Why I’m Not-So-Secretly Obsessed with Portland Oregon

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When I was 16, I was a grunge-music fanatic. I went to many, many shows in NYC of my favorite Pacific Northwest bands (Hole, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, loved Nirvana but never saw them), and dreamed of the day that I would get to hang out at a dirty bar, drinking beer and wearing a flannel shirt.

I never got a chance to go until I met my partner, who is from just outside Portland, Oregon—and once I was there, I was hooked. I visited Seattle and Vancouver, as well as Eugene (Oregon) and I just loved the whole area. Especially Portland Oregon. The videos below showcase exactly why.

Adirondacks Are Back! Lake Placid’s Golden Arrow Lakefront Resort Proves Region Not Just for Winter Vacations Anymore

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While the Adirondacks have long been known as a summer (and fall) retreat, Lake Placid, which is located in the northwestern part of the park has been associated with the winter olympics (they were held there in 1932 and 1980). But in recent years, as the ‘dacks have heated up as a summer destination yet again, Lake Placid has been seeing more summer visitors than ever; and why not? The hiking gets you to incredible views easily (no hyperbole about it, see below) and the natural lakes and cooler temps mean a getaway from the city really feels like one. In the heart of the small town of Lake Placid, the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort (pictured above) is the perfect place to serve as home base to explore the area’s natural beauty.

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Check out that gorgeous lakefront! Kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding and more are all available from the resort’s private beach. Since motorized vehicles aren’t allowed on the lake, swimming is allowed throughout! Love that.

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The Golden Arrow is a true family business, run by a brother and sister team (pictured above) with the help of some fantastic staff. Carrying on their father’s appreciation for the earth and the nearby Adirondack Park, Golden Arrow has been a leader in reducing the impact of their guests and buildings, and the resort has received a platinum rating in the Audubon Society’s eco rating program for hotels (which they share with only 6 other hotels), as well as awards from TripAdvisor.

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What’s green? Let’s start with solar panels, low-flow shower-heads, low-impact laundry solutions, CFL and LED bulbs, some pretty hard-core recycling, a green roof, local food in the restaurant, local furniture, no-VOC paint and easily repairable high-use areas  (think hallway panels that can be replaced individually instead of ripping out a whole wall-genius!). There are recycled games in the hallways for kids, and if you arrive in a hybrid car, by bike, cross-country skis or on food, you get a special eco welcome package. The Golden Arrow’s green roof  (above) is not only lovely to look at, with Mirror Lake on the other side of it, but it supplies herbs for the kitchen.
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Why Wanderlust Festival Rocks: Something for the Soul, Plenty for the Body

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Multiple bands play every night at Wanderlust; above is a mid-dance shot from Fela Cuti’s second set.

This is the second year I have attended Wanderlust, both times at Stratton, Vermont, though they have festivals throughout North America (coming in just a few days to Copper, Colorado; then on to Squaw Valley, California; Whistler, B.C.;Quebec; and in 2014 on to Chile and Hawaii!). I always have such an amazing time; surrounded by yogi, health nuts, dancers, creators, designers and life-lovers, I can’t help but come away feeling refreshed and really ready for a fantastic summer season. Beyond the great attendees, the teachers—whether it be yoga, dance, meditation, music or hiking—are the best in the business, and I always learn something new (body and soul).

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I took a Hoop Vinyasa class with the Hoop Yogini. Yoga mixed with hooping, it was equal parts challenging, fun, silly and a crazy-good core workout.

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We had as much fresh, filtered water as we could drink courtesy of Camelbak. Imagine if all those plastic bottles had been drunk, how much garbage would have been made? ALL festivals should have free, fresh water, no?

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Check out my awesome shorts from Victoria Keen, made in NYC! (That’s me on the right, the designer herself, Victoria, in the gorgeous blue dress—her own design, of course—in the middle, and my friend Cara Joy on the left.)

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This was just before Seane Corn’s vinyasa class began; she is one of my favorite yoga teachers, and it’s an amazing opportunity to get to go to an event like Wanderlust and get to practice with her.

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The bonus of having Wanderlust at a ski mountain is….gondolas! My legs were utterly pooped from dancing and hoop vinyasa, so the ride up to the top of the mountain was a wonderful treat.

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I took some time in the shade to relax, enjoy the view, and meditate in the cool summer air.

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It was fun to walk around the village area, and enjoy healthy treats (like So Delicious coconut milk ice cream pops, KIND bars, and Tumeric drinks) the random music that played all afternoon and all the awesome vendors selling yoga clothes, incredible jewelry, and more.

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Mrs. Meyers had a big booth set up at Wanderlust, perfect for the frequent hand-washing I availed myself of. My friend Cara Joy poses here with all the lovely samples the company was passing out.
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Summer Travel Essentials: Healthy and Natural Beauty on the Go

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Lighten up your beauty routine for travel this summer, trading out bulky, heavy items for multipurpose products that will keep you feeling pampered and pretty, even in the heat and humidity. You can pare down your cosmetics and toiletries to the bare essentials with a few powerhouse products like castile soap, coconut oil, a good BB cream and eye makeup that won’t smudge. Here are some suggestions for your warm weather adventures, along with a few tips for avoiding the face-puffing exhaustion of jet lag.

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Coffee in El Salvador: From Bean to Brewed at the El Carmen Estate

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Starre Vartan raking the drying beans (it’s harder than it looks!).

El Salvador is one of the premium coffee-growing countries in the world, situated in an ideal location for growing java. And if you are visiting the country, spending some time checking out where your java gets made is a must-do. EcoExperiencias, who organizes eco-focused tours in El Salvador, got us an insider tour of the beautiful El Carmen Estate, which grows, dries, processes, packages and ships (and roasts, for the local markets) Ataco Coffee that’s sold to Starbucks and Illy.

You can also stay at the Estate, in beautifully-decorated, homey rooms with some seriously gorgeous surrounding gardens (I would definitely recommend it; so romantic, and – Coffee!)

Here’s how the coffee gets made (forgive me if I geeked out a bit)!

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Picked beans are first washed and soaked in large vats; detritus, bad beans and other impurities float to the top and get skimmed off and composted.

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Controls for the coffee washing and transit around the facility.

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Then beans are sent through tunnels and funnels made of concrete, their flow controlled by wheels like this one (the factory is over 50 years old and four generations of the family have been growing and processing coffee); simple and effective.

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Next, beans are laid out to dry naturally in the sun. El Salvador’s climate and many days of sunshine make this an ideal climate to dry beans out in.
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