Things I’m Loving 3!

Click here to read Things I’m Loving 1! and Things I’m Loving 2!.

Now for Things I’m Loving 3!

1.) All your comments yesterday on my blog post about making good girlfriends as an adult. Thank you! It’s nice to see I’m not the only one struggling with this. Now, if we could just find an easy way for everyone to connect.

2.) This infographic I found on the web yesterday. I would never have understood this 6 months ago but I know it all too well now. Although we’ve yet to have that day in March, this is exactly how the seasons in New England feel.

Seasons Screengrab

[Source]

3.) Coconut Oil: I originally bought this to cook with but I’ve been reading a lot about the benefits of using coconut oil as a natural moisturizer. I love the idea of not putting a bunch of random chemicals and fragrances on my face so I thought I would give it a try. Turns out, I love it! Besides smelling amazing, it’s not as greasy as you’d expect, much less so than mineral oil. It makes my skin super soft and I might be making this up but I think it’s smoothing out some little wrinkles near my eyes too. It’s also unbelievably cheap. For $4.99 a jar you get months of moisturizer.

There are a ton of articles on the benefits and other uses for coconut oil. Here’s just one.

One caveat: I have extremely dry skin so I found this perfect. If you have oily or combo skin you’ll have to experiment with whether it’s too much.

trader joe's coconut oil

4.) The Soda Stream!

Michael and I love bubbly water. We used to buy 12 huge bottles every time we went to the store. Not only was it a pain to lug all those bottles upstairs, it’s wasteful and not very green. We bought a Soda Stream a few months ago and haven’t looked back since. It’s not cheap, we bought ours for about $120 at Bed, Bath and Beyond and the CO2 cartridges run about $30 a pop. We get about 30 bottles out of one cartridge averaging out to about a dollar per bottle. Pretty much the same as if you buy it at the store. But the ease and the green factor completely outweigh the costs. If you love bubbly you may want to consider it.

Soda Stream

5.) Writing for WalkJogRun. In the past couple of days I’ve shared two articles with their readers and thought you might like them too.

The first is how to pick the right yoga class for you. It’s a brief overview of the different styles and how to find the right studio and teacher. Check it out if you’re interested in yoga but feel overwhelmed by all the options.

yoga

The second is a smoothie recipe. Really refreshing and light!

breakfast smoothie

6.) A couple of weeks ago we saw the jazz band People vs. Larsen play. They were really good and are on Itunes. They are Brooklyn based so if you live in the NYC area check out their performance schedule.

People vs Larsen

That’s it for today’s list.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Homemade Peanut Butter and Friendships

Last night I had some new girlfriends over. We ate cheese and crackers and veggies and delicious banana bread. We also drank wine while complaining about the weather and how hard it is to make good girlfriends as you get older. Over the past couple years I’ve heard this complaint a lot, from both myself and the ladies I’ve met and it doesn’t seem to be specific to Boston either.

When we are no longer in school with ample time to “hang out” but instead work full-time or take care of children all day it leaves little time for friendship. Seems we’re all yearning for more friends and yet we can’t figure out how to connect. Add a move and a new city to the mix and it makes it all the more difficult.

Plain and simple, as an adult it can be hard to make new friends!

It requires time and effort to develop close friendships and I’ll admit, it can be also be somewhat uncomfortable. It’s almost like a first date, meeting a friend of a friend for coffee or a perfect stranger for a yoga class, where I’m not really sure if we have enough in common to hang out but decide to try anyway. It can leave me feeling a little insecure as I wistfully think of my friends back home. But, then I remember that at some point they too were new friends. They were the awkward meet up for a run or book club or cocktail that grew into these deep, lasting friendships. And that keeps me optimistic.

I can never tell how much is too much to share here. Whether I shouldn’t write about this kind of stuff because it might make me sound childish and whiny. But then I think if I’m having this problem and many of the other women I’ve met are feeling them same, then maybe I’ll just be open about it. I’ll risk seeming less than blog perfect (ha!) if it opens up a dialog and makes us all feel less like we’re the only ones. If you happen to have all the friends you need then I’m a little envious and please ignore the above.

I wish at the end of this ramble I could give a solution. Like a fool-proof app where you could punch in a couple of criteria and presto you’d have 5 new best friends. I don’t have that app. 😦

What I do have is peanut butter. The fool-proof kind where you dump it all into a processor  and presto, you have a new best friend!

See how that worked? The perfect segue from friends to peanut butter in less than 30 words.

This recipe is not ground breaking. There are plenty of homemade peanut butter recipes out there, I’d just never tried any myself. Our last jar of store-bought peanut butter looked like this today.

peanut butter

So, I figured now was as good a time as any to try it. The process couldn’t be simpler and calculating the cost, making my own was about a $1 cheaper. Not a huge sum but I like the idea of being able to adjust the salt and am looking forward to mixing a couple of different kinds of nuts and flavorings together for tailor-made nut butters.

Homemade Peanut Butter (vegan, gluten-free)

1 16 oz bag of unsalted peanuts

1/2 tsp salt

————

Add peanuts and salt to your food processor.

peanut butter 1 minute

Run the processor for about 4-5 minutes until peanut butter is smooth. Scrap down the sides if necessary.

Peanut butter 3 minutes

Makes one jar. Store in the fridge.

homemade peanut butter 1

Enjoy and Exhale!

Keeping Up Appearances

On Friday night I met my friend Kristy at a bar near downtown for happy hour. It was definitely an after work kind of place with lots of guys in suits and girls in pearls. Most of which were checking emails while having a much-needed drink and talking to their co-workers. True multi-taskers.

Trade

While looking around at everyone, I mentioned to Kristy that one of the disadvantages of working from home and teaching for a living is that I never really get dressed anymore. Not even just dressed up, I mean dressed. I spend all my time in yoga pants with my hair in a bun. I haven’t worn more than a little mascara in months, my blow dryer died two weeks ago and I’ve yet to replace it and the only laundry I’m ever doing is spandex and sports bras. It’s become a problem.

Part of the problem is that I save my workouts for the afternoons, after I’ve written a blog post or an article. Which puts off doing my hair or showering or any of the other things normal people do in the morning. It’s left me feeling rather disheveled, frumpy and lazy.

Time for an intervention.

This morning, right out of the gates, I laced up my new, very awesome running shoes and headed out for a run with the pups. It was a cold morning but it felt really good to be out and about that early. We made a loop by the river and then came through the Commons. We did about 4 moderately paced miles (I didn’t actually track it) with a little time spent saying hi to all the other dogs out for their morning walks.

Morning run

Spring is coming, I don’t care what anyone says.

Eli

We stopped off at the grocery store afterward to grab green smoothie fixings and some peanuts, more on that later this week.

Once home, I showered, changed into real clothes, straightened my hair, put on some makeup and felt like a new woman.

These are obviously not ground breaking events, nor really all that blog worthy, except that they made such a big difference in my day and helped to remind me that keeping up appearances shouldn’t be for the sake of someone else. Looking good can just be for you!

Eli and Me

And maybe the dog, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t care that I straightened my hair!

With that, off to make some food. I have a bunch of new recipes I want to try out. I’m hopeful that some will be good enough to share this week.

Happy Monday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Wednesday in Boston

A little quiet around here today because something unexpected happened…

sunshine

…the sun came out!

Oh beautiful, warm, bright sun. Welcome back to my life.

So what if it’s only 48 degrees and I’m still in my winter coat and this is the only warm day in the 7 day forecast. So what! We’re living in the moment and this moment isn’t freezing.

Blue sky above.

Boston

Outside seating set up (a bit prematurely if you ask me).

boston

And four very muddy puppy paws, happy from a long walk by the river.

eli

Tomorrow recipes. I just couldn’t stay inside today.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Weekend: This and That

Oh daylight savings, how I love thee. I know this morning was rough but how nice is it to have extra sunlight in the evenings? I taught at 4:30 yesterday afternoon and it was still light when the class let out! So wonderful.

Not in the mood to write a long post so here are just a few highlights of the weekend.

I went out of my way to get a nice wine for us to drink last week at a little wine shop right by Sangha. I spent 15 minutes talking with the wine people (are they considered sommeliers in wine shops or just restaurants?) I was told this would be perfect for our combined preferences of Pinot Noir (him) and Zinfandel (hers). We were sorely disappointed by this wine but the label was cute enough to share and aptly named, as some of this little troublemaker ended up on our couch.

troublemaker wine

Dinner with my friend Naina at the Beehive in the South End. I love that place, we’ve been at least 5 times! Probably should branch out and try some other restaurants in the neighborhood though.

Naina and Me

Mezze platter. Dip lovers dream. 7 dips on one plate!

mezze platter

We went to see a friend’s play.

The Lover Play

I did some yoga in our living room. Pincha mayurasana.

pincha mayurasana

Vrischikasana attempt. Still working on it.

Vrischikasana

We went on a 3.5 mile run an 8:29 pace. Then stopped in at Pavement Coffee while Eli waited patiently outside. Such a good boy.

Eli

Finally had a chance to take Michael to The Hawthorne for a drink and some nibbles.

bar nibbles

He hates this picture. I love it. I write the blog so I get to post it! 🙂

Michael

And with that, we’re back to Monday and everyone is pooped.

Eli napping under the table

Enjoy and Exhale!

Yoga Updates: Article, Workshop and New Classes

Just a couple of exciting updates to share today if you haven’t already seen them both on Facebook.

My first article for WalkJogRun went live last night. In it I outline the benefits of yoga for runners. If you run and are dabbling with the idea of adding yoga to your training, hopefully this will give you the extra push you need. If you’re not a runner, feel free to check out the article anyway, I’d love your support as I continue to build my writing career.

WalkJogRun Article

Secondly, if you’re in the Boston area on Saturday, March 30th I’m teaching a Fearless Back Bending Workshop at All One Yoga from 1:30-3:30. We’ll working through the fears associated with back bending to deepen your practice.

Back Bending Workshop

Lastly, my teaching schedule will be changing in the next few weeks as I add some classes at All One and shift classes from Crossfit Back Bay to a new studio in Jamaica Plain. I’ll update my teaching schedule page when everything is final and sorted.

Self promotion done.

Back to the food tomorrow. I’m currently working on a millet dish and a quinoa casserole that has huge flop potential but might be worth the gamble.

Have a great Wednesday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Weekend Happenings

I find my weekend update posts the hardest to title. I wish I could think of something more clever.

This weekend flew by, like they usually do. We made more of an effort to get out and about, mostly because the weather cooperated. It was nice to get outside and enjoy the city.

However, Friday night we did our typical thing and stayed in. We made pizzas and a huge garbage salad with miso dressing, drank some wine and watched Dateline. I have a crazy fascination with who-done-it shows and Dateline is my favorite. Michael always obliges me in watching an episode on Friday nights. Now that’s true love. 🙂

pizza night

Saturday I taught and did some work. I also took a luxurious afternoon nap before we headed to Kristy and Erik’s for game night. They live in Somerville and it was our first time venturing out there.

We were greeted by their new rescue dog Tucker. He’s so loving and wonderful, the perfect addition to their family.

tucker tucker

We ate sushi and then set out to play some games. First up was a game called Dirty Minds, which turned out to be incredibly complicated. Kristy’s face pretty much sums up how all of us were feeling (what?!).

game night

Next we moved on to ImaginIff which was way easier and way more fun.

game night

Lastly we plated Uno. I used to play this all the time when I was a camp counselor in high school but it had definitely been a while. I still managed to call a few Uno’s on Michael though.

game night-Uno

After a later than usual night, yesterday morning we slept in and then made our way to the Friendly Toast in Cambridge for brunch. This might be my favorite restaurant in Boston. They have a ton of veggie friendly options and amazing gluten-free pancakes. Win-win for both of us.

Friendly Toast Menu

I had the BLT with faux bacon. I’m not much of a faux meats person but there’s something about Morning Star’s bacon. The sweet potato fries were also delicious. Michael had the chocolate chip pancake seen right and an unpictured scramble of some sort.

veggie blt and sweet potato fries

We left full and happy to hit up Whole Foods, spend way too much money at Target on nothing and take Eli for a bath.

Here he is in a brief moment of happiness, he does not like baths. You’d think he’s being tortured. I try to tell him how lucky he is to have two people basically massage him for 20 minutes. This doesn’t seem to matter to him.

Eli in the bath

We also went on a 5 mile run yesterday afternoon. We stopped and started a lot but our average pace was 8.29. Michael doesn’t usually run longer routes with me but he killed it and beat me handily on the sprints.

We rounded out the weekend with burrito bowls and some lounging and napping on the couch.

burrito bowls

Perfect end to our Sunday.

Back tomorrow with quinoa filled spring rolls.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Week of…

Blogging is a funny thing. I originally set out to chronicle our life here in Boston and share some of my favorite recipes. But like most endeavours, it has turned into something much larger and better than I thought it would. I love sharing my creations and thoughts here with you all, and I love connecting with so many wonderful people, both those I know and those I’ve never met. However, sometimes I struggle with what to write. Some weeks there just aren’t enough new recipes to share or the recipes were flops. Sometimes there aren’t enough Things I’m Loving or enough Little Bits of Random. This is when I contest with whether to write nothing at all or to write about nothing. Yesterday I did the former, today the latter.

I apologize to those of you who follow for the recipes, maybe just skip posts like these? And for those of you who ‘read’ just for the pictures (Sarah, who probably didn’t even get this far), there just aren’t many of those this week either.

Maybe someday I’ll look back on posts like these wishing I hadn’t babbled on about nothing but what can I say, I like to write, I like this blog, I like all of you, so write I will, even without a cohesive theme for this post beyond what happened this week.

Here’s a snapshot.

A Week of Workouts:

There isn’t much rhyme or reason to my workouts. I try to do something active everyday like walk to and from my classes but I purposefully workout five days a week. I try to switch it up and attempt to get in two structured yoga classes a week in addition to my home practice. Running and the gym fall into the other days.

Monday was a rest day except for walking Eli and a little home practice with Guy.

cat yoga

On Tuesday I took to the treadmill. I did an incredibly tedious 4 mile run. I hate the treadmill. Every mile feels like 10 and I’m not one who can cover up the time with a towel and just run. So I watch every minute tick by in agony while I play games with myself like, “run until you hit 1.25 miles then you can stop”, at which point I move the goal to 1.50 miles or to running for 18 minutes or whatever the next milestone is. This trick actually works really well for me but it’s a painful process.

On Wednesday I took a hot hatha class after I taught. It’s pretty much a Bikram class but only 75 minutes and not as hot. I’m not a huge fan of Bikram but it was nice to change it up.

Yesterday I got out for a much more enjoyable run. I headed down to the river and ran 3.25 miles at an 8 minute pace. I thought I was going a lot faster but my watch told me differently. Regardless it felt good to stretch my legs again.

Today I plan to make it over to Baptiste for a power class this afternoon.

A Week of Bites:

I had a lot of Starbucks this week. I’m not sure why but I was craving lattes. This is from Wednesday. Sometimes I like to write and do work away from home, gotta love Starbucks for the free wifi and never kicking you out. It’s also amazing people watching.

Starbucks Soy Latte

I also made a lot of sweet treats.

Beyond these

peanut butter chocolate tart

I also tested a banana cake recipe for my friend’s cookbook. I saved a few slices for myself and shared the rest with my 4:30 yoga class yesterday. I was helping a student with arm balances right after class so I didn’t get a chance to ask how they liked it but the entire cake was gone in two minutes so it must have been good. If any of you are reading from that class please let me know what you thought so I can report back.

banana cake

I also made some banana raisin oatmeal bars. I smothered them with my new favorite Bonne Mamam jam: Apricot Raspberry (Flo, it’s almost as good as the plain Raspberry, almost).

oatmeal bars

Earlier this week I also attempted a not so sweet and not very good cashew cream. I haven’t had much luck with cashew creams. I think it might be my lack of a blender?

cashew cream

Anyhow, that’s about it for the week. Thanks for reading the babble if you got this far.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Enjoy and Exhale!

All Things Yoga

I did zero cooking this weekend. Usually I’ve done something worthy of sharing but I wasn’t feeling inspired to do more than toast some bread and spread on some jam. I’m pretty sure you’re not interested in that recipe!

Unexpectedly the weekend became all about yoga instead. My weekends are often part yoga but this weekend it seemed to dominate.

On Friday afternoon I took a workshop with Nikki Vilella. She is co-owner of Kula Yoga in Brooklyn and I immediately loved her. She was so knowledgeable and personable. The workshop focused on hands on assists. For those yogis reading you know how wonderful and amazing assists can feel during a practice. My ultimate goal is to get much more comfortable and confident giving them in all types of poses. Those of you regulars in my classes (Joeli!) I hope you don’t mind being guinea pigs while I test what works and what doesn’t.

The workshop definitely didn’t feel long enough but I got plenty of good starters. I also bought this book a couple of weeks ago so I’ll be taking pointers from it as well.

Extra Love: The Art of Hands-On Assists

Saturday morning I taught my Power Yoga class and then headed to another of Nikki’s workshops. This time it was all about back bending. I’m teaching my own back bending workshop next month (March 30th at All One Yoga, join me) so I figured it couldn’t hurt to get some new ideas. It was an amazing! I came home right after and jotted down so many notes my hand started to cramp.

yoga notes

That woman is a wealth of knowledge. I wish I lived close enough to take her classes all the time.

Saturday night we headed to Coolidge Corner for sushi. We tried out FaGaKyu which turned out to be a huge restaurant right off the T. The sushi was good but I don’t think we’d go back. I had a sweet potato and pineapple roll (front) that was really tasty. The second was a garden roll that was okay. Michael had a bunch of unpictured tuna rolls.

veggie sushi

Sunday morning we took a long rainy walk to the Commons with Eli. We both forgot our phones so there are no pictures to share.

We spent the afternoon watching more Dexter and reading while the rain turned to snow. I’m attempting to read one for fun book and one yoga book at a time. I just finished Eastern Body Western Mind which took me months to get through, it was dense! I’ve now moved on to this book my mom bought me for Christmas.

the science of yoga

In the evening I went to a Weekend Warrior class taught by the lovely Kaileen at All One. I’ll be taking over her Sunday classes while she’s on maternity leave so I wanted to get a sense of her style. Wow, her class was so fun! In about 2 minutes she made me realize that I’ve been taking my teaching way too seriously. I need to allow for more joy and celebration. I think I’ve been so worried about getting everything perfect that I’ve forgotten how fun it can be to just move and play on your mat (and off your mat really). Thank you Kaileen for the wonderful reminder.

After class we watched the Oscars and had dinner. Pasta for him, taco salad for her, our individual versions of comfort food. 🙂

I spent this morning with an old work friend in town from Korea so now it’s time to log off and get cooking.

Have a wonderful Monday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Boston’s Winter Wonderland

Whew, that was a lot of snow.

Here are before and after shots of our car. This photo was taken around 4pm on Friday afternoon.

Before

This one around 10am Saturday morning. You can just see the top case of my scooter peeking out from behind the car.

After

As you can see, the storm was intense. Lots of wind and about 2 feet of snow in our neighborhood. We spent the evening inside watching Dexter and drinking wine as predicted. We did go out for a few minutes to let Eli run around in the blizzard, which was quickly followed by more sitting by the fire under a blanket.

Saturday we woke up and took an early morning walk.

Mass Ave Boston

This is Mass Ave, probably one of the busiest streets in the city, completely deserted except for us walkers.

Newbury Street

Here is Newbury, another busy street, without a single car.

Newbury Starbucks

Everything was shut down! No Starbucks for us. 😦

So the rest of Saturday was spent doing this.

Scrabble

Yep, a lot of U’s.

There was also lots of lounging.

Guy

The sun came out with a vengeance yesterday. Blue skies and warm temps. In the afternoon we set out for a much more enjoyable stroll around the city. Look at that sky!

Sledding

There were tons of families sledding in the Commons.

Playing in the snow

Eli was loving the snow, he’s waiting to chase a snowball here.

snow sculptures

This is some random guy building what looked to be cross between a lobster and a shark out of snow (in short sleeves!)

I have to hand it to New Englanders, they know how to make the best of the weather. There were people out running despite the snow filled sidewalks, plenty of cross-country skiers along the river and a huge group of kids making a gigantic fort in the park. Blizzards definitely make you appreciate the sunny days. Too bad it didn’t last, back to gray, cloudy and rainy today but there is a silver lining, a gluten-free blueberry muffin trial that worked!

Happy Monday.

Enjoy and Exhale!