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May 20, 2013
(photo courtesy of Travis Wright)
How do you sum up a weekend of genuine fellowship, tasty and healthy food and fitness with a group of women who are so unique yet share so much in common? Yeah, that’s a big task. And if you’re in this community, you’ve likely read more than a few recaps of this year’s BLEND Retreat in Park City, Utah. I’m not a good blogger and I didn’t document the weekend in detail but I did have an incredible time, made some real connections and am so grateful to be able to share a glimpse of an amazing weekend away.
I want to first say thanks to Lindsay, Katie and Janetha and their friends and family for the hard work and amazing organization and heart that went into this weekend. We are all blessed beyond belief! There were also a TON of sponsors – so many that I had to pack a bag and check it on the way home full of swag! Special thanks to the main sponsor, Chobani, for healthy food throughout the weekend and a killer breakfast spread on Sunday morning! Thanks also to: SimplyChoices, Attune Foods, Swanson Health Products, Larabar, Zevia, Green Mountain Coffee, Healthy Bites, Silk, NatureMade, The Laughing Cow, Core Power, Bob’s Red Mill, Muesli Fusion, ProBar, Onnit, SoyJoy, FitMixer, BluePrint Cleanses and GPP Fitness!
(This was just the swag I brought home! I wasn’t even able to bring it all, believe it or not! Very thankful for all these great products to fuel Mikey and I through life and as I finish training for my first marathon!)
Here are a few photos from the weekend that share those glimpses into the fellowship, food and fitness I lived out with about 100 other women (and a few men)!
TOMS and a short, black americano – it’s those little constants and rituals that I love about traveling! I was able to travel with a friend, Christa, and was so grateful for the chance to get to know her better and hear a bit about her and her husband Marc’s lives, dreams and direction. She rented a car and we started things off like any Canadian blogger in the States would – by hitting up Trader Joe’s! I grabbed my favorite coffee and a few other goodies and we then wandered off to hit up Whole Foods where we ran into this great group:
(photo courtesy of PurelyTwins) The twins, Ashley, Christa and Debbie
We all headed up to the Hyatt Escala and were greeted with an amazing facility with helpful staff and a great view. Check it out:
(photo courtesy of PurelyTwins)
And these are the PurelyTwins from those stolen photos above themselves! Got to be roommates with the fun, fit and fabulous twins, Michelle and Lori! Great to get to know them in person and love their sense of humor and approach to fitness.
After receiving our amazing swag bags (seriously so.much.generosity from companies and so much work from our favorite BLEND organizers!), we settled into explore the rooms and soon got ready for the cocktail hour, sponsored by Silk. It was fun to get a bit dressed up and mingle for an hour before dinner began.
Although I only had about half this drink, it was fun to branch out and try something different with some unique ingredients! Loved the bite of ginger in this one.
The dinner afterward was incredible – delicious and healthy, as you can imagine. Lindsay, Janetha and Katie said a few words and I could feel their excitement at everything coming together – I know how that feels to have planned something for so long and then see it executed! So neat.
Lindsay of Cotter Crunch fame, the twinos (as we call twins in our family) and a shot with Lindsay and Katie – lots of goodness in one picture! I just don’t have enough positive things to say about these women! Very grateful for them and know that our paths will cross again, hopefully with more time to sit and chat and really dig into life together.
The night ended for me around 10 pm or so – I was tired from a 4 am wake-up call earlier that day and from so much socializing (which I admittedly love). Christa and I hit the pull out and I was zonked soon thereafter with an early morning call to…
Get my run on!
Bobbi (who knows a good friend of mine from California – small world!), Amanda, Kindle and I were out the door running by 6:30 am under gray and threatening but still beautiful skies. It was the perfect running temperature and some of us (Bobbi and I) were training for marathons (Bobbi’s is next weekend!) and the others were resting from a recent marathon (Amanda) and just wanted to get to out to run (Kindle). Pretty awesome to have a group to run with! Bobbi needed 10 miles and I needed 12 for our plans, but I was flexible with mine – as long as I don’t compromise this coming weekend’s 20 miler I was fine! – and we ended up running 9 miles, mainly downhill on a path down the canyon in the rain for much of the run. It was a blast. I loved running with these girls and kept up just fine (one of my worries when running with running superstars!) and had some great talks while moving. Thanks for the run, ladies!
Breakfast was up next followed by a few fitness options: zumba lead by the funny and talented Annette or a hike out behind the resort. I was going to zumba for something different but decided I couldn’t pass up the chance to get outside, even with the on-and-off rain, and got my gear dried by the fire after a wet run, put it back on, and headed outside with a big group!
After a de-mudding shower and some down time, there was another great snack break sponsored by Onnit.
I loved the shake, the protein powder and their nut butter mixtures but mainly loved the chance to enjoy all that while chatting with Neil from GPP Fitness, a gym that’s focused on optimal health in Utah who I follow online. I loved the chance to meet him in person and talk about industry trends and the past and present direction of the fitness industry. Passionate, focused and kind man – really liked talking with Neil and my new favorites, Amy and Candice, from GPP!
Saturday afternoon came with some outlet shopping, dinner out and then PJ’s at night for homemade pillows of heaven (aka Utah scones) by Momma B (Janetha’s amazing mom!). They.were.delicious. So fun to have everyone piled into a room chatting loudly and munching on these delicious doughy treats!
All in all it was an incredible day, and Sunday kicked off with a great GPP bootcamp with all sorts of drills that have left me feel SO sore in all the right places today,
a great Chobani-sponsored breakfast and a fun raffle and closing ceremonies with the group.
Some exploring around historic Park City continued followed by a great meal out, time wandering Salt Lake City and already beginning to reminisce about the weekend and the girls. I loved this experience so much!
Thanks again to all who made this happen and cheers to “old” and new friends alike! I am blessed with this community and loved embracing every bit of it this weekend. The holiday Monday here in Alberta didn’t hurt either – a sleep in, breakfast with the swag, biking around and matinee plus time with my in-laws topped it all off.
Have you ever gone to an event like this, or connected with people you either didn’t know or had to put yourself out there for? It’s so good to do…looking forward to doing it again on this summer’s Survive & Thrive trips!
Have a great week, friends! I’m hobbling off to live the rest of it to the fullest, sore muscles and all. Live well & be well!
(photo courtesy of Christine)
March 24, 2013
Hey guys! Long time no see! If you guys read my last post or follow me here, here or here, you’ll know that I was in VEGAS, BABY! (By the way, is it possible to NOT say “baby” after you say “Vegas?”) I loved my experience here at the IHRSA Conference and embraced lots of information, experiences and new friendships! It was great to get to know my team from Fifth Avenue Club better and enjoyed the time in sessions and at the pool with them! Such a great group.
Here’s a little run-down of the trip to let you in on the action, fun and feel of Vegas (baby!):
Fly in, dinner (late) out and sleep!
…and woke up to a beautiful and unique view at the clean, gorgeous and accommodating Hotel at Mandalay Bay:
And then we were off and running (err – working out)! A few of us got up early for one of the many morning workouts offered. This one was a bootcamp/group-style workout with Todd Durkin, ”MA, CSCS…an internationally recognized performance-enhancement coach, personal trainer, massage therapist, author, and speaker who motivates, educates and inspires people worldwide. He is the founder and creator of Fitness Quest 10 & Todd Durkin Enterprises in San Diego, CA…Todd is the Head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council, where he helps drive new methodologies and training techniques to help Under Armour develop the highest quality programs and apparel for performance training” (source). Todd is a FIRECRACKER! So dynamic, so much energy and just like he is in his videos if any of you have seen him before. INTENSE! His co-leader was Pete Holman, Director of Business Development with the TRX and creator of the TRX Rip Trainer. It’s a very athletic piece of equipment that forces you to use AND prevent rotation because it’s a bar with a resistance band on only one side. I LOVED using it and also enjoyed the partner exercises and even the dynamic warm up drills with Todd.
We also got to try out Under Armour’s new heart rate monitor system, which acts like the others on the market but uses all your numbers (intensity level, heart rate levels, calories burned) to average out your willpower, a pretty interesting thing to “measure” to see how intense your workout was.
Pretty interesting! And of course I had to get a photo with Todd Durkin at the end (didn’t get one with Pete because I had to run off to the morning’s first session!).
The sessions were full of information. Some were more engaging than others with some speakers on the dry side, and some were focused more on issues in the US (like the epidemic of obesity, for example, and some topics about the government and health care) but overall I got something out of every session. When I get a moment to go through my notes and summarize the most applicable points, I’ll be sure to share them with you!
In between sessions, whether it was an hour or a three hour break, us Canadians got into the sun as much as possible! The down time and sun soaking was definitely a bonus, not being the main reason we went to Vegas; I originally didn’t even think we’d have time for this! But it was a wonderful surprise for this Californian to get my Rainbow flip flops on my feet and head outside!
Ashley & I enjoying the sun!
The view behind me as I lounged.
We also hit up the outlets one evening while we were there and enjoyed eating dinners out as a team every night. Here’s a quick photo-look at some of the sights and scenes!
Picked up these two cute dresses (sorry for the blurry pic on the right), a cute jacket and two work shirts for Mikey at the outlets (score!).
House of Blues dinner, fro yo (when in Rome! …ie: WAY more frozen yogurt options in the States; the first one just opened this weekend in Calgary!) and healthy pre-packed snacks.
I also met some amazing people in Vegas at the Trade Show and outside of it. I chatted with pro surfer Laird Hamilton and was THRILLED to meet Kelly Olexa (founder and CEO of FitFluential), who is just as fun, outspoken, beautiful, engaging and just “Kelly” as she seems on her videos. She took a moment to chat with me and I really appreciated her time as she was crazy-busy between meetings and sessions (we both found ourselves in the same social media session – go figure). We also had a dinner with a group of FitFluential Ambassadors, and it was wonderful to finally connect with Lindsay (who is as cute and southern-speaking and easy to be with as you’d imagine from her blog!) and Lisa (ripped and loud and FUN!) among others.
All in all it was an amazing trip! It’s hard to recap an experience like this one between the social aspect of being with my team from Fifth Avenue Club to meeting new friends from FitFluential to learning lots and being exposed to the fitness industry as a whole for the first real time (as opposed to just focusing on my job as a personal trainer).
Have you ever been to a fitness conference before? What was your experience? How about any conference in Vegas? I’m sure we all have some of those “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” kind of stories from conferences in that city!
I flew in Friday night, was reunited with Mikey who had a super full and busy week while I was away and then went to bed and ran a half marathon in the morning! …more on that later. If you got this far, thanks for reading and have a great start to your week!
Live well & be well,
December 10, 2012
Tears roll down my face as I watch the sun slowly set behind me, over the ocean; I barely know they’re there as they slide down my cheeks. It was a good trip: productive, fun, full of purpose and connection with family I love. And so, without meaning to, I cry as my first leg of the journey leaves the Bay Area and takes me “home”ward, back to Calgary.
If you’ve never lived away from home, you might not understand how I feel every time I fly away, every time I watch my dad tear up and start crying as we say goodbye, every time I realize it will be several months to a year before I likely see my mom or brother again. And yet just a few years ago my tears were far and few between. I was on the go, away from home essentially since high school, going to university in another country and spending my summers working at different camps in another area of California. I was okay to be away for a while, happy to be here and there and popping home from time to time. Then Mikey and I got married and life was such an adventure. New, different, unexpected! We guided youth on rafting, rock climbing and back packing trips in the summer and skied down the driveway to our little trailer in the mountains in the winter. Life was simple and then, in an instant, everything changed.
Somewhere over those years I’ve become more aware of how much I love and care for my family – and maybe too keenly aware of our time apart. Many people live away from their families and my own sister- and brother-in-law live in Mongolia (!) but for some reason I find that it’s getting tougher. This recent trip back to California came at great timing as we weren’t going to be able to head down for Christmas, so the time together was sweet and fun and spontaneous! However, it was also intentional as I helped my mom learn how to navigate and manage her website (check it out!) and learn the ropes/importance of Facebook for small businesses (give her a “like” to help her out if you want!) as she and my dad just made the leap to a larger facility for their now-joint personal training fitness studio.
We took photos, shot some video and had WordPress tutorial sessions all while enjoying sunny weather, lunch with my newly married cousins and aunt and (newly retired!) uncle, did some shopping, ate some frozen yogurt and generally had a great time just being with one another.
And while there were indeed tears, there is a lingering sense of how good I have it – amazing community in family on both sides of the country (and a reminder to invest in and see my Canadian family in the same city more than I do!), great experiences on both sides of the border and a God who continues to be faithful as he leads us through life’s adventures. The tears come because my heart cares and I feel deeply, but my main sense and emotion is one of joy, gratitude and such appreciation.
This sign in my mom’s gym, a gift from her twin sister, says exactly what my heart feels right now. I soaked up the sun and am ready to head back to the snow! A new week of training, of reconnecting with my husband, of appreciating the life that God’s gifted me with awaits me. Let’s do this – life!
Live well & be well!
Hey guys! HAPPY OCTOBER! Checking in from life back in Calgary after an incredible trip away to celebrate my cousin Becky’s wedding. Not only am I SUPER thrilled it’s October (those who know me know it’s my favorite month of the year!), but to recap the long weekend away – so let the fun of a glimpse of our time in California begin!
But first, can someone help me? …I left my heart in San Francisco – once again! Seems to happen every time I visit. And although this visit was relatively short, it was truly sweet and I soaked up all the family time, conversations and sun possible. Here’s how it started out:
- A pick up from my mom and dad the same evening as my dad returned from Scotland for his mum’s funeral (lots to catch up on!).
- Breakfast out with my dad the next day after a fasted 24+ hours (I’m still experimenting with intermittent fasting despite the fact that I’ve actually gained a few pounds). A quinoa, plain Greek yogurt, bananas, berries, walnut & cinnamon bowl to break the fast? Perfect. And only in California.
- Trips to Target and Trader Joe’s, mainly to walk around and be happy to see the goods in those stores, while my mom worked and my dad painted the new gym they’re transferring my mom’s business into! Love driving around seeing familiar places like Mount Diablo.
- Dinner out in Lafayette with my cousins (can you tell my mom’s a twin?!) – I had the most delicious seasonal vegetable salad and a chunk of bread with ricotta cheese on it – YUM!
The next day began bright and early as it always does when we visit: with 6 am bootcamp! Mindy, Grace and Lucas even came out for it and I LOVED all the family workout time! What a fun morning – with lots of stair runs and push ups and fire walkers and jump ropes, of course.
Cute Grace in her Vibram Five Fingers sprinting down the street!
I headed into San Francisco to hang out with my cousins (James, Lucas and his wife Grace), my aunt and uncle (Mindy and Stan) and my brother (Taylor) before picking up Mikey at the airport in South San Francisco. It was great to revisit all our old “haunts;” both my immediate and extended family went into the city a lot growing up, so we had a blast chatting and walking around all the familiar sites on a foggy, cool September day.
Family dreadies! Woot, woot! (photo courtesy of Grace)
(One of my favorite types of trees – I want to get my tree tattoo tweaked a bit so it looks more like a cypress! – that grow in the salty ocean air.)
I LOVE this city! The day finished with the rehearsal dinner at Sue and Curt’s place – it was wonderful! Pizza, root beer floats, family and friend introductions, memories shared and even some karaoke! We went to bed late, ready to get up and celebrate THE day on Saturday with the whole gang.
Saturday came all too soon from our sleep perspective, but nevertheless Mikey and I got up and drove excitedly out to Becky’s place with my parents for the wedding! We spent the day setting up last minute decorations, getting ready with my cousin, and preparing for the main event. Although this day went undocumented by me, here’s a quick video that Mikey made that shows the event from the day before to the walk down the aisle:
The wedding was absolutely beautiful! So many aspects of it were homemade and reflected Becky’s personality so well, which I really think is important in someone’s wedding. It was wonderful to spend a few days getting to know Gerardo and his mom and two cousins, Paz and Esther, and having them present from Spain added such a neat dimension to the wedding. This is one amazing couple, and having the chance to get to know them throughout the weekend and especially on their wedding day was so much fun. Mikey and I had a blast as the reception emcees and from the comments we received it went really well! Here are a few stolen pictures from the day (thanks, family and new friends!):
That’s all I have for now…thanks to those I pilfered the pics from! The rest of the weekend included an indulgent brunch at Sue and Curt’s plus pool time Sunday (hey, it was vacation after all! I definitely let loose!), watching my brother’s gig at Vinnie’s bar in Concord (The Funkhound Gang – check ‘em out!) and beach time in Half Moon Bay with my mom in the afternoon before we got stranded at the airport with a 2 hour+ flight delay. It was frustrating, putting us at a 1:30 arrival time instead of 11:30 pm and therefore a 2:30 am bed time with work the next day, but let’s focus on the good things: smooth tunes and a good show from Taylor plus some awesome time on the California coast:
Ahhhh…What a trip. There were plenty of tears shed throughout the weekend (especially when it came to the saying “goodbye” part), great stories shared at the wedding, memories talked about and made together, so much laughter had and smiles passed around and meaningful moments created that I will certainly remember. I love my family so much, I appreciate the Golden State and love visiting it and although it’s hard to live far away, I trust that God is continuing to write the story of my life and direct it far better than I ever could. It sure makes the moments I’m home that much sweeter.
To Becky and Gerar – thanks for the incredible wedding and time together! We love you guys and are here to support you as you move forward and adventure together in life! To Sue and Curt – what amazing hosts! We had an amazing time with you guys; thank you for all the work you put into making this trip fun and easy and so, so enjoyable. To my brother – you’ve got some serious guitar skills! Thanks for a few good conversations and plenty of knee slapping jokes – you can rip it up on the dance floor!! And to my mom and dad – I love you so much. Thanks for the support in life, the good conversations when we’re not sure what we’re doing in life and the hospitality and love. We are really blessed by you both.
And that concludes the last trip of the year…it’s money saving time for the Lang’s around here! We’re moving this week and weekend into our new place – hard to believe! Video and pics to come, that’s for sure. Have a great week friends, and thanks for letting me share this neat moment with you guys! Live well & be well,
**I’ve been waiting to press “publish” on this post for 4 days now! We’re having trouble getting the video of the trip Mikey made uploaded but I’ll just have to post it in a separate post – hope you enjoy this recap of our time away last week without the video component! It’ll be up, live, in my next post. **
Edited to add: Here’s the video now that it’s live!
Emotions running through my heart. Memories already flooding my mind. The smell of the sea still so fresh. How do you come off a trip like this to “real life” again? By processing it, appreciating it for what it was and integrating the lessons learned and wisdom taken from others’ stories into your life in the little ways. So…let the (online) processing begin!
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that my husband Mike and I run outdoor adventure trips with young adult cancer survivors (we are a non-profit of two, and the background to our story can be found here). This was our busiest trip of the summer with 3 trips (a kayaking, rafting and sailing trip) and all of a sudden it was time for me to head out to Vancouver Island to join MIkey (where he’d been the week before helping with another camp and getting ready for ours) for this final expedition of 2012. I boarded an early morning flight (thanks for the ride, Nicole!) and was off, ready and excited for what the week ahead would hold.
Every trip is different as each group is unique – the set of circumstances they’ve all lived, the experiences we all bring to the table, the amount the group gels (or doesn’t), the setting…it all contributes to the week of adventuring in God’s Creation together and I love how that moulds the feel of each trip. We can’t anticipate how things will go and in fact learn often that we need to throw our own plans out the window and go with the flow as the group grows together. So how would I describe this group and this expedition?
Vibrant & full of overcoming fear. The people clicked, the weather was gorgeous, the scenery so vibrant and the hearts very full of life as we began to open up to one another and get to know each other. And on the overcoming fear note, so many people did things they didn’t think they could do, from cliff jumping to being hauled up to the top of the mast to swimming in the ocean to simply getting on a plane to come across the water to meet a group of strangers! That takes courage, and I loved seeing people go for it, overcome their language barriers, culture barriers, insecurities and fears and blossom – truly grow – on this trip!
Here are a few glimpses into the beauty of the scenery and people of the trip out in the stunning island of the Discovery Passage off Vancouver Island:
Sometimes pictures tell a better story than words can, and they sure speak to the fun we had, the beauty we were in and the amazing opportunity we all had to get out and enjoy a week together. What pictures don’t show are the meaningful moments and conversations around the campfire, the inside jokes that happen on the boats and the possible life change that can take place. I say possible because it’s easy to commit to things on the trip (“I want to live better this way…” or, “I want to leave behind this negative habit in my life…”) but not always make them a reality in our lives. Hopefully, with all that was shared and all that was learned and experienced, we can all return home and make the changes necessary to improve our lives and grow from our time together.
Our good friend Julie was the chef for the week, planning the meals, getting the food and cooking it up every morning, noon and night for us! Mikey’s sister, Catherine, doubled as the sous chef and the nurse and did an amazing job taking care of us as well. There were themed meals and accents to accompany them and so many fun moments shared because of good food eaten together. From fun treats like Peanut M & Ms and banana boats to great meals like breakfast burritos with avocado and creamy chicken broccoli casseroles to healthy additions like almond butter, chia seeds and fresh salads with spinach and walnuts, the food was incredible.
I could write more…but I think I’ll leave it at that. Another incredible trip and an amazing end to the summer for us and Survive & Thrive Expeditions. Thanks so much to those who prayed us through the summer, encouraged us through written words, gave of their time to serve for those weeks with us and to the survivors and supporters who were brave enough to come, to open up and share and to make these trips worthwhile.
Until next summer!
Live well & be well, friends,
Bonnie (and Mikey)