July 20, 2016

What I Learned from a Bad Yoga Class

Several  years ago I went to my first yoga class. It was a free event and I thought “why not?!”  The best part was that I immediately fell in love. I was pretty pleased with myself for being able to keep up with the class, maintain correct form and if I'm being honest, proud that the teacher didn't correct my form at all. 

Fast forward a few years ago and my friend introduced me to Bad Yogi. I remember being completely enraptured by Erin’s energy and philosophy. This was yoga I could get on board with. 

Of course, my practice has wavered since then. I'm consistent and then I'm not. I can hold plank and other times I need to drop to my knees. Sometimes my feet are flat on the ground in down dog, others I just can't stick it. 

Several weeks ago I went to a free yoga class in NYC. I had been to these sessions last summer so I was excited to start going again. But if we're being honest, it was the worst class I've ever taken. 

Now, I realize that sounds anti-yogi and pretentious. Who am I to judge another teacher? Here's the thing, though, this class didn't flow at all. My body was not a fan and it immediately put a damper on my time on the mat. Even my friend that was with me was having a difficult time for the same reasons. 

I immediately realized the lack of flow made me uncomfortable. I heard myself thinking things like, “I'm not liking yoga right now”; “Why aren't we flowing like all the other classes I've taken?”; and “ugh… This isn't how we should be doing this.” 

And then I checked myself. 

I was present. I was in this park on a gorgeous summer evening with cool breezes flowing over me, the sounds of the city creating their own music, doing something that brings me peace. Showing my body, mind, and spirit the love it deserves. I was showing up. 

And that's all that mattered. 

Sometimes things don't go the way you want or hoped they'd go, but that's where the lesson is. Instead of complaining I didn't like the sequence, or just staying in child’s pose, I did what I could and kept moving forward. 

And that's the number one lesson to life. That magic trick everyone is always looking for: 

July 18, 2016

Highly Recommended

Sometime back in 2015 Kristen and Erin started this. Now I'm picking up the torch. We all have favorite books and, as all of blog-land knows, we all love talking about and sharing the books we've read. Here are the 10 books I feel you MUST read (in no particular order)!

1// The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
I read this book back in 2009 upon the recommendation of a friend of mine. She actually sent me her copy to borrow. I read it and immediately felt in love with this sad, raw, memoir. I've been recommending this book ever since and even got my own copy just to own it. 

2// Please Stop Laughing at Me by Jodie Blanco
This is right up there with The Glass Castle. I was never picked on in school so I can't even begin to imagine what Jodie went through but she does an amazing job painting the picture in this book. As kids, we don't think about how our actions affect others. Sometimes those actions affect that person for the rest of their life. 

3// Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
I thought this book was beautifully written. I was pulled into this story from the very beginning. I felt for the characters, I cried for the elephants. I could vividly see the story as I read it. Then I saw the movie and it meshed with everything I had envisioned on my own. 

4// The Giver by Lois Lowry
I only just read this book for the first time in early 2015. As soon as I finished it I had two thoughts: WTF took me so long?! and what happens next?! Banned or not, this book should be read by everyone. Feel the feelings people. 

This book was just such a sweet feel-good story that made me cry. I owned it for a while but parted with it because I'm not a re-reader. 

6// The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman
I talked about this book in November's Booked post and I truly feel the things I said. This is an amazing book about family, love, loss, guilt, and compassion. It was very well written. I immediately loved the relationship between Rose and her sister-in-law Helen. Mort, Rose's husband, was immediately disliked. Such a miserable man. But as the story is told over the years as the families grow and age, you feel for the characters. You come to understand that sometimes love is the only thing needed because it will supersede everything.

7// The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx
I think Erin mentioned this one in her list and for good reason. This book was insane. To get an up close and personal look at the life of a heroin junkie is something that doesn't happen unless you're dealing with it personally. Reading the journal passages from when Motley was on tour are almost jaw-dropping. I was able to empathize but at the same time often found myself mentally screaming at him to just keep it together. I think it's well written and I found myself unable to put it down.

8// Find the Good by Heather Lende
I absolutely loved this book. Really, any book that can make my eyes do that watery thing is an instant favorite. The author is an obituary writer in Alaska and the book talks about the things she's learned about how to live life. You guys, this book is so sweet. It was just one of those make you smile to yourself, feel good books. I definitely recommend it.

9// Leaving Time by Jodi Piccoult
My God. What an incredible book. Elephants, psychics, a little mystery... This books had everything for me. Read it. Just read it. 

10// The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
I read this after, as usual, putting it off for a while. I listened to the audio version while driving home from NY one night and I fell in love with the story. This book is magical. Pure, soul-inspiring magic. Aside from recommending a book to absolutely everyone who will listen there is only one other honor I could bestow to a book I love. An honor I've never actually given to any book. A re-read. But I adored this story so much I feel it needs to be read and read again. 

July 14, 2016

Read Your Books: The Aftermath

If there's one thing that I think we can all agree on it's that we're all massive book hoarders. How many of us have stacks on stacks on stacks of books on our shelves or waiting in our Kindles to be read and yet there we are in Target or the library getting new books. In an effort to make a dent in those piles Dani and Erin challenged us to "read my books". 

The point of the challenge was to get through as many books we already owned as possible. I talked about my personal TBR and now I'm going to check in and let you know how I did.

So it turns out it took me halfway through the month before I finally picked up a book and didn't put it down after one or two pages. Once I found my groove, though, I knocked out a couple.

S.E.C.R.E.T. (Secret, #1)S.E.C.R.E.T. by L. Marie Adeline
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this book sometime last year solely because of the cover and the name. What was this S.E.C.R.E.T? Curiosity won and I bought it. Only to let it sit on my shelf.

When I finally decided to read it I was sucked in immediately. For a romance novel, I absolutely loved this book. I went beyond the plot and thought about the lessons this book taught. Self-love. That's the message I received, and I would encourage anyone to read this. The romance scenes aren't cheesy and they're honestly not even the main focus. It's about Cassie wallowing in her misery. Her ex-husband has recently passed and now she must find a way to move forward and reclaim her life. It's about how as a S.E.C.R.E.T. candidate she learns to rebuild her life and reclaim her power. With the help of S.E.C.R.E.T. she does just that. But is she ready to take the plunge and fly on her own?

A Raisin In The SunA Raisin In The Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one of the only books on my original list that I actually read. I'll fully admit that this was chosen because of how short it is. It's a play. I started reading it on the floor one night and finished the first act rather quickly. I was pulled in needing to know what was going on with this southern black family post-war, and what was to become of them.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond FearBig Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this. I know because there were so many lines and passages I wanted to highlight.

I think this book should be read by all. Those who want to start creating, those in the middle. Those who have "failed" inn their creation, those who are stuck.

For me, the key thing that I took away was to make and create no matter what. If it's amazing, great. If it's okay, great. If it's terrible, great. The outcome does not matter.

Gilbert touches on the question of what would you do if you knew you couldn't fail. But she goes deeper and asks-and I love this- what would you do knowing that you very well could fall?

I didn't actually own Big Magic, Alyssa does. But she let me borrow it so I'm counting it because I didn't buy it and I didn't get it from the library.

I have to say, I'm mildly disappointed with myself over this. I honestly thought I'd be able to get through more books. In my defense I was in the final stages of editing my friend's book, and our deadline was June 15th. There wasn't a lot of time for pleasure reading. Still, I did clear my shelves of two books.

How did you do?  

July 13, 2016

The 411

I'm pretty sure I've fallen down a rabbit hole. I don't know up from down and every day is ending in a blur of sleepiness. 

What's the deal? Well, I'll fill you in!

Watching: I'm not really a TV person but if I can catch Triple D (Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives) then I'm a happy girl. There's also been a lot of Shark Tank.

Listening: Would you believe me if I said techno!? It's been pretty great to listen to at the gym in the morning and really ups my energy. 

Reading: I'm reading my friends newest book - Last Night in Laguna - but other than that I don't think books and I are getting along right now. I'm so behind and nothing I pick up is holding my interest.

Playing: Pokémon Go. I know.. I know! I'm embarrassed and shamed just typing it out for all of you. I downloaded it to see what all the fuss was about and several captured Pokémon later.... I never deleted it. Rest assured, I'll probably be bored with it in another week. 

Creating: My empire. I don't talk about my business much on the blog, but I will say that business is good, I have regular clients, work is increasing, and I'm still so, so happy I took this path.

Feeling: That time is passing by too quickly. Little Miss starts school this fall. I turn 32 in November. I just don't understand where the time has gone. I still feel like a bumbling 22 year old half the time.

Ignoring: The pile of magazines on the coffee table. I'm happy to report I did get rid of one... of 30.

Doing: Once a week I'm working the front desk of a yoga studio in Hell's Kitchen. I check people in, clean mats, sell them coconut waters, and in return I get unlimited free yoga. #win

Missing: The ability to get up and function on 4 hours of sleep as if nothing happened.

Sensing: That my life is only getting better. Even though at time I still feel like I'm faking it 'til I make it, I also feel like life is a fine wine and just keeps getting better. 

Starting: To really step into my role as an "adult".

What have you been up to?

July 08, 2016

From the Mouth of Babes

Going home is always an adventure. There are so many things that make me all

I decided that I would just start keeping notes of all the funny things Little Miss says. Trust me, she's a comedienne.

+ While I'm leaning over cutting carpet: what are boobs for? 

+ After asking me "what's that noise", which was a dog barking: yeah, he's just telling me I'm pretty. 

+ My mom tells me that one night she runs into the living room with her shirt lifted crying: my boobs aren't growing!

+ My mom goes to help her finish with the potty: no grandma, you're fired! Aunt Michael, I'm done! 

+ While trying to throw a basketball in the net and missing: I have no skills!!!

+ After she asked what the phone was and I tell her it's a Galaxy. 
LM: what's a galaxy
M: it's the stars and moon; like space. 

+ As she's going to bed: where's your space phone?

+When asking what she wants to do for the day: I want to buy the biggest pool in the mall. 

+Randomly: "Hey, my heart's not beating!" Umm... I hope so! 

And what post is complete without a mom cameo. I gave her the basic of rundown of snapchat this weekend and she gave me this gem while scrolling through the stickers: 

+ "Ooh, I'll have to get Ellen on snapchat. She loves avocados."

I'm telling you guys. It's never a dull moment in the 607. 

July 06, 2016

Sunday Sweats Vol. 17

Sunday 7/3 - FUN!
I was home and yoga was cancelled so none of that awesomeness took place. Instead I stuffed my face at a BBQ and lazed around a pool and hot tub all day. #notsorry

Monday 7/4 - jog intervals 
As this would be a gym day I didn't want to throw off my routine too much so I got up early and went for a 2 mile walk/jog and then did goblet squats, walking lunges, and some arm work at home. 

On a more fun note, I spent the afternoon playing volleyball in the pool and then abusing my body by repeatedly throwing it down a slip n slide. 

Tuesday 7/5 - FUN! 
Tuesday was ultimate laziness. I was mildly sore from the body launching and I was going to be heading back to NJ so it was allowed. I did get in some playground time at my elementary alma mater though. 

Wednesday 7/6 - gym
I was in no mood to get up at 5:15 and hit the gym but my discipline showed up big time. I went and got a decent workout even though I kept it light. Then I did some walking after work. Probably negated by Insomnia ice cream cookie-wich I ate but I care not. 

Thursday 7/7 - rest
Today was a quiet day. I did some extra walking but otherwise kept it simple. It's too hot to be running around and exerting energy. 

Friday 7/8 - gym
I was so tired this morning thanks to my new Thursday night gig (more on this later) so I kept it super light and focused on cardio today. I did leg press and some tricep work and then called it a day.  

Saturday 7/9 - weigh in + walk + labor 
I needed my oil changed (yay!!) so I was there right when they opened. Still a 90 minute wait so I headed across the street to the park to walk. I put in 3 laps (1.5mi), picked up my car and went to step on the scale. This week I stayed the same. Silver star for me because the holiday weekend was a long one. 

After I came home to clean the carpet for the rest of the day. Everyone else has nice, well-behaved cats. Mine are assholes. 

I'll aim for another loss next week....

Give Me All the Dots

Like any girl, shopping is somewhere in my DNA. I have a complicated relationship with shopping because although sometimes I just want to visit and browse all the stores and buy all the things, there are other times when I enter "dude mode" and I'm in/out faster than you can spell Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. 

Stitch Fix has been a huge help to me. I used to receive a fix every other month but cut it back to once or twice a season both because of the expense and because of priorities. I recently received a fix and here's what I had to try on.

Dolce Vita 'Dena' Strappy Sandal

These were... cute. I loved the color and style but when I put them on my little heart bubbles burst right then and there. The strap over the toe is too high and it makes my feet look weird. 

Market & Spruce Ralphie Romper

Who doesn't love a good romp...er? It's pretty much the definition of summer comfort. I really wanted to keep this you guys, like soo, soo much. But for $64 I just couldn't make the leap. Plus my friend said it looked like PJs. It was super soft and beyond comfy, and the fit was perfect. But that price tag? Just not worth it. 

OneMarket Martie Lace Shorts

I have been eyeing this style of shorts season after season so I was really excited to see them in the box. They fit... but I wouldn't wear them out. These hips don't lie and the truth was, these shorts were a bit too snug. 

Pixley Nelda Halter Blouse

I really liked this top but it just didn't make me see unicorns. I'm not sure if it was the fact that it was halter and seemed a bit large at the top. Maybe I needed a Medium instead of a Large. 

Pixley Curran Split Neck Blouse

As soon as I saw this top I knew I was keeping it. Polka-spots and navy?! Hell yes! Plus, it fits likes a dream!

I'm sure you can figure out what went back and what stayed. I would have loved to keep it all but it wasn't meant to be. 

July 05, 2016

Sunday Sweats Vol. 16

About a month ago I started going back to the gym. I'll be honest though, it wasn't all my doing. I had a little help. Furry help. Fortunately for me, it's working out in my favor.

Sunday 6/25 - Yoga + bowling
I showed up for 9 AM yoga as I have been for the past 3 weeks. I'm not going to bore you all to death by gushing about how much I love hot yoga, but I will say two things: 1) I've noticed an improvement in my range of motion and ease of staying in poses, and 2) I cried during Savasana. It just... moved me. 

Immediately after I went bowling and unbeknownst to me, I'm pretty decent. 

Monday 6/27 - Gym
I've been super consistent a little over a month now. I've been doing my "reliable" routine solely to get back into the swing of things. They're my core exercises so that I know I'm working my whole body. 

Tuesday 6/28 - Relax
I honestly couldn't even tell you what I did Tuesday. I am 99.9% sure it involved going home and being 1000% lazy

Wednesday 6/29 - Gym
Today was a little short time-wise but I still got a great workout in. I will say though, doing super-sets of barbell step-ups and two-armed kettle bell swings jacks my heart-rate up like Speedy Gonzalez. 

Thursday 6/30 - Yoga
Every summer I try to get to Bryant Park for their yoga in the park sessions. This would have been session #3 but I bailed in order to get home and finish some VA work as well as get everything cleaned up and packed to go home this weekend. 

Friday 7/1 - Gym
I did my 10 minutes on the elliptical all the while praying that no one hopped in the rack. There's nothing more annoying than watching the empty squat rack like a hawk, knowing I have 2 mins left in warm-up and then some jack-a-doodle hops in it, completely messing up my routine. I went light today just because. I should have been a she-beast because I plan to go HAM on food this weekend. 

Saturday 7/2 - Weigh-In
Did I mention I rejoined Weight Watchers for the summer? Probably not. Well, I did. I opted for the 3-month plan (June, July, August) to get me through the summer. Then I'm cancelling because $44.95/mo is just not happening.

Anyway, I went to the WW place at home this weekend - which I don't like - and came in at 0.6 higher this week. I can deal with it though because it's a small gain.

July 01, 2016


Since I missed the big spring/summer goals link up a few weeks ago I decided that today would be a perfect time to make my own declarations for the summer season. Especially since America's birthday is a few short days away!

These goals/plans are in no particular order and the only time limit I'm imposing is that they're complete before next season's link up.

1| Buy a fireproof safe: I've had one of these on my wishlist for several years. Why I've never actually bought one is beyond me but it's time. Having my passport, social security card, and birth certificate somewhere safe is important.

2| Pay NJ tax: I'm not even going to waste the time reviving this dead horse by explaining this story. All I know is in $103 I'm no longer burdened by a former job. 

3| Lose 5 pounds: I know that putting that on here is dangerous but I'm doing it anyway. 5lbs in 2.5 months is incredibly realistic. I'm already down 4.4 so I just need to stay on the train. 

4| Get through the magazines: I wish I were kidding when I say I have a stack of magazines on my table. Unfortunately, I'm not. Half of them have never even been opened but like the weirdo that I am, I have to read them. Fortunately, this is part of my purge process. 

5| Go down the shore at least 5 times: shore life is the only life. I originally planned to be a season pass their year but at this point I don't know if it's worth it. Still, I want to get beach time as much as possible now that I can drive myself. 

6| Try something new: I'm purposely leaving this vague because I have no idea what could pop up. A fitness class, a new cuisine, an experience. My mind is fully open. 

That's it for this season. There are smaller things already in the queue but they're not worth mentioning. I'm fairly confident I can reach all of these.

In other news, hooray for July!! I'm not sure if spring ever really sprung. It was gone before I knew it and this isn't me complaining because helllooo summer! I'm headed home this weekend to get into all sorts of trouble with Little Miss.