Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Fat Journal

I have been trying to write this article for you for a few weeks now, but did not know how to begin. So here goes nothing: I used to have a hate journal.
There is no way to write that without it sounded quite as retched as it actually was, but it’s out there: I had a hate journal. The hate journal was dedicated to me and how much I hated myself. It was horrific. I thought, at the time, that it was a normal thing to have and that many people abused their bodies in the way I did.
I wrote terribly mean things to myself in BIG BOLD BLACK letters. You will be alone FOREVERNO ONE likes you, fat bitch… and so on and so forth. Thinking about it now gives me a stomach ache. I was constantly on a diet and failing miserably at it. I would cry because I didn’t know how to make myself throw up and I loved food too much to stop eating it. I didn’t have to many friends in the middle of my college years and in that time I sunk into a terrible depression. My mind warped me into believing I would be alone forever, I would never be loved and I was FAT. (The picture below is a picture of me at the time...)
My friend Ashley, myself, Justine & my friend Crystal (in 2007)
Of course, none of this was or is true. It took me a long time, but with the support of amazing friends and a re-dedication to myself, I began to see love. I remember specifically begin on a trip with a group of leaders as I was crawling out of my depressive state and I started skipping through San Fransisco screaming: "I hate being sad. Let’s just always find love & be happy." It was the first time in over a year I think I had seen the sun for what it was: a beautiful ball of energy allowing us to live beautiful and strong lives.
My good friend Crystal told me I needed to burn the journal and I did. My friend Richie held my hand without ever knowing my truest deepest pain but knowing I needed a real friend. My friend Leisl introduced me to leadership roles on campus and I was suddenly surrounded with bountiful energy and people I loved who loved me in return.
It was less than a year later that I discovered yoga and although I did not yet know the benefits, I knew something was happening and I was transforming. I did not know what Ahimsa was, nor did I know how to create self-love but I slowly put myself on that path and am ever grateful for finding its ways.
I want to tell you something: you are loved. You may not know it yet, but you are loved JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. Accept the love, accept the help and let joy into your heart. It may not be tomorrow, but by viewing yourself with self-love and joy, you will slowly become joyful once more and learn to appreciate who YOU are.
I also want to share this video with you. Please, please, please watch it. It shows the vulnerabilities of a beautiful model who tells us that beauty isn’t everything. There is so much beauty within and we need to tap into that power as well. Love with your whole heart and remember that you are not alone. MANY of us have been on this journey as well and I hope to share as much joy, love, laughter & yoga with you as I am able.
Sending you all so much love & light.
Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Inspirations, Gratitude & Obsessions

The end of January is typically a great time to reflect and check in with your goals and “resolutions” but what about February?? I have decided to do a monthly reflection for you all of my own goals, as well as some of the fun adventures I have been on each month. I believe it is so important to express gratitude for your life, as well as share tips & tricks. I learn so much in 24 hours let alone 30 days and would love to share some of my ever expanding knowledge! I hope this post is inspiring you all to create your own gratitude lists and your current obsessions. If you have a particular post, please feel free to share yours as I would love to see your gratitude lists as well.

My personal challenge to myself was to be on my mat three times a week in studio. I did not reach this goal but did come pretty close. While I was stuck in Austin, TX and snowed out of my own city I did some discovering and went to a yoga class at Wunderlust Live which I adored. I was not able to make it on my mat as often while there but did manage to walk all over the city of Austin! I will be continuing this personal challenge as well as my meditation practice and am excited to share new experiences along the way.
One of those experiences is Kundalini yoga. I have been truly enjoying my Kundalini practice of late. It is very spiritual, with heavy breathing and intense meditations. As the full moon was upon us mere days ago, I have done a lot of spiritual workshops and intentions as well as Kundalini classes. One of the highlights of February for me was attending a Crystal Bowl Workshop on the evening of the full moon and setting an intention for the months to come. I have a beautiful goal in mind and am excited to begin on that path and journey!

I have continued my daily meditation practice. While in Austin, I meditated all but two days and got right back into the groove upon returning to my humble abode. I have been using May Cause Miracles as a guide, and am excited to continue. The best part of this meditation practice is that although I am using May Cause Miracles as inspiration, if the battery on my nook dies I arrive in front of my altar and simply listen to my heart. It has created in me an intention of keeping a regular routine and an open & clean heart. I am thoroughly enjoying my meditations.

I try to keep a running list of wish list items for eating, watching, reading & inspiring. This month I have created quite the “To Watch & Read” list as The Oscar’s were on this month & I’ve been spending a lot of time researching new inspiring authors.
A list of movies I really want to watch: Silver Linings Playbook, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Inocente & Paper Man.
A list of books I’m ready to tackle: Atlas Shrugged, The Great Gatsby, The Richest Man in Babylon,&  The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I would also love to re-read my favorite book, The Alchemist. {Along of course with the required 500 hour teacher training reading… I wish we had more than 24 hours in each day sometimes!}
An amazing list of 30 things you can do in your life RIGHT NOW. *Watch the videos in #28 ASAP!!

Glittering Adventures
This month was (as always) full of beautiful, fun, glittering adventures! My cousin Heather came for a visit with her friend Sarah and we had a girls night out at Embargo. While the girls were visiting, we played karaoke with our friends Nadia & Tom that same weekend along with a healthy dinner party (YUMMY!)
I had a few adventures touring around Austin, TX. I went on a tour of the Texas State Capital building, ate delicious foods, found a brand new amazing yoga studio, went up on stage at a performance, saw my first Mardi Gras on 6th street & worked my behind off at a conference for educational technology!
The following week was full of snow days where I was able to work from home and pamper my puppy, as well as a beautiful Valentine's Day out with my hubby. Some alone time at our one of our favorite places and a well as the wedding album I created for us (and my fun new presents!!)

This past week I went to dinner with a few yogi friends for Thai food & all month long I have spent time cuddling with my little family and falling deeper in love my husband and our furry babies.
The best and most gitter-tastic adventure of all however was our Journey to Hope photo shoot (with the amazing Ashley Bilodeau) and potluck this past weekend! We have some amazing photos coming soon and had a wonderful time discussing which shelters everyone worked at, what their passions were and WHY they volunteer for our organization. I am so blessed to have such wonderful volunteers and couldn’t do what we do without them. Thank you so much ladies…so much love & light to each of you!
I have been spending a lot of time creating video content, hooking up with my videographers (and sending them loads & loads of glitter & yoga inspiration), creating logos, collaborating with friend on the Leap of Faith Kit and creating a place where you all will be able to see my schedule, read the blog in a better format and learn more about yoga, love, life & glitter!! I am so excited to finally see things coming together on this last day of February and feel so blessed to be coordinating with some RAD women.

The THINGS I have been loving lately: my new alex & ani bracelets from hubby (Ohm, Peace & Anchor), my PINK Victoria Secret hoodie, my mala beads via Connie Mooney, lululemon yoga pants (which I LIVE in), bright blue jeans & loads of blazers in every color, wearing more accessories, glitter spray & all of my LUSH products.
Journey to Hope Yoga Inc
I am in love with: our efforts, our board, what we bring to the community, our volunteers and the amazing, wonderful, beautiful people we serve every week. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a part of the journey with us no matter if you’re reading, donating, participating or watching from afar!
Get out there – do yoga & MAKE LIFE SPARKLE!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Magical Mondays

Good Morning beautiful yogis & yoginis!
What a beautiful day to count our blessings. There is snow on the trees, but not on the roads. The birds are singing, the sun began shining early this morning and today is a full moon.
This week I am full of energy and light! Last night I attended a Crystal Bowls class and it was amazing. I left feeling light and airy - full of energy and complete with a new intention and manifestation for the new moon. As this weekend began Mercury Retrograde, I was feeling a bit of a downpull in energy...but once I attended the workshop and created a loving and healing intention, I felt 100% better.
The workshop was eye opening. I felt all kinds of beautiful energy within me and was blessed to have been essentially dragged to the class by my friend Patty. In terms of energy, Patty is another entity on her own and an amazingly intuitive person. I was so glad she asked me to come out on a dreary evening and feel so much more attuned and open to the changes happening around me.
Mercury Retrograde is a time to reflect and a time of immense changes. It is a great time to try a more spiritual practice of yoga and listen to your whole mind, body & spirit within yoga. I truly encourage you to slow down and begin to listen to your own wisdom.
Along with my amazing energy healing class last night, my weekend was full of blessings. I was able to coordinate a photoshoot for the amazing Journey to Hope volunteers!! The handful of volunteers that were able to make it to this session were greeted with the most beautitful, kind and loving yogini photographer, Ms. Ashley Paige!! Check out her facebook page and I promise I will be posting photos of the shoot in the near future.

This beautiful photo shoot was complimented with a dinner at our home. It was so nice to see all of our volunteers conversing together and discussing what shelter they work at, why they volunteer and so forth. I wish some of my board members were able to attend - but circumstances proved otherwise this time. Next time, we will ALL be in full swing and I am eagerly anticipating photo shoot number two with the rest of the amazing volunteers we have for Journey to Hope!

The Little Things

Springtime birds, sunlight when I'm waking up, the Journey to Hope Yoga photo shoot, Power Yoga of Cape Cod for allowing us to borrow the space, Ashley Bilodeau, our amazing volunteers, a delicious potluck dinner, my hubby, a yummy cafe for Sunday brunch, sleeping in, cuddling, puppy presents, rain instead of snow, my mom finally going to Florida for a vacation, the AMAZING Crystal Bowls class last night, the full moon and my intentions, channeling my passions, making fruit paste from Crazy Sexy Kitchen (and various other recipes), writing my book, creating video content, The Oscars' (my little musical heart is STILL doing backflips over some of last nights performances), good music, funny youtube videos, lessons in slowing down, listening to my inner wisdom {especially during mercury retrograde}, The Leap of Faith Kit I'm creating for you all, my daily meditation, YOGA REACHES OUT, assisting in yoga reaches out, creating healthy meal plans and Kundalini this week!

I hope you are counting your blessings today. Remember, Mondays are magical. Let's take back Monday's bad rep and remember that we are blessed and we are loved.

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Things I love Thursday

Good morning yogis!!

Apparently, today is Thursday.... I have no idea what day of the week it is because we had a holiday off on Monday at work and I completely forgot about Magical Mondays! Ah, well - better late than never :-)

This past week was full of snow. We had four snow days at work due to a power outage and needed to work from home. I was able to cook healthy lunches & hang out with my puppy boy. I worked one day in the office last week (on Friday) and then had a wonderful snowy weekend where Karthik & I were snowed in watching movies, eating and snuggling with our puppy.

Monday was a nice day off and time for yoga. I enjoyed an amazing class with my yogi friend Kathleen on Monday mid-day. I then took my spoild puppy to the dog store to get him some treats and me a nice almond chai latte (YUMMY!!) and then we went for a brilliantly bright & COLD walk on the beach. I spent the evening with hubby once he got out of work, making a delicious meal for dinner.

The Little Things

I enjoyed having hubby cook me dinner, watching the Downton Abbey season finale (sad!!), yoga, home practices, meditation, healthy eating, a new tofu recipe, eating clean, getting excited about going to Kundalini tonight, the planning stages of, my new web designer, my video friends, the MAD content/blogging/book material I've been conjuring up, work going well, dealing with stresses of my work through breath, creating amazing projects for all of you yogis & yoginis, feeling the LOVE, Mermaid by Train, planning tomorrow's sequence & of course cuddling!

I hope you have found something amazing to be grateful for today. Remember that you have breath in your lungs, an open heart and someone who loves you.

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Walking the walk

Yesterday I went into Victoria’s Secret. Hubby was kind enough to give me a gift card for Valentine’s Day & as Apollo had recently eaten my favorite bra I could not have been more thrilled! I was given a chance to put on a little glam and find the perfect fitting item for my top half.
The problem is, yesterday hubby wanted to run into the mall and I decided to use my gift card on a self-proclaimed fat day and needed to be re-sized by a cute, petite blonde in the fitting room. I am a firm believer in walking the walk if you’re talking the talk. I need to believe in self-love, ahimsa and all things good for my body. As Gabby Bernstein says in May CauseMiracles, my body is a vessel by which I am supposed to help others. I am supposed to use my body to share my gift of voice and love and yoga. But yesterday it plain sucked.
Here I am in the dressing room, realizing the bras I previously fit into no longer fit me. I have been losing some weight, but apparently gaining in the upper area instead of losing and needed a new bra size. Put this on top of a self-proclaimed fat day where it took me 25 minutes to get ready to drive to the mall for a 10 minute errand – that blonde girl in the dressing room wasn’t looking to be too high on my list of loves.
But she was sweet. She not-so awkwardly but very awkwardly, measured me in the dressing room. Let’s be honest – if you’ve ever been measured it brings up some weird ego/self-hatred/judgment of yourself while someone has a tape measure around your ta-tas, especially if they are skinnier than you are.
BUT I took in my yogi perspective. She was helping me find the right fit, she was giving me many bras to compare size and comfort and shape etc. She was really being helpful and kind and wanted nothing more than to guide me to a better fitting piece of undergarment. I took a few deep breaths and decided to just let it be. I let my body relax and decided to concentrate on the task at hand and deal with my body image issues later.
I finally found something that fit and that I loved, as well as a comfy sweatshirt from their collection. When I got home, I put on my brand new sweatshirt and my favorite yoga pants. I light a candle and meditated for a while. I read week 3 of May Cause Miracles introduction and reminded myself that I am love. I am not just my body but also a spiritual being that can bring love to others and spread my joy and passion to the world. I am not just my bra size and the perception that media has projected on me. I am loved. I bring love. I AM love.
I need to walk the walk if I’m going to talk the talk. Some days are MUCH tougher than others. Today is a new day and I’m trying my best as always. It’s okay to slip up, to make mistakes. It’s just as in our physical yoga practice: some days are much easier to slip into mermaid pose while others it seems as though it is an impossible stretch. Keep reaching, keep trying and keep adjusting. You’ll get there as we all will, on our own time and our own path. Wherever you are right now is perfect, you’re on the right path and I cannot wait to meet you there at the end.
As always, get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Power of Breath


By facing our fears and removing obstacles, we create a clearer path. One of the things that helps me through each day is my meditation practice. Each day I open my heart and meditate, listening for the wisdom of God and Ganesh. Pranayama or breath also has seen me through many situations. It feels so comforting to be physically relaxing my nervous system with the action of breath and the conscious movement of bringing life into my being. Ujjai breath is such a calming and comforting sound and yet it is audible and loud.

Ujjai breathing is when you breathe in through your nose and out of your nose. While breathing into your nose try starting at a count of 4 beats and then exhale to 6 beats. Your exhales should always be a bit longer than your inhales. As you breathe out, close your lips to feel and hear a whisper sound in the back of your throat. It sounds like “old man breath” and that’s perfectly normal. If your counts are longer than 4 or 6 beats, that’s wonderful – keep going as long as you’re able! Exhaling will bring your inhale, so keep breathing.

On a recent trip home from Austin Texas I found myself sitting next to a nervous flyer. As someone who is relatively confident with travel and flying, I wanted to be able to help guide him. His energy was making not only the people around us anxious, but also myself. I decided to teach him the art of ujjai breath while we were taking off and explained that not only is he calming the nervous system but also relaxing himself with the sound of breath. I began to breathe with him as it always helps to hear the breath of another while doing ujjai breathing. It was very calming to breathe together and he began to physically relax as our journey began into the night sky. It was such a gift to see him become calm and experience a flight in a new way, without fear. Our breath and life encourages others, so share your gifts whenever and however you’re able.

My mother has also used ujjai breathing while not in a yoga studio. She had a minor surgery removing a little lump on the top of her head a while back and as she was awaiting her anesthesia, she began her ujjai breathing. She mentioned to me later that a part of her felt silly and another part of her felt calm and no longer anxious about the operation ahead. Being less anxious won out and she continued her breath.

The man I sat next to on the plane asked a very profound question: But what should one think about while breathing? You should think about whatever it is that makes you feel most comfortable: God, Ganesh, the universe, counting numbers, counting sheep, the beautiful light from within your third eye, the person next to you, flowers, stars – whatever makes you feel best when breathing outside of the yoga studio, breathe that in.

While you’re in the studio, you are likely to be breathing into your poses. Movement with breath is one of the key definitions of yoga. If we don’t breathe with our poses, we are just exercising and not doing yoga. I always tell my students to breathe in love and breathe out light. If they can’t breathe out light and they’re having a bad day, I tell them to let go of anything that is no longer serving them. By letting go of fear, and opening your heart and lungs to love you will grow to be more loving and less fearful. 

In your fearlessness, you will be able to accomplish anything. That’s the magic of life. You need to find the perfect balance. A touch of fear to keep you neutral, a bucket full of glitter and light, a calming breath and a beautiful vision. You will get there when you’re ready. Just remember, wherever you are right now is where you’re supposed to be. It may not be perfect but it is a part of your journey. You need to feel everything to be in balance and continue to grow. 

Explore your breath, dig into your dream and begin to let go of fear.

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Coming Back to the Mat

What happens if you lose your physical yoga practice? So many yogis I know have been deeply connected to their practice only to one day wake up a little too busy to do yoga. Or perhaps a friend that usually accompanies you isn't able to join you. Perhaps you meditate everyday but recently lost the drive to arrive on your mat and practice next to your friends or loved ones. Whatever it is, sometimes a yogi needs a break and it's absolutely okay to do so. Taking a yoga break is similar to taking childs pose. Sometimes your body just needs a break and it will know when you're ready to arrive on your mat and come back home.

You don't have to be on your mat to be a yogi but as Heart of Yoga explains: you can start yoga on one end of the spectrum (spiritual or physical) and begin with both not connected but eventually you need to connect the two. Over the past few years my mom and I have been trying to connect the two, just as with everyone else who begins a yoga practice. We step on the mat for one reason (mine was a heartbreak and my mom's was arthritis) but we stay for so many other reasons.

The benefits of yoga are the benefits of breath, the lifting of your spirit while practicing next to a new friend, your open and more flexible mind, body & spirit and so much more. The benefits of the practice are your entryway to so many beautiful adventures and opportunities. It is healing, fun, opening, life changing and ever moving - yoga is life.

But what happens if you lose part of that path?

Do you become a "former" yogi?
An anti-yoga?
I used to be a yogi but I'm not longer flexible?

No. None of that is true. If you are a yogi or a yogini: YOU ARE. You are constantly learning as all of us are, to be present, to breathe and to move within your body. Time away from the mat is a part of that experience. Time away from the mat can sometimes be a good thing because the moment you step back on your mat and back into the full experience of your yoga practice, you are more connected that you ever have been before.

Is it tough? YES! There are weeks when I have no time for a physical yoga asana practice and the first day back is amazing. Then the next day my body is in no mood for any physical activity....but I go again and again and again until I feel connected to my body once more. Being away from the mat can often be a blessing as well as a curse and the first step is just that: stepping onto your mat.

Do not wait for a friend to join you.
Do not wait until you're "ready".
Do not wait until you find a beginners class when you used to take Bikram daily.

Just jump right back in and take your time. NO ONE is judging you for the practice that you used to have but yourself and you need to stop judging now. Remember that balasana or childs pose is one of the most advanced asanas we have. It takes acceptance, understanding and letting go of our ego to embrace balasana. It takes a truly seasoned yogi to know when to rest and when to push harder.

So go find your yoga, and get back to the mat. It's time. Open your heart, open your hips and head back to the place that makes you feel at home and at peace with your physical self. It's time. No one is judging you but you and it needs to stop NOW. Let go of your ego and get back to the place that will welcome you time and time again no matter how many times you fall. You mat is waiting for you.

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day: New News!!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

Today marks the beginning of a very long and real project that I hope we are able to embark upon together. I am creating The Ahimsa Project which is a project I am creating on self-love and creating a better you through yoga, meditation and glittery goodness! The yogiocho.blogspot website will be moving in a few weeks and I will be creating lovely videos for you all answering your questions and spreading some delicious information about yoga, glitter and self-love.

Please watch this first video and bare with me. It's all about the process and although I may be starting a bit prior to being "100% ready" you're NEVER ready.... so I wanted you to know what's in the works, where we will be going together and please let me know if you have any questions within the comments below.

Also, please share this new post (and any others to follow) through twitter, facebook, youtube or just your friends and families emails! I look forward to sharing with all of you and am sending you a tremendous amount of valentine's day love.

Get out there, do yoga & make life sparkle!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Staying Healthy While Traveling

My friends/co-workers
This past week I got to enjoy/work in the city of Austin, TX. It was a sweet little city with a ton of yoga, healthy food trucks, smoothies and restaurants within walking distance of the conference center and hotels. It's a liberal, vegan-friendly city. In other words, I fit right in!

Most places are not like Austin, however and it can be really difficult to stay healthy while you're away for pleasure or (especially) for business. My bosses chose most of the restaurants during the week for our dinners and it was difficult to stay on track with weight watchers and watching my meat and cheese consumption. Nevertheless, here are a few suggestions to keeping healthy while traveling!

1) Walk, walk walk!

I always try to walk wherever I am. They say you're supposed to take 10,000 steps per day and I try to amp that up as often as possible. While staying in our first hotel I was located on the 3rd floor and took the stairs everyday to get back and forth from my room. I also walked to lunch and took cabs as little as possible.

The second hotel where we stayed (I was moved because I was snowed out of my own city!), I was located on the 14th floor. It took a whole heck of a lot longer to walk down those steps, so I decided to not walk the steps. Instead I walked all over the city while staying there. My co-worker/friend Nadia and I did not take a cab at all while we were stuck for the weekend. Sunday morning I walked 2.5 miles to a jewelry store to find out they were closed on Sundays! Saturday we walked approximately 3-4 miles for the day while discovering what Austin had to offer.

2) Make the best choices available.... as often as you can.

This one is extremely difficult. It's so hard to make good choices when there are bacon cheeseburgers on the menu and homemade spicy macaroni and cheese. It's a good idea to try a few of the local offerings, no matter what the caloric intake. I promise that if you're watching what you're eating and conscious it will not be too big of a deal if you order the jalapeno grits!

I love trying new dishes and would often steal from friends plates, or order my own new dish. One night I was craving meat (and listening to my body) so I ordered a cheese burger. I got through half of it and left the other half on my plate. My Norwegian boss made fun of me for leaving food on the table and complained that I wasn't eating enough (and in the same sentence mentioned our ridiculous portion sizes in America). But I left it. My body told me I was full and I no longer needed to eat the burger. What I had was satisfying.

Best Dessert EVER! @ The W for lunch
I also said no to desserts: mostly. One afternoon at lunch I ordered the most delectable dessert of my life (but I also ate a smaller portion for lunch knowing I wanted to try dessert later!) I made the best choices I was able, but also had fun. I tried new drinks, tried to record all I ate and whenever I was on my own, I found smoothies and healthy food for lunch!

3) Be YOU

It's so difficult to be fully yourself when you're away and traveling. I tried my best. I meditated most mornings, I did yoga stretches in bed, I went to a yoga studio once we were stuck in Austin and I found a groovy smoothie/acai bowl location that was attached to a yoga studio!

While at work, I was my composed self and well behaved. I followed along and did as I was told. But whenever I could, I snuck off for a freshly pressed juice, apples and a kombucha!

Snap Kitchen Pod-Lunch

4) Have snacks ready!

A continental breakfast is for stealing apples and bananas! Just kidding (kinda). But you should seriously think about taking an apple or two when you leave your free breakfast. Grab a nutri-grain bar before leaving the hotel and always have a snack prepared.

The one rule I forgot was the airport rule. You should ALWAYS have something prepared for your airplane ride that is healthy. I ended up at the airport at 4:00am in Boston and by the time we arrived for our connection in Detroit I was starving. The airport offered dried mangos (the healthiest snack I could find) and nothing but a yucky looking fruit cup. Next time, I need to remember to pack real fruit or a homemade snack!

5) Do your best, but don't worry too much!

You're on vacation, or you're traveling for work. Don't stress about it too much and indulge in that Mexican ice cream, fried chile relleno or delicious Margarita during happy hour (which they do not offer in Massachusetts so go ahead and enjoy)!

Try your best but don't stress. Have fun and get back into your normal routine the moment you arrive home. Eat when you're hungry, rest (if able) when you're tired. Most of all, listen to your body as it will tell you exactly what to do!

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Guest Post: Apollo's First Year

My name is Apollo and my mom says that she talks about me a lot on this "blog" thing she does so I wanted to stop by and say hi. Today I am a little tired, but normally very hyper and fun! I wanted to share with you all a few highlights of what it's like to have my mom and dad in my life.

My 1st night home
When I was born I was living in a farm in Georgia. It was a big barn with 57 other dogs and the lady who lived there didn't have enough time for me. I was just a few weeks old when some ladies came to rescue me. I had 11 other brothers and sisters, but only myself and 9 others made it to the shelter. Mommy said the other 2 babies didn't even make it because they froze to death overnight.

Mommy and dad saw me online one night at Starbright Rescue Animal Shelter where I was staying with some nice people in Georgia waiting for a good home. They loved me at first sight (thats what she said) and I loved them from the moment I walked through the door.

Our first night was very scary. I pooped in the car in my crate and snuggled with my monkey. It was loud and cold and snowing and I didn't know where we were going or who my mommy was yet. Mommy pulled over at a gas station and cleaned me up and put more blankets on me while we continued on our way to my new home.

When we got home, dad was waiting for us with his video camera! It was so warm and much bigger than any place I had ever lived. We had a snack and I got more cleaned up and then it was time for bed. I was in my crate and already missed my mommy. She kept checking on me but wouldn't take me out because she said her book told her not to put me in bed. I whined a little bit and finally she came to get me. Mommy and dad put me in their bed and I snuggled all night. I was so good I didn't even need to go potty until morning!
My first week home!

I loved cuddling with them from the moment I was home and in the past year I have had so many adventures! I started puppy training (and graduated from intermediate), I learned how to swim in Wolfeboro, I moved into a giant mansion, I got a fun brother named Digger who I LOVE to play with, I come when my name is called (and it makes my mom so happy), I went to yoga classes and met many students, I walk on the beach (my favorite!!), I go to doggy daycare with my friends sometimes, I have a few girlfriends, I have many friends (Turk & Byron are my favorite), I love my grandparents, I like riding in the car with my mom, I had my first Christmas and my birthday (that I share with my mom) and I only bark if there is something or someone scary outside (which is rare).

I hope you like my story! I love my new life and have had the best year so far. I'm looking forward to many more and cannot wait to see the beach again in Wolfeboro or our beaches in the Cape when it's warm outside. I want to go swimming soon!

Here are some pictures of my year:

Sleeping after a weekend with Rhia

Chilling in my mansion with dad

My brother Digger! I love him so much.

One of my favorite toys

The beach where dad proposed!

The 1st day I went swimming in Wolfeboro!

At the biggest beach I've ever been at!!

Riding on grandpa's boat in NH!


Everyone says I'm spoiled....

Sending lots of cuddles and a lot of love from my new family.

Magical Mondays: Apollo's Anniversary & I'm HOME!

Today I am so grateful for a big huge list of things, but the two most important are being home with my husband and our furry babies, and today is Apollo’s anniversary!

We have had our puppy boy for a whole year today and it has been the best adventure and experience a girl could ask for. I count him in my blessings everyday. Although it has taken Digger a long time to accept him as a brother, I now find the sneak cuddling sometimes when we come home from work! They are slowly becoming friends – kinda.

Apollo woke us up this morning with his usual litany of kisses and his sweet smelly breath greeting. I love him so much and we couldn’t be more blessed to have this little rescue in our lives. Our bonsai lab/rescue/hound/pointer puppy is just perfect no matter what his background. Tomorrow is his one-year rabies shot appointment and we will find out if he’s grown!

Hidden Bistro Wall
Today is a very magical Monday indeed – I AM HOME! I was so excited to step off the airplane that I didn’t even mind the 2.5 feet of snow that greeted my return. I was stuck in Austin this week at a conference for work and was literally snowed out of my own city. I missed my family so much and wanted nothing more than to be home and cuddle.

Nadia & I at the Capital Building
Fortunately, however, I took the yogi approach and discovered why I was supposed to be in Austin. I went shopping with a few girlfriends who were also stuck, went to Ester Follies (and got pulled up on stage!), discovered 6th street, went to yoga at Wanderlust Live, drank smoothies, went to the state capital and ate brunch in a hidden cafe bistro with Nadia.

Inside the Capital Building, Austin TX

I had such a blast while I was there for the weekend and it was much warmer in Austin than Boston so I cannot complain. The best part of the trip was on the way home. I love landing into Logan Airport as it looks as though you are going to be crashing into the ocean and yet you land beautifully on a runway surrounded it instead. I was sitting next to a nervous flyer and taught him how to breathe using ujjai breath and asking him to meditate – and he said for the first time he really saw the way we landed and felt much calmer. I loved being able to help him feel better on the way home and loved landing in my city!

Hubby and I had a bit of a lazy morning as I’m working from home and awaiting another big meeting. It felt so nice to be snuggled up and loving my family.

Enjoying the hidden bistro
This past week was full of traveling, trying to stay healthy on a business trip, walking, fun nights with friends, yoga and a lot of busy. I am grateful for the week ahead in my own studios with a much calmer pace and am certainly looking forward to Valentine’s Day & Kundalini yoga this week!

The Little Things

Uncommon Objects on South Congress Street, Kendra Scott jewelry, walking all around Austin, petting rescue puppies on the street, amazing desserts, eating flowers, texmex everywhere, Jackalope's, being a magicians assistant at Ester Follies, experiencing Mardi Gras for 10 minutes, finding yoga & smoothies, healthy food trucks, little Eiffel Towers, having dinner with my Norwegian boss while being snowed out of Boston, calling hubby everyday, picture updates of Apollo, Digger & the Blizzard of 2013, not having to shovel any of the storm, working from home today, the joy of cuddling when arriving home and being able to finally snuggle next to my love last night!

Here’s to hoping you had an amazing week and an even better Monday. Stay safe in the snow if you’re in New England.

Sending love & positivity.
Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Magical Monday

Good morning yogis, yoginis & friends! 
Happy Monday!

I hope you have all had an amazing weekend, a great week behind you and an even better week to come ahead. I was so blessed to have my week be full of cuddling, new foods, surprise presents, a few movies & a whirlwind weekend visit from my cousin and her best friend.

This past week was full of yoga moves and yoga thoughts. I practiced Kundalini again, which I am getting quite attached to and was asked to attend an 8 hour long meditation. I may join, but it may be a bit too much for me in the beginning stages of me learning about meditation and Kundalini. Although, you should always start before you’re ready... we shall see!

I also got the opportunity to teach a private yoga lesson before work one day this week. As I now work full-time, I do not get the opportunity as often as I used to and it was such a blessing. I was so excited to wake up at 4:45 am and drive off to teach a 6:00 am private yoga class! It was also that same day that we received a sur-PRIZE from Jill Abraham for completing the 30-day challenge. My prize was an octopus keychain, and if you hadn’t guessed, octopi are definitely my favorite!

Heather & Sarah came down for a nice visit this weekend, which was a lot of fun. We got pedicures, had a girls night out and had some friends over on Saturday to join us in playing karaoke. It was a lot of fun to have my cousin over and re-connect with her friend Sarah. It couldn’t have been a better weekend.

The Little Things

Using my china at a dinner party, playing singing, cousin love, pedicures, walking in the cold in our pedicure flip-flops like true New Englanders, hubby got twitter, we watched Trouble with the Curve (an adorable movie!), Crazy Sexy Kitchen Cookbook, Lush, bubble baths, naps, losing a little bit of weight, veggie burgers, cauliflower buffalo bites, experiments in the kitchen, an amazing dinner (and dinner party), Embargo’s, dancing, meditating every morning, homemade coffee, good presentations at work, yoga with old friends and looking forward to the conference this week in Texas!!

I hope you had a week full of little blessings and love. I wish you the most beautiful week ahead. Keep counting your blessings, have fun, save room for dessert (or eat it first) and love with your whole soul.

Get out there – do yoga & make life SPARKLE!

Friday, February 1, 2013

My Crush on Cauliflower

Now that I have been eating vegetarian meals most days of the week, I wanted to share a handful of my yummy creations, failed attempts & my new found love for veggie burgers and cauliflower!

Hubby is Indian (as if my last name and his frequent pictures on this blog haven't given it away already) and he loves flavor! I love spice and flavor!! We need our culinary experiments to include a heck of a lot of taste or both of us are out of the game.

First things first, I discovered I like brussel sprouts and cauliflower! I never had them growing up and the handful of times I had experienced either were a non-flavorful, disgusting attempt at making a meal. I didn't know the possibilities of using cauliflower. Hubby has been super excited about these revelations as these are among his favorite vegetables!

I first discovered I liked cauliflower this past Christmas after eating my uncle's cauliflower casserole. I recreated that dish and then put the leftover cauliflower in a soup. I decided I liked it so much that I bought more and made buffalo cauliflower bites!

Over the course of this experiment, I also tried (and thoroughly enjoyed)  veggie burgers, bean sprouts, homemade veggie dip, tofu, smart bacon & Quorn "chicken" nuggets. Oh man, talk about a flavorful, palate expansion adventure! I'll explain more about the food above in another post, but because I'm so excited about my recent crush on cauliflower, I thought that would be a good place to start.

Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole


* 1/2 head of Cauliflower
* 1 1/2 cups low-fat shredded cheese
* Salt & pepper


1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Boil cauliflower. You want to boil it for a long time as you will be mashing the cauliflower to create the casserole. Then drain.

3) Mash cauliflower with a fork until it looks like stringy mashed potatoes.

4) Transfer to an over safe casserole dish. Add in the cheese and salt and pepper. Toss the cauliflower so that it is covered with the cheese.

5) Back in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Voila! Yummy, cheesy casserole. We ate ours with a ton of fresh, healthy, non-cheesy fruits and veggies and created a meal. This would make a wonderful side dish.

Kitchen Sink Soup!!!


* 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
* 1.2 tsp ground corriander
* 2 tsp cumin
* 2 tsps chili powder
* 1 bay leaves
* 2-4 garlic cloves, minced (depends on your tastebuds!)
* Handful of spinach
* Handful of raddishes
* 1 cup carrots, chopped
* 1 cup lentils
* 1/2 yellow onion
* 1/2 head of cauliflower (or a whole, your choice!)
* 14 oz. can of tomatoes (I used Rotella for extra flavor!)
* 5-6 cups of vegetable broth

1) In a crockpot, combine your vegetable broth and all of your spices. If you prefer to sautee your onions and garlic, do so. Sometimes I do and sometimes I opt not to!

2) Add all the chopped vegetables and the lentils to the pot (save the spinach).

3) Cook on high 4-5 hours or low 6-8 hours.

4) About a half hour before you're going to eat, add in the handfuls of spinach (or kale) into your soup.

5) Top with cheese (or not if you're vegan!) and enjoy!!!

We ate ours in a delicious bread bowl and topped it with parmesan cheese. It is delicious and will definitely clear your sinuses, especially if you're not feeling well! The recipe above can be adapted to accomodate what you have in your refridgerator. I am calling this the kitchen sink soup as I put in whatever veggies I tend to have on hand (zuchinni, broccoli, asparagus etc) and I keep the broth the same!

I also tried cauliflower as a buffalo bite, which was a recipe I found from skinnytaste. Normally I adapt recipes and this time, I stayed the course. I have a VERY spicy palate and this was a bit too much buffalo sauce for my taste. I also didn't love it. I enjoyed the healthy idea and made her skinny texas cheese fries (minus the bacon) to go with it - but I ate the fries much faster than the buffalo bites. I did take them in to work for lunch the next day, so they were good - just not my favorite. I'd give them a try for a healthy pub grub appetizer during the Super Bowl weekend if you're feeling brave!

Enjoy! I hope you're able to incorporate some of these yummy, warm recipes this weekend during the super bowl. If you're in New England we may be getting snow on Sunday and these yummy cauliflower recipes will warm you heart & be a super healthy dish for your Super Bowl Party!

Stay Warm!!!
Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!