lil’ green guys have Bailey’s in them (oh clever folk!).

We have a secret.

The company is currently working on its website, but you can check them out or contact them via The Cupcake Bartender Facebook page.

4) KT COLLECTIONS

Saving the best for last!

Ok, so I didn’t discover this magnificent company this weekend, but I did discover it at a street fair several years ago.

KT Collections is HANDS-DOWN the best deal on high-quality, handmade and ABSURDLY cute jewelry I have come across in my livelong day!

As soon as I began browsing Katie Thompson’s creations and their incredibly affordable prices, I knew I’d found something special.

Over the years, I have collected multiple KT items of my own, but it has also become my GO-TO gift for female friends and family. I have yet to give a piece of Katie’s jewelry to someone who has not a) LOVED it (I can reaaddd people, people) and b) Incorporated it into their own gift-giving repertoire.

I have also had an excellent experience communicating with Katie herself when an order has gone awry, or when I’m looking for a specific piece that I don’t see online.

The only snag  is that they don’t yet have a store! Throughout the year, the KT Collections booth moves around the city, and you have to check the website calendar HERE to figure out where they’ll be next.

I natch stopped by the KT booth this Saturday at the street fair, and the sweet employee I spoke with said a store is in the works! Until then though, the tracking process is a small price to pay for the quality, variety and utter COOLNESS of this jewelry.

So there you have it! A handful of gems I might never have taken the time to explore if I hadn’t decided to stick around for a low-key NYC weekend (past and present).

I’m off to enjoy my last day of freedom, and I hope you do the same!

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