Archive for the ‘Yoga’ Category

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. It feels like a false start to something I should be, and like to think I am, striving for throughout the year.

With that said, when his January hit, I jotted down a few things I’d like to focus on improving in the coming months. Nothing I hadn’t been trying to “resolve” to do for while prior, but they weren’t getting done so why not jump on the bandwagon?

Yesterday I stumbled upon the list, which I had saved in my phone’s “Google Tasks” app (so millennial of me), and I was happy to say that I was able to “check as complete” three out of the four items.

Now, they may seem a bit vague so please consider that I am an overachiever and would not consider them completed if I did not feel I had done so 100+%.

1. Freelance more

Ok, so this is the one of the four I did not yet check off. However, while I have not been freelancing for financial compensation, I have embarked on a few of my own “career-oriented” projects and been getting involved in a few others. Want proof? Check out my food blog, BiteForBite.com — I just finished the layout last night so I’m super excited to hear what you think.

What has made this even more fun is that I created it with my gal friend in Cali, giving me a reason to email-harass her on a regular basis.

While I have contributed very little to this so far, I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to an online magazine a friend of mine founded for independent, go-getter women: MoxyMag.com. I’ll let you check it out to learn more, but she’s built a strong network of writers and worked around the clock to make it a success, and I look forward to contributing more in the coming months. You can check her out at www.melissabreau.com, and you can check out my long-time friend who joined Melissa’s team, at kimbonotkimmy.blogspot.com.

2. Exercise/Live Healthier

I know, not original, but if you had seen the state of my lifestyle — devouring late night take out and avoiding stairs at all costs for fear of hyperventilating — you’d have been disgusted. During the holidays I stocked up on Groupon, Living Social, Deal On, etc., coupons to yoga, pilates and even spin classes. And I am so proud to say that I’ve learned to handle a spin class — a previously impossible feat — and I am almost-officially hooked on hot yoga. Who knew? (photo: my Groupon collection)

In addition to my new-found love for extreme-sweating exercises, I’ve cut out caffeine, late night binging and switched back from beer to vodka (it’s more summery after all). I feel annoyingly optimistic and cheery, and have gotten accustomed to receiving weird looks from my fellow train passengers for bouncing around my seat to my iPod on the 750, as well as from my colleagues who are now used to me practicing my split leaps in the hallways.

3. Relax More

This, believe it or not, was/is the hardest. Relaxing is not something I succumb to easily. For me, it usually comes in the form of exhaustion after running myself thin on the above activities. However, without even really trying, I’ve found a sense of balance, and when I need to relax, unwind, veg… I do. I’ve worked my way through two seasons of The Tudors (TV is a huge form of mind-numbing relaxation for me) and been spending my weekend days wandering along the beach looking for bodies…. (JOKING!! Not funny Liz; it’s a horrible situation!)

4. Volunteer at an Animal Shelter / Young Authors Group

Yesterday I had me second training session to be a volunteer at Animal Haven, a nonprofit animal shelter for cats and dogs in Manhattan. After Max the smushpup left me for his new home, I miss my evening doggy walks and vowed to volunteer some of my time at a shelter. I love all things furry, and while no animal can compare to my Dora Dora Doll (that’s her nickname), it breaks my heart to see other animals without people love. Working in a shelter isn’t glamorous; there is a lot of cleaning up, but one lil look at the Brindle pup sleeping with his face smashed against the cage, or the three weeks-old kittens sleeping so entwined it was impossible to tell how many were there, and we (the volunteer group I was in) were all “Awwwing.” I can’t wait to get going with it. (photo: my Dora Dora Doll… because she’s the cutest kitty in the whole wide world)

As for the young authors group, some of you may know I applied for the Girls Write Now program last year and was, sadly, rejected. I had sought out another form of volunteer work related to my passion for writing, but decided I would hold off and reapply to Girls Write Now’s program next year.

On that note, cheers to a New Year, a new season and the resolutions we make all year long!


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The first time I took a hot yoga class was about two years ago. It was a Bikram class. I kicked arse.

The second time I took a hot yoga class was the following week. It was a Bikram class. I almost passed out. I sucked.

Third time. Repeat second.

Fourth time. Hot Vinyasa. Almost passed out. Left with migraine. As this point I wrote off hot yoga as being not for me…

until last week.

Hiking in the Catskills -- and yoga'ing!

I redeemed a living social coupon I had purchased during my holiday coupon-buying craze for Yoga Sutra on 39th between 5th and Madison.

Now, I don’t typically promote businesses on this blog, but I can’t tell you how much I love this place so far. I’ve been to one Vinyasa open level class and three hot [Vinyasa] yoga classes so far and I’ve really enjoyed every instructor who’s class I’ve taken.

The place is very big, with multiple bathrooms, a changing area, showers (packed with yogi-preferred brand soaps, etc.), free tea and, what I realized today is, a library.

Absolutely love it! The practice rooms are comfy and welcoming — though the after work, 630ish, classes do fill up so u have to sign up beforehand and be prepared to squish in. But the rooms are quiet and peaceful during class, which is very important to me as I’ve practiced at some NYC studios that are located in older buildings where I’ve had to listen to floors creak, heaters clank and NYC cabbie’s screaming and beeping their horns on the street below, all while trying “meditate.” (Flashback of S&TC episode where Charlotte is having acupuncture and can’t focus…)

Anyways, I’m loving this hot yoga thing. I can make it through a 1:10 class without the room spinning and I feel so effin awesome after. Seriously, I have to go dancing at the moment.

It also helps me keep my eating in check. Who wants to stuff their face with cheese after sweating out all those toxins right? Now that I think about it, actually, my eating also keeps my yoga practice in check: last night after diving into a leftover slice of pizza in the fridge, I went and grabbed my yoga mat so I could sweat it out today.

I should point out that I’ve had an abnormal amount of energy lately. The change of season? A quick response to my feeble attempts at getting healthy? Or just a gift from above…

Whatever the eff it is, I’ve replaced my 10+ cup-a-day green tea habit with delicious, refreshing water, been exercising quasi-regularly and consider myself lucky if I clock 6 hours of sleep — and I bloody feel amazing.2008, working on LI, running and yoga’ing five days a week, in love and spending a lot of time with a veggie/ health nut… that was the that last time I felt this great.

Ok, enough of my gloating about how fantastic I feel and am enjoying life, because basically that’s what I’m doing.

I do highly recommend Yoga Sutra and their hot yoga classes. You’ll be touching body parts in the first ten minutes that you’ve never before seen (who knew it looked like that…)

Seriously, come join me!

There is one downside. But its not negative for me, but rather the people who have to sit next to me on the train afterwards. My current seat partner is tilted away from me — I’m guessing I smell!!

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I bet you are wondering why I flew to Cali.

About 4 years ago, one of favorite friends whom I met during our fresher year at Brockport, packed up her car and drove across the country. The friendship I have with Liz—or The Other Liz, as I prefer to call her—is one that no matter how long it’s been since we’ve spoken, we can easily pick up as if we’ve spent everyday chatting. (It must be because she’s a Libra.)

So after almost 5 years since we last saw each other—when I drove up to Brockport to celebrate her turning the big 2-1 and my car broke down twice along the trip—I finally ventured out to the west coast for spend some QT.

As she is a hard-working girl, and I had booked inconvenient flight times to accommodate my bank account, I decided to spend Thursday and Friday in a rental car—I was one click away from booking a convertible for kicks—exploring the span of coast between LA and SD.

Let’s revisit the highlights:

In-and-Out Burger
What can I say, I was hungry.

Visitors’ Center & PCH
(No, not Publisher’s Clearing House!)
As I am not one for directions, or traffic, I ditched the freeway in search of the “Pacific Coast Highway” in hope of a better view—and what a view it was! The lovely old fella who worked at the visitors’ center, and had grown up two towns away from me on Long Island, was delighted to help me find some off-the-beaten-track places to visit.

Flower Fields
This was not as cool as the marketing photos looked, but I think I was looking at it from the wrong angle. Located in Carlsbad, it was just rows and rows of vibrantly colored flowers. Awwww

Self-Realization Fellowship Ashram Center, Encinitas
Who knows what that means, but it houses the meditative gardens, which was the most mesmerizing and tranquil place I have yet to discover. Tastefully overgrown with deep green vines and tree leaves, the narrow passages are framed with exotic bright flowers. Periodically, I came across small shielded coves housing ponds with frogs and goldfish. At the top of the steps, passages led off towards the cliffs. Emerging from the leaves there is nothing but ocean to see, smell and hear. I LOVED IT!

I spent a couple hours here, just sitting, smelling, listening, meditating, looking… I think if I was ever to dream of a fairy tale wedding, here is where it would be: deep amongst the overgrown trees and over looking the bright blue Pacific. No bond made at this place could ever be broken.  (Geez, where did that come from?)

Another Beach Town I can’t Remember The Name Of
I stopped randomly on the side of the road after passing some shops in search of some souvenirs! My aunt had just told me, if you see a psychic, go while you’re driving along. I got out, walked back and there in the window of the cute eccentric shop I was heading for, was a sign saying there was a psychic there for the day. I went, I had a reading, you’re not hearing about it!

Torrey Pines State Reserve
The park ranger at the gate (who charged me a parking fee, argh) said there was miles and miles of hiking trails. There were miles—about six miles, but for a state that is known for driving fun cars along Freeways, I guess this is significant. Little did he know he was talking to a gal who walks across countries. (I’m so humble!) I went for a sufficient walk along the cliffs and down to the shore. I walked along the shore for quite a while until it occurred to me that I had to get back and the tide was coming in. This was very pleasant until I took a different, less populated, route back up and realized I had gone quite a bit out of the way of other people. Then, of course, knowing the way my brain works, I began imagining news headlines declaring the attack and murder of a young NY gal in a quite CA-state park during her relaxing meditative trip to the west coast to visit a long-lost friend—and I picked up some speed and hurried back.

San Diego Uni and La Jolla
So this is where my cousin James pops in. Before departing I had requested some recommendations of what to see from my cousin who spent a number of years living, going to uni and partying in SD. He recommended a number of bars, restaurants and some good drives.

I spent the remainder of the day taking my time to get to my hostel driving through the hills of La Jolla around the Uni. It was beautiful, leaving me flabbergasted as to why I went to the snowbelt of upstate NY for my degree. Hungry and tired at this time, I found the boardwalk and hit up the Hostel.

At this point my mood was irritated by not sleeping he night before, flying across the country and then driving for hours caused. Before even arriving at the hostel I had booked, I checked the price tag on having my own room at a motel across the street—not on sale. I went to the hostel accepting two things: 1) It wasn’t that bad; I would just make the most of it; I have definitely experienced worse; 2) I had grown out of hostels.

I was given a small tour and directed to my room. It turned out that the majority of the 10-bed bunkroom was already full of girls who seemed to have moved in. I nodded as they rambled on in a language I could not identify while playing with their laptops,  ipods and electronic hair accessories, while tripping over their massive, ‘I-packed-everything-I-own’ suitcases. And they were not happy when I asked if I could use the plug their ipod speaker system was plugged into in order to plug in the floor lamp that was in the bathroom. (I know, I know, I should have showered in the dark.)

I showered, I got dressed, I left to walk the boardwalk. Oooo, not a good idea. I ran back up the deserted streets, past some odd looking characters, to my car and drove off to look for food. As I was realizing with more certainty that I was not in a place I wanted to get lost alone, I discovered my cell phone was dead and the charger back in the hostel. I decided this was priority.

Upon returning a large number of people had congregated on the back porch of the hostel to which my bed was on the other side of the wall from. Alone in my room, I plugged in my phone and laid down to wait for its beep.

Two hours later I awoke to a party. Ok, so you know the AT&T commercials where a scenario plays itself out in the background while a ‘phone user’ discusses the affects of having missed an important call because of no service. Well, do you know the commercial like that where the traveler discusses how having missed the call to go to Brussels, he is stuck in a hostel with the techno twins, Slad and Veter. Yeah! That was where I was. All I could hear was techno, screaming in foreign languages and overall early-twenties, beach bum kinda fun.

All I wanted to do was sleep. Luckily I was tired enough that I did, hour-by-hour, waking up to reevaluate the scene before repassing out in my jeans. Until 4 am, that’s when I woke up to a drunk British girl trying to climb into the bed above me. I had heard her accent earlier when she dropped her stuff off and exclaimed to her traveling partner, “Let’s go get pissed!”—leading me to prepare for one hell of an awakening.

By 6am, I was up, dressed, packed and OUT!!!

San Diego Zoo
I spent the morning driving around the main strip of SD. I drove the scenic drive by Mission Beach and along to Ocean Beach. I drove to where James had mapped out his old apt—stopped to take a phone pic to send back—and continued to the downtown area. I noticed a café I remembered reading about in his email: It had great breakfast tacos, something about being good morning after food. I considered it, but then remembering that I HADN’T been hanging out with the techno crowd, opted for a diner that offered less spicy options.

I continued on the scenic route till I reached my ultimate, long-awaited, destination. Ever since I watched some discovery show about the SD Zoo Pandas, I’d been dying to do. (I have a bit of a soft spot for zoos.) This was seriously like a dream come true.

(Ok, this is getting long, I’ll continue later!)

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It has been quite a while since the last time I wrote… almost a year actually. Wow!! Apparently ‘New York Minutes’ do fly by a lot faster…

I am very aware my correspondence has been slacking recently. Throughout all my travels and moves, I always flourished in maintaining communication, so why now the change? Well, I have entered a new era in my life. After spending a good 4-5 months at my computer “working on” my dissertation, I decided it was time to distance myself from the silver fruit and focus on non-internet related activities. Luckily this coincided with my move to an ‘unwired’ location making the transition easier. Over this time period—since the start of Autumn—I sought out some new hobbies and broadened my literary scope. A previous flirtation with yoga had left me intrigued; so a couple months ago I dove in headfirst (like my impulsive nature would have it any other way…?). As I had hoped, the physical release it is exactly what my body requires to conquer my [partially self-induced] stresses. Not to mention it’s the only place in public where it’s acceptable to hang out with your ass in the air and legs beside your head—and I am usually able to incorporate a 5-10 power minute nap in the end.

For a more mentally stimulating exploit I took on one of the most legendary fictional characters of the 21st century. After dishing out much unprovoked ridicule regarding the character’s ability to intrigue a sensible, realistic adult like myself, I agreed to complete the first 200 pages, fascinated or not! I took it slow. And by page 100, I was beginning to fall for Harry Potter. It wasn’t until book five did I recognize it for what it was… true love. Over a two-month period, from mid-Sept through mid-Nov, I completed Books 1-6. Having taken on so much mental adventure in such a short period of time, I took a breather allowing myself a few weeks time to digest and defrag Harry’s first 6 years of Hogwart’s. It was then that it occurred to me; once I was finished with Book 7 it was all over. Not only would Harry be finished with Hogwart’s, but also my short visit in the magical world would be over. Needless to say, I have yet to read the last book.

While my previous avoidance of Harry was due to my lack of interest in fantasy novels, this false assumption proved a sturdy safeguard against my inability to differentiate between reality and fantasy. My habit of getting fully engrossed in books to the point where I find the plot merging with my own life has always limited me to somewhat realistic stories. The more disheartening, the more conflict it creates in my own life. Therefore upon entering the world of witches and wizards, I was sure my grasp on reality would prevent me from becoming fully absorbed in this genre. I was wrong! This new lifestyle that incorporated hours of Hogwart’s escapades, left me struggling for spells to counteract mistakes, clean up spills and fix broken items. At least I wasn’t trying to “ctrl + z” all my actions.

The whole point of my posting this was to answer everyone’s question of “what have you been to?” …not ramble about Harry! Currently, I am still working at Costco Photo Lab. Not my life’s ambition but has some interesting moments. I particularly enjoy being yelled at by customers because I didn’t “give them their negatives” for their digital pictures. I’m seriously dumbfounded by some of the questions/comments I receive. I kindly explained to the woman that the only way I could create negatives would be to follow her around and recapture each of her images with a 35mm film camera. She politely nodded and left, but I don’t think she really understood.

The memory-making industry is busy at this time of year. Yet I was very lucky to have stumbled across a work experience opportunity. I am working on my off days (2 days a week) at a local magazine called Long Island Bride and Groom. It’s advertises EVERYTHING you need for your wedding. I bet most girls would love to look at the advertisements and liaise with the high-end retailers. I personally find it stressful. I have decided if I get married, everyone’s getting a Facebook event invite. Ha! In all seriousness, it is a great experience. I am enjoying learning about this aspect of magazine production and the publishers are great to work with.

I finally finished my Masters. It was not a relaxing experience, as those who were beside me throughout the summer can vouch! I sat down in March to ‘bang it out’… and five months later, I was standing in Kinko’s at 4am on Monday morning having the two mandatory copies printed, bound and shipped in order to arrive by the Friday morning deadline. I thought I had left my procrastinating behind in undergrad but apparently it tagged along. Either way… IT’S DONE and I can’t use “I’m working towards my Masters” as an excuse anymore.

I flirt with the odd job application but haven’t met my ‘career soul mate’ yet. That leaves me with the question of what to do and where to live. I was set on staying home for the holidays so that buys me two weeks before I have to start making some serious decisions. Although I love NY, I am not keen to live here for any extended amount of time and therefore will be focusing my job search elsewhere. I was approved for and received an HSMP visa, allowing me unrestricted access to work in the UK for two years (through August 2009). So I would be qualified for any job position in the UK, as if I was born and breed there. I bet the Brits love that—another loud American coming to steal jobs. Ha! Don’t worry, they aren’t knocking down my door. Bloody hell, forget the door, they aren’t even on my street!

I very much would LOVE to move back to England by the springtime but I have to be realistic about it all considering my lack of funds. I do miss it very much during the holidays. I soooo want to go to the pub on the cold wintery nights. In the meantime, I’m going to try to get myself a well-paying temp gig in the big city to help pay off last year’s trips to BZR. If nothing else it’s more fun to ‘wallow in dog shit’ in Manhattan than it is on Long Island.

I hope you all are well and having a very Merry holiday season! ‘Tis the most wonderful time of the year! Cheers to the New Year!!

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Long time to type…

I’m in London at the moment, as many of you know. As part of my course requirement, I am completing a two-week work placement at YOGA Magazine. The work placement is going well, a lot smoother than settling down in London.

The placement was confirmed with six days to spare—six days to book transport, accommodation and sort my life out. By the weekend I had my transport and a possible place to sleep. When that fell through I had a panic attack. I spent two days searching the internet and calling random people who had advertised a room spare. With little hope I packed up with the intent of finding a local hostel. Just as I was leaving a woman whom I had emailed previously returned my call and offered me a room for £80/week. YAY! The problem was 1) it’s London, a spare room has about a 2 ½ hour shelf life 2) no one was interested in a two week tenant.

I hopped the bus with directions to my new found home in pocket and made the most of the miserable 4 1/2 journey. Upon arrival I attempt to locate the address I had been given and, just my luck, it was gone, just like that! Without a clue as to how to contact this woman, I got out my back-up plan—the local YMCA address and booked myself in for a £30 night of ghetto fabulousness. The receptionist was very friendly but that didn’t make up for the fact that I had to drag my suitcase up four flights of stairs and sleep in a smelly pseudo prison cell listening to bass beats banging through the walls all night. This is what I get for losing information.

On the bright side – bright is the correct way to describe the sun that I awoke to pouring in the huge curtain-less window – I was very close to the office. I trooped it over while somehow pissing off my stomach along the way. I was pleasantly greeted by the receptionist and then sweep upstairs by the editorial assistant I had been corresponding to throughout the past months. After a brief introduction to… well, just himself, I met the deputy editor who informed me of all the work I would be completing. I was very excited. She planned to have me write two features for the magazine and immediately threw me some subediting to do. Yay!!

The office is small and the editor of the magazine, a renowned yoga instructor, also runs a law firm from the same location. It’s pretty entertaining. The office is undergoing construction requiring us – the editorial assistant Nick, me and another intern Jane – to sit in this small room with lots of lawyers. They specialise in immigration and all day long we get to listen to tell people how not to get deported. Ha!

I work alongside Jane who is a BU – Boston, the REAL BU – who is on a study abroad that incorporates an 8-week internship within journalism. She’s a lot of fun and already knows the ropes so I can turn to her when I’m confused as hell.

I was excited to have been given real work my first day there but for some reason my stomach was becoming more and more angry at me for… I don’t know, living? I left soon after 4 (my hours are 10am-4pm, with an hour break for lunch… SWEET!) dreading the long journey I had ahead of me I entitled: the road to a unknown room.

I had to first walk back to the tube… ‘ooo, I think I might be sick…’ and take the tube back to the YMCA to pick up my suitcase that they reluctantly held for me. It was a decent walk so I desperately searched for a cab… ‘please please please, Im going to die’… but luck was not – ‘YES!!! THANK THE LORD! TO THE YMCA AND BEYOND!’ I had to give the guy a fiver as collateral of my return to the cab after collecting my bag. If he only knew that I was incapable of walking for more than 10 ft without doubling over in a corner. ‘BACK TO THE TUBE AND BEYOND!’

This was the beginning of my new morning commute – the central line to Bond St and then switch to the Jubilee line. ‘Death – please! All these people staring at me in fear are going to beat me up if I vomit on them. Death would be easier to clean up!’ I made it through the central line. ‘Death again – damn the tubes are hot! I hate commuting! Death, death, death.’ I made it through the Jubilee line. Now, I am supposed to get a bus from ‘out in front of the tube station.’ Simple instructions except, there is no bus stop in front of the tube. Ohhhh it’s down the road and under the bridge—that’s obvious! I find a bus—it says it goes to Cricklewood Lane. She said she lived on Cricklewood. Ok. ‘Death, death, death—these people are also staring.’ The driver is happy to tell me when to get off and point me towards Cricklewood Lane. I walk up it. No number ##! I call her. No answer! I call again! I walk back down the street. I try the other side of the street. According to the house numbers I could find and their location – my stop was… under the overpass. The way I was feeling I would have been perfectly content to sleep under the overpass.

I finally get in touch with her and describe to her where I am. She tells me to find the bus. I say “I don’t want to get on a bus. I hate buses. How do I walk there?” She just keeps saying something about a bus. Does she not realise that I will vomit on the driver? I guess not; when I think about it, why would she? We fight – language barrier, Eng is not her first language – until she says she’ll come meet me. She’s wearing a green coat. I begin to walk until I realise the road she lives on… is not the road I am standing on. Ahhhhhh, it all makes sense now. I continue to walk towards what I am beginning to believe is the end of me, all along looking for the green coat. YES! THERE IT IS! I SEE IT! THREE HOURS AFTER LEAVING WORK, I HAVE FINALLY LOCATED MY NEW HOME! It’s that doorway over there in between all these closed up and graffitied shops. Oh joy! As long as there is someplace to continue my slow death in peace, I don’t care. Shit! I found the place but had never found the green coat, therefore she was out looking for me and not answering the doorbell I kept insistently ringing.

I plopped my arse down on the sidewalk and waited. The woman finally came and was more than friendly considering I had sent her on a wild goose chase. The flat is adorable and she set me up a nice little bed in the bedroom. I was more than grateful at this point and through her some money and laid down in my grave. It was now about 7:30 and I spent the next three hours tossing and turning. I did sleep but it took a small coughing fit to reverse my peristalsis and empty my stomach. Ahhh, peace! I hadn’t been sick for non alcohol related reasons in years – what a horrible feeling. At least when it’s attributed to alcohol you can blame yourself and bargain away you weekend nights to God. I didn’t even know what to bargain this time – pizza? Egg McMuffin? The YMCA? All of the above just to be safe.

I woke up the next day feeling 95% better and have been on the rise ever since. It is now Friday and while I was not supposed to go into work today, I needed to a landline in order to contact a woman in Australia for an article I was requested to write. I don’t think the interview went as well as it could have but I guess it could have been worse. I had no guidance on the angle of the article and my boss was not around to discuss it with me before hand.

Anyway, off to meet a friend (PwCer) in South London for a few drinks; although I believe she said to meet her at Revolution, therefore a few drinks is an understatement.

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