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!

Hippie Life: Juice and Meditation

I realize that sometimes this blog makes me seem like a free-loving, bell bottom wearing hippie with all its yoga and veggie talk. This post will do nothing to dissuade you of that assumption. I’ve come to peace with that!

Today’s post is about juice and meditation. Both of which have been pretty non-existent in my life lately.

First, the juice:

I can’t remember the last time I dusted off my juicer. I definitely go in phases with it. Sometimes having 3-4 a week, then waiting weeks before I use it again. This morning I looked in the fridge and realized I had a lot of odds and ends sitting around. This is going to sound ridiculous but I take great pleasure in using up the random broccoli stalks, the last cup of kale or the other half of the pear I didn’t eat with breakfast yesterday. There’s a feeling of accomplishment that comes with finishing the food I buy and knowing it won’t go to waste. Sort of like checking off a to-do list.

Luckily, all those bits and pieces ended up making the perfect juice and drinking it out of a wine glass made it all the better.

green juice

Here’s the “recipe”.

1/2 an orange, 1 lemon, 1/2 a pear, 1 big handful of kale, 1 broccoli stalk, 1 cucumber, small knob of ginger, small piece of jalapeno.

Fresh, bright, green goodness. Now, if only I didn’t have to clean the juicer.

Second up, meditation:

I’ll be honest, I don’t have a meditation practice. I want to. I know it would be beneficial but I can’t seem to find the self-discipline, which is incredibly frustrating because I have loads of self-discipline in many other aspects of my life. I have little problem with eating well, exercising often, getting enough sleep. I don’t know why sitting still and clearing out the chatter is so hard for me.

Then, last week, I ran across this on Twitter. A 21-day meditation challenge presented by one of my favs, Oprah! I actually ignored it the first time I saw it, but then it surfaced again two days later elsewhere on the web. It got me thinking that maybe the universe was telling me something. So I signed up and did my first guided practice yesterday.

meditation challenge

The whole meditation took about 15 minutes and wasn’t nearly as hard as it usually is when I go it alone. I’m going to try really hard to complete the whole thing and will report back when I’m through. If you’re interested you can still sign up and start with yesterday’s practice today. If you decide to try, let me know how it goes for you.

With that, this hippie is off the drink her juice, do some yoga and clear her mind. Om shanti.

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!

Weekend Update

Weekends are just the best. Even though I ‘work’ on Saturday mornings they are still so much better than the rest of the week. This weekend was no exception.

Friday night we laid low. We are obsessed with a little Thai restaurant in Allston called Brown Sugar Cafe that happens to deliver. The food is so good that we’re basically on a first name basis with the delivery boy. I had the veggie rolls with peanut sauce and the vegetable curry which is spicy but not too hot. Michael had the tofu pad thai which is pretty much the same thing we always order. What can I say, when it’s good why mess with it?

Brown Sugar Thai

Saturday morning I taught. I’m starting to get some regulars in my classes and it’s so nice to see familiar faces every week. I love sharing a part of the weekend with such lovely people. I’ve said it before but Saturday morning classes are extra sweet. Everyone’s mood is a little brighter and the energy is so positive.

Saturday night we headed to Somerville to meet up with our friends Kristy and Erik.

Kristy and Erik

We watched the playoff games at the Thirsty Scholar which happens to also be where they shot scenes for the Social Network. It’s a pretty awesome little restaurant but they do make it out to seem much more glamorous in the movie.

The bar was filled with Packers fans and after a half of listening to them hoot and holler we headed over to Kristy’s sister and husband’s house. We ended up playing the world’s greatest game, Apples to Apples, until way too late.

We had a game group in SF that we miss terribly so it was really nice to find some friends to play with out here. As the night wore on the winning cards started to make less and less sense. This is just an example of the winning cards…spiders are glitzy? I know this means nothing if you haven’t played before but trust me it’s as nonsensical as it seems.

Apples to Apples

We slept in late Sunday morning, an anomaly for me, then went for a coffee walk.

It was sunny and warm this afternoon and by warm I mean in the 40s (I can’t believe my definition of warm is this warped) so I took Eli out for a run. We did our usually loop along the river at a moderate pace with a couple of stops in between for puppy sniffing.

01/06 Run

It sort of surprised me but parts of the Charles have frozen over; I assumed it was too deep to freeze. It gives the river a surreal quality.

Boston winter Boston winter

The rest of Sunday has been spent watching football and looking for a decent vegetable stew recipe. Haven’t found one quite right yet so I’ll be experimenting on my own version tonight. If it’s any good I’ll share this week.

Hope your weekend was lovely.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Garden of the Gods

Happy Cyber Monday. Hope you’re online shopping instead of working this fine morning. 🙂

I purchased my first gift about 20 minutes ago. The holiday season has officially begun. But before we get all Christmas-y let’s finish up Thanksgiving.

After stuffing ourselves with delicious food on Thursday, Michael and I got up super early on Friday for another run around Colorado Springs. We ended up at Starbucks where we met Michael’s brothers Andy and David. We then leisurely strolled home with Andy while he told us the history of Colorado Springs.

After our walk we got ready to meet Michael’s dad and his wife for lunch at the Tavern in the Broadmoor Hotel. The Broadmoor is a beautiful old hotel with stunning views of the mountains. We took a little stroll afterward for some pictures.

The rest of Friday was a blur but we did take a lovely long nap in the afternoon. Love holiday weekends.

On Saturday morning we got up and went to the Garden of the Gods which is a collection of huge sandstone rock formations. I’ve been to Colorado Springs a few times now but had never made it there before. It was unbelievably pretty and only about 15 minutes from Jim and Linda’s place.

We got there on the earlier side to avoid the crowds but the sun was already shining and hot!

Hello hotness!

This formation is called Kissing Camels because of the two rocks at the top.

Beautiful view looking north over the garden.

An awkward self portrait. Love the camera shadow.

Posing.

View from the top of the garden looking toward Colorado Springs. It was so peaceful and there were a bunch of hiking trails around the formations. I wish we could have spent all day hiking and exploring.

After Garden of the Gods we went into the little town of Manitou. We walked around for a bit and stumbled on the penny arcade, where we proceeded to play 6 rounds of Skeeball. So much fun, especially since I won every single game! My years of practice at Chuck E. Cheese’s finally paid off.

Soon it was time to head back to the airport.

We had such a wonderful time in Colorado. Thank you to all of Michael’s family for such a fun holiday. We’ll be back soon.

 

Yoga Filled Weekend

Happy Monday. If you’re anything like me you’ve been up for many hours now. Daylight savings plus Guy, who is the ultimate morning kitty, equals me being up before the sun. Of course, once Guy roused me from bed and was sufficiently convinced that I was awake, he went back to sleep!

Anyway, my weekend was filled with yoga. I began teaching my new weekly Saturday morning power yoga class at All One Yoga.   I loved the energy of a Saturday morning class. I’m so happy to share part of the weekend with my students and am looking forward to, hopefully, getting some regulars in the class. Come join me if you’re in the Boston area.

I also taught a free vinyasa class at the new Newbury Athleta on Sunday. The class was free to anyone and there was a great showing. Most of the ladies were part of a running club but were so lively and enthusiastic about yoga. I’m such a big fan of how both compliment each other, it was great to see others embracing this. Here’s a group shot from after. I had such a fun time teaching. I really encourage you to look into the free yoga classes in your area.

I also couldn’t resist myself so I bought a pair of their yoga pants. They are SO comfortable! I’m wearing them in the shot above. I don’t think you can tell but they are bright purple. I spend all my time in yoga pants and most of mine are black and gray, it was nice to get a little color. Okay, enough about yoga pants, haha.

Last yoga related tidbit. MindBodyGreen reran my Side Effects of Yoga article. Yay.

I didn’t cook much this weekend. We had Thai takeout on Friday and ate at a little hole in the wall Mexican place on Saturday night. Yesterday I did attempt gluten-free pancakes but they aren’t quite right so I’ll have to tinker a bit before I share the recipe. I hear the key to fluffy gluten-free pancakes might be almond meal, we’ll see. Michael also made a potato hash thing that was super tasty.

We also bought new couches last weekend that our being delivered tomorrow so we went about selling our old leather couches and rearranging the apartment again. I know, again. Once everything is in place I’ll take some more pictures but Michael and I are both liking the new set up much better, which includes using our dining room table! We’re such grown ups.

I’m off to figure out how the heck to winter-ize my scooter. The temps are dropping and poor scoot needs anti-freeze or a cover or something. This is not something we had to worry about in San Francisco, I’m sure it’s the first of many winter first for me 🙂

Enjoy your day!

Autumn Vegetable Hash for a Rainy Friday

As promised, today I set out to recreate a vegan version of this hash dish from our dinner party last weekend for you.

But first I went to a really wonderful mid-day yoga class. I’m usually a vinyasa girl and this was labelled as core vinyasa but was more of an Iyengar class. Slow transitions, lots of thoughtful cues and some long-held twisting postures at the end of class that felt amazing after a week of running and power yoga. Just another reminder to switch up your routine from time to time. I really didn’t need another fast paced, sweaty class this week. I love when the universe’s common sense is better than your own.

After class I headed over to the Copley Square farmers market. I needed parsnips, carrots (we managed to go through a 5 pound bag of carrots in a month!), and lemons. Apparently lemons are not in season yet, I had to do a drive by to Trader Joe’s afterward. Then I came home to chop. Inga warned me when she sent me this recipe that it’s a lot of chopping, she was not wrong. But, on a rainy afternoon, I recommend putting on some music, getting out your biggest cutting board and best knife and rolling with it. It’s worth the effort.

Autumn Vegetable Hash with Rosemary Vegan Butter Sauce

Inspired by Ina Garten’s recipe here. I halved this recipe but if you follow the original amounts you’ll easily be able to serve 8 side dish portions.

2 big parsnips, chopped

1/2 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 potato, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

salt to taste

1/4 cup of vegan butter, I used Earth Balance

2 springs rosemary

juice of 1/2 a lemon

————

Preheat oven to 400.

Chop all vegetables into small 1/2 inch pieces. I’m a fan of leaving the skin on carrots and parsnips but definitely peel the butternut squash before dicing.

 

 

These were some crazy purple and orange carrots, so pretty.

Once everything is chopped, place on 2 cookie sheets and mix with olive oil and salt. Make sure the oil is spread over all the vegetables evenly. Ina’s recipe calls for a lot of oil that I found unnecessary but if you want to use more feel free.

Side note: don’t do what I did and try cramming everything on one cookie sheet. It steams the veggies instead of browning them. After 45 minutes I finally relented and split them onto two sheets and they browned up quickly. It doesn’t pay to be lazy!

Roast the vegetables for 30 minutes. Then add the garlic. Roast for another 10 mins. (To be fair I roasted mine for well over an hour because of the steaming issue, so I’m using Ina’s recommended timings, but watch for the veggies to get golden brown and use your best judgement on timings based on your oven.)

While veggies are roasting, melt butter in a saucepan. Add in springs of rosemary. Let rosemary simmer in the butter until the leaves are crispy. 5 minutes or so.

Remove rosemary.

Add in lemon juice and drizzle the butter over a big plate of the hash.

 

I swear it’s not burnt, those pretty purple carrots aren’t so pretty once they’ve been roasted 🙂

This dish feels like the holidays to me. It would be great as a mashed potato alternate at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I don’t eat eggs but I imagine this would also be really good as a breakfast hash with an egg or two on top. Michael, did you get this far? Please use leftovers now that you’re staying in town!

I’m off to Chicago to celebrate my wonderful Mother’s birthday and to give some love to my grandparents and aunt. Hope you all have an amazing weekend.

Enjoy!