S.w.a.m.p.e.d.

A little thing called work–final deliverables, the end of my project, aggressive deadlines, millions of dollars in contracts–got in the way of my posting. Some nerve. But it’s that time of the year, I guess. Work, Christmas parties, and work interspersed for four weeks.

I’ve needed plenty of yoga, good talks, and chocolate to get through it. Forgive me?

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This wasn’t my kind of stress release, but I was so proud that my body allowed me to access this posture for the first time…and in two different classes. Not sure what the name is…some kind of anjaneyasana backbend with a foot grab.

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The weekend was a whirlwind as well. Back to 8 hour days of Yoga Teacher Training but loving it. I was antsy to be back in the studio with my TT group. It’s such a beautiful environment–the palpably positive energy, comforting hearts,  and dynamic/fascinating yogis that I already feel attached to. It’s hard to describe, but I feel so at home with the people, concepts, learning, and dedication. The kind of people and theories that I’m ecstatic to be integrating into my life.

We spent the entire weekend reviewing the intricacies of anatomy. Yoga 101 basically covered every musculature, body system, and injury imaginable…and there’s a lot. I definitely have more homework and studying to do on my own. The good news is I spend this weekend with my little yogis again! Merry Christmas to me. It’s hard to fathom that we only have two weekends left in January before graduation…..better get working. If you’d like a willing, patient, and practiced private teacher, you know who to contact 🙂 But really.

In between teacher training sessions, I was able to fit in a holiday run with the boyfriend. The Jingle Bell 8k was a great distance and as you can imagine a very entertaining crowd–jingle bells, santa suits, reindeer apparel, a nativity scene (yes, baby being pushed in tow). A lot of energy and holiday spirit waited in the rain for the race along Pennsylvania and the National Mall. We were festive and speedy. With the exception of someone’s knee pain and my own ankle trouble (darn new pink shoes!!), it was a nice first jaunt together. Thanks for being a good sport, Richard.

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Needless to say, the pink shoes were returned. Let’s see if these babies work out.

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Have you ever tried Saucony’s?

Any chocolate in your life this week?

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The Good Stuff

It’s what gives your day a little extra something something. The things that put a smile on your face and an make your heart race an extra beat. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s so important to keep hold of the reins of your life. We tend to think that stress is natural during the holidays, but high levels of stress hormones are meant to be released briefly. And if they continue, say for one month straight (Thanksgiving to New Years) without enough time to recharge, our resistance levels are substantially lessened. The more we take care of ourselves, the less we will suffer from relentless stress and the effects of exhaustion.

By all means, its equally important to indulge in that extra gingerbread man and stay up a few hours later watching holiday movies with your family. Really bask in your holiday–it will only happen once in 2012. But find that perfect balance so that “you do you,” as one of my friends says (heyyy Robbie 🙂 )

 

So let’s get to the good stuff this week:

1) Listening to my body. Yoga is what I needed, and I needed it badly. Started my morning with a slow flow. Met friends for one of those butt-kicking prana flows that leave you bathed in sweat, or more like in the very sweaty man’s puddle next to me. And then finished off my night with a mediation class. Exactly what I needed that day

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2) Enjoying 65 degree weather and the simplicities of the day

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3) New, PINK running shoes. They really were the only color my Asics came in, and I haven’t switched shoes since my marathon. All you runners know that that is just asking for an injury

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4) Moleskin Calendars. This week, there are work lists, personal to-dos, Christmas lists, reminders, and so on. Keeping me sane and organizedIMG_2038

 

5) Tea and lots of it. I have a current obsession with Trader Joe’s Peppermint Green tea. Are you even surprised? I should probably be a store marketer. It helps the work day go by. Tea=stamina…and warmth, now that it is again 30 degrees

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6) Front page stories of the WSJ. A cup of tea while reading the most ground breaking news of the day

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7) Sweatyyy spin classes with good friends. Those ones that make you question your ability to do cardio. We both ran a marathon (hi Courtney) yet cringe in fear before we step foot on the cycling bikes

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8) The newest addition to our house. Our little love fern Christmas tree–all decorated and gleaming. Cinnamon scented broomstick in the house, dozens of cookies made last weekend, and Pandora Glee Holiday blaring from my computer. I think it’s that time of the year

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8) It’s almost Friday

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What made you smile today?

How do you do you?

Excusez-Moi

I took a reprieve from blogging last week, in order to experience Thanksgiving as the Pilgrims did….in Paris, France.

Oh wait.

Well, it was an unforgettable trip regardless. I am very thankful for the remarkable experience I had; all the loved ones that were not there with us were deeply entrenched in our hearts and spirits. My week in Paris was filled with family, Carrara marble, art, cheese, art, Parisian overcast mornings, art, wine, wine, wine, chocolate, cheese, art, art, wine, art. Did I mention the art? Or cheese?

I witnessed such unprecedented works of passion, talent, and grandeur while visiting the Louvre, Versailles, Centre de Pompidou, Musee d’ Orsay, Eiffel Tower, Tuilerie Gardens, Notre Dame, Sacre Cour, and so on. The gilded frames and heart-wrenching self-expressions can implore both confusion and comfort–leaving you seeking to understand all that the building or watercolor illustrates.  I digress, my family really enjoys art 🙂

When I wasn’t meandering down the paneled and priceless halls of museums. I was exploring the City of Love via my favorite vehicle: running. What a life those Parisians live, they were jogging through the gardens of Versailles and amongst the Tuilerie sculptures at all hours of the day. My own runs along the Seine River in light rain were majestic, I took in the stone walls, cobble stoned paths (note: wet cobblestone along the frigid Seine is not a good idea), and abundant history and culture. There really is no comparable way to truly experience a city.

Other than wandering the Left Bank looking for your yoga studio hidden in an obscure cloister near St Germain. The studio was hard to believe: historic, immaculate, warm, inviting, French, serene. It was going to be a wonderful Friday morning regardless of what the class was actually like. Much to my chagrin, the instructor stopped speaking French a few minutes in and continued the class in English after detecting some fluent speakers foreigners. I have only taken yoga in Denmark and Peru outside the US, and I hope to make this a routine in my travels. In addition to this class and my running, we practiced yoga on the carpet of our hotel room. I led my family through a flow practice I had been working on. Concentration was challenging during these practices, as we faced not incense or an alter, but a silver platter of bread and butter. But really.

Au revoir

xo

How was your holiday?

What’s your favorite way to explore a city?

Homeward Bound

What a whirlwind this week has been. Sigh. Remember when I use to cook? And post recipes?

Well I can’t remember the last meal I had at home. Maybe it was juice? I mentioned that I would be traveling successively this month and that, I have. Enumerable amounts of hotel breakfast, take-out, sit down restaurants, and so on. You get the picture. The lack of home-cooked meals has been coupled with various team idiosyncrasies that have made this whirlwind week utterly exhausting. My team likes to meet in the lobby at 6:30AM to leave for the office in the morning and then we tend to stay much much much longer than necessary at night.

These events have left me with no choice but to throw a temper tantrum begin my runs at 4:45AM everyday. With paralyzingly early wake up calls, no coffee (still not needing it), and long days and nights, the only thing I want to do is vegetate in my hotel room. It wouldn’t be the week I had without my reservation dates being incorrect and the hotel selling out my last night in Louisville. Let’s just say last night was one for the books. Go back to my hotel and veg? No, I did not. Share a room with my 60 year old female boss, ignore her pink polka dot pajamas, work on a deliverable with her all night, and sleep in the fetal position on a pullout couch? I did. Four in the morning did not come soon enough this time.

An additional stressor for me as I’ve mentioned is being out of my routine. But I’ve adapted to it all well this week and rolled with the punches. Holiday vacation is almost tangible right now, so I’m moving full steam ahead. A factor that simplified the inconsistencies of work travel for me these past few weeks was having food on hand. Luckily, I made my snack run prior to my trip. When the snack monster or stress of an assignment hit hard this week, I didn’t have to gorge on the gargantuan bag of Halloween candy temptations. Snacks on snacks on snacks. Fruit, yogurt, bars,nuts, packaged tuna. You name it, I had it in my purse.

Since you all are clearly eager for recipes, some food pics will have to suffice 🙂

My days have been filled with a little of:

Omelets and salsa

Apple, PB,  yogurt

Salads +mellow pizza

Bars

How has your week been?

What snacks do you eat on the go?

Practicing: Gratitude

Since beginning my Sadhana in October, I’ve been reflecting on my blessings and setting an intention for the day while I brush my teeth every morning. Two minutes of gratitude and clean teeth. I find that this keeps me accountable and present everyday rather than being consumed by the stress of the day. We all have so much to be grateful for each day, and it helps to practice our gratitude so that the beauty of our day doesn’t pass us by.

Given that Thanksgiving is approaching, I was inspired by a New York Times author’s list of some conventional and not-so-conventional gratitudes. So here I go…

“I’m thankful for my health, friends who make me laugh, and the colors of sunsets. I’m thankful for the smell of lavender and the feel of clean sheets. I’m thankful for the Shazam app and the ability to have any song at my finger tips. For memories. For spontaneous decisions. For the magic of mascara. I’m thankful for the relief that a good cry can bring. I’m thankful for those Sunday mornings with my family, for the Sunday funnies and banana pancakes we enjoyed together. For books that leave you speechless. For white goat cheddar. I’m thankful that I can’t read peoples’ minds, as much as I want to. I’m thankful middle school nights with AIM. I’m thankful my life is not like a Real Housewives of DC episode. I’m thankful for quiet morning runs, the warmth of cooking with others, and the zeal of advent calendars. For Whole Foods hot bar. For my long legs. I’m thankful for memories and the future.”

What are you grateful for today?

Things I Never Thought I’d Do

I’m a planner, always have been. Mapping out the agenda for my day keeps me sane. I like to know when I’ll be waking up, how long I’ll be at work for, what my dinner plans are, etc. My iPhone calendar provides a helpful glimpse at my month, but my moleskin notebook provides me ease of mind with my daily tasks. Life has changed immensely since graduating college and launching into a life in the real world. Over the past four years, there have been numerous changes in my personal life but let’s stick to the healthy living ones:

  • Doing laundry primarily because I’m out of sports bras and socks
  • Calling myself a Marathoner (or do I have to run more than one)
  • Going to the grocery store solely for grapes
  • Choosing an early run over sleep
  • Double-fisting green juice and Kombucha
  • Wondering if my yoga mat is so sweaty, it’s on the verge of dangerous
  • Baking a vegan pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving (Warning: bake another pie for upset male family members)
  • Having more running shoes than high heels
  • Cursing the world when I run out of Greek yogurt
  • Starting sentences with, “So this one time in yoga class…”
  • Receiving a yoga mat for my 20th birthday and a GPS running watch for my 22nd
  • Contemplating what flavor animal crackers are in the waiting room of my yoga studio
  • Budgeting for that pair of spinning shoes I’ve needed
  • Realizing the liquids I consumed that day were coconut water and lots of Pinot Noir

I’m traveling for work this week and next, which gives me little independence and control over my schedule. But I’m making peace with it. Don’t get me wrong, my to-do list is still going strong and my early rising ensues; however, I’m going with the motions of my team each day. After this week of Kentucky Fried Chicken eating out, a little appliance is calling my name…

What are some of your idiosyncrasies?

Something Beautiful

The first beauty of the my Saturday has been a morning run along the National Mall. A year ago when I was doing my training runs, most of the Mall was under renovation, which made running alongside tractors and cement a very different experience. DC is now teeming with history, tourists, and Fall. What a beautiful morning to be resident in the District

Farmer’s Markets. Everywhere the eye can see. I love to stroll through them on the weekend–soaking up the season, community, and lively spirit exuding from each stall. There’s nothing like knowing who grows your food and the soil it comes from.

As I zip off to Yoga TT for the next eight hours and then proceed to throw on a Pocahontas costume for a Halloween party tonight, I will leave you will a beautiful thought…

“Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. It’s a very tender, nonaggressive, open-ended state of affairs.
To stay with that shakiness—to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge—that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic—this is the spiritual path. Getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gently and compassionately catching ourselves, is the path of the warrior. We catch ourselves one zillion times as once again, whether we like it or not, we harden into resentment, bitterness, righteous indignation—harden in any way, even into a sense of relief, a sense of inspiration.

Every day we could think about the aggression in the world, in New York, Los Angeles, Halifax, Taiwan, Beirut, Kuwait, Somalia, Iraq, everywhere. All over the world, everybody always strikes out at the enemy, and the pain escalates forever. Every day we could reflect on this and ask ourselves, “Am I going to add to the aggression in the world?” Every day, at the moment when things get edgy, we can just ask ourselves, ‘Am I going to practice peace, or am I going to war?'”

-Pema Chodron

What’s beautiful about your Saturday?

True life: I’m a Runner and Yogi

Professing myself a “runner” and “yogi” has been somewhat of an identity crisis over the years. To give you a short and sweet overview, I fell in love with running during my second year at the University of Virginia. Guess it was something about those monstrous hills…or more like the beautiful scenery and running culture. I’d still be caught on Grounds in my sneakers and running shorts, even though I was one of those pre-dawn runners—finishing my run hours before anyone else stirred in bed. I joined the yoga cult big time during my last year at UVa. Yoga and running were the perfect complements to each other.  Hill running allowed me to power through Vinyasa flows and sit strong in my Warrior poses. There’s little that yoga didn’t do for my running, but most importantly it allowed me to start easing into my hips. Pigeon, time and time again will still make me shed a tear. We have a complex love-hate-hate relationship.

Anyhoo. I labeled myself as a “runner,” but not until being accepted into the 2011 New York City Marathon did I fully believe I was one. Maybe I mistook “runner” and “marathoner” as synonymous? Fast forward: I moved to DC, trained for my first marathon on top of my first career, stopped doing yoga, injured my hip (yes the one that was opening up from yoga), couldn’t run for the month prior, finished my marathon in 3:57:03, etc. Miracle XVI of my life.

Though I was set on running another destination marathon this Fall, the ole’ hip did not bode well through the spring. My sneakers lay fallow as I relieved myself of the obligation to run. Rather, I went to spin classes, lifted weights, and grew to enjoy HIIT (high intensity interval training). Something seems off here, right? No running and no yoga? I expected to be pilloried for abandoning both my identities. But I really couldn’t run without pain, and I had not found a yoga studio I loved in DC. A few months of diverting questions about my upcoming races and recent mileage felt almost like a lifetime of mendacity. It’s incredibly disheartening to not have the experiences you identify with in your life.

Now fast forward a few months (insert remote noise), I’ve been self-practicing, attending as many yoga classes as I can fit in, and…running. I was coaxed out on a run with a friend and with volant legs, we finished four miles pain and anxiety-free. These two complements are again in place in my life. My limbs are aligned. And. I’m. Loving. It.

My two selves say “Good Morning”

How do you describe yourself?

Do you identify with your heritage, career, sport,etc?

J is For Juice

I finally bit the bullet. Yes, the”J” word—a Breville RM-BJE510XL to be exact. Over the past few weekends, I’ve been sitting in Sukhasana during Yoga Teacher Training (TT) with numerous bottles barricading me and my mat.

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We like to believe that our myriad of healthy beverages energizes us as our Sanskrit echoes throughout the room. Cups of tea, Kombucha, coconut water of every brand, and green juices.

Oh, the green juices. After spending many a pretty penny on cold-pressed green juice from the next door Whole Foods, I took the plunge and bought my own juicer. Much to Whole Food’s chagrin, I will no longer be buying $10 bottles of deliciousness (though I will assuredly patronize them in other departments).

After a lunchtime 4-miler with a friend (hi Courtney), I broke open my recent delivery and tested out my juicing skills.

Into the ravenous machine went celery, kale, spinach, apple, carrot, and lemon. I made a Trader Joe’s run just for the occasion 🙂

With lots and lots of pulp came the juice

And voila! Perfect energy-boost to get me through the rest of the workday.

Do you like green juice?

Do you prefer store bought or your own?