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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Basecamp in South Lake Tahoe: Eco Chic for Outdoor Lovers

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It’s always a bummer when outdoor-oriented hotels seem to have little interest in conservation (this is especially true for those close to ski mountains, which are especially dependent on the health of the local ecosystem and mitigation of climate change). Which is why I love Basecamp in South Lake Tahoe; not only are they a bit minimalist-chic affordable, but they are eco-conscious through-and-through.

Our 50 stylish rooms are designed for adventure and relaxation seekers alike, with the amenities and style of a modern resort, but at more affordable motel or inn-like prices.

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Just five minutes from the lake, and even closer to the Heavenly gondola, this feels-rustic-but-is-actually-cozy accommodation features a filling breakfasts, a bar stocked with local brews and communal dinners on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

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Green credentials include:

All new double paned windows and doors
All new insulation
New efficient heaters
Dual flush toilets
Opt-in laundry for towels
Recycling bins in every room
Reclaimed barn wood trim pieces

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Hawaii Island Retreat: An Eco-Friendly Travel Destination For Perfect Relaxation

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This piece originally published on The Green Beauty Team.

Journal Entry on January 21st, 2013

Today I rose with the sun and a choir of birds; I ate a farm-fresh breakfast overlooking the ocean; walked to an ancient circle of stones; heard inspiring stories of faith and spirit; took the best yoga class of my life with the doors wide open to the sea and trees; ate a healthy lunch; walked through thick brush on a narrow path to the dramatic cliffs of the sea; had a massage in an outdoor cabana overlooking the sacred valley below (which I walked back to before sunset for more meditation); dined on an organic feast set on a covered patio with the scent of gardenia rushing past on gusts of wind while a native Hawaiian singer told historical stories about music, her ukulele and traditional dancing; then fell asleep to the sounds of ocean wind on a bed covered with soft organic sheets. Bliss.

Having never been to Hawaii, I used my 35th birthday as the excuse to treat myself to a trip to the land of Aloha. Of course I couldn’t just stay at just any resort, I needed a place that was truly inline with my holistic, green and peace-seeking side. If you are like me in what you consider to be a vacation, something that nurtures the inner and outer Self, then this could very well be the kind of heaven for you that it was for me.

The criteria for my holistic retreat had to include the following:

  • A hotel committed to natural, organic, eco-friendly practices
  • A beautiful spa with massage treatments available
  • Healthy, organic meals three times a day
  • A serene environment (aka no screaming kids wooshing down waterslides at the pool built for 100 people)

It turned out that was quite a tall order! So after a very in-depth search, the one place that kept coming up was Hawaii Island Retreat.

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This off-the-grid, purportedly eco, fully sustainable resort, offered all of what I was looking for (and more) in their all-inclusive spa package. Powered almost 100 percent by their onsite windmill and solar panels, Hawaii Island Retreat truly embodies every virtue of being connected to and respectful of the earth.

Their love for Hawaii and the land led Jeanne and her husband Robert to build a retreat center in a way which honors the environment, takes nothing from it without giving back, and offers a place for spiritual nourishment to anyone who visits.

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