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!

And Exhale?

 

yoga

I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog title as I’m sure you have too :). Overall I feel really good about the Quinoa and Kale part, although I do owe you a few more kale recipes but that’s for another day. Right now it’s the exhale part that’s got me bothered.

When I started this blog I sort of resigned myself to allowing my MindBodyGreen articles and occasionally talking about going to or teaching a class to cover the exhale/yoga but I’m starting to think it’s not enough. I spend so much of my day reading, thinking about, practicing, and teaching the exhale part that it seems sort of odd not to talk more about it.

The problem is my own low self-esteem when it comes to yoga. I have been practicing for many years and although there is more to learn (side note: there is always more yoga to learn), I feel fairly confident in my own asana (or physical) practice. Unless of course I get around Michael’s sister-in-law who officially has no spine and makes me feel like an 80-year-old woman, though that’s besides the point.

But you see, the physical practice is only one of the eight limbs of Patanjali’s yoga and its main purpose is to set you up for a meditation practice, which I’m still struggling with. And then there are six other limbs that I am only now beginning to explore. Plus, the philosophy and the history and the ancient texts and the teachings and the chants I know some of the words to but not the meanings of, and, and, and you can see that I know very little about all of this and I don’t want to seem like a big, fat fraud.

yoga mat

Though the more I contemplate it the more my gut keeps telling me not to shy away. I have learned something about yoga, however little that might be, and I think there are some really valuable lessons to be shared. Everyday concepts that are easy for anyone to grasp, not only those who have dedicated their lives to the practice or live in ashrams or even those who’ve step onto a mat. So I’m going to do my best to cast aside my egoist fears and start talking a little bit more about what I now do for a living and my own personal journey with yoga. Everything may not be 100% correct but it will be 100% heart-felt and genuine to my life, practice and experiences.

Now that we have that out of the way, yesterday I read the following quote from Eastern Body, Western Mind and it struck a chord with me, especially in this time of technology obsession (btw, I have that too)!

“Disconnection from the body is a cultural epidemic. Of all the losses rupturing the human soul today, this alienation may be the most alarming because it separates us from the very roots of existence. With jobs that are degrading, routines that are automatic and environments that annihilate our senses, we lose the joy that arises from the dynamic connection with the only presence we are guaranteed to have for the whole of our lives: our body. To lose our connection with the body is to become spiritually homeless. Without an anchor we float aimlessly, batter by the winds and waves of life.”

I shared this quote in one of my classes last night and asked that my students stay really present in their bodies for the full 75 minutes, not letting their minds run off to their to-do lists and dinner plans, not setting themselves to autopilot. Of course, this was more easily applicable to a yoga class but what about everyday life?

Can we be a bit more present in our own bodies? Can we set aside the constant stimulation of technology and just be, even if for a minute or two? Can we take a moment to scan our own bodies to see how we really feel? Especially this time of year when we’re supposed to be cheerful, joyful, all holiday’d up, is it possible to be honest with ourselves about how we’re really feeling and be okay with whatever emotion comes up? Can we breathe a little more fully? Eat a little more slowly?

As I mentioned, I’m guilty of neglecting all of the above as well. So this morning I took Eli out for an extra long walk. I left my cell phone at home. I took a couple of deep breaths into the December sun, I gave my dog my full attention and my body a little time away from a glaring screen. Of course I’m back here typing but I offer this up as a simple reminder. Do with it as you please.

And if you read this far (bless you), check out this amazing story from a blog I came across yesterday, it’s a true depiction of the holiday spirit.

Happy weekend all and with a new sign off…

Enjoy and Exhale!

Lessons, Lentil Loaves and My Newest Article

Sorry for the radio silence yesterday. I was planning to post something but then one of my yoga teachers and mentors Debbie came into town and I couldn’t pass up the chance to hang out with her and get in a wonderful yoga class. Sometimes you just have to step away from the computer and go live life!

When I got home from “living”, haha, I sat down to think about dinner and my mind wandering to lentil loaves. Over Thanksgiving we were planning to make a lentil loaf for the vegetarians at the table but upon surveying all the veg friendly food Linda had made and running out of time we decided against it. That, of course, doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it ever since. Luckily I already had all the fixings for it so I decided to make it last night.

Before I get into the recipe let me preface the lessons I learned last night:

#1: This is a time-consuming recipe. It doesn’t look like it should be and I was feeling rather dicombobulated last night, so it might just be me, but it took over an hour and a half start to finish. This might be because I was side tracked twice as I managed to spill a whole cup of oats and break a serving dish in the process. Both of which required a pause to sweep the floor. Visual proof of the chaos in my kitchen.

#2: We’ve now determined that Michael’s gluten intolerance also includes Gluten Free Oats. This is the second time I’ve made something with GF oats and both times he’s gotten sick. They are certified GF and I’ve tried two different brands now that doesn’t matter. So last night I made a lentil loaf and poisoned my boyfriend!

#3: Despite all of this, it’s absolutely delicious and worth the effort. Next time I’ll just sub out the oats.

Lentil Loaf (vegan, gluten-free)

Adapted from OhSheGlows

For the loaf:

1 cup lentils

3.5 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cashews, roasted and chopped into small pieces

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup almond meal

3 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal and 1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 onion

3 stalks celery, diced

1 carrot, shredded

2 tablespoons minced garlic

3/4 cup gluten-free brown rice bread crumbs (sub any breadcrumbs you’d like)

1/2 tablespoon oregano

salt to taste

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

1/4 cup BBQ sauce

————

Preheat oven to 350.

Wash and rinse lentils. Place in a pot and cover with water. Add salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until lentils are soft. The original recipe mentioned over cooking the lentils a little so they hold together better which worked well for me.

Place flaxseed meal in a bowl with water and set aside to gel. For those of you that aren’t familar with flaxseed it’s a great egg replacement. Add water and it gels up. Here’s the brand I used and what it looks like after 10 minutes in the water.

As lentils are cooking, Chop nuts into small pieces. Dump into a big bowl along with the sunflower seeds.

While lentils are doing their thing, chop onion and celery. Shred carrot.

Heat olive oil and saute veggies until soft. Add garlic for the last minute or two so it doesn’t burn.

When veggies are done, add to the bowl with the nuts and seeds. Also add almond meal, breadcrumbs, flaxseed meal, oregano and red chili flakes.

Once lentils are done, mash a little with a fork and add to the mixture. Mix everything together and salt to taste.

Grease a loaf pan and then cover in wax paper. Originally I used wax paper but you can skip and just grease your pan if you prefer.

Press mixture into a loaf pan. Brush BBQ sauce onto the lentil loaf.

Bake for 50 minutes or until brown and crispy on the sides.

Even writing this all out makes it seem cumbersome but the end product is almost stuffing-like and full of flavor. It’s hearty enough for non-meat eaters as well. I served with a kale, pomegranate salad with miso dressing.

Lastly, on the topic of loss. My latest article on Yoga, Loss and the Holiday Spirit is now up on MindBodyGreen.

Enjoy!

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!

A Yoga Photo Shoot

When I decided to try my hand at teaching yoga in Boston I realized I was in need of some marketing materials, after all, I did work in advertising for 10 years. So I did what any good account person would do…I enlisted the help of my most creative friends.

It started with a logo. A very talented co-worker at my old agency, Christian Haas, @chaas, created the below for me in his spare time. He captured exactly what I was envisioning, something that speaks to the playful and calming aspects of my practice. Thank you Christian and happy birthday!

Then I decided I needed a bio picture or two. I was planning a trip to NYC last weekend and figured what better backdrop for a photo shoot than Central Park? My sister’s friend Will kindly agreed to take the photos. What we thought would be a few shots turned into many. The weather was perfect and we were having so much fun we kept shooting until we ran out of light. Here’s one of the trusty lighting assistant.

And below is a sample of the photos we took.

Which do you like best?

And staying in the yoga vein, my latest article is up on MindBodyGreen today about the side effects of yoga.

Have a great weekend everyone and if you’re on the east coast, stay dry!

New York Weekend Part 1

Hello from an Amtrak in Connecticut after a wonderful weekend.

Sarah had the a long weekend off work so I headed to New York for an extended stay on Saturday. We had such a good time. It’s always hard to leave but knowing we’ll see each other in Chicago in 4 weeks makes it easier, plus now that we’re on the same coast visits should be more plentiful.

Here’s a quick recap of our weekend.

Starting with a few pictures I snapped while on the train.  The below is from somewhere in Rhode Island.

And of course, this is a view of NYC right before you head into Penn Station.

Such a fun city. We started out with a weekend brunch with my sister’s best friend Lindsey and her mom. We went to Barbuto in the meatpacking district for cocktails and breakfast.  The weather was so stunning so we sat out on their patio.

I ‘m actually not much of a brunch person because I don’t like eggs but I was able to find a couple of sides that were delicious. I had the sautéed greens and some heavenly crispy potatoes with parmesan cheese. And, thanks to my friend Kristy I have now learned how to tap and shoot on the iPhone so my food pictures should be a lot crisper. Thank you Garza!

Coffee.

After breakfast we headed to UrbanSpace which is sort of like an upscale flea market. They had lots of jewelry, clothing and food booths.

Here’s a picture of Sarah and Lindsey.

 

We walked the High Line after brunch. It’s an old freight track that they converted into a public garden. If you’re in NYC and haven’t had a chance to walk at least a little portion of it, I’d recommend it.

That’s it for now, I’ll be back tomorrow to recap the rest of our weekend, plus some more eats. And because I couldn’t resist, the photo below is one of the many that we took during our photo shoot over the weekend.  Big thanks to Will Pine for spending all afternoon shooting me in various yoga poses throughout Central Park. I’ll share the other photos later this week.  Check out Will’s website if you have any photography needs, he’s very talented.

Very last thing, if you didn’t get a chance to read it, my latest article is up on MindBodyGreen.

Have a great rest of your day.