Big Things

Big things are happening over here.

I have waved a tearful goodbye to my early twenties. My youth. But those years treated me well. I rang in my twentieth birthday in Tampa at Gasparilla (our Mardi Gras but with pirates), my big twenty first in Copenhagen which my dad flew in for, my twenty second in NYC with some besties, my twenty third in DC with a night out on the town, and my twenty fourth again in DC with good friends, bf, and family. And in between those celebrations in my early twenties,  I lived in San Francisco with my grandmother, became a pescatarian (note the correlation), lived in NYC with some of my best friends, spent five life changing months living in Denmark, visited over eleven countries while living aborad, ran my first half marathon, impacted my health dramatically by partaking in Mardi Gras, graduated from four amazing years at UVa, traveled to South America, moved to a new city, lived within a block of my brother, started my first job, ran a marathon, sauntered around Paris, became a yoga teacher, and……taught my first paid yoga class.

I think that was a fortuitous note to begin my mid-twenties (shutter) on.

 

The other weekend, during my jaunt home to Florida and in between walks in 70 degree weather with my dog and visits to my favorite restaurants, I poured over my scrawled class notes and prepared my perfect playlist. I was nervous. Reading the cues aloud as I paced around the living room helped to mitigate my turning stomach. The range of students I was expecting to teach put me at nerve–it’s hard to deliver the kick-your-butt class I prepared when there were going to be little fledgling yogis in the room. I didn’t want to scare anyone off or injure them.

 

This past Sunday, I went for a long run to settle my nerves–by body relaxed, my breath calmed, and I was ready to teach. I taught in the Avant-Garden room at the Salvador Dali Museum with views of the waterfront framed by the geodesic glass. My students began to pour in, one by one setting up their mats and props, including the supportive, Vanaynay (Hiii Vanessa!!). In Sukhasana position looking across at my twenty-three students, with one breath we began.

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I adapted. Adapted my class, adapted to the environment, adapted to audio issues. I toned down the “Grace Under Fire” (which my instructors had referred to my teaching style as) and taught to what the class needed at that moment on that Sunday. I became more familiar with each student’s ability through every assist and cue I encouraged.

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Time was impalpable. And in an hour and a half rather than shaking with nerves, I was receiving hugs and sincere thank yous from the visitors that day. Very fitting to experience the surreal moment of the teacher becoming the student, while doing so at a surrealist museum. Thank you, Mom, Dad, Laura, Henri, Ma, Richard, Flow Yoga, dear friends, all my TTs, and roomies for being so patient and encouraging during my five months of dedicated weekends.

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What was your first yoga class like?

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Living on Lentils

Lentils: botanically-known as Lens culinaris esculenta, originated with our ancestors during the Neolithic period. The word’s Latin root is lens,  because the bean cousin is shaped like the double convex optic lens which took its name from the lentil.  There are hundreds of varieties of lentils, with as many as fifty cultivated for food.  They are rich sources of protein, folic acid, dietary fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, essential amino acids and trace minerals.

This post’s title is not misleading. A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. I have been nibbling my way through the lentil loaf leftovers from Sunday, in attempt to not be wasteful before I head home to this:

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Pina coladas, warm weather, and….my laptop as I will be still working from home today.

 

Back to the lentils. Clearly, you all are on edge waiting to hear more. A week ago, prior to my lentil loaf, I concocted a red lentil soup in my Crockpot, surprise surprise.

Into the pot went:

  • 3-4 cups lentils
  • double the volume in vegetable broth
  • garlic
  • 1/2 a medium onion
  • one large sliced leek
  • mushrooms
  • frozen peas (add at the end)
  • curry, salt, pepper, chili sauce

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I turned the Crockpot on high, set off to assist a yoga class at Flow, and when I returned my soup was fini e magnifique. Serve in a large preferably on sale Anthropologie bowl with fresh whole wheat bread and night. Bonus points that it was snowing all day and the boyfriend was a fan.

Lunch leftovers

Lunch leftovers

 

I’m off to Florida to refresh with some Vitamin D  and detox from my lentils. Until next week with another lentil recipe (I kid), Au revoir.

Liebster Interrogation

I’ve met so many really great people in the blogging world, and it’s fascinating how I’ve come to really know their stories. Anyway, I want to thank Hayley for nominating me for the Liebster Award. I’ll try not to bore you incessantly with mundane Grace facts. “Try” being the key word here.

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Here are the rules…

  1. Write 11 random facts about yourself
  2. Answer the 11 questions given by the person who nominated you
  3. Create 11 new questions
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers and mention them in your post
  5. Thank the person that nominated you and tell the people you’ve nominated

Facts:

1. I make my bed every single morning. And if I don’t get the chance to, which is incredibly rare, I’ll make it when I get home. My room just seems too disheveled if it’s not made. I also believe I sleep better when getting into an organized and inviting bed.

2. I only ate buttered noodles and pate for about two thirds of my life.  I took an interest in cooking and new cuisines in high school and then developed rapidly into a foodie. Now my parents don’t know who I am.  They can’t tell you how it happened, but they sure are thankful. I received many a threat that if I didn’t finish my glass of whole milk (yes, I know) or stay at the table until everyone was done, my principal would be called.

3. My grandmother is one of my favorite people. She’s incredibly strong, fascinating, and quirky. I never cease to be amazed by a new life story she tells me–about her travels, the people she’s met, or the antics of my dad. I can count the Christmases I’ve spent without her on one hand, so I really don’t know how to associate that holiday without Ma–making cookies on her butcher block, walking down the stairs hand in hand on Christmas morning, or discussing  politics the night of Christmas Eve.

4. I want a puppy, badly. Or more so, I want to vicariously have one. Not exactly in the right house, city, or stage of my life for one. But hopefully soon. I crave the long walks, cuddle sessions, and companion runs. I may or may not have a few names picked out in anticipation.

5. A few friends the other night made the discovery that I am insanely ticklish behind my ears. Like the earlobe and back of ears area. What a random finding, 23 years down the road. It also may be that I just don’t like people touching my ears–one of those personal spots, you know? And if we’re on a tickle tangent, my brother use to tickle me to such a degree that I think I’m desensitized to it. My arms and feet have been through more tickling than one human being should experience 😉

6. I rarely eat an apple without cinnamon or almonds. It’s an ideal combination, and I have become so use to this paring that the experience is not the same without  the three. I’ve been known to keep a baggy of almonds in my purse. Doesn’t everyone?

7. I’m not a fan of Florida weather. Eeeeeeeeek, I may now be shunned from my home town of Tampa and all my friends. But it truly is tooooo hot. There are maybe 3 months out of the year that are tolerable, and those being the winter months when you shouldn’t be wrapping the Christmas gifts next to a fan, AC unit, and bowl of ice. Growing up in that environment made me awed and moved by the variance of the seasons. It’s really magical to see the pigmentation of the leaves change, experience your first snow in a new city, and witness the blossoming of orange tulip bulbs.

8. I have a slight addiction to cereal and cannot buy it for myself. It will not last in my house and I will devour it all within days. It’s a problem. And I’m seeking help.

9. After hearing from all the wise women of the world, I try to wear sunscreen on my face everyday. Just a little SPF. I know how powerful and destructive those UV rays are regardless of sun or rain. I found a great matted moisturizer SPF so that I don’t feel like I’m putting my makeup onto a greasy sunblock canvas. Sorry boys, that one was for the girls’ ears.

10. My family and I have an odd sequence of birthdays. Me: February SIXTH, my mom: January SEVENTH, my brother: March EIGHTH, and my dad: March twenty NINETH. Okay, that might now blow your mind, but I think it’s kind of neat.

11. I like that blogging is keeping my accountable. Having this outlet forces me to be reflective on my experiences, adventuresome in my activities, and exploratory in my voice and writing direction. Otherwise, it is incredibly challenging to sit yourself down on top of your bustling schedule and obligations, and just write for yourself. So now I’m writing for myself and everyone else.

Your questions:

  1. What is your favorite holiday and why? I’ve always been fond of Thanksgiving. I love the tradition we had with my godparents–switching off hosting every other Thanksgiving between Tampa and West Palm. The food, the smells, the energy, the games are all wonderful memories for me.
  2. Stranded on an island – what 3 things would you want with you? Chapstick, Steinbeck’s East of Eden, and my running shoes.
  3. What are the first 5 things you do when you wake up in the morning? Hit snooze, glance at my emails, take a sip of water, brush my teeth, and take a moment of gratitude.
  4. Favorite meal of the day? BREAKFAST. Endless possibilities.
  5. If you could only do one form of exercise the rest of your life, what would it be? Oh man, I’m in a tough situation. I’d say running because it’s such an emotional release for me. But yoga is doing that for me, as well right now.
  6. Who is your #1 role model? My parents
  7. Who is your celebrity crush? George Clooney. Tall, dark, and handsome.
  8. If you could jump forward 10 years and have any career you want, what would be your dream job? Well, I’m having that crisis already and toying with so many ideas. But either owning my own company/brand, or consulting for a value-aligned health based company. Also being able to travel globally for work.
  9. What is your favorite way to “splurge” and treat yourself with your money? I rarely do it, but a massage. I hold a lot of tension and stress in my shoulders and hips, so I feel like a new woman after a massage.
  10. Are you an animal person? Do you have any pets or want any? Love animals. Not cats, sorry. Slightly allergic and they bore me.
  11. Would you describe yourself as an introvert or extrovert? We just did the Myers Briggs test again during a work retreat. I’m an extrovert in the work field. But socially, an introvert. I’m definitely gregarious but I enjoy my me-time and need to recharge after long days with people.

My questions:

1. Where is your happy place to retreat to?

2. How many siblings do you have?

3. If you could have one superpower?

4. Your top Christmas wish list?

5. If you could be anywhere in the world right now?

6. What did you have for breakfast?

7. Biggest pet peeve?

8. Never have I ever…?

9. Earliest memory?

10. Early bird or night owl?

11. Least favorite food?

The Ladies:

1.Bessbefit

2. Beaniebumbles

3. Sarasmiles

4. Lifeasliv

5. Aftertheivyleague

6. Toldinvain

7. Taylormade

8. Sugarcoatedsisters

9. Fitwanderer

10. Peanutbutterrunner

11. Jessielovestorun

Wanted to nominate everyone, so feel free to leave any answers in the comments below. Enjoy!!