Sunday, November 29, 2009

beautiful day - yippee hooray!

today was so gorgeous outside. i went out to breakfast with the hubby and brother-in -law. then was home and trying desperately to catch up before the work week starts tomorrow. there is so the hubby and i used to be avid mountain bikers, but i had a bad wreck about 3 years ago and can't handle it anymore. the hubby used to try to convince me to bike, but after broken bones and too many stitches - my heart just isn't in it anymore. the hubby has given up on me biking with him, so now we hike! the beast loves it more than we do! we are so lucky he behaves off leash and he can wander, run, and explore!

we live uber close to one of the many entrances to the mountains to the sea trail. so lucky to be able to drive 5 minutes (would walk, but streets around it are way too dangerous and busy!)

enjoying the fabulous weather.....

working on breaking in these boots! the hubby and i got new hiking boots over a year ago and we are still breaking them in! wowsa! they are serious boots. not to beautiful, but really supportive and comfy!

so about 3 miles in we turned around and the hubby warned me "somewhere along the path i saw some poop in the middle of the path. be careful not to step in it." i said "why didn't you move it or show me when you noticed it?!?!" anyway, i was careful. he really psyched himself out and totally stepped in it. new shoes and all! yuck! oh well, that's how it goes sometimes. we laughed so hard and i made him stick the shoes in the trunk before heading back home.

went to dance rehearsal tonight and feel to good about the progress we are making on the piece i am choreographing. i am committed to having the skeleton done my december 18th. maybe i can post an "in progress" video soon.

have a fantastic evening and a great start to a full week!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

happy turkey day - belated!

hope everyone had an amazing thanksgiving! i know i did. food. family. fun. dogs. playtime. wine. and being at home. the one i spent my whole life (until 18) in. it sounds weird, but i am so grateful to go home to the same physical house that i was brought home to as a child. that's right folks. my parents never moved! hard to believe in this day and age. it's a small house and i think we could have used more room when we were teenagers, but we made it work and i think the fact that we lived so physically close to each other all those years is part of the reason we are such a close knit family!
anyway, i was a very bad blogger this weekend and totally forgot my camera everywhere we went! i thought it was in my purse, my no - couldn't find it! c'est la vie! sometimes it is so so so important to disconnect in order to reconnect and this time at home was all about that! i so rarely get to come home and it's nice to just chill out!
yippee for important family time. i've got a drive to get home this morning. am going to get in a little exercise (jillian micheal's level 2 of 30 day shred), get myself together and get on the road back to the hubby and my beast.
wishing you an amazing weekend of gratitude and thanksgiving. blessings to you!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the skinny on the skin

my skin. mmmmm....i have had eczema, well - forever. not just your run of the average itchy skin. i mean make you crazy itchy uncomfortable red wanna-jump-out-of-it skin. i am not sharing this to complain or anything cause there are far worse things to deal with and i feel so fortunate that i just have super itchy skin! i just wanted to share because it is such a huge part of my life and a massive motivator for living the mindful life and finding ways to keep my body happy!!! i am also really thankful at how much better my skin is as compared to 10 years ago. It makes such a difference when you find what works!

i have run the gamut with figuring out my skin. anything from traditional dermatology (a lot of that - they are way to ready to give you a few cortisone shots and prescribe some prednisone (ick, yuck, gross!) and send you on your way) to detox diets and elimination diets, but finally -at the moment - have gotten so much relief from a few simple things:
  • traditional chinese medicine
i take chinese herbs everyday and really try not to go without missing my weekly acupuncture treatment. i can really feel the difference if i miss it! thank goodness for the community acupuncture clinic here in town. you receive treatment in a room with four lazy boys and you pay a sliding scale fee. i think the combo of herbs and treatment has kept my symptoms at bay for quite sometime and am grateful to have found such a fabulous practitioner.
  • moisture! moisture! moisture!
boring, but true. what to do if your skin is super dry and itchy? put cream on it - of course! but, i have to do this upwards of 3-4 times a day (more sometimes) to literally feel good in my own skin!
  • low stress living
i've really taken control of my schedule lately and mindfully placed times of relaxation and rest. if i don't put those things into my calendar - i will just fill it up. you could say i am highly motivated - that could be an understatement. i spent my entire 20's giving and doing for others without much thought of what i needed to receive. i know now that i need down time (whether i like it or not). and that down time has to happen or my stress levels start to show themselves in my skin. i guess it's a good measure as long as i pay attention! my favorite ways to unwind can be found in this post.
  • mindful eating
i really try not to overdo any of the "typical" allergens. i hardly eat much dairy at all or at least i do my best to avoid it! i don't do wheat more that once a day and always choose an alternative if there is the option (i love love love ancient spelt bread!!!) i have greens everyday in some way or another. i never overdo acidic foods like tomatoes or citrus. i have dandy blend instead of coffee. i started eating meat again (advised by my acupuncturist) and that has seemed to help a lot, but i don't overdo! i still heart a good vegan meal! also avoiding alcohol - as much as i can - really makes a difference. it's all about noticing what "fires" my skin up and knowing when i am in a place to enjoy it and when i need to avoid it to keep my body from tipping over the edge of comfort.

we all have such different, amazing bodies. i find it so interesting how some people function best with a vegan diet and others need meat while others seem to do great with some other alternative. there are so many ways to mix and match what healthy living ideas work for each body! what a blessing that we are all different (it would be too boring if we were all the same!)

thanks for reading my story of what influences my choices on a daily basis!

ooh la la...le bistrot français

should have gotten to this post last night, but had a little too much vino and was soooo ready for bed when i walked in the door! the busy day has kept me from getting this posted until now! wow - getting ready for the holidays is work!!! sadly, i am reaching a point where any amount of alcohol in my system totally prevents me from having a good night's sleep. even just a relaxing glass of wine! bummer. i am planning to take as much alcohol out of my life this holiday season as possible! maybe a glass of wine on thanksgiving and christmas eve, but that's about it for me. really anytime i have to wake up in the morning i am not going to have anything to drink. it's just reaching a point where it's not worth it. plus - i am coming to the conclusion that it really bothers my skin (skin story post coming soon.) i also think that i have put on a little bit of weight and want to be mindful how empty those calories are - i would much rather enjoy a yummy treat instead!

had a fun day yesterday although i did skip out on my beloved monday evening yoga class. boo. i just was feeling like hanging around the house with the hubby so i did.

last night, i had the great pleasure of getting together with three girl friends who i dearly love and so enjoy their company. we are all kindred spirits. we met at bouchon french bistro here in asheville. i have been wanting to eat here, but never had the chance! we actually originally wanted to go elsewhere, but they were closed on Monday - we got lucky that we ended up here!

judy (on the far left) really brought all of us together! she now lives on the west coast and we miss her so much - but, we always gather when she is back in town for a visit. kim (in the middle) was recently voted the 2nd best massage therapists in asheville. she is an amazing healing therapist. check her out here. cadence (on the far right) is one busy mama! she owns a fabulous spa here in town called cadence's contouring that offers all kinds of yummy things for the body like massage with kim, endermologie treatments, facials with pevonia, m'lis detoxification therapy and all sorts of good stuff. we always have so much to chat about when we get together and love love love to share our passions for finding a healthy happy body!!

another thing we all share is a passion for great food! here is le steak au poivre i got as my entree. (i actually started with a salad of greens, walnuts, and bacon, but was so famished and enthralled in conversation i forgot to snap a photo!) my favorite part of this meal was the brussel sprouts - they were fantastic. i ate all the veggies and half the beef - took the rest home to the hubby! trying to mindfully eat food so good it's hard to stop!!
le steak au poivre was served with these marvelous pomme frites - i shared these with everyone as much as i could! they were delicious and a special treat!
finally we all split two marvelous desserts - both are the house specialties. this photo does not do it justice at all. the top dish was the creme brulee flight!!! wowsa - four mini-brulees: vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon and coffee. we all agreed the coffee was the best! on the bottom was the african queen: ripe banana wrapped in filo pastry, baked to order and topped with housemade caramel sauce and madagascar vanilla bean ice cream - as described on the menu - it was sinful!!!
after the desserts - i flew out of there and came home to bed! i had a 7:30am client this morning!

tuesday exercise accomplishment: 20 minutes on bike while catching up on the latest health magazine, 50 minute kinesis class with stacey, 25 minute treadmill walk/run! done! had to work off all that yumminess from last night!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

yeah for a short week!

ahhh. sunday. today has been relaxing and rainy. i also got a ton accomplished on my dance piece this afternoon in rehearsal. also, trying to get organized for the beginning of the holiday season. wow. can't believe i am actually saying that! so grateful that i get to travel and be with my family for a few days! my bro owns a retail store so it's s bit of a bummer that he will be working away on black friday and can't stay the weekend. that's ok - i just wish him a much needed super busy day! i am super stoked on this short work week!

am setting some blogger goals for myself this week. i am loving this blog thing, but also needing to step it up a bit, get more clear on what i intend it to be and keep the motivation high. my goals for the week are:
  1. take photos daily for the blog
  2. jot down blogging ideas as they come to me in oh-so-beautiful new journal (pictured above)
  3. commit to bringing mindfulness to the blog (mindful living, eating, playing, loving, arguing, exercising, etc.)
there are probably many many more things this avid list maker could add to this, but i am going to keep my goals realistic. my ultimate goal is to use the blog to be more mindfully committed to living my life (in all ways listed above plus more!!!)

do you set goals for your blog? anyone out there have any suggestions about how they keep their blogging life interesting and inspired?

excited for the last few hours of sunday. going to dive into a book and snuggle with the beast.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

my moving women

i'm probably going to be posting a lot more about my dancing life as we are creeping closer and closer to our march 2010 show so there's lots of creative energies flowing and lots of work to do. this is the tough part. when you're working on all sorts of dances and there is so much choreography in your head (both yours and the other women's) and you still really have to think about it all. the awesome thing about dance is that eventually that thinking goes away and you're able to go on a sort of autopilot. the body takes over and you just flow and move and sense and love. these are the women i create with. you can check us out at our website. i was resistant at the beginning of the season about this upcoming show. we were all having a lot happening in our personal lives and not feeling the passion to create. i am so grateful to have gotten over that hump and now am immersed in the process. cheers to these women who keep the creative spirit in my life and in my body!

this is a promo picture from our march 2008 show called thin walls: a tale of the tangled and peculiar. this particular piece is called pathos sweet & lost choreographed by kathy. it was originally choreographed surrounding a sculpture by the same name in a local park. i'd had a bad incident and had stitches in my foot and a broken toe, so hence i sat. it became one of our favorite pieces of choreography.
this pic is of dead & lovely to the music of tom waits. it's quite dark humor. jenni choreographed it and it has been in our repertoire for many years.
these last two pics are from the movement for peace project we did in 2008. it was a giant event, but a special one and i love this first picture.
we'll be performing this piece again in our march show this year. it's all about the family unit and it's fun and exciting to perform.
hope you all enjoy this tiny glimpse into my creative world. you're invited to check out my dance bio here. it's so fun to see how different people explore their creativity. i'd love to hear about your most recent project/idea. or if you have ever had any experience with modern dance? have a great saturday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

inspiration...move me brightly....

i must admit - this is one of my most favorite pics from my july wedding. i just feel like it embodies the way i felt at that moment. super duper happy. the hubby in the background is making a bit if a funny face, but also looks happy. i found this passage the other day written in a news commentary (and i can't find it now!!). funny, the commentary was about not living together before marriage (which we did!), but i really thought is gave a great perspective.

Marriage is another word for "trust." Maybe "trust, plus." It is two people full of doubts, shortcomings, and love holding hands and jumping together. It's a risk, fraught with the potential to fail, and that makes it beautiful. Three-legged races, where two people hop, stumble, get back up, and maybe hit a stride until they fall again. It's funny, frustrating, and the wedding ring is a symbol for the rope tying two legs together.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

it's the most wonderful time of the year...really?!?!

so whether we like it or not the holiday season is upon us. and for many of us it can be a time of stress. let's not let that happen this year. start your season with some mindful intention and be ready to enjoy (not stress over) it.
last april, i went to duke integrative medicine in durham, nc for an amazing 8 day training on therapeutic yoga for seniors. it knocked my socks off! i loved every second and that really was the impetus for my to quit the drag me down full time job i had and pursue my passion for healing movement (my way!).
i think integrative medicine is the key to healthcare in the future and hope to be a part of it with the movement therapy i offer. i'll be sure to post more later on my love and passion for integrative medicine and why i think it is absolutely fabulous. (maybe, tomorrow?)

anyway, i am on the email list from duke and wanted to share what i received in my inbox today - just in time for the season.

6 Simple Steps to a Stress Free Season

when the world is still sleeping.

The caffeine and polyphenols in tea have the combined effect of mild stimulation and lasting calm.

Breathe in for 4 counts.
Hold your breath for 4 counts.
Release your breath for 6 counts.
This "UJI" breathing quickly reduces stress and calms your central nervous system.

Take a break from demanding tasks
(like shopping or cleaning)
and difficult people (like that family member who rubs you the wrong way)and do something that nurtures you!

Fill a bucket with warm water and add some drops of rosemary and peppermint oil.
Place a golf ball in the bucket as well.
Soak and massage your feet and calm your entire being.

Volunteer at a soup kitchen or a local shelter and help someone who is struggling. Discover the benefits of a practice of gratitude.

the hardest one for me is going to be to walk in the morning. i am going to set a goal to do it 2-3 times each week during this season. i would love to hear how you can bring some of these relaxing practices into your life. thanks to duke for sending these great ideas along to me!

Monday, November 16, 2009

looking for a good read?

i am an avid reader. i mean i really can't stop. it's a bit of an addiction. my hubby (not so much of a reader) always tells me he loves that i read. (even though i know sometimes he's jealous of the attention that goes into a good book and not into him!)
i just finished reading the guernsey literary and potato peel society. i recommend this book as an easy, good hearted read. it is structured in the form of letters and is set in a seemingly somber post-ww2 era. the main character juliet gets a letter from a stranger on the island of guernsey and it begins a wonderful tale of friendship. i think the connections throughout the book are entertaining and fun. there is mystery that reveals itself in timely interesting ways. it was a really quick read and one that i could put down at any moment and pick back up again when the time was right. often, the novel's i have read about post-ww2 europe have been dark and depressing; this book has it's moments of connecting to the truth of that time while simultaneously staying light with interesting (while not too complex) characters and descriptive scenery. i loved using my imignation to visit the guersney islands and travel vicariously! it made me really want to visit the island and upon some research a book club in nc just won a trip from the publisher to the island. how fun! this book also encourages the spirit of honoring your place and listening to your heart. i encourage you to check it out.

mindful monday, monday...

my favorite thing about mondays is the yoga class i attend at lighten up yoga here in asheville! i used to me a major flow yoga junkie (and still flow on the mat at home all the time!), but really appreciate the detailed alignment of a good iyengar yoga class. the instructor and studio owner, lillah, is excellent and really come from an amazing anatomy based perspective. i am able to soak in all those details and knowledge and apply it not only to my own practice, but to the work i do with my students/clients.

also - i have a home manduka yoga mat and got this natural yoga mat as a wedding gift. i keep in my car for when i go to class and/or teach class. the only problem has been that i get to class and my mat is covered in dog hair! i love my pup, but i don't want his hair sticking all over my sticky mat.

hence....the solution from lowes:

i can keep my mat and various other (non dog related) items that i carry around with me on a daily basis. i love good organization!
i love the sign on the way to lighten up and am so excited because beginning in january, i will be teaching there!!! yippee! i have been searching for the right place and lillah and i had dinner last monday and it's a go. tuesdays 4-5:20pm! a prime spot! i am so looking forward to joining the yoga studio teaching community!
even though monday is my mindful day, i still enjoyed a glass of wine. the bottle was given to me by a client for by birthday. it was tasty. i love to have a single class and wind down for the day (not everyday, but some days!)
i was a vegetarian for over ten years and recently (per my acupuncturists encouragement) have begun eating meat. honestly, i never thought i would, but i really feel a whole lot better. so i always give many thanks for the animal that shared this health with me.

i made bbq beef in the crock pot all day today and after yoga sauteed some yummy kale to mix in with the meal. it was satisfying!
i'm off to enjoy the evening and finish the book i am reading. the first blissful-body book review to come tomorrow! have a great evening to all!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

bmc inspired

i am taking a body mind centering course that meets once per month with a fantastic instructor, erik bendix. erik has training in bmc and alexander technique and is very inspiring. i've known for a while now that simply teaching movement for the sake of fitness/exercise is not inspiring me as much as it did in my younger days. the more i learn about the human body, the deeper i want to delve and explore and the more i know i want to learn. in comes body mind centering. wow - it explores the body from so many different angles not just muscles and bones, but fluid, organs, ligamentous, nervous, etc. etc. i love it because each time i delve into that realm of thinking a certain way about the body, i discover more about myself and in turn have this amazing reference to use with my clients. i believe it is so important to move from all aspects of the body and not get so wrapped up in the muscular system. anyway, this is a bit of a rant - but, i am excited that beginning in january i will start my training to become a bmc practitioner! it will take many years and lots of training, but i am up for it. i will begin with the fluid system!!!
after todays workshop on the bones, i had dance rehearsal where i really got far in the piece i am choreographing for our march show. i will be talking more and posting some video for feedback in the coming weeks. one of the hardest parts of choreography is finding good music, not too dramatic and with few or no words. any ideas?!?!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

artsy walk

this afternoon was the river arts walk at the fabulous galleries that surround the french broad river here in asheville. i love this area because it used to be (and still is in some areas) full of industry, but in the past few years has become a haven for affordable art studios and amazing local artists. the studio where my dance company rehearses is on the top floor of one of these buildings. the wedge gallery is one of the primary giant buildings in the area full of talented artists.
i love that it is right by the railroad tracks, but you still have a gorgeous view of the mountains.
it was packed. full of people and full of dogs. we brought the beast along for our adventure!
this is our neighbor's studio. he does amazing pottery with designs from his fabulous collection of lace. after seeing his work, everyone who gets married in the future is getting some of his talented pottery!
here's the hubby and beast walking around the area enjoying the views and talented artists.
one awesome thing about the wedge is that a brewery recently opened on the bottom floor. many of my ashvillian friends claim it to be the best local beer in the area (asheville did tie this year with portland for beer city usa). here i am enjoying the ipa.
here's the hubby with his pilsner (claiming it tasted like the one's we had on the honeymoon in germany!)
too many people to find a table, so we found a home on some steps!
then we went to another local favorite (obama ate lunch here when he visited asheville during the campaign - see here): 12 bones. it has famous bbq. we both had a small christmas jam ale (made by asheville brewing for the season and warren haynes annual concert every year here in asheville that he calls the christmas jam). it was good and had an evergreen flavor that reminded my of the holidays!
the hubby had pulled pork, mac and cheese, collards and cornbread.
i had pulled chicken, green beans, sweet potatoes and cornbread (i ate half of the chicken and brought the other half home for the beast's dinner)
they have crazy good made in house sauces. they are (from left to right) jalepeno, vinegar, mustard and sweet sauce. all were yummy. hubby loves the jalepeno. i love the sweet sauce.
here i am after a fun day! did i mention it is in the 70's here?!?!? it is beautiful! hope everyone enjoyed their saturday! it's so rare that we take an afternoon to just be and enjoy! both the hubby and i loved taking time out for each other and to be part of the community and experience this fun afternoon of sharing.

Friday, November 13, 2009

sisterly love

just wanted to take to the blog today and have some gratitude for siblings. i know that not all siblings get along or have the greatest relationship, but those of us that have them should take a moment and set all that aside just to be glad they bring what they bring (good and not so good) into our lives.
i must say i am one of the few weirdos in the world who has actually never argued with her brother (my one and only sibling - except for my non-blood related "sister" erin). honestly, i have absolutely zero recollection of us doing anything other than getting along.
i don't really have any memory of life without him. i was eighteen months old when he was born and according to my mom, did everything i could to help take care of him. we used to drive our family crazy by referring to each other as "my brother" and "my sister" as if they would not know who we were talking about if we mentioned the name (i still catch myself doing it all the time - sorry to anyone who has to bear that!)
the above pic was from this summer at my "bachelorette" weekend - which was really just the weekend the hubby was in vegas (getting into who knows what) and i went to the beach with my bro. i get to see him this coming weekend and thanksgiving. this has been the longest we've gone (except for the college years) without seeing each other. just have him on my mind and wanted to share a piece of our story. cheers to my best friend, my brother.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

short & sweet

today, i am honoring the need to take an evening break from my daily posts! just needing to disconnect in order to reconnect! it happens. see you tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

rainy day

today it is really dark, dreary and rainy. i have worked all day with clients and am so grateful to be home in my toasty house. plans are to drink some tea, read a book, maybe take a snooze, cook a cozy homemade meal (my hubby's favorite enchiladas) and maybe have a glass of vino. ahhh - the joys of embracing the weather and listening to my body's need for some chill time.

i really adore reading and go back and forth between books that inspire the work i do and fiction. sometimes i get into a rut of always reading about healthy living and healing movement, but know that it is important that i feed that creative imaginative self with yummy fiction! one day soon i'll post some of my favorite books on healing movement and yoga, but today - on this dreary day of sleepy reading and relaxing - i thought i'd share some of my favorite fiction. (soon, i'll also share what's on my ever growing to read pile!) bear in mind my favorite fiction books are always changing the more i read, so this list is for this moment!

books i love (in no particular order)

Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
Atonement by Ian McEwan

ok - that's all for now, but I am sure to think of many more! i am fortunate to be a fast reader and love every minute of savoring a good book. interestingly, a lot of these books have been made into movies and i have never seen any of them. seems like when i do i always think the book is way better!!! happy reading!

i would loooove any reading suggestions from anyone - got any favorites? gotta keep that "to read" pile growing!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

live simply. love generously. care deeply. speak kindly.

ok - i know i may be perceived as an obsessive "mom" over this second post about my pup (see first one here), but i just found a great list that i kept that contemplated all the things we can learn from dogs and i wanted to share it with you all!

ps - i love ranger's tongue sticking out in the above photo!!!

if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
  • when loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • never pass up the opportunity for a joyride.
  • allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
  • take naps.
  • stretch before rising.
  • run, romp and play daily.
  • thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • on warm days, stop to lie on your back in the grass.
  • on hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
  • when you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • eat with gusto and enthusiasm. stop when you have had enough.
  • be loyal. never pretend you're something you are not.
  • if what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • when someone is having a bad day be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
  • be always grateful for each new day and for the blessings of you!
i need to look at this list everyday and be reminded of all these fabulous things!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

the art of gratitude

on several of my earlier posts i set a goal to send more snail mail (at least two per month) and i really get the opportunity this month to thank everyone for their awesome birthday thought and gifts. i loooove thank you notes. oddly, it was never really ingrained in me as a kid, but post college i worked for an amazing women as her personal assistant. i loved it and the best thing about the job (as strange as it seems) was that i wrote all of her thank you notes for her. the family had just moved to the town and were hosting and being hosted all the time. needless to say, she had a lot of thank you notes to send. i had to get creative with these and really explore many different ways of saying the same thing. it was fun and made me appreciate the art of a nice letter. post our july wedding, i wouldn't let my hubby touch the beautiful thank you notes we had our names printed on to use. i was the queen of gratitude and had all my notes out within the month! i just found so much joy in thanking everyone!
in this era of email and facebook and blogging, we are losing the art of a great handwritten letter! i think taking the time to write a letter and send it snail mail is so important! it brings you to a place of mindful thanksgiving.

some of my current cards/stationary in rotation:

when to send a thank you note?
  1. when you receive a gift (the obvious)
  2. when someone goes above and beyond for you
  3. if someone has you over for dinner
  4. when you stay overnight at someone's home
  5. if a person plays host and shows you around their city
  6. when someone throws a party or gathering for you
  7. anytime you think someone needs to know what a good friend they are!
my tips on writing the actual note
  • try to send it within 2 weeks of said event
  • send it snail mail (how fun is it to get something unexpected through the mail!!!)
  • use stationary (ahhhh stationary. i love it and could get lost in a paper store!!! more about that another time)
  1. express thanks for the gift or service (it's a good idea if you're thanking them for money to use another word such as "thank you for your generosity")
  2. i like then to express how, when, where i expect to use the gift or how the act of service affected my life or my favorite part of the event
  3. then - share something about your life, your day, or something you are looking forward to
  4. follow that by saying something about the past or future ("it was great seeing you" or "i look forward to seeing you soon")
  5. thank them again (in different language - get creative!) for the gift
let yourself enjoy and savor this mindful practice of thanksgiving. i know sometimes it's just another chore on the list, but it's one that can be filled with so much joy. happy writing!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

birthday with my sister & girlfriends

one of my goals for 30 is to get together with other girlfriends at least once a month. fortunately, i have the moving women - the company i dance with. it's challenging sometimes to manage dance in my schedule and find time to be creative and inspired, but in the end it is worth it because i gratefully spend time every week with these four women below. i'm sure to blog more about creativity and dancing in the months to come as we have a show in march 2010! last night the four of us and many other wonderful women for scorpio birthday drinks!

ok, so i only have one sibling that i grew up with (my best friend jack), but i truly believe my friend erin (the gal next to me above) is my sister from another mother. people mistake us for looking a like so often that two years ago we created and choreographed a show about daisy and violet hilton (siamese twins from the vaudeville era). here we are in my favorite promo pic from our march 2008 show!
we also have s similar spirit - something i cannot put word to, but know it there. amazingly, our birthdays are one day apart from each other! i love that we get to celebrate that day together every year. last night we had a yummy dinner at curras dom - a locally owned "upscale" mexican resturant. it was fantastic. then afterward, we met up with some girlfriends for a fabulous evening of champagne, wine, talk, and laughter!

i think as women we sometimes let time for ourselves get pushed aside for the time we feel the need to give to others. i am not a mom yet, but really want to find the ability to recognize that need before having a family. sometimes it is hard enough just maintaining my work life, the hubby, our home, and the beast! my goal is to have a girls night at least once per month and hopefully add a creative girls night in there in the new year! i love having this month of gratitude and my birthday to reflect and connect!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

dog is love.

how i love my sweet son or the beast or my pup or the roo or whatever name i have for him on any given day. i always had dogs growing up, but they were always outside dogs and at the time, i was told i had an allergy to dogs, so i really avoided them as much as possible. when the hubby and i decided we were going to get a dog - i couldn't wait. this is ranger. he's half german shepherd and half standard poodle and 100% love. he was the ring bearer in our wedding and he greats me all the time in the present moment with love and respect. i adore him and know there are so many things i have learned from him that no human could ever teach me! cheers to my beast!

Friday, November 6, 2009

better my food

i've been trading with my wonderful friend, wendy, to experience her health counseling. she was trained in integrative nutrition (program by joshua rosenthal) in nyc. i love all the information she has to impart and am really enjoying these bi-monthly sessions with her. i've always considered myself a pretty healthy eater, but it's great to check in with her and re-establish some healthy positive habits.
some habits she has helped my become aware of and establish in my life are:
  • more mindful eating. turn off the computer & tv, don't answer the phone, sit at the table and eat. chew with awareness. savor the meal and be grateful.
  • added more leafy greens to my diet, upped my fish oil and (in these winter months) coconut oil.
  • added a daily vitamin with plenty of folic acid and vitamin d
  • i've learned about the energetics of food. i knew eating local foods brought connectedness and harmony. i've learned things like meat, beans, and root veggies can be grounding and relaxing. leafy greens, fruit, raw foods, and chocolate can be light, creative, and flexible. i am excited to add these ideas to my life and diet.
  • learned more and more reasons to keep my diary consumption to a minimum for my body (more to come on that in a later post)
i'm only a third of the way through and am learning so much. even if you are a healthy, mindful eater, working with a health counselor is a fantastic way to gain new perspective on your nutrition and all those things in life that affect your general well being. cheers to mindful eating!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

yoga & cultivating a home practice

setting the space

i am grateful to have a home office where i have enough room to have a small alter and meditation area and where i have plenty of room to stretch my yoga mat out. it has really helped my in cultivating time on the mat daily. to jump start and re-inspire my practice i have begun florian yoga's 30 day challenge. i am on day 4 and so far we have om-ed together, committed to conscious eating and 30 minutes of exercise daily, learned a mantra and listened to a grounding meditation. yippee - what a great way to feel inspired.

here's where i find peace, practice, and occasionally roll around on the floor with the dog!

how do you create your space? look around and find a space (even if it is just a corner). place a candle there or a sentimental item to remind you to be mindful when you are near that space. take a seat there and set an intention to allow that corner/area/space to be sacred to you when you need it. at least one time a day visit that space (both mentally and physically) and be peaceful - whether just sitting or rolling out a mat and practicing some mindful movement - at least 10 minutes each day. carve that 10 minutes out and plan for that time. see how setting the space can cultivate a greater practice in your life!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

30 goals for 30 years!!*

  1. meditate at least 10 minutes everyday
  2. get my body moving 30-60 minutes everyday
  3. learn to jog with the beast on a leash
  4. take BMC course
  5. go to surf camp in costa rica
  6. find quality time with hubby everyday
  7. more and more home cooking
  8. run another 5k
  9. have girlfriend soiree once per month
  10. start planning to start a family
  11. honor time for me rather than over committing
  12. take (at least) one weekly yoga class
  13. start writing the happy body book
  14. visit and call grandparents more often
  15. journal daily
  16. have non scheduled time at home everyday
  17. study mindfulness based stress reduction and read more jon kabat zinn
  18. maintain weekly acupuncture session
  19. have lunch or hike with a girlfriend(s) once per week
  20. find a guest blogger opportunity
  21. use planner pad to keep commitments and lists manageable
  22. eat more leafy greens
  23. get on the yoga mat everyday
  24. continue to cultivate mindfulness practices
  25. choreograph dance piece all by myself
  26. talk to jack on the phone everyday (unless he's traveling)
  27. keep blogging on life, health, and creativity
  28. take more photos of life
  29. find place to offer weekly yoga class
  30. write more snail mail (at least two per month)
*sorry this didn't get posted yesterday!!! birthday got super busy, but was fantastic! there will be two posts today to make up for it!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

be where you are

i teach pilates & yoga for a living. i am so grateful to be in my own space and working with a caring group of people. i know that my journey toward teaching healing movement has just begun. thought in today's post i would share where i work and what it looks like. here's a little tour. keep in mind it's just one small room, so there's not much explanation! 80% of the equipment i have there was made less than 3 hours away in anderson, sc by edgar tirado. he is an amazing craftsman!

one thing i love about working with people is encouraging them to be where they are without judgement. we often have an idea about where we want to be or where we should be or how we should feel, etc. i love the challenge to take all that should-ing away and just observe. notice. honor that place. relish it and be grateful. it is also my challenge as a movement educator to allow my clients to be where they are without any of my own pre-concieved notions about any of the should-s. notice any of the should-s creeping in your own interactions with yourself and other people. be mindful. let them go and dissolve into acceptance.

Monday, November 2, 2009

día de los muertos

day of the dead. sounds a little ominous and dark, but it's a mexican holiday that i have grown really fond of. holidays and traditions of other cultures are nice moments of reflection (especially when they are so different than anything i traditionally did as a kid). after traveling to merida, mexico with a company i danced with several years ago, i really connected and was inspired especially by the day of the dead. in our culture, we often fear death or ghosts or connections to the after life. this day is often quite light hearted as people reflect positively upon those they have known that have now passed into the after world. it's also an opportunity to bring focus to other aspects of the life cycle: fertility and life for the future. traditions include creating an offer to honor the dead using sugar skulls, photos of those who have passed, marigolds and even favorite items or foods of dead loved ones.

my friend jenni had a wonderful gathering on saturday where we drank mexican coffee, ate pumpkin bread, made sugar skulls, and added family photos to her amazing alter. i didn't take any photos, but hope that i can get some from her to show how magnificent it was.

found one! here's the amazing alter at jenni's house!

here's my small alter in honor of my great aunt pat who passed away this year and my great grandparents lovingly called "dandy & pop." dandy lived until i was 21 years old - i am so grateful to have had such a relationship with a great grandparent. she is missed dearly.

i invite you to bring a mindful moment into this tradition. reflect on those that have gone before you - people you knew and even ancestors or people that shaped your life that you didn't know. imagine where you would be without these influences and send gratitude toward them and thanksgiving toward the life, the body, the health that you have today. welcome to november.