Vacation!

          Yesterday, I got back from an amazing week of vacation. My family and I spent most of the week in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We stayed in our friends’ condo on Lake Calhoun. It was awesome! The condo was gorgeous with great décor! Lake Calhoun was perfect for open-water swims, kayaking and paddle boarding (I did all of the following!) It was pretty cool most of the week and we got some rain. I got in a couple good runs, during my taper week, on the trail around the lake. I esp. love the trail system in Minneapolis! They have separate trails, side by side, for bikes and pedestrians. This made me feel safer and kept the traffic spread out. Minneapolis is most definitely full of active, outdoorsy people. The trails were buzzing all day long! My family and I walked almost everywhere! We had fun discovering lots of cute shops, restaurants and museums on foot.

         One of my favorite parts of the trip was having the opportunity to take a class everyday at Corepower Yoga!  I went to the St. Louis Park location-about a mile and a half from our condo-but Corepower has 11 locations in the metro! I have been to one other Corepower in Boulder, Colorado (they also have plenty of studios there!) I only attended one class, since my dad and I were in Boulder for only a weekend. I love Corepower’s classes because they are heated, intense, well-rounded and ALWAYS a great workout. I also love that they have classes almost every hour of the day and a variety of class types. I must not be the only one who thinks so, because despite all the classes each one was packed. They even have 2 studios in the St. Louis Park location, so 2 classes can happen at once. Another thing that sets Corepower apart from other yoga studios is that the facilities are flawless: Spacious studios, towels, water and hairties available, beautiful interior design, bathrooms with showers, lockers and complimentary hygiene products, (I mean everything: mouth wash, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, Q-tips, etc.) Lululemon and other featured apparel for sale, yoga DVDs and more! I walked to and from most classes, since it was a straight-shot from the condo. I took mostly C2 classes (intermediate to advanced vinyasa power flow- no idea where the c in the name comes from.) I also took one HPF (Hot Power Fusion- a mix of traditional Bikram and vinyasa power flow, slower paced and hotter temp than C2) class and a Express Hot yoga which was a condensed version of a traditional 90 minute Bikram yoga class (but I find nothing express about 60 minutes…..) I definitely enjoyed the C2 classes the best, esp. with one instructor (who had an unusual name that I can’t remember.) They were fast-paced, but not too much, and incorporated lots of unique flow combinations that kept me focused and on my toes. I also loved having the opportunity to work on my arm balances in the C2 classes. The only reason I didn’t enjoy the Bikram style classes as much is that many postures were new to me and had unusual form that felt unnatural (like more curving the back rather than folding.) The flow/sequencing of the class also felt weird for me and prevented me from getting into “the zone.” Although, I still got a good workout and was glad I experience this style of yoga. The instructors at Corepower were also great about adjustments. I was able to get deeper in poses like bow and standing splits and realized I am more flexible than I thought. I also like that if they adjusted you on one side, they came back for the second side which helped keep everything balanced and evened out. I hope Corepower decides to open some studios in Iowa (esp., Des Moines) very soon!

 

We also ate lots of AHHHHHMAAAAAAZING food while in Minneapolis. Some highlights:

  • Pizza and dessert at Pizzeria Lola: The Boise, The Iowan and the special for pizzas and vanilla soft serve with olive oil, sea salt and cocoa nibs for dessert! BEST SUNDAE EVER! Really, I’m going to try to recreate it at home. The sweet base and savory toppings are a surprisingly delicious combo! I might even experiment with flavored olive oils and other salts from All Spice!

 

  • Dinner at Chino Latino. A restaurant with a unique atmosphere, 5 star reviews, flawless service (except for a plate broken by our waiter……it happens) and scrumptious plates to share. We ordered three sides: Wok green beans, (the most delicious way to eat your vegetables) fried plantains with queso fresco and naan bread. For our entrée we had plantain-crusted chicken served with jasmine rice and vegetables. Everything was superb and was a can’t find anywhere else fusion of Chinese, Indian, Spanish and Caribbean food!

 

  • Dessert at Lucia. Wish I would’ve gone to this cute, healthy café for lunch, too. Endless selection of desserts. I selected a dark chocolate sea salt cookie and a lavender cornmeal lemon cookie. Both were so unique, flavorful and satisfying!

 

(I apologize for the lack of photos. I truly did take a vacation-one free of photography. But, my dad took some great pics that I’ll be sure to share in a future post!!!!!)

 

And, some sightseeing highlights:

  • The Mills Museum. I never knew that Minneapolis used to be all flour mills!

 

  • The Guthrie Theater (I kept calling it Guthrie Center, like the town in Iowa. Oh well…..) Gorgeous architecture. I loved the endless bridge and amber box (you need to check it out yourself, trust me!)

 

 

  • The Athleta Store (if that counts?) We seriously need one in Iowa. I always have to order online or through their catalog!

 

      I also had time to bond with my family and have a great time together (if not a little too much time with my overly caffeinated little sister…….Ha! Ha!) All in all it was the ideal vacation: Not too far of a drive, the perfect balance of scheduled activities and leisure-even some time to shop for back-to-school clothes-and lots of good food, family fun and beach time! A great (almost) end to a great summer!

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