This weekend flew by. I spent Friday down the shore with my family where I enjoyed too many fresh doughnuts, mozzarella sandwiches and baked ziti than I bare to remember. I’m generally pretty terrified of the ocean and all that lurks there and am perfectly happy soaking up the rays on the edge of the turf; however the early temperament of the ocean was as calm as a warm bath. And so, I ventured in for over an hour with my aunt, wading and floating over weak waves. I also got to snuggle up to all of the family pups before hitting the road.
Saturday brought a break in temperature and local adventures. D bought a bike after searching for almost a year and it is the absolute perfect hybrid of mountain meets road tires. It was a bit spur of the moment which meant it was time to take the plunge and buy a bike rack. I was anxious about strapping a $$$ bike to my baby Yaris, but once all was said and done I think Yari looks pretty cute with a bike strapped on! The rack even holds two bikes, which means adventures in the future to come.
We followed our day up with a trip to everyone’s favorite adult toy store, IKEA! Early on in my cross country moving career I learned of the infinite possibilities Craigslist offers to those of us with a desire, cash and a car. I sold every single nearly new item I owned in San Diego on Craigslist when I moved back East and couldn’t help but feel a twinge of envy at the lucky ones who stole away with my perfect condition furniture at reasonably below market price.
Saturday morning I traded up. I had a Crate & Barrel leaning bookcase and desk that was collecting dust and crammed to the brim. Let’s be honest, most computer usage is carried out on the comfort of my couch in my pajamas and not at my desk. Within a day of posting the pieces I had a serious buyer and cash in hand, no negotiations. And so, the trip to IKEA. Sadly, Saturday’s trip left me empty handed. A return trip on Sunday was successful and now I’m ecstatic at how my books are displayed. The room instantly became brighter and more open!
We capped off the weekend with a bike ride on a local trail, testing my one year old Craigslist find bicycle’s hybrid wheels on gravely rocks and thick dirt. It was pretty fabulous.
And so, now she rests in the office, perpendicular to the bright book case. Not quite my vision for functional decor, but it’ll do.
I know not all of us are into politics, but this is an election year and it is our responsibility to pay a little bit of attention to what is happening if we are going to exercise our vote. Sadly, many people will blindly vote Republican or Democratic regardless of key issues, however our generation is lucky enough to be socially connected and thus have more exposure to key issues.
Have you watched the news lately? Because if you missed the latest story regarding voter suppression (which has been only mildly covered by mainstream media in the past weeks) may I suggest you play a little catch up? I’m not going to re-write well written articles with my poor interpretation and summarizing skills, but I find this issue incredibly thought-provoking in terms of our constitutional rights and this particular election.
So I will say no more, except that today’s ruling was a little stunning. But you be the judge.
- GOP Voter ID Campaign Based on Bunk at Huffington Post
- Pennsylvania Voter ID Case Coud Upend GOP War On Voters in Swing State at Alternet
- Voter ID Ruling a Slap in the Face to Democracy at Huffington Post
- Pennsylvania Judge Upholds Voter ID Law at NYTimes
- Missed Chance to Reject Voting Barriers at NYTimes Editorial
Happy What I Ate Wednesday!
My kitten Rex got neutered yesterday and it has been quite a readjustment for the other cats. He’s doing much better today, it’s just the middle child who is having a hard time remembering who the kitten is (really??).
Anyway, the morning was spent catering to my kitten’s needs and eating this delicious Blueberry Bliss Protein Pancake ala Tone It Up. I use Lemon Chobani, Sun Warrior Vanilla protein powder and top the pancake with blueberries. (PS: anyone else excited about their updated Beach Babe Edition?)
Lunch was out with a good friend of mine. We met up at a Greek restaurant and ordered an artichoke, spinach and feta dip as an appetizer which was absolutely divine with warm pita. I followed that up with a delicious Greek salad and a small glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
We then hit up a few consignment shops before I had to head home and get ready to see a client. I refueled before my client with one row of organic milk chocolate and took grapes & a mozzarella stick on the road.
And finally, dinner was incredibly simple. I sautéed some pressed extra-firm tofu in a little sesame oil before adding some frozen mediterranean vegetables and garlic sauce into the pan and coupled with a cup of jasmine rice. Incredibly simple and quick to make but absolutely delicious. D loved it.
Now it’s time to get my life together for tomorrow. I have a zillion clients tomorrow, want to squeeze in yoga, a dinner date and then pack my bags and head down the shore.
Here are some other yummy eats to check out from this week’s edition of WIAW:
- Breakfast: Thai Breakfast Pizza at Kiss My Broccoli
- Lunch: Spelt crust vegan pumpkin, spinach and sundried tomato calzone at Peachy Palate
- Dinner: Lightened-Up Shepherd’s Pie with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Hatch Chiles at Savor the Rainbow (substituting the ground beef for a vegetarian equivalent of course!)
I love yoga so much that I actually drop-in at three different studios which are different distances from my home to ensure that I can get to class a few times a week no matter how late I work or what direction I’m coming from. Except for the exception: summer. As a school employee I have flexible summers, which always begin with the intention to attend yoga like it’s my job. I started off strong this summer, but then the heat kicked in and I backed off and started to intersperse some non-hot classes into my day and woah, what a slap in the face that is. It is so much harder to get into poses without the heat!
With loads of celebrities flocking to Bikram classes, including the likes of Lady Gaga, Gwenyth Paltrow, Anne Hathaway, Jenny McCarthy and so on and so on, it’s been on my “try it once” list for quite some time. About three weeks ago I picked up a Groupon for a local Bikram studio at a ridiculous price (aka: the price of the voucher was less than one class at any of the studios I attend). After reading that someone close to me just knocked out the 60-day challenge, I figured it was a sign to give it a try. So today, I traveled to a new yoga studio.
I was “prepared” in the superficial sense: I had my mat, my towel and water and previously glanced at the poses online. I was greeted kindly upon checking in and was told to set myself in the back row. The room was just as hot as a typical hot vinyasa studio with the following exception: carpeted floor that had a strange smell to it. It wasn’t outwardly offensive, but not the fragrant scent of incense I’m accustomed to.
There were only 7 students in the class which allowed for ample mirror space which I found quite helpful throughout class (something my typical vinyasa studios do not all have). The class started slow with pranayama and quickly picked up the pace from there. There was no background music, just the instructor seated on a stool reciting the dialogue. I have to say, I was not expecting the standing series to wind me as much as it did. Also, this may be a good time to share that I attended a 75-minute EXPRESS class, so my heart rate was really pumping (I was told this meant less pausing between poses). On a few occasions I found myself wishing for a child’s pose, or even worse, a sip of water.
So here’s my rundown on my Bikram experience:
Things I liked about Bikram: (1) The intensity of holding the poses. In vinyasa I often know that a tricky pose will only last to a 3- or 5-count and use that knowledge to help me maintain focus. In the Bikram classes the poses were held far longer than I am used to, offering a challenge to maintain focus and balance longer.
Things I missed from a vinyasa class: I’m surprised to say that the music is not something on this list, although I thought it would be. I was so intensely focused on the poses that music would only have been a lovely afterthought. (1) I immediately missed the dharma talk and setting an intention. No OM to seal the deal? (2) I also quickly began to miss a more appealing smell in the room (pungent odor seemed to develop over time). (3) I wasn’t a big fan of the carpet and stepping off my mat for poses. We all have yoga mats, so why are we not getting into triangle pose or standing separate leg pose horizontally on the mat? I found myself sliding on the carpet and unable to maintain a good grip in these poses. (4) No adjustments. The verbal cues are pretty good and I was called out a couple times, but sometimes I crave that correction for muscle memory.
Things that I wished were better explained to me: (1) When we are allowed to sip water as I kept missing these “allowed times” and found myself parched at the end of class; and (2) the correct way to breathe, as I tend to reset to ujjayi and was the loudest breather in class.
Overall I enjoyed my experience today and haven’t soaked my clothes that terribly in a long, long time. I also haven’t smelled that bad either. I think I’ll return a few more times during my 30-day trial and see how my feelings progress. If nothing else, it’ll be one more class to mix into my pocketful of yoga studios. And hey, I tried something new. Yay to that!
Have you tried Bikram yoga? Have a yoga preference?
Monday, “welcome to the working week” (Elvis Costello, thankyouverymuch). Some of us drive to work and use that time to shift our brain out of our sleep fog and casually into work mode. That was me the past three years, until sometime in the middle of a stress filled month I took a step back and turned my attention a little closer to how I spent my mornings before arriving at work. It was a pretty automatic routine of wake up, coffee, dress, eat, drive & simultaneously worry about all of the things waiting for me on my desk.
By starting my day with a stressor I was pretty much setting up myself up for falling right into the trap all. day. long. So, I changed my morning routine and introduced really, really fun dance-in-the-car music and happy thoughts into my morning drive. BAM. Enter happy, positive thoughts coupled with empowering “This is going to be a great day” mantras and mornings just got a lot better.
So on Music Monday I’m sharing what music brought me to that happy place in the morning, or all week.
Below are three new bands I’ve been introduced to this summer and the songs that make me dance in my car morning, noon and night. Enjoy!
Interested in reading more about mantras, positive affirmations and yoga in the car? Check out these articles:
- How to use the power of positive affirmations at The Daily Mind
- 3 steps to harness the power of Om to transform your life at Mind Body Green
- Positive thinking – a route to wellbeing by Yoga Abode
- Use yoga to de-stress your morning commute by Women’s Health
When I fall off the wagon, I fall off the wagon. Once I hit the ground, I go running. And as luck would have it, I ran straight into a delicious recipe for blueberry crumb cake. Must have been my lucky day!
With blueberries being fresh and in season, the baking of this cake couldn’t have been better timed. It is literally exploding with plump deliciousness. And in all honesty tastes like a giant Starbucks blueberry muffin. It’s true.
And do you know how I’m going to enjoy it tomorrow? At breakfast, topped with lemon greek yogurt. Truly a divine combination.
If you’re looking for other blueberry lemon combinations, check out some of these tasty treats:
- Blueberry Lemon Buttermilk Bundt Cake at Brown Eyed Baker
- Lemon Yogurt Cake at Smitten Kitchen
- Lemon Blueberry Buckle at The Novice Chef
Easily my favorite combination for summer.
For over a year my sister has been raving about Rebecca Minkoff and the amazing bags she puts out season after season. In the meantime, she’s been lucky enough to attend a few sample sales and land the M.A.C. in two colors at nearly 50% off while I ogle at fashion bloggers and celebrities sporting the brand.
What’s that, you say? UNFAIR! That’s exactly what I thought time and time again. Sure one may be lucky enough to snag a Minkoff on GILT or other sale sites, but my job doesn’t afford me the luxury of web trolling all day and my place in suburbia keeps me firmly tucked away from the thrill of sample sales.
What I do troll, is T.J. Maxx. Now and then I’ve happened upon some pretty sweet deals from some fairly major labels.
So imagine my surprise when I happened upon a Minkoff bag at T.J. Maxx! I have been coveting a M.A.C. or 5-Zip for quite some time, however couldn’t commit to a color choice. In fact, if I could just commit to a color I would have already purchased a bag at full price. I have a problem where I only want black, white or tan bags and I knew I should step out of my box.
So I stumbled upon the pine green bag (bottom left) and insta-texted my sister with excitement. Although I wasn’t interested in that particular purse, I felt a challenge was sprung upon me. Operation: Find a M.A.C. or 5-Zip was on.
It only took 5 visits to 4-different stores (in a 10-day period) before I landed upon what became my bag. The eggplant M.A.C. with leopard lining – it shone out from the racks like a beam of light. I probably yelped out loud before parading myself around the store with it on my arm, checking out the color against my complexion. You see, T.J. Maxx you just made my indecisive life that much easier by presenting me only one M.A.C. clutch at half-price. I know this because I ripped through every rack looking for another. The only other Minkoff was a pine green Circle Quilted Affair which was not on my covet list. At that point I had no choice but to take home the clutch with me, due mostly to the fact that I didn’t have to pick out the color and that I actually liked the choice the fates had bestowed upon me.
But now I consider the stakes higher, as I have yet to encounter a 5-zip at a T.J. Maxx – and I may let out a full on screech if I do. So back I went this week, post vacation, to check up on my local store’s selection. Imagine my disbelief when I found 3 Minkoff bags, two of which are the leopard beauties pictured above. I am a leopard print-phile, owning way too much of the pattern than I should admit to, but these were not on the scavenger list.
Right now I’m happily situated with one discounted designer bag from R.M., however I’ll continue my quest for the elusive 5-zip. No worries, though. I’ll be sure to share my conquest once it’s rightly situated on my arm.
What’s your best designer find at a mainstream store?