Beer and Yoga: My thoughts on Lululemon’s new marketing move

LululemonBeer

Lululemon’s latest business decision to create its own craft beer has me thinking about the implications of combining alcohol with athletics.

The yoga-pant retail company partnered with Stanley Brewing Company to create the “Curiosity Lager,” a beer that will be released on August 15th in sync with their annual Seawheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver. Apologies Americans, but it is only available in Canada for now.

From a purely marketing standpoint, I think Lululemon may have made a smart move by selling beer as it may attract more males to the brand. However, I feel a little disconcerted that the company feels the need use alcohol to attract people to a fitness brand; it seems a little contradictory.

Lululemon isn’t the only fitness-related brand using food and drinks to get people excited about exercise. Off the top of my head I can think of a few races that use the two as incentives to complete a race: The Hot Chocolate Run, The Chardonnay Run, the Healdsburg Half Marathon. Even at my yoga studio, there is a yoga teacher that invites students to grab a glass of wine with them after class.  I think it doesn’t hurt sprinkling in a little “sin” if it motivates people to become more active. I will also confess that I love wine, beer, and chocolate and I will likely be at fitness events that offer the three but I think there is a limit on how far it should go.

There are a few things that bother me specifically about Lululemon’s beer marketing tactic. First, a few years ago, Lululemon’s founder Chip Wilson stated that “some women’s bodies just don’t work for their yoga pants” implying that only women of a certain size should shop at the store. But now the company is promoting carb-packed, empty-calories beer (and potentially beer bellies??). Another thing that annoys me is a tweet by the lululemon  that states “Beer is the new yoga pant.” It seems like Lululemon has forgotten that yoga is meant to be a spiritual and mindful practice which has nothing to do with beer. To go even further, modern yoga mats and yoga pants weren’t even a thing until a few decades ago and it seems like we need all these material goods and treats to enjoy practicing. Finally,  I think Lululemon should keep it simple stick to what it’s good at and leave the wine and beer to the connoisseurs!

Lululemontweet

Before I go on this rant for too long, I can’t forgot that I am talking about a multi-billion, multinational corporate company whose main goal is to make money. So before I suggest that Lululemon should have some sort of “social responsibility” to stay true to yoga, I have to remind myself of their motives. Who knows, maybe if I were running such a large company I would think differently.

I’m not against Lululemon personally and don’t think they are a bad company for doing this, I just think it is a little silly.

What are your thoughts?

The Story Behind The CoffeeBar

CoffeeBar

I love chocolate and coffee and I crave both especially at work to beat the afternoon slump. Almost everyday around 2 PM, I would grab a cup of coffee and pair it with a piece of chocolate. But one day, my coworker introduced me to these energy bars that have changed my life! These bars, called “CoffeeBars”, are all-natural vegan bars that contain a full-serving of coffee! They are made from simple and straightforward ingredients such as organic oats, almond butter, chia seeds, and chocolate.

CoffeeBars are tasty and addictive, but what really intrigues me are the people behind them. The CoffeeBar was created by two college students at Northeastern University from an idea that actually started out as a joke.

The two founders, Ali Kothari and Johnny Fayad, were sick of running out of time to drink their coffee when scrambling to class.  One morning, they sat down and questioned “why can’t we eat our coffee?”. They toyed with the idea, bought a few ingredients from their local grocery store, and made their first CoffeeBars. After a few successful taste-tests by friends, they knew they were on the something. They launched CoffeeBars on Kickstarter and met their funding goal within 15 hours and spent the next 45 days quadrupling it!

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I got the chance to talk to these guys and learn more about their story. I’m super excited to share with you all what I learned.

+What’s your mission at New Grounds Food?

New Grounds Food’s mission is simply to provide people with healthier ways to stay energized throughout their day.

We all have busy lives. And though we may not always have the time to eat, we need energy to keep us going. There are a lot of products out there that offer the energy, but not the healthy ingredients. So we set out to change that.

+Tell us a little about your experience raising money on Kickstarter!

Getting onto Kickstarter was the easy part!

The hard part was getting the word out. I would say that our friends and family help us raise the first few thousand of dollars. Then after that, the Kickstarter community took over and got us to $40K! It was a humbling experience to see all the support from our friends, family, and complete strangers.

+Do you have any stories on how people use CoffeeBars? I imagine there are a whole  bunch of situations where they come in handy. I personally like them as a pre-workout snack!

One guy told us how he felt he had seen a “CoffeeBar commercial” happen right in front of his eyes (he and his buddies had backed us on Kickstarter). The morning that they received the CoffeeBars, one of their other co-workers came running in, she had spilled coffee all over herself, hadn’t had time to eat breakfast, and was late for a 9 o’clock meeting. So one of the guys gave her a CoffeeBar to satisfy her coffee and breakfast craving! He had said that she loved the bar and it kept her going until lunch time!

Then, we had a comforting story was shared with us a few months back. This woman was the first subscriber to a full year of CoffeeBars!

In her words:

“I am a regular coffee drinker, but there are times that dealing with a cup of hot coffee is inconvenient. I currently have two close relatives who are dealing with health issues – hence my delay in responding to you. One relative had a long hospital stay and the other has been taking chemo monthly at a medical facility for over a year. With the hospitalized relative, I found that your bars gave me a coffee experience when I was unable to leave the hospital room to make it down to the cafeteria/vending area to make a purchase. On the plus side, I was able to open a bar and eat it quietly without disturbing anyone who was asleep. The bars are soft and flavorful and do not leave a crumb trail.

Second, I wanted to let you know that your product works well when I am sitting in the chemo room with my other relative. Many of the patients there have trouble dealing with the smell of food, so I find it easy to discretely eat one of your bars and not bother anyone.”

+What are your next steps at New Grounds Food?

  • Expand our team by adding on new people to the business development and marketing side of the company
  • Add 2 new flavors to the product line!
  • Sell in at least 1,000 locations by the end of the year (we are already in 300 locations)
  • Launch our newest social mission that will be a long-term effort for New Grounds Food

If you are interested in trying a CoffeeBar you can use the promo code AGRAWAL to get a Free CoffeeBar (50% of a 2 CoffeeBar sampler pack, $3 off the 12-pack). You can shop from them here!

The Casper Snooze Bar in San Francisco

Casper Snooze Bar Waffle

I was invited to attend a pop-up event for a company that makes mattresses. Yeah I’m not kidding.

The event was put on by Casper, a start-up based out of New York that creates the “perfect” mattress. Their pop-up experience, The Snooze Bar, was centered around one of my favorite pastimes, sleeping!

At the Snooze Bar, there was an artist who could interpret your dreams, a live band, nightcap cocktails and a waffle bar. If none of those were your up your alley, you could make an appointment to take a nap on their mattress in a dreamy tent.

Casper Snooze Bar Example

I was eager to have one of my dreams interpreted by local artist Frances Marin. In my dream, my friend drops out of med school and is working at Trader Joe’s while “she figures things out”. Then, I find out another friend quits her job at LinkedIn. To top it off, a Kendrick Lamar song is playing in the background (I think it was Money Trees). Frances takes my dream and beautifully depicts with watercolors on a napkin. Unfortunately, she hadn’t heard of Kendrick Lamar, so sadly he doesn’t make an appearance in the picture.

CasperDream2                  photo credit: Frances Marin

The best part of the Snooze Bar was collecting all the Casper-branded goodies. There were slippers, matches, and my favorite, the Shuteye Journal. It was filled with fun-facts around sleep, hilarious haikus, and this clever flowchart on why you should (or shouldn’t) hit the snooze button.

SnoozeFlowChart

Casper’s Snooze Bar was tastefully done and managed to make mattresses cool. Though I didn’t walk out with a brand-spanking new mattress, I wouldn’t mind taking a nap in one of their dreamy tents right about now.

Turmeric Almond Milk

TurmericMilk

I find it so fascinating when Indian home remedies become main-stream. A perfect example is turmeric milk, or “haldi ka doodh” as I knew it while growing up. I used to cringe at the sound of it. Whenever I had a cold my mom would make me drink turmeric milk and I would plug my nose and chug it like medicine.

Now here I am drinking it BY CHOICE on a relaxing Monday night.

I gave the drink a second chance when I started seeing cold-pressed turmeric almond milk at juice shops, and reading nutrition bloggers rave about the health benefits of turmeric milk.

Turmeric milk is nutty, earthy, spicy and a little sweet. It’s a perfect cure for a hangover, cold, indigestion. It also makes a great bedtime drink if you want to replace your cup of tea with something non-caffeinated.

I have adapted this recipe from the blog Nutrition Stripped to obtain measurements because frankly, I usually just eyeball the ingredients.

Ingredients:
1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
½ tsp turmeric powder (or to taste)
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger (freshly grated is the best!)
1 tsp of honey

Other options:
¼ tsp of ground cardamom
A pinch of black pepper
A pinch of saffron

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to a slow boil. Stir occasionally and remove from heat after 3-5 minutes or until warm.

And there you have it! Making Indian moms and nutritionists all over the world proud.

For more Indian home remedies, check out my post on Natural Face Cleansers!

Alone Time

Fort_Mason

I was on my way back from work and my mind sank back into its usual routine. What should I eat for dinner? What should I do this evening to feel productive?

As I pondered these questions, I looked outside and noticed the clear skies and the sun shining brightly. I needed to be get outside of my house. I wanted to do something different with my Thursday evening but I did not want to go out and socialize. No, I had no social energy. I needed some enjoyable alone time.

I decided to go on a walk. My original thought was to go down to the Marina, watch the sunset, and then pick up groceries to feel productive. After thinking about it, I realized I didn’t want to pollute my pleasant walk with mundane chores, so I quickly canned the grocery shopping idea.

I walked to Fort Mason, paused, and took a long deep breath. Wow this feels nice. I strolled down the hill and hiked back up. Then, I proceeded out to the Marina to watch sun set. I tried to capture the beauty by furiously taking pictures on my phone. My pictures didn’t do it justice and I was disappointed at first, but sometimes beauty is best preserved in our thoughts.

A cup of coffee or hot tea would make this evening complete, I thought to myself. I walked down to the Starbucks but much to my dismay, it was closed! Then it dawned on me…there is a cute cafe/gallery/bar in Fort Mason. I couldn’t recall the name but I knew exactly where to go. My leisurely stroll finally had a mission.

It’s hard to describe this venue. The Interval feels like an old library with its tall bookshelves and spiraling staircase, but it has a bar/cafe tucked in the corner. It neighbors the restaurant Greens, and has a beautiful view of the bay from the back window.

the intervalphoto via Meetup.com

There were decent amount of visitors that evening but by no means was the place crowded. I took a seat at the bar and ordered a drink. I made small talk with my neighbor, asked the bartender a few questions, and then enjoyed my drink while I people-watched.

Why don’t I do this more often? It’s extremely liberating when you finally feel comfortable being alone. Being alone doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is when I have no one to share my experiences with post-adventure, which is why I turn to you guys! I think sharing is what completes lone explorations.

An Acknowledgement

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I think this article has received enough publicity so rather than advertise it, I want to comment on my experiences.

First of all, if I’m never on Business Insider again for anything worthy, I can at least look back on this article to relive the glory days. Just kidding. In fact, this is my second on Business Insider! The first time, I was featured in a video with a bunch of LinkedIn interns singing acapella at one of our company all hands (if you would like to check it out, here it is – but be warned the singing is awful). Yep, true life accomplishments.

A few thoughts and comments…

1. My dad is buying a shot-gun and my mom is going to have more sleepless nights worrying about me. Ah, classic Indian parents.

2. The photoshoot was staged and awkward. They were reading pick-up lines to me to capture a candid reaction but I wouldn’t have it. All I know how to do is look straight at the camera and smile.

3. Yes there were some creepy messages and random friend requests but to counter that, I got friend requests from the other awesome candidates. I’ve gotten to know some of them and they are funny, smart, and overall great (I have so many new girl crushes!).

4. I had someone commend me for being bold enough to be on the list being a South Asian female. That kind of irked me but I also knew what she meant. There is this pressure in Indian societies to be the perfect, good, conformist girl and it can be frustrating. I could go on this topic for a while, but I’ll drop it for now.

5. What does this mean for my dating life? I don’t know. Probably nada.

To top it off, here is an awkward, staged photo:

Hine_Candidate21_060

My Starter Home

Reading

A starter home: your first apartment, home, roof over your head that gave you a fresh start. I decided to participate in the Starter Stories project organized by Compass, a real-estate startup company based in New York. Starter Stories is series of blog posts where bloggers share their very own starter home experiences and I’m excited to share mine!

It’s been a little over a year since I’ve been living in the city, (post of my move here) and I thought this would be a good time to reflect on my time here so far. I personally celebrate the fact that I was able to even find an apartment in the city. I’m sure some of you know, apartment-hunting in San Francisco is worse than dating and job-interviewing combined, and not to mention extremely pricey.

I traded some of the suburban comforts for city experiences. I’ll admit, my apartment isn’t perfect. The fuse blows if someone is using a space heater and a hair-dryer, our roof leaked during the “hella storm”, and there are always random fixes needed in this 100-year old Victorian.

But I sleep to the soft-sound of foghorns, take jogs to the Golden Gate bridge, and live in an apartment with character. And it’s been completely worth it.

Porch

I was blessed with roommates with amazing home-decorating style and they were able transform this forlorn-looking apartment into a home within a week. If it were just me, I bet this place would still need a lot of work. To put it into perspective, I bought picture frames to hang in my room when I moved into this apartment over a year ago, and I just hung them up a few weeks back.

Bookshelf

Bedroom

As paradoxical as it may sound, I feel more connected with those in my community living in a large city than in a small suburb. Just two doors down from my place, there is a nail salon owned by a sweet older couple. Their daughter goes to Cal (go Bears!) and I’ve become her mentor by helping her out with internship applications! Also on my block, there is an awesome fitness/personal training studio co-owned by a woman named Nilu. I’ve gotten to get to know her, and she’s bad-ass.

I love having the option to wind down the day with yoga, start the weekend with a boozy brunch; there are endless possibilities within the realms of my neighborhood.

Who knows where my next home will take me, but for now, I am extremely content with where I am.

Portland

Thinking about the Pacific Northwest makes me feel calm and content. It reminds me of my childhood, those glorious days where I lived carefree in Seattle. It makes me appreciate nature beauty to a whole different level. and it even makes me miss listening to the sound of rain.

Those thoughts are what I took to me on my trip to Portland. I passed my time by going to one coffee shop to another, reading books at Powell’s Books, and enjoying the nature around me. It was a fun-filled yet relaxing trip with my family and I do have to admit, that I actually did enjoy the Portland in the winter. It was kind of fun bundling up and experiencing winter (I know everyone in the east coast/midwest is probably laughing at me).

We stayed at the Riverplace Hotel on the Waterfront. The staff was wonderful, it was close enough to downtown but still set apart for some quiet and privacy.

Side note: Almost all the pic credits go to my brother..I really failed at taking pictures on my phone.

boat on waterfront

There some some cute cafes near the waterfront. There was one that I was particularly fond of because they had games and crayons. I diligently started making a to-do list but then proceeded to doodling instead.

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My family loves to read so we could not have been more excited to check out Powell’s. Let’s just say a lot of Christmas shopping was done at there in the bookstore.

After Powell’s, we paused for a bit at Courier Coffee we ended up staying for a couple hours and enjoyed a nice long chat over a few lattes.

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Despite the winter cold, we made sure to enjoy Portland’s natural beauty by visiting the Multnomah Falls and Japanese Tea Garden.

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Next time, I’m visiting Portland in the summer to another kind of charm!

Vegan Mondays

vegan salad
Two years and some months ago, I came back home from studying abroad in Barcelona filled with great memories and joy. But with the good came the bad: I caught a stomach bug that made me lactose-intolerant, I had eaten so much jamon that the sight of meat made me weary, and I was just downright unhealthy. I knew I needed to change my lifestyle by focusing on my nutrition.

The thought of being completely vegan was too drastic for me so I challenged myself to eat vegan just once a week. I chose Monday because…

  1. Mondays already aren’t the most exciting day of the week so why spoil a perfectly good day, like a Friday?
  2. It gave me a chance to “cleanse” myself after a not-so-healthy weekend.
  3. In theory, I would have enough time to cook and prep on the weekends.

Eating vegan foods was challenging at first, but it pushed me to make more long-term changes to my diet. I switched from dairy milk to almond milk, started paying attention to ingredients in foods I would buy, and discovered the wonders of vegan chocolate.

Now, you can totally mess up the whole point of vegan mondays by eating oreos all day (yep, vegan), bread with margarine (yuck), and then washed that all down with high-sugar fruit juice. Trust me, I have found many loopholes. However, the reason I started this was to pay attention to my health by eating more wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables.

I continued with vegan mondays for about a year and stopped when I felt like I had a pretty solid grasp on a healthy lifestyle. However, recently I started to slip up again and needed a jump-start. Hence, the reason vegan mondays are back!

The Mission

As a “lifestyle” blogger, I’m ashamedly bad at taking pictures of myself. It’s something I conveniently forget to do.  I decided it was time to stop making excuses and get some high-quality shots.

I went for the cliched hipster photo shoot: I had such a great time wandering The Mission with Adrienne Young, my accomplice and photographer for the day.

At Tartine’s we started off the day with creamy lattes and mouth-watering morning buns.

Adrienne captured a insta-worthy shot of latte art and pure deliciousness.

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blue wall scaffold

 

walking in mission

The lighting in this at Happy Moose was absolutely stunning! Their juices were pretty bomb too.

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Ah! A classic mural shot.

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A perfect picture moment at Craftsman and Wolves. Shh don’t tell them we only went inside to take pictures…

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It was a productive morning exploring one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods. And hey we got in a couple of good shots, right?