A Little of This

After such disjointed time in DC this summer, it’s nice to settle back into life in the nation’s capital. I can breath a sigh of relief not having to source my wardrobe from my textbook sized suitcase. With the crisp hint of fall in the air, I’ve been soaking up rendezvous with friends, sleep time in my quasi new apartment (as its been very rare), pumpkin flavored everything, DC centric activities, reading whenever I have a spare second, and overall, some care free weekends.

 

 

This fall has looked a little like this:

Pumpkin candles....and spring tulips

Pumpkin candles….and spring tulips

 

Scoping out my next meal at Ted's

Scoping out my next meal at Ted’s

 

Killing a trail half marathon...while killing myself in the process

Killing a trail half marathon…while killing myself in the process

 

Still nursing wounds

Still nursing wounds

 

Rekindling my love for Sweetgreen salads

Rekindling my love for Sweetgreen salads

 

Alt-J

Alt-J on Wednesday

 

Pumpkin pancakes and pink kettles

Pumpkin pancakes and pink kettles

 

Coveting puppies

Coveting puppies

 

Froyo with my bro

Froyo with my bro

 

Potomac scrambling life

Potomac scrambling life

 

Pumpkin lattes and fall nails

Pumpkin lattes and fall nails

 

Pretending to be hipster

Faux hipster selfies

 

Shifts at the yoga studio

 

Breaking bad therapy

Breaking Bad therapy

 

Anyone watch last night’s finale?? What’s your fall looked like?

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Om On

After three weeks of chaco attire, sporadic runs, sitting on planes/trains/automobiles, and erratic eating, there comes a time to get back into the swing of things. That entails using my stove (which I have yet to do in my new apartment), jumping back into a workout routine, no longer living out of a suitcase, meal planning, budgeting, girls nights, and…

Hiking chic

Hiking chic

 

 

The fear. The fear of yoga. Grappling thoughts of tight hamstrings, overwhelming heat, chaturanga fatigue, inflexible everything, and slippery mats filled my head this last week. There’s no wonder that yoga becomes an addicting activity, as the ease of postures and breath come with practice and commitment. And a fallen yogi must get back on her mat regardless of sore hips from 23 hour plane rides and a bowl or three too many of mango sticky rice. It must be done.

Om on

Om on

 

 

And Monday night I did it. Thank you, Mimi for kicking my butt all over the exposed brick. Long, long, long, strong holds were the theme of the class. An hour and fifteen minutes of planks, hip openers, and fire jumps gave me the overwhelming soreness the next morning that I needed. To my surprise, she led me through a new, deep heart-opening camel to wheel to standing transition. Not as scary as it looks.

 

 

 

I’ve found that I can more easily jump back into double digit runs than I can unwaveringly flow into a power vinyasa class after a respite. Yoga for me varies every single day. It’s a constant journey of stronger self, striving to be present, discovering new balances, and that slow but sure handstand.

Intersection of yoga and running

Intersection of yoga and running

 

Hope I can manage yoga and a trail half this weekend. Wish me luck!

Any yoga or running plans?

Prepcation

Okay okay okay. So I may be guilty of taking blogging reprieve #387, but there was positive intent behind it. A little R & R in South East Asia? I’ll take it

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I have to say I feel utterly rejuvenated. Fourteen days of mango sticky rice, street Pad Thai, 5 hour muddy treks, spa days, ornate temples, sleeping on village floors, luxurious hotels, and so on.

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After accomplishing a big career to-do and  being finished with the Thailand/Laos planning, I feel ready to really buckle down and focus on my next steps and “the plan.” I’m a wee bit guilty of over-planning  and overextending details of my life, but at the same time I so often get consumed by the daily commitments that my to-do lists will then repeat for months on end. Thus I’m back from my first truly self-sponsored vacation with a college bestie and ready to focus on what the twenty four year old me needs at this moment.

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Coinciding with this motivated self is a very confused body and circadian rhythm. I’m thirteen hours off and surely feeling it on the return much more than on the arrival. Given that there are fellow type A’s out there who similarly like to micromanage the transit woes, I thought I’d discuss some of my lessons learned for jet lag and travel.

 

Tricks of the international trade:

  • Avoid checking bags if possible. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve arrived bagless at my international destination, only to have my bag returned the day I’m returning home. Save yourself some anxiety…and money buying new underwear

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  • Master the traveling chic. It’s that happy medium between wearing your PJs and being stuck in an uncomfortable formal gown, so that you’re confident if you meet your future husband while sitting in 5D. And luckily  that spells leggings and a cardigan or pashmina throw for me
  • Keep the stewardess on speed-dial. The 3 oz cups of water they serve could not possibly hydrate a mouse. I’m in constant need of a refill and why wouldn’t I on a 10 hour flight? Hydration is key especially with the hand and foot swelling that takes place inflight
  • Pack a neck pillow for 6+ hour flights. This trip was my first time using a neck pillow (which deflates to fit in my bag I might add), and it was a saving grace. I didn’t arrive in Bangkok in need of a chiropractor. Hallelujah
  • Prep those snacks. I’ve starved one too many times on flights when faced with the mystery meat that frequents airlines meals nowadays. Given I’m the snack queen, I can tell you I had sustenance on hand for my 23 hour flight
    • A few ideas: water dense veggies and fruit, protein bars, dried fruit and nuts, sandwich for your next meal, miso soup packets, seaweed snacks, etc
  • Slip on a pair of thick socks. A friend suggested this to me before I left and boy was it a great tip. Sandals and flats are the ideal security shoe; however, when the temperature on the plane drops to 50 degrees slipping on a pair of warm socks helps you maintain whatever menial amount of heat you have retained
  • Move it. I am not someone who will advocate doing lunges and stretches down the aisle. I once witnessed a woman do a full blown yoga sun salutation in the aisle, complete with chatarangas and down dogs. I still cringe. However, I will suggest you move when you make your arrival. I know all you want to do is sleep but whether you go for a walk and explore the city or hop on the treadmill briefly, you’ll thank me because these are the steps (literally) your body needs to adjust
  • Stay present. Whether your luggage is lost or you accidentally drank the native water, you’re at your prized destination and that’s what matters

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Any travel tips?

Schweatttty Downpour

For those of you more in tune with the weather and less predisposed to be stranded at the gym in a gusty downpour circa 7am. Extra points if you were also in spandex shorts for the first time in 6 months, because of course its spring and was 90 degrees less than 12 hours ago…

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So if you plan to avoid the cold, biting rain and puddle-filled sneakers but still want a workout today then I have a treat for you. After spending some time on the Stair Master this morning, I figured I needed some HIIT exercises back in my life to get that heart going and metabolism active. I have a love-hate relationship with burpees–hurts so good.

I performed the below at the gym but you can do so in the comfort of your own, dry home. No equipment needed and you’re sure to be sweaty as can be.

 

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Let me know if you try it out!!

Blurry Eyed

I drive past it every day. In a morning fog and with blurry eyes. Only looking at the clock and thinking of the traffic that will impede my commute to work. But last night after over a year reprieve from any performance, I re-familiarized myself with the beautiful and historic Kennedy Center.

photo by Carol Pratt

 

New York City Ballet? Swan Lake? Birthday celebration? And Caitlin’s stash of  jelly beans? Done deal.

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After a night of regard for the pointe work and feather-like adages, I dragged myself out of bed this morning for spin class. I have to tell you I’m very particular about my spin instructors, and I’ve been known to walk out of classes if they murmur comments like “this is your ride,” “forget I’m here,” and the like. I’m there for a motivating class that kicks my behind, or else I’d be riding solo in the cardio room (insert Ridin Solo song here…or not). I’ve found two teachers at my gym who I religiously go to. And the others I will not touch.

So back to the dragging out of bed. Post that event, Robert burned up my legs with sequential sprints beginning at 1 minute and moving up to 5 minutes non-stop. Then repeat. Glad my heart stayed in my chest this morning.

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I always find spin a refreshing change from runs and yoga. But that’s me. Good start to my almost Friday day.

 

Have you ever taken a  spin class?

As of Late

Lately… my days look like this. Despite the kind beginning of the Spring Equinox

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Lately…I’ve been running more. Stella is getting her groove back and likes it. I ran my third half marathon, the DC Rock and Roll Half Marathon last weekend.  The route was hillier than when I PRed at it two years ago; I was also in Charlottesville hill shape then and actually training. I loved the race and it was so nice to run with a friend the entire time, rather than be plugged in to my pod. I loved having support waiting for me at the finish line 🙂

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Lately…I’ve been channeling Martha Stewart. The pre-insider trading/criminal Martha. Nothing is as cathartic as spending a few hours in the kitchen working on a dish for loved ones. Peach-pear pie anyone?

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Lately…Bloody Marys have made a come back in my life. I guess it takes a make your own Bloody Mary bar to make me reconsider my Mimosas. Getting in my veggies, right?

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Lately…Breaking Bad has been on the mind. Two episodes away from being caught up on the current season. Eeeeeeeee, so good.

 

Lately…I’ve been loving words like these, “I believe if you float that the wind will certainly one day find you… that it takes patience to hover and watch… it takes courage to put out your sails and wait for an invisible force… this is no external hand but the quiet space between effort and letting go.”

 

Lately…I discovered the best French restaurant in DC.Montematre, I have no complaints. It was the most delicious race fueling I’ve done. Wine helps the legs right?

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What have you been doing lately?

May I Be

“may i be i is the only prayer–not may i be great or good or beautiful or wise or strong today… may i be me….five foot eleven, brown hair/eyed, smart, serious, happy, frustrated, impatient, joyful, running, sleeping, smiling, eating, trying, believing, listening, being & becoming.” -EE Cummings

 

Flowing through our Surya Namaskars on Saturday morning, we saluted the sun. These series of poses are Sun Salutations. The sun was radiating through the window, and the “blizzard” we had expected days prior was gone. Spring was in the air. As we moved through our salutes, our teacher spoke of the idle waiting we do during winter and the opportunities that emanate as spring arrives. It’s a time for us to finally plant our seeds. To cultivate. To ignite. To be and become, as EE Cummings said. It’s a season of blossoming. For the hyacinth and the cherry blossoms and ourselves.

 

It was nice to take a moment this weekend just to be. To spend time in the kitchen, to snuggle, to celebrate birthdays with my family and friends, to stay have breakfast in bed, to reconnect with my mat, to drink champagne, to feel the sun permeate my skin, to run along the Potomac with 75% of DC, to take a breath, to not plan my entire day.

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Running it Off

I have to say that living in a running city is  a nice reminder with every step. A reminder that someone else is pushing through their training run, running off a heartbreak, forgetting about their work week, and recovering from their umpteenth injury. It reminds us to be gentle with ourselves through each pleasure and pain, confusion and wisdom of our uncontrollable everyday lives. We have to let there be room for the smiles from passerbys, for the misery that will shadow our week, and for the relief that will come at a new dawn. The pavement is the perfect place for me when things fall apart. It’s within reach when so few things seem like they are.

 

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Ended up doing 12.05. The time of day is off fyi

Ended up doing 12.05. The time of day is off fyi

 

Thank you for lending me your roads this weekend, DC. I needed them

Sometimes

Sometimes you need a long, cold, cold, cold run with a friend. Layers, ear warmers, and thumb holes are encouraged

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Sometimes you need a little sparkle in the New Year

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Sometimes you need to an assortment of sashimi at a hole in the wall Japanese restaurant. Sitting at the counter of Izakaya Seki watching the chefs makes it all the better

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Sometimes you need a morning jaunt to appreciate the wonder of your surroundings

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Sometimes you need a pick-me up to get you through the work day

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Sometimes you need a little surprise to end your day. This is my best Birchbox yet–hopefully it’s a good omen for 2013

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Sometimes you need a huge crockpot fail to make you apprciate a delicious tomato soup. My decision to carve and roast our huge pumpkin from Halloween did not go as planned. I now have a substanital quantity of bland, discolored pumpkin. Any takers? Apparently Halloween pumpkins are not the ones you cook with–they don’t have the right sugar makeup. Out of frustration I whipped up tomato soup, the perfect complement to a frigid DC night

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FAIL

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Sometimes you need to prepare for a week at work on a new project

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Sometimes you need a morning yoga class to prepare you for the day. Fifteen other people on their mats, awakening their bodies, moving in unison, cultivating their breath, and setting distinct, poignant intentions.

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Sometimes you need  to be enveloped by melodic stories and riveting articulation on a Saturday night. Preferably at a bookstore like this with a two foot proximity to pie and wine

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Sometimes you need to punish the boyfriend. Or help him pick out shoes at a running store.

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What are your sometimes?

The California Ten

It’s such a familiar scent. The eucalyptus trees , the blazing furnace, the polished silver, the decanted wine. A warm nostalgia floods me when I walk through the familiar doors on King Avenue. I’ve sat under the tree opening tiger rockers, beanie babies, curling irons, university sweatshirts, and cook books over the years. The view lying under the Christmas tree looks very different than it use to–the branches less enveloping, the tree top not as daunting, the lights a little less blinding. But nonetheless, my holidays spent in this house are still as exciting and blessed. Home sweet home at my grandmother’s.

 

Let’s talk about the ten elements of my California day:

10: The number of minutes until boarding when I finally arrived at my gate to San Francisco. Dulles Airport is an adventure during the holidays, even on a Tuesday night

9: Scallops were prepared by the boyfriend for my last meal in DC. We chefed seared scallops in pesto, cauliflower mash, mustard green beens, and tomatoes with pesto. And wine of course. An epic meal

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8: The number of degrees warmer my room at my grandmother’s should be. Eight or 15 give or take. Survived the night with a few dozen blankets

7: Beautiful faces walking to elementary school together. Smiles, waves, and bundled up coats in the 36 degree morning dew

6: Miles around the California hills this morning

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5: Varieties of nuts, I’m snacking on as I write this. Almonds, pistachios, and cashews have a special place in my mouth heart

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4: Magazines I poured over while in my bubble bath, after my run and before our Christmas shopping extravaganza. Caught up on my travel and food magazines

3: Cans of pumpkin for some imminent pumpkin chocolate chip cookie baking. It’s happening. Sugar cookies, poached pears, and maybe a Bouche de Noel attempt

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2: Neighborhoods we drove through to view the Christmas spirit this year. It’s still early, so there’s time for more creative designs to come up and the color lights to come down

1: Partridge in a pear tree. Bra short of a perfect packed bag. I was so close but I guess a shopping trip is in store for me

 

What was your day like?