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!

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!

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!

Love: In All Its Forms

hearts

I’m not one for the forced gift giving or expensive dinners of Valentine’s Day but I do like the sentiment behind it.

Love.

I looked up love in the dictionary today and this was the definition that resonated most strongly with me.

Love: (noun) an unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another

Because at the end of the day isn’t that what it’s all about?

When we strip away the roses and the cards and the candles and the huge heart-shaped mylar balloon I saw a college student walking out of the grocery store with yesterday, we can see love for what it really is: selfless concern for others. The hope that good happens to those around us, whether we know them or not, that their load isn’t too heavy to bear, that their hearts feel surrounded by warmth, that no one has to walk alone.

It isn’t about a singular day on the calendar and it isn’t just about romantic love.

May we know love in all its forms.

Be it a phone call from a good friend. The taste of a thoughtfully prepared meal. The enthusiast greeting of a dog after a long day at work. The unconditional support of family. The hand of a small child’s in yours. The sound of an old favorite song. The kindness of a stranger. The forgiveness of a long-held grudge. The legacy left by those no longer with us. The softness in the eyes of your beloved. The allowance of some tenderness toward yourself.

Today we are reminded to open our hearts more fully, appreciate love in its non-traditional sense and know that in the end, it is indeed all around us (thank you Love Actually), if we care enough to see it.

Continuing to spread the love this afternoon. 12:15 and 7 at Sangha Yoga Boston, 4:30 at All One Yoga.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Enjoy and Exhale!

 

Blizzards

Whenever I think of blizzards the only thing that comes to mind is a milkshake with peanut butter cups from the Dairy Queen in Truckee. Maybe tonight’s storm will change that, haha.

The snow has started to come down here in Boston. The news is covering this round the clock and hyping it up like they are known to do. Looking out the window I admit it’s starting to come down pretty hard. They are even closing down public transportation later this afternoon.

I thought about going to the grocery store to ‘stock up’, but that seems kind of absurd considering we have enough food to get us through a 2-week long blizzard. We are officially out of tortilla chips though which in and of itself is a household emergency. Michael if you’re reading this, please pick up chips on the way home! Kidding.

My class tomorrow morning is cancelled and most studios are closing this afternoon. So I snuck in a very hot, very sweaty, very hard class at Baptiste again this morning. I have to say, I have fallen in love with yoga all over again! I can’t get enough of the heat and the sequencing of these power classes. It’s not the same as my favorite class with Rusty Wells back in SF but it’s reminiscent of it. I feel relaxed, energized, wrung out and more closely connected to my breath than I have in months.

i love yoga

With my practice done and no classes to teach I think I’ll climb under a blanket and finish my book. Maybe try a new recipe or two. Have some wine. Beat Michael at Wii bowling. Watch a movie. And cuddle with my favorite puppy.

Eli

Hmm, on second thought, he looks pretty comfortable right now, maybe I shouldn’t wake him.

Who says blizzards are a bad thing? Maybe there is something to slowing it down and hibernating for a bit.

See you on the other side.

Have a safe, warm and wonderful weekend.

Enjoy and Exhale!

 

 

Seeing Red

All anyone can talk about in these parts is the big storm headed our way tomorrow. It could bring up to 24″ of snow and everyone is acting like it’s the first time New England has ever seen snow. I’ve never actually experienced a blizzard myself so I don’t totally understand what the fuss is about but I’m sort of excited to see. Famous last words I’m sure.

Just in case we’re covered in white all weekend, let’s talk red today.

This recipe wasn’t intended as a Valentine’s Day recipe, I’m not really one to celebrate the holiday anyway, but as luck would have it I made this dish in February and I think it would make a great addition to a love themed dinner. It has quinoa in it after all. What’s not to love?

This was an impulse purchase. I don’t usually buy red quinoa, mostly because white quinoa is always cheaper, but I was standing in a ridiculously long Trader Joe’s line last Sunday that wrapped around the aisles and grabbed it on a whim.

When I got home I noticed an unused pomegranate and thought the two together might make a good combo. Turns out they not only look pretty together but taste wonderful.

red quinoa pomegranate salad

Red Quinoa Pomegranate Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

For the salad:

1 cup red quinoa

2 cups water

pinch of salt

3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp lemon zest

For the dressing:

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1.5 tsp maple syrup

1 tsp chopped garlic

1/8 cayenne pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

————

Rinse quinoa then place in a pot with water and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce to medium low heat for 20 minutes or until water has evaporated. Stir to fluff.

Place cooked quinoa in a big bowl with black beans and pomegranate seeds.

Mix dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.

Toss dressing with quinoa, beans and seeds.

Top with lemon zest.

red quinoa pomegranate saladred quinoa pomegranate black bean salad

I ended up eating this salad for breakfast after shooting the photos. 🙂 Yum!

As a total aside, I went to my first power class in many months at Baptiste Yoga yesterday. It was so hot in the room I felt months of cold melt from my body. It reminded me how much I love hot yoga and that as a naturally cold-blooded person it’s important that I feel hot from time to time. I can’t believe I waited so long to go. I have an unlimited month’s worth of classes. If you can’t find me in all the snow I’ll be sweating it out in the studio.

Lastly, teaching 12:15pm at Sangha, 4:30pm at All One and 7pm back at Sangha today. If you’re in Boston come do some yoga!

Enjoy and Exhale!

Things I’m Loving 2!

If you missed Things I’m Loving 1 you can find it here.

I sort of love this series. It gives me the chance to find awesome things on the internet or in the world that don’t make much sense to share on their own and make them into a cohesive post.

1.) First up, a birthday gift from my lovely friend Kate. I couldn’t believe it when I opened it. A gold kale leaf! It’s now become a permanent part of my key chain and I smile every time I open the door. Thank you Kate!

kale leaf key chain

2.) I know we’re like 8 years behind the times but we just started the Dexter series and can’t get enough. It’s such a good show, I don’t know how I can root for a serial killer but I love him. Michael C. Hall is brilliant! If you haven’t already watched it, you should.

Dexter

3.) This mini-workout. I found it on Pinterest the other day and did it after a run. It was fun to add a little something different to my usual routine.

Victoria Secret Workout

4.) This book. Unbeknownst to me I downloaded it from the library before realizing it’s about 800 pages long. I’m about 50% through, finally, and although sometimes it can be slow I’m now very invested in these Hungarian characters.

The Invisible Bridge

5.) These Athleta yoga pants. I have been a big Lululemon fan for as long as I can remember and really love their stuff but the prices are a little high, especially on a teacher’s salary. Now that I’m teaching some community classes at Athleta, I thought I’d try out a pair. And then another. And another. I’m loving their pants. They fit great, don’t ride or bunch and are less expensive than Lulu. I also bought a pair for my sister for Christmas and she’s a huge fan for running. Worth a try, you can return after a workout if you hate them, no questions asked.

Athleta pants

6.) The city by the bay. Tickets are booked! We’ll be home the first weekend in April. Let the countdown begin. Napa, Urban Flow, Gracias Madre, fog, friends and family here we come.

Golden Gate

Enjoy and Exhale!

Farewell to Football

I have come to dislike the Ravens A LOT! I care about three NFL teams and Baltimore beat all three of them in consecutive order leaving me feeling frustrated and sad. Okay, a little dramatic I admit. But we’re now so far away from football season, I would really like to have spent the next 6 months happy about the 49ers being so awesome. Oh well. Enough. I can see the virtual eye rolls from all you non-football fans. The silver lining is that with the end of football also comes the start of baseball and spring so not all is lost.

With no segue at all I’ll just move on to my weekend. Friday night I met a friend for drinks and snacks at a new-to-me bar called the Hawthorne. We got there early and managed to get a set of big, comfy chairs in the corner. I can’t say enough good things about this place. The service was stellar. The drinks were bubbly and cold. The food was tasty.

sparkling rose

We shared a hummus platter with veggies and potato chips and the pretzel rolls with honey mustard sauce. I love soft pretzels and these were soft, warm and accompanied by the perfect spicy mustard.

hummus platter pretzel rolls

I’ll definitely be back.

On Saturday morning I headed to All One to teach my Power Yoga class. That class is so fun to teach. There was a great crowd to heat up the room as we balanced, twisted and backbended our morning away. The collective sigh at the end of class when everyone peacefully surrendered into savasana filled me with certainty that I made the right decision to teach full-time. I’m really loving teaching and although I often tend to focus on what I don’t know, it’s good to remember that I have a lot to give in this very moment.

Saturday night I had my first opportunity to meet one of the friends I’ve made through blogging. Courtney over at Healthy Girl and the City was in town for the evening and we met up for a few hours. It was so nice to put a face and personality to the blog! Looking forward to more chances to meet my fellow bloggers.

Yesterday was all about football, duh!

Our friends came over for the game. For food, I made the typical Superbowl fare, mostly.

Southwestern Quinoa, 7-layer bean dip, guacamole and chips, veggies with vegan ranch, a vegan artichoke dip that was not good and will not be shared 🙂 and some gluten-free peanut butter cupcakes from my friend Nicole’s soon-to-be cookbook that were excellent. Hopefully when her cookbook is out later this year I’ll be able to share the recipe with you all.

Superbowl spread

Superbowl 2013

After the world’s longest game we crawled into bed to get ready for another week. Hello Monday!

Tomorrow, this smoothie that pretty much tastes like a chocolate milkshake.

chocolate banana smoothie

Enjoy and Exhale!