4 Life lessons learned in yoga
Apr
23rd

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how my yoga practice helps me grow in my day to day life. I am always raving about how yoga is life changing, but I don’t do a great job of identifying exactly how. In a lot of ways, it’s something you have to experience to really understand, but there are many lessons learned and practiced on your mat that clearly translate into daily life. These four in particular have impacted me strongly lately, so I wanted to share them all with you. <3

1. Return to your breath. Yoga practice is all about breath. During practice, you return to the breath to cultivate a sense of calm even when your body is working hard. No matter the situation, focusing on my breath brings the same sort of calm to my mind and body. I’ve written before about how this has helped me cope with my anxiety disorder, but it has even broader applications. Whether it’s managing a hectic day, or something much more stressful the ability to quickly tune out the chaos by focusing on even a single breath is an incredible tool to clear your mind and calm the storm.

Breathe background

2. The power of stillness. We live in a society that is always on the go. Rarely, if ever, do we take time to just be. Like most people, I am always doing: moving and fidgeting and thinking and worrying and planning. When I first started yoga I rebelled against the stillness. I fidget constantly in life (just ask John), and I fidgeted constantly in poses. Shifting my gaze, shifting my weight, making millions of micro adjustments while my mind ran wild with distraction.

pigeon pose mirror shot

The yin classes that I take once a week (where poses are held for 5 minutes each) really push me in this area, and I have seen so much improvement in my ability to calm my body and my mind and turn inward. Now I’ve come to relish those moments of complete stillness and quiet contemplation that come in my practice. Do I still have days where it just doesn’t come easily? Of course. But I’ve learned that amazing things can come from within if I just take the time to slow down and listen.

3. Honor your body. This has become my mantra recently. I used to be embarrassed of how “new agey” it sounds, but now I just embrace it. :) Your body is your home, it’s the only one you’ll ever have. So don’t fight it or force it or abuse it. Mentally or physically. Learn to love it and respect it. Honor it by respecting its boundaries and edges in yoga (not forcing poses), in other areas of fitness (rest days, knowing when to stop), and in life (eating, sleeping, speeding up and slowing down as needed).

childs pose

4. Patience and acceptance. Progress in the physical postures is slow, at least for me. There are days when I am incredibly frustrated with myself and with my body for not being “better.” It is humbling to try difficult postures, and it tests my patience when my flexibility improves so slowly that it feels non-existence. I have to work hard, very hard, to embrace yoga’s message of accepting where you are in the present. The fact that it’s hard is exactly why I need it.

In reality, progress in yoga is not about the physical postures, it’s about the internal journey. It doesn’t matter how deep your backbend is or how long you can hold an arm balance. True progress comes from tuning into your body and connecting with yourself on a deeper level. Letting go of ego and the need to look like a yoga model requires patience and acceptance.

yoga is not about touching your toes

Questions: Yogis, do you agree with this list? What other life lessons do you take from your practice? Non-yogis, how does your passion translate into daily life?

Chewy strawberry cinnamon oatmeal {recipe}
Apr
21st

I’ve never been a big fan of oatmeal.

This has been a big frustration in my life because 1) oatmeal is great for you, so I felt like I should like oatmeal, and 2) I like oats, so I felt like I could like oatmeal. But, I didn’t, because normal oatmeal is the consistency of boogers. Gross.

Chewy strawberry cinnamon oatmeal

My first oatmeal breakthrough came when I discovered steel cut oats. My original “oatmeal for people who hate oatmeal” was a step in the right direction, but it was really only enough to make oatmeal something I would eat. I didn’t crave it, and I didn’t eat it often.

chewy strawberry oatmeal

Recently, I was inspired to give it another chance because I was looking for another way to get fruit in the morning besides smoothies (more fruit is my April goal). I’ve had this chewy strawberry cinnamon oatmeal almost every day for the past two weeks. I crave it! So I think it’s safe to say I finally love oatmeal, well, my oatmeal anyway. :)

In addition to being delicious, it only takes a few minutes to make in the microwave, so they are super easy for busy mornings. I’m also loving how full I am after eating oatmeal. Normally I snack on and off all morning, but I haven’t been quite as much lately. So if you’re a hater like me, definitely give these a try and let me know what you think! :)

chewy strawberry oatmeal

CHEWY STRAWBERRY CINNAMON OATMEAL

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. old fashioned oats (not instant)
  • 1/3 c. milk/milk alternative (I’ve been using an almond and coconut milk blend)
  • 1 c. frozen strawberries
  • 2 tsp. coconut crystals (can also use honey, regular sugar, or any other sweetener)
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Directions

Combine the oats, milk, and frozen strawberries. Microwave for 2 minutes. Chop or smash up the strawberries, and remix the oats/milk/strawberry mixture and microwave for another 30 seconds to a minute depending on whether the berries were still partially frozen. Stir in sweetener and cinnamon and enjoy. Total calories: 235 (will vary depending on the milk and sweetener used).

Questions: Are you weird about food textures? Is there a stereotypically healthy food you had to learn to love? Are you as surprised as I am by my oatmeal intake?

Planning for weekend travel
Apr
20th

Guys… we got an apartment!!!! Thanks for all of your finger crossing and good luck wishes, I’m pretty much positive that’s what sealed the deal for us. ;)

It makes the move feel so official to have a new address and a move-in date (May 17th!!) all set. John and I have moved around a lot, but this is our first big move since we came to NY from FL for me to go to law school. Every time we do it though, it’s always a big transition to a new chapter of our lives, especially this time!

workout plan

MEALS

This week’s meal plan is a little short because we are road-tripping to North Carolina for a long weekend for a wedding. It should be lots of fun, I’m looking forward to dancing and (hopefully) warm weather!

Monday: Corn and avocado pasta

Tuesday: Vegan paella {recipe}

Wednesday: Italian white bean loaf {recipe} + veggies

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday – Sunday: Road and wedding food, keeping it as healthy as possible

WORKOUTS

Travel also makes workouts a little more challenging, especially since we’ll be in the car so much. Luckily, the TRX travels well, so I think I have it all worked out so that I won’t miss a thing!

Monday: Yoga + lift/TRX

Tuesday: Yoga + ZCUT PS8

Wednesday: Yoga + teach Zumba

Thursday: Yoga + run

Friday: Quick yoga + ZCUT PS9

Saturday: TRX in the hotel room and maybe even a run depending on how the area is!

Sunday: Post-travel yoga

Questions: What’s on your plan for next week? Do you bring fitness gear with you when you travel?

Loving lately – food, leggings, & TV
Apr
18th

How is spring break already over? This week seriously FLEW by. I mean, technically I still have the weekend, but still.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “loving lately” post, and since some new and fabulous things have made their way into my life, I thought it was high time I share them with you.

1. Lemon hummus. I’ll be honest, I’ve been in a bit of a rut with hummus. Normally, I can’t get enough, but I’ve been kind of over it. But, I can’t eat falafel without hummus, so when I was making Amy’s for dinner, I had to have some, so I decided to mix it up.

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Lemon hummus, where have you been all my life?? I just want to sit down and eat the whole tub with a spoon.

2. Orphan Black.

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Have you seen this show?? I really want to watch it when I saw the previews for the first season. The second season premiers this weekend, and I found the first season for free on Amazon (with Prime). John and I binge watched the whole thing in like three days! It is non-stop, edge-of-your-seat, can’t stop watching epicness.

3. Oatmeal. I know, I hate oatmeal. I’ve always hated oatmeal. My oatmeal for people who hate oatmeal was ok, but it wasn’t something I craved. My newest oatmeal concoction eliminates the boogeryness that is traditional oats and is pure deliciousness.

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4. Jiva leggings. Remember how I won one of the February yoga challenges on instagram? Well a couple weeks ago I got my prize, my Jiva leggings!

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I’m so excited that Jiva is sponsoring the challenge Paige and I are hosting this month, because these are seriously the most comfortable leggings I have ever owned, not to mention they are gorgeous!

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It feels like a second skin, and unlike every other pair of pants I’ve ever owned, they don’t dig in at the waist. They posted a teaser picture on ig of shorts too. I’ll definitely be treating myself to some of those once they come out.

Oooook, time to go bury my nose in the books (at least until the Orphan Black premier tomorrow!!!!).

P.S. Yesterday, John and I made a random trip to Boston to look at an apartment. The one we looked at a few weeks ago fell through, but we’re excited about this one so cross your fingers for us!

Questions: Have you seen Orphan Black? What’s the last show you binge-watched? Any fun foods you’re obsessed with lately?

Our NY bucket list
Apr
16th

If everything goes according to plan, John and I will be moving to Boston one month from tomorrow! If it doesn’t, we’ll be moving in a month and a half. Either way, our time in New York is quickly coming to an end.

There are so many things to do in this area – touristy and not so touristy – that we haven’t made time for. Once we knew for sure we would be leaving, we started working on a list of things to do before we go.

Our original plan was to do them throughout the year. Unfortunately, at this point time is flying by so fast that I don’t think we’ll be able to get to them all. This post should really be called “things I’d do in NY if I had enough time.” We should be able to manage at least a few though, especially with my parents coming to visit for graduation.

OUR NYC BUCKET LIST (in no particular order)

1. Go to the TODAY Show. We watch every morning and have for years. We just have to go at least once!

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2. Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The classics. I went to the Statute of Liberty once when I was really little, but I don’t really remember, so it doesn’t really count.

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3. Get tickets to the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. And go, obviously. I’ve heard this is practically impossible so it’s extremely unlikely to happen, but I’m a huge fan and would basically die if I got to see Jon Stewart in real life. *swoon*

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4. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Another classic.

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5. Take the dogs to Central Park. John has been wanting to do this basically since we moved here, so we have to make it happen.

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6. See a Broadway show. The only reason I haven’t already seen lots of shows is that I’m cheap and John isn’t particularly interested. But I have to see at least one!

7. Visit Philadelphia. We’re so close, and I doubt we’ll ever be this close again. This is another one I don’t think we’ll be able to fit in at this point, but I really wanted to see the major historical sites.

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8. Hike at Bear Mountain. Bear mountain state park is seriously 30 minutes from us and looks so beautiful. We actually tried to go once, but there was an accident or something and we were stuck in traffic for hours before giving up and turning around. I really want to get some hiking in ASAP so maybe after finals and before graduation we’ll get a morning hike in or something.

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Questions: Are there big “things to do” where you live that you’ve still never done? New Yorkers, are you embarrassed for me that my list is so touristy?

Choose your yoga
Apr
14th

I’m really excited for today’s post because it is one I have been wanting to write for a while. Lucky for me, one of my favorite bloggers Elise gave me the perfect opportunity when she asked me to guest post while she is away recovering from her busy season at work. Even luckier, she asked me to write about yoga!

Seated twist

I have so many friends and meet so many people who think yoga is not for them. Among the fitness crowd, one of the things I hear the most often is that yoga is “too slow.” I talk to people who tried yoga once and didn’t like it so they gave up on it altogether. This makes me sad not only because I love yoga, but because they are missing out for no reason.

Yoga comes in alllll kinds of styles and flavors. There really is something for everyone. Check out my guest post to discover which style of yoga practice could be right for you.

Finding the right yoga for you

Yup, still planning
Apr
13th

Soooo clearly I’m not sticking with that whole “no plan” thing. In some ways it was relaxing, but for practical reasons (like not wasting money on groceries, for example), I think planning is still important for me for now. At least I gave it the old college try!

workout plan

MEALS

Chewing is still not the easiest with my wisdom teeth healing up, but I am back on solid foods (yay!). It’s just more difficult and time consuming. At least it forces me to pace myself. I will miss the excuse to have ice cream for meals though. ;)

Monday: Coconut quinoa patties {recipe}

Tuesday: Mexican tofu scramble {recipe coming soon!}

Wednesday: Stir-fry by John

Thursday: Crispy tofu rice bowls with thai peanut sauce {recipe}

Friday: Butternut squash enchilada casserole {recipe}

Saturday: Leftovers

WORKOUTS

I am really looking forward to getting back to real workouts this week, and as an added bonus, spring break means lots of flexibility!

Monday: Yoga + run + abs

Tuesday: Yoga + ZCUT PS7

Wednesday: Yoga + teach Zumba

Thursday: Yoga + ZCUT PS8 + run

Friday: Yoga (yin) + super legs supersets + TRX (arms, back, abs)

Saturday: Ashtanga yoga

Sunday: Yoga + spinning

Yes, I know there is no rest day, but a) I will probably end up just randomly resting one day, and b) I rested basically all week this week so I feel like it is fine.

Questions: What’s on your plan for next week?

More blogging self-reflection
Apr
11th

Happy Friday! Next week is spring break. Wooooooohoo, party hard-y! And by party hard-y, I mean study hard-y because finals are basically upon us. Annnd I have to complete a long and complicated application for admission to the bar. Yay?

I debated sharing today’s post because I felt better after writing it, and it helped clarify some things in my mind, but I wasn’t sure it would have any value to anyone else. In case it does, I’m sharing it anyway.

I know you’re all probably beyond “over” my prolonged blogging existential crisis.

i don't want to hear about it

I keep writing posts about my revelations, and at first I feel better, but then a few days go by and I’m back in a funk. I’m not feeling as inspired as I did when I first started. Luckily, I think I may have identified the missing piece (or pieces) that are keeping me from just being myself and loving blogging again.

Since I started blogging, I have definitely changed. In a lot of ways, it has been for the good. Blogging makes me want to be “better.” To set the best example possible. The problem with this is that sometimes I am not the best. I’m just a human being human. But I’ve noticed that in my day to day life, I’ve started letting the blog dictate my decisions. And by that I mean that if there is something I want to do but wouldn’t want to share (and wouldn’t want to hide because I would feel phony or unauthentic), I don’t do it. You could see this as a great thing. It pushes me to be better. It holds me accountable. But it also gets frustrating.

I think the real question is why should I feel uncomfortable sharing my health choices in the first place? Hannah (Clean Eating Veggie Girl) had a great post on this last week that really resonated with me even though the causes of pressure are a little different. I love the blogging community. Truly love. But I also feel a lot of pressure. Pressure to be like everyone else and to think like everyone else. I learn and grow so much by reading other blogs and getting to know other bloggers, but I don’t write as freely as I used to, and I don’t feel as free as I used to.

All of this pressure is self-inflicted (and probably related to my “real life” awkwardness and social anxiety), so I’m hoping to combat it by asking myself this question: What would you write if no one was reading? Not because I don’t care about my readers (I do!! So much!!), but because I think it will remind me to let go and be me instead of trying to fit myself into the box that I think I should be in.

what would you write if no one was reading

Thanks as always for listening to my rambles. <3

Question: Bloggers, does the accountability that comes from blogging pressure your decisions? Non-bloggers, do you find value in reading about healthy living from people who aren’t perfect, or who are still experimenting and figuring things out?

Vampire chipmunk + Liebster love
Apr
9th

This is hands-down the most bizarre-o post title I’ve ever had. Perhaps I should explain.

Wisdom teeth out on Monday = swollen cheeks and blood. Too much? Ok moving on.

wisdom teeth out

Best husband ever, am I right?

So far the recovery is going better than expected. I’m not in too much pain and I’ve hardly taken any pain killers. The only bad thing is the hunger! I eat a lot of pudding and yogurt and it makes it hard to feel full. Today I’m supposed to teach Zumba (and am officially allowed to exercise again) so we will see how that goes. I probably should have gotten a sub, but I don’t always make good choices…

Moving on to the Liebster! One of my best blends Amy nominated me for the Liebster award, a fun award that helps you learn more about bloggers and find new ones. Amy has been a hugely positive influence on me in blogging and in life. She is sweet and supportive and always there to listen. If you haven’t checked out her blog you absolutely should!

Liebster-Award

Technically, I’m supposed to ask my own questions and nominate more bloggers, but I’m being a jerk rebel and am just going to answer Amy’s questions.

1. Who/what inspires you in the kitchen? Who/what inspires you in the gym? (or other fitness space)

My fellow bloggers inspire me in the kitchen! Seriously, if it wasn’t for Pinterest and blogs, John and I would still be eating our rotation of pasta with Ragu, ramen, and rice and eggs for dinner.

As for the gym, I guess I’m mostly inspired by myself? Not in an egotistical way, just that my workouts are for me, and I’ve found that by focusing on myself and not others I feel better about myself and more easily avoid the comparison trap.

In yoga, I’m inspired by the community on instagram! I have met so many amazing people, and even more than their pictures, I’m inspired by their words.

2. What is the strangest thing in your gym bag (or purse) right now… and why is it there?!

Narcotics. For the pain! Don’t worry I’m not moonlighting as a drug dealer.

3. If you were stranded on an island and could only take three foods, what three would you take and why?

1) Ice cream because it’s my favorite food, 2) zbars because I have eaten them everyday for over a year and never get sick of them, and 3) salad (yes I know that isn’t really a single food) because I know I’ll be craving it to balance out the ice cream.

4. Savory or sweet – and why?!

Sweet all day every day (see question 3). I’m pretty sure I have a mouthful of the world’s sweetest teeth (minus 4… get it?? ha). I can’t comprehend people who say they prefer salty to sweet. Like, what? How?

5. How have you changed since beginning your blog?

This is a somewhat loaded question at the moment and I have a post planned for later this week on this topic. For now I’ll say that blogging makes me evaluate my choices with greater scrutiny. I pride myself on being transparent about health and fitness related choices that I’m making. I hold myself to a higher standard than I used to so I can practice what I preach. Usually this is a good thing, but not always.

Blogging has also connected me to people who help me grow in my healthy living journey by sharing their own stories. I know that’s vague, but I’d have to write a book to be more specific. <3

Questions: Choose one (or more!) of the above to answer!

No plan + small victories
Apr
7th

Hello friends! How was your weekend?

porch yoga feetI feel like things have been a whirlwind around here lately. With the semester ending and graduation and the move coming up, we’re all over the place. This weekend we were in Boston to look at apartments (I think we found one, cross your fingers that we get it!) and for one of my best friend’s bridal showers! It was so amazing to meet all her family and friends, I’m so grateful to be a part of her bridal party.

bridal shower

Normally, I share a plan for the week on Sundays, but yesterday I didn’t, for two reasons. First, I’m getting my wisdom teeth out today and I have no idea how the healing will go. It seemed silly to plan out meals I may not be able to eat and workouts I may not be able to do. Second, in response to my post last week, the wisest maven I know suggested that maybe letting things go even more might help. I can’t say I’m optimistic that it will help, but this seemed like the perfect week to give “no plan” a try.

I got another great piece of advice from Amy to focus on small victories, so that’s what I’ve been trying to do for the past few days (and plan to continue to do). On Thursday, I realized late afternoon after my workout that my food intake for the day had been really low. It triggered the old high, but after some internal battling, I convinced myself to eat extra before dinner because I knew I knew it was the right choice for my health. In the past, a light day like that might have triggered days or even weeks of restricting to “keep it up.” Small victories can be big ones. :)

Questions: Any small victories in your life lately? Should I be worried about my wisdom teeth recovery?

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