Archive for the ‘100 Studios in 100 Days’ Category

Day 11 Seattle-Yogalife-Chiara Guerrieri

Stone "Stairway to Heaven"

Stone "Stairway to Heaven"

Upper Queen Anne

Upper Queen Anne

Takin’ off by foot to explore our soon-fleeting Queen Anne ‘hood on this glorious sunny day, we came upon a most excellent surprise…ancient stone stairs goin’ up as far as the eye could see.   What genius thought of this?  Back in Lake Tahoe, “OM” to the YoYo’s, the only way to ascend, is simply to scale sheer walls of granite.  Curious, the YoYos began climbing the “stairway to heaven” to discover what utopia waited! Surprised, we came upon teensy-weensy Kerry Park with views so stunning that every tourist in the city (including the YoYos) were snappin’ shots. Continuing the climb, we discovered gracious ‘ol manors, a kaleidoscope of flowering plants, an abundance of organic treats, colorful crowded outdoor cafes, smilin’ hyper  people drinkin’ even more coffee and the celebrated Yogalife, Upper Queen Anne’s premiere Yoga Studio.  It was in this hidden gem that the YoYos were to take class, simply titled “CORE”.

DSCN2494

Chiara Guerrieri showin' Abs of Steel

YoYos legs were pretty much toast after climbing the ba-zillionth stone stair, but CORE… for that, we were ready!  We entered the charming, brick building housing two enchanting outdoor cafes and crawled to the 2nd floor.  Greeted by a full room of Yogis gushing over the talents of instructor Chiara Guerrieri, we were told how lucky we were to be in the class of this “Italian Stallion” who was teacher to the teachers, in Seattle. Entering the breezy, sunny room with glistening hardwood floors, open windows, super- happy yellow walls and giant periwinkle ceilings, the YoYos, even with legs destroyed, immediately – felt the love! Chiara, super-expressive, passionate, and entertaining entered the room and we knew this class was simultaneously going to kick our butts, teach us a ton, and make us laugh.  

Five minutes into the teensy-tiny, precise, killer-tight floor movements, a roaring sigh came from an experienced student in the back of the room….We guessed he was doin’ the intense sequence, spot-on..  This Core class was not one of those fiery muscle burners that made you want to Heave-Ho…nope, it was a lesson on how to use that belly to the max demanding strength from those deeply-hidden muscles that we were just discovering.  Leavin’ the floor- work behind, Chiara, using humor to lighten our “deer in a headlight” faces, translated this one of a kind mid section lesson into every asana making postures, longer, stronger and more potent!  The class flew by as the YoYo minds concentrated on applying the recently learned lesson to every familiar pose making them feel entirely new- Powerful!  Newbie, hyper-bendy yogini, or super-yogi man; the YoYos are pretty positive that everyone could benefit from this one hour makeover.

The YoYos can’t wait to apply the principals they learned from this spirited teacher at the next 88 classes of their epic journey and will never forget the deep words Chiara left them with…“Remember,” she said smiling, “always put your ass in every asana”.  

You can be sure, the Yo Yos, always lookin’ for adventure, will be checkin’ for  Chiara’s next Italian Yoga Retreat!


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Day 12 Seattle-Maya Yoga-Brent Morton

Yoga for Equality

Flow with Yoga for Equality

Sometimes it’s all about Yoga, on and off the mat… this most-amazing day in Seattle, was just one of those times…This once in a lifetime Seattle Saturday morning, welcomed the YoYos as they  jetted off to “Yogi it Up” and attend the well publicized,  “Flow with Equality Yoga” event..  Hundreds of yogis threw down their mats in honor of this virtual love fest for unity supporting LGBT. Popular Seattle yoga teacher, Troy Lucero began with an “Ocean of OMs”, followed by Maygen McGrew, representing sponsor studio 8 Limbs Yoga, leading a spiritual flow.  Matt Meko brought the sequence to a beautiful close with heart opening backbends that lead the enormous group on the sun drenched grass field into savasana.  Blissin’ in a big way, we just let it flow as we inhaled the spiritual sounds of Steve & Anne-Emilie’ Gold, along with international vocal artist Gina Sala’.  What a way to start the day!

Maya Whole Health Studio

Maya Whole Health Studio

Walkin’ on sunshine, The YoYos tried to leave, but it appeared all roads were closed and traffic was backed up to Canada due to those crazy, endorphin junkies; runnin’ the Rock ‘n Roll Seattle Marathon.  No worries! “The gettin’ a little stronger every day”, YoYo’s, hoofed it to Fremont to the “even more spectacular that it looks in the photos” Maya Whole Health Studio, known for programs that continually give back to the community. An unexpected gasp came from the YoYo’s as they entered the drop-dead beauty of this 3rd floor, light-filled, massive beamed studio that was engulfed by giant swaying trees.

Brent Morton

Brent Morton

Today, we were to experience what was to be one of those… “Now, that’s what I’m talkin’ about”, classes, from Brent Morton whose most recent quest for answers to the big burnin’ questions found him in a 3 month silent meditation retreat. The YoYos, finding it difficult to be silent for 5 minutes, were at the same time curious and excited to take class from this super-reflective yogi.

Brent, waiting for students to arrive, sat in lotus, deep in silent meditation, then, this wise beyond his years, super-accomplished yogi, led a flow that was as challenging as it was spiritually rich.  Offering sage wisdom from Einstein, Buddha, Mark Twain and phrases from “A Path with Heart” by Jack Kornfield, Brent interwove his difficult, intricate and somewhat unusual asanas with reflective words giving the yogis in his class introspective strength and guiding encouragement.  The YoYos, lovin’ a challenge to their body, mind and spirit… were given an incredible opportunity to participate in an extraordinary, kick-ass…truly peace providin’ practice.  


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Day 13 Seattle-Planet Earth Yoga-Laura Yon Brooks

Planet Earth Yoga Center

Planet Earth Yoga Center

On this bird-chirpin’, last Sunday in Seattle morning, a long smooth Hatha-Gaya class was just what the Doctor ordered.  Our YoYo bodies were feelin’ it in a big way, especially in the butt from walkin’ up and down every endless hill with The Ru; the wise, kind, old, grandfather –so cute he turns Seattleites into baby-talkin’ goo cocker spaniel. This morning we put ourselves in the experienced hands of Laura Yon-Brooks, Yoga Therapist and owner of Planet Earth Yoga Center, to begin in a new life energy that would rejuvenate us to “power it up” for the next 86 days!  

Laura Yon-Brooks

Laura Yon-Brooks

We found Planet Earth Yoga as we passed the colorful Fremont Sunday Market, on the 2nd floor of a converted old house, brimming with character.  The unique studio space was spectacularly spacious and completely alive with activity from the tight group of Laura devotes’ who came to loosen and “love it up”.  Laura, a giving soul, laser-lead this happy bunch for the next 11/2 hours insisting on long, smooth, deep breaths complimenting every creative liquid movement.  Her easy to follow flows allowed the YoYos to feel the full depth of every asana and release any tense, tired muscles, hidin’ or not so hidin’, deep inside.  With precise instruction, Laura encouraged her students to find their breath, their rhythm and flow beautifully with it, creating a dance-like movement.

Laura’s healing doesn’t stop in her studio; she has been sharing her special gift of recovery and rejuvenation with cancer patients for the past 10 years at the University of Washington Medical Center.  Seems to the YoYos that folks in this ‘hood are lucky to have this Seattle Sister!

We left flyin’, butt muscles feelin’ 10 years younger, over to the YoYoYogi mobile that was waiting to take us to a most excellent treat!

The Edgewater Hotel

The Edgewater Hotel

View from The Edgewater

View from The Edgewater

Now, while we love our 400 square foot Queen Anne Studio, when generously offered the outrageous, Puget Sound huggin’ Edgewater Hotel, by yoga and pet lovin’ manager,  Ric Nicholson,  the YoYos cried “SCORE”! With Ru in tow, we walked into the lap of luxury, bounced on the ginormous down bed, soaked in the claw foot tub then melted into the soft leather chairs (mac on lap) by the glow of the fireplace and stared at sailboats on the Sound. Lucky for us, we still have 2 glorious days to enjoy The Emerald City!

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Day 14 Seattle-Yoga Bliss-Maria Bliss

Mercer Island

Mercer Island

After learnin’ a boatload from the body alingin’, mind-expandin’ Masters of Seattle Yoga over the past 2 weeks, the YoYos were feelin’ a little power (Yoga) lust coming on.  Word on the street was that no trip to Seattle’s top yoga studios would be complete without a body-drenchin’, heart-openin, rockin’ time at Yoga Bliss located in the “you got to be kiddin’ me” neighborhood of Mercer Island. Arriving early, we went lookin’  for a park for peacein’- out before wringin’ it out, only to realize this giant island IS a Park with  endless biking trails, walking paths, “never seen on the planet earth” flora and fauna, and mondo-beyondo mansions.

Maria Bliss

Maria Bliss

Entering the small “downtown”, we headed over to “Power it up” with Maria Bliss- real last name, owner of Yoga Bliss located next to not just one – but two Starbucks! This intimate studio painted with hues of deep color; powerful purple, and heart charka green accented with rich wood tricked the poor YoYo minds into thinking they had entered a spa.  The friendliness of Amy at the front desk was overwhelming, welcoming us as one of the energetic yogis who call Yoga Bliss home- and the YoYos felt good!

Super-smilin’, super-fit, super-awesome Maria Bliss, highly trained by the superstars of power yoga came in after riding her bike ½ way around the island to her studio, a ride she takes daily to give her exciting, super imaginative classes.  “OM”ing into killer creative Sun Salutations, Maria turned up the heat and turned on the music challenging the class with fluid, fun flows that allowed the YoYos to stretch and strengthen every fiber of their being. Wheels turnin’ , sweat drippin’, this unique class works the mind and body in a way that begs you to come back for more…and more …and more it will be, the next time these Power Junkies return to this epic hub of “takin’ it to the edge” yoga.

The Ultimate Mountain Pose

The Ultimate Mountain Pose

Crossing the bridge “home” was like a nostalgic e-ticket ride at Disneyland. Standing over the endless sparklin’ water; the majestic, impossibly giant, snow covered Mount Rainer stood in a most amazing Mountain Pose giving the YoYos guidance and inspiration for what was to come…as they continue this amazing journey!

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Day 15 Seattle-Samadhi Yoga-Steve Davis

Samadhi Yoga

Samadhi Yoga

 

Ever since our arrival, Master Teachers have been singin’ praises for Samadhi Yoga, founder Kathleen Hunt and all Samadhis’ top notch instructors who have been the spring board for several of the Seattle greats. Our final day in this epic center of yoga, takes us to this revered Seattle studio identified by just a small “OM” sign in an old commercial building in Capitol Hill.

Main Studio

Main Studio

Entering this enormous yogi sanctuary filled with spiritual books, kirtan CD’s, spacious old wood floored studios, well used cubbies stuffed with stuff, and a special spot for “family” to hang their mats, the YoYos felt comfortable, easy and calm…and that was even before beginning our “Move, Breathe and Meditate” class with Steve Davis, ex- U.S. Naval Intelligence Officer turned inspirational Yogi.

Steve Davis with Hang Drum

Steve Davis with Hang Drum

This totally unique experience began by Steve melodically playing the Hang, a Swiss made, steel drum kinda instrument that exuded ethereal harmonic tones. Movin’ into rapid heat-buildin’ asana and forever held poses, this one-of-a-kind sequence magically released our YoYo mind and bodies as the energy started flowin’ every which way. And so it was…as this exceptional experience became a yin yang adventure of sweatin’ fiery movement, sah weet stretches, and “oh dear God” butt burners. Steve led pranayama exercises that left the poor YoYos no choice but to feel “high” before falling into much anticipated Meditation. When time for final savasana, the YoYos just sank as this introspective teacher waved an unfamiliar scent over the relaxed faces of the yogis and once again played the Hang as the mystical rhythm took us deeper still.

“Transformed by the Magic of Yoga”, The YoYos experienced the mission of Samadhi Yoga down to their yogi toes as we left floatin’, knowin’ only a few hours of daylight were left before hittin’ the road. We scooted over to Lincoln Park in West Seattle to discover our final hidden treasure of our Northern Most Epic Adventure.

Yo Yo Yogiman can't resist soft serve

Yo Yo Yogiman can't resist soft serve

Yo Yo Yogini in Lincoln Park

Yo Yo Yogini in Lincoln Park

Picking’ up the Ru, the wise, kind, old beggin’ to go beachin’ cocker spaniel, we hit PCC, grabbed a Kombucha (stuff gets addicting) and off we went to the zillion acre park; running through the amazing forest covered with ferns, mondo trees, giant flowers, happy people and silly yogis posin’ in the park. Finding the trail leadin’ to the beach our eyes popped open to find a regular nostalgic oasis of boardwalkin’ happy people: sun-bathin’, roller-skatin’, pool-swimmin’ and lickin’ the best  butter pecan soft serve on the planet from Cowboy Ice Cream. A day at the beach hadn’t been like this in years- and the YoYos were happy!

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Day 16 Portland-One Song Yoga-Denise Payne

The children woke up and they couldn’t find them.
They left before the sun came up that day…..
(C’mon….everybody sing now …..)
…..where were they going without ever knowing the way?

 

Leavin' Seattle

Yo Portland!

 
Alligator tears waterfallin’ down the face of our younger daughter every time this classic ‘98 exit song played, fearin’ that her “never leave the kid out of their sight for a minute” parents, would pack it up, and disappear in the middle of the night.  But, that was then…

and this is NOW!…the YoYos actually did leave in the middle in the night to beat the Seattle sunrise- and “Away We Go”, as we continue our epic journey hittin’ 100 studios in 100 days and headed south to the Yoga Holy Land- Portland, Oregon, a virtual magnet for yogis near and far.

 

Denise Payne

Denise Payne

All wound up after our most excellent Kombucha filled road trip, we headed over to One Song Yoga, a killer expansion of Yoga Bhoga to kick off our Portland Yoga Studio Tour! Circling a few dozen times, we finally found this hidden ultra cool studio located in a converted warehouse turned “you got to be kidding me” hip urban yoga loft in a “up and comin’” SE area next to the Willamette River, railroad tracks (yoyoyogi man loves the sound of those trains), a packed to capacity trendy restaurant and artsy businesses.  We walked up the steel stairway to the 2nd floor, elated to find exposed brick walls, deep rich colors, magnificent beamed ceilings and the super-cool, super-fun, super-“God, I’m glad we came here”- owner, Denise Payne. 

Flyin' Denise

Flyin' Denise

We found our space on the expansive floor as friendly yogis just chatted away, makin’ us feel like one of the gang. We knew from the first “OM” that this spirited group was at the same time super accomplished and super accepting.  Denise asked the YoYos at the get-go, if we were comfortable with inversions- we are actually, perfectly comfortable, it’s just doing them that seems to get in the way, but the YoYos love a challenge and we loved even more the way Denise masterfully led her Classic Hatha Class with an amazing variety of diverse and unusual asanas that challenged our mind, strength and balance.   Joyfully, she encouraged all levels to accept what worked for them while expanding deeper and deeper, at times ending with anti gravity asanas for the yogis in this class that were- well, we know this isn’t very yogi-like, but … super impressive!  This class was fun/tough, fun/tough, fun- so fun in fact that after class, the yogis didn’t want to leave, so they just sat on the steps, hung out and …chatted away!

 

 

 


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Day 17 Portland-Yoga Shala-Tracy Vogel

Researchin’, surfin’ and just plain askin’ our fellow bandana wearin’ brethren to point us in the right direction, always gets us straight to the “not to miss” yoga studios on the west coast.  Today, we were lovin’ the guiding words…”Hey YoYo’s… if you miss Yoga Shala…you’ll miss yoga in Portland.”

North Williams Street

North Williams Street

 

Located in outer Mississippi, or was that outer Alabama, or was that just north of south…seems the folks in this ‘hood have a slight identity crisis on what to call this area… so much so, they are actually holding a clever name contest for the strip of land that claims hip restaurants, coffee houses, small cafes and one-of- a-kind; toy, cooking and design stores.  This surprising block in the NE area looks like an old warehouse with an ancient loading dock turned deck that opens to the sun. In the midst, shining like a beacon, sits Yoga Shala.  

Shiva Studio

Yoga Shala

Antique, turned cutting-edge, glass garage doors open to expose the entire 1st floor of this unique studio where everything yogi awaited. The YoYos were blown away to see stairs leading to a 2nd floor open loft with; not one…not two… but three….killer studios. The “omg” ceiling was super giant rounded wood; the walls…a kaleidoscope of Portland urban and the offerings were off the charts!

World-Class Kirtan

World-Class Kirtan

Pranayama series in one room, a plethora of immersion classes from talented instructors in the other, and Kirtan performances in the mother of all rooms with walls that open to seat 250…yep, 250, are common in this Center for Yoga which regularly hosts coveted performances and workshops from renowned artists and yoga greats.  

Located in outer –wherever, Yoga Shala NE is the expanded creation of owner Jodi Kurilla with the ever-popular original Yoga Shala remaining in the SE.   Tonight, slowin’ things way down, the YoYos basked in an easy to follow,  beginning class from Tracy Vogel, manager of this yoga nucleus to see just how this super successful studio kick-starts its community of loyal yogis.

First Thursday in the Pearl

First Thursday in the Pearl

Feeling a “bolt from the blue” after our astounding yogic discovery, the YoYos headed over to  First Thursday, held on …you guessed it…. the first Thursday of every month in the Pearl District throughout the summer, to witness first hand how yogis on a budget do P-Town right.  Free people-watchin’, free “up-scale” art studios openin’, free food eatin’ and free wine drinkin’.  Booths from Portland’s talented, creative artists and music on the streets from next weeks superstars while zillions of people come to have “hot” fun in the summertime….  Portland…you got it goin’ on!

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Day 18 Portland-CPY NW-James Grant

Studious RU

Studious RU

Alberta Arts District

Alberta Arts District

Today was the day The Ru; the wise, kind, old, “soon to be published” grandfather cocker spaniel had been waitin’ for since bein’ stuffed in the YoYo mobile and forced to explore parts unknown to begin this epic adventure. So happy was author Ru, that “Down Dogisms” was to be made available in “About Us” in the YoYoYogi blog that we celebrated by goin’ to that ‘hood great writers had gone before…The Alberta Arts District. Here, he could gather fodder for his plagiarized reflections. Swaggering Ru, felt at “one” with this avant-garde community of coffee houses, old-school barber shops, toy stores, head shops, rib pits, stores made out of tin and wine stores sellin’ zin. A day of relaxin’, was just what the 3 of needed… knowin’ a most welcome treat and thorough butt-kickin’ was waitin’ for us on the other side of town.

James Grant

James Grant

Now, Every roadtrippin’ yogi needs a place to call h“OM”e and when the YoYo’s feel the need for speed, it’s all about Portland’s, “turn up the volume” yoga…CorePower Yoga-NW! Vigorous and humblin’, these “power-worshippin’” yogis love this potent, super-sweaty, swarmin’ room with killer music, monster humidifiers, and ever-changin’ inspired flows. It was here, in this addicted yoga community that the YoYos first laid eyes on James Grant… doin’ some kinda something while standin’ on what appeared to be one finger with legs flyin’ ever which way. Now, we’d had been hangin’ with yoga for years, but never had we seen anything like this… and to think, today, the courageous YoYos were to challenge themselves beyond previous capacity at this accomplished teacher’s, 90 minute- 100 degree Core 3 class.

Startin’ slowly and quickly pickin’ up the dramatic pace, this artistic guide kept our minds busy while leadin’ our bodies in hot pursuit of that continually expandin’ edge throughout this inspired, inventive and super-original flow. Blarin’ tunes that rocked our world and messages that melted our hearts, this innovative leader reiterated our unwaverin’ belief that there IS… No Place like h”om”e.

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Day 19 Portland-The Yoga Space-Michele Loew

The Yoga Space

The Yoga Space

To get that deep, opening flow goin’, all a YoYo really needs is a big old space to throw down a mat, a super-focused teacher, and an awesome community of “chill” yogis…Today, we found exactly that in SE Portland, behind a white corner storefront with a small sandwich sign aptly announcing, “The Yoga Space”.   A better name in the entire world couldn’t be found for this unassuming spot that was custom made for “soul” Yoga. 

No fanfare, no frills…no butt liftin’, tummy suckin’, cleavage enhancin’ yoga wear at this “it’s all about the yoga” studio.  Nope, this unique space with 100 year old floors, huge windows and “no worries” attitude keeps it simple, allowing owner and teacher extraordinaire Michele Lowe, to continue on a path of world-wide learning so she can bring it back to her well established and growing community of loyal yogis. 

Spot-on, the YoYos were lovin’ Michele’s unique ability to expertly adjust every body and every asana for everyone in this full, “even on the 4th of July”, class making the all-levels Vinyasa Flow easy to follow for the newbie or “born in headstand” yogi.  No wonder the tight-knit community at Yoga Space keeps comin’ back for MORE and more, especially on Tuesday and Thursday night when The Yoga Space serves up a $5 Happy Hour Class… Now, that’s a yogi style deal! 

Walkin’ out the door, we realized …it was goin’ to be a scorcher here in P-Town…
Burnin’ Blues…Blazin’ Fireworks… Sizzlin’ Fare
So…off we headed to the Waterfront, for a little 4th of July action….Portland Style!

Waterfront Blues Festival

Waterfront Blues Festival

4th Of July Fireworks

4th Of July Fireworks

Yo! The YoYos haven’t seen a crowd like this since Obama’s innaguration… Food from everywhere on Planet Earth, sounds from Blues Superstars, people watchin’ that will end all future people watchin’ and the most excellent Fiery Party in the Sky… and to think… this is all about this community givin’ back to the Oregon Food Bank.  The Annual  Safeway Water Front Blues Festival- fund raiser/party is the biggest of the year and that’s sayin’ something for a lively city that’s all about micro-brews, happy hours, and supporting those in need.

Could it be that we are goin’ on Capt’n Jason’s lil sailboat to watch the fireworks on the water? Of all the places in all the world, there is nowhere the YoYos would rather be than in Portland tonight!

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Day 20 Portland-OmBase-Todd Williamson

OmBase Studio

OmBase Studio

As we stepped our yogi toes inside the walls of Hillsdale’s sensory yoga experience, OmBase, we knew our two hour, donation based BLIS class had already begun.  Welcomed into the newly opened visceral space that seem to breathe from the energy that created it, we melted into the imagination of owners Todd Williamson and Vittoria Palazzi. Warm hickory floors, reclaimed timber from old-growth forest, massive beamed ceilings and a rainbow of color, grounded our yogi souls and made an inspiring visual backdrop for the imaginative artwork, light fixtures and stained glass created by the ultra-talented community of yogis lucky enough to call this soul enrichin’ studio…”OM”.

Todd & Vittoria

Todd & Vittoria

Feelin’ one of those peace-providin’ practices comin’ on… The YoYos just “let go” as Todd, our experienced guide began his, “pretty sure this is about as blissed out as we’ve ever been” mediation with soothing words and soft rhythm that made thirty minutes fly by in a flash. He then slowly warmed up the body and mind for original, artistically inspired poses done with a strap laced through a secured recessed bar that opened our shoulders, hips and hearts, challenging the YoYos to trust their intuitive leader, and themselves. This day…the YoYos were feelin’ the BLIS!

Cannon Beach on a Sunny Day

Sun-Shinnin' - Day Cannon Beach

Floatin’ out of the studio…we heard the ocean callin’ as we set off on a most excellent adventure at the jaw-droppin’, Canon Beach; land of endless stretches of white sand, Gi-normous rocks jutting out of the everlastingly sea, historic beach cottages, runners, walkers, bikers, and shiny happy people holdin’ hands.

Hurricane wind blowin,’ Ru’s furry feet flyin’, the freezin’ tank top wearin’ YoYo’s were goin’ to have a gritty good time on the beach today!  Wrapped in a wet blanket with the full grown YoYo child and the Ru (the wise, kind old grandfather- even he’s freezing with fur) cocker spaniel; here we all were, havin’ a super-fun picnic at the shore.  Munchin’ on our most disgustin’ sand laden lunch proudly packed by the “not too good in the kitchen” YoYoMan, we counted our blessings as the blowing sand pitted our smilin’ faces letting us know we were alive…and it was good!

 


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