Summer Adventures

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Des Moines is a great city for all sorts of adventures, especially in the summertime. I find that my evenings during the week and my mornings on the weekend get pretty full as the summer progresses because there’s just so much to do! Here are three things you can do in Des Moines, our beautiful Capitol City, that cost nothing, nada, zilch. You get the point.

Yoga in the Park! The first time I did yoga in the park, I was about 20 yards (at most) from Adrien Brody. Yes, the actor from The Pianist. The actor from the Wes Anderson films. The handsome chap with the distinguished nose. It was a distracting practice to say the least. My friend Sarah and I spotted him and I don’t think many other people did. I got the courage to approach him and asked if he was enjoying his stay in Des Moines. He was. I told him he was talented. He said thank you. It was a brief moment in my life but I was practically glowing as I retold the story in the days to come. After all, it’s not everyday that you encounter a celebrity in Des Moines. A few weeks after that first encounter he was at the park again, this time with a buzzed haircut and lots of fake tattoos up and down his arms. He had clearly morphed into his character from The Experiment, the film he was shooting at the time and I was significantly less starstruck. yoga

The reason I love yoga in the park isn’t because of my brief, albeit spectacular encounter with Adrien Brody, it’s because of the opportunity the City of Des Moines has provided to people who may not have experience with yoga or who may not be able to afford yoga practice in a studio. Our community yoga sessions are on Saturday mornings from 9-10 AM at Gray’s Lake. It’s a beautiful setting and the instructors rotate so each weekend provides a different type of practice. All are welcome and it’s been so great to see how successful this program has become over the years. A lot more people attend in 2014 than did in 2009 when I first started going.

Meditation Around Town. I posted about my desire to begin meditating last winter. I visited the Des Moines Zen Center with my friend, aka Zen Sister, Emily, and had a really wonderful experience. I didn’t follow through with my intention to re-visit the Zen Center, however. This was in part due to my hesitance to go back alone and also the fact that the hours don’t always work with my schedule. This past Thursday, my friend Leslie and I visited the first of many free meditations around Des Moines. A scattered thunderstorm ruined the plans to have this in the Sculpture Park but it was moved indoors and was a success with about 20 others in attendance. I foresee this growing just as the yoga has since its inception. Like yoga, this has rotating meditation leaders so each month will be different. These sessions take place the third Thursday of each month so mark your calendars for July 17 at Greenwood Park!

Jasper Winery Summer Concert Series. I have been attending the summer concert series at Jasper Winery for the past few years. This is a fun, family friendly gathering that occurs every Thursday from about 6-9 PM between Memorial Day and the end of July. There is wine from the winery available for purchase, as well as beer from their brewery. We always pack a picnic but there’s usually a food truck of sorts on hand if you want to go that route. I love this because I usually run into a few friends, it’s a beautiful setting, and there’s nothing better than a picnic with live music in the summer! Here are some of my favorite photos from my last trip to Jasper!

Jillian was begging to take a photo of her mom and me. We had some good laughs at the outcome!
IMG_3517Except for this photo, which Jillian took! It’s one of the best photos ever. Maybe she’s a five-year old photography prodigy.
IMG_3532And this was taken last year but it’s one of my all-time favorites: JilliWhat are you favorite activities in Des Moines or the city in which you reside? Comment below; I’d love to hear from you!