Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 reflection

it wasn't until i started clicking through my pictures from this past year that i realized how incredibly full 2013 had been. full of beginnings, dreams coming true, smiles, crafting, inspiration, challenges, laughter, tons of yoga, sweet moments, fond farewells, and even a few tears. 

as we head into a new year, i hope you take some time to appreciate what this past year has offered (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and welcome the new year with a big open heart!

lots of love and wishes for a shiny, sparkly new year!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

gratitude practice: day 30

it's the last day of november which means that i made it through my thirty day gratitude practice. woo-hoo! and as the month comes to a close, what i'm feeling thankful for today is YOU! yes, you reading this post right now. while i committed to posting every day on here to see if i would be able to stick with it, no excuses, writing something every day, what really kept me going was hearing from you throughout the month. your comments on facebook, emails, and text messages inspired me and made sharing my gratitude that much more enjoyable. so i'm sending a deep bow and a big hug out there to all of you!

via // namaste

research has suggested that people who have gratitude practice (e.g. keep a journal of what they are thankful for) are indeed happier than those who don't. speaking from my experience of this past month, i have to agree. there was always something that i could turn my attention and appreciation toward, even on days that were challenging. and this happiness isn't a fleeting sensation, that might come from winning a prize. rather, it's a steadier, more serene feeling that i would liken to santosha, the sanskrit word meaning "contentment." sri swami satchidananda defines santosha as being content with what you have and where you are instead of wishing for things you don't have or daydreaming of the future. so as we head into a new month, i plan to carry with me this santosha, this contentment, this gratitude, allowing it to be a part of my every day and i hope you do the same!

Friday, November 29, 2013

gratitude practice: day 29

while black friday (aka the day after thanksgiving) didn't have me getting up in the early morning hours to hit up some sales, i was out and about today teaching a couple classes over in lake oswego. i turned on the christmas music radio station in the car and took in the signs of the holidays that were all around now - christmas trees tied to car roofs, wreaths hung off of lamp posts, lights wrapped around trees. my favorite moment was driving over to the studio for my evening class and seeing the white stag sign turned into rudolph. it brought a huge smile to my face and i'm thankful (and excited) for the holiday season!

are you excited for the holidays?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

gratitude practice: day 28

it's thanksgiving! today was overflowing with love and gratitude so i'm feeling thankful for all the little things that made my day so wonderful...

toasting some walnuts // prepping the stuffing // ta-da! // vincent wanting to sit at the table

a jam-packed yoga practice, led by alex at yoyoyogi. nothing better than starting the day with breath (and maybe a little bit of sweat)...my post-class soy green tea latte from starbucks and the baristas with the big smiles on their faces even though they were working on the holiday...wearing my new top from free people...seeing catching fire at the bagdad theater (i may have been rockin' a katniss-inspired side braid)...spending a couple hours in the kitchen, cooking up (and then eating) a thanksgiving feast for two with jesse...skyping/face-timing/texting with people that i love and letting them know that i'm thankful for them. i seriously cannot wait to visit the bay area in december and east coast in january so i can connect with some of them face to face. 

overall, it was a perfect day (maybe one of the best thanksgivings yet!) and i can't wait to spend the weekend teaching so if you're in portland/lake oswego, come take class with me!

how was your thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

gratitude practice: day 27

when it comes to making something from scratch, i usually find a few recipes for ideas and then wing it. usually because i don't have all the ingredients called for in a specific recipe on hand or because i'm feeling impatient and don't want to follow directions. this sometimes work out, other times notsomuch. yesterday, jesse and i sat down together to plan what we wanted to have for our thanksgiving dinner for two. 

i had seen a recipe for pomegranate-cranberry sauce in a magazine and thought it would be a nice alternative to the can-shaped cranberry sauce. i had already seeded a couple pomegranates (for the sangria from sunday) and still had fresh cranberries. i switched out the lime in the recipe for orange (it was what i had) and then set to work this afternoon, making my first cranberry sauce from scratch. i took my time and enjoyed the process - i loved hearing the cranberries pop and then slowly start to break down to create a thick sauce. this time of year can feel so rushed, frantic, busy but the whole experience of being in the kitchen, making something from scratch brought me into the moment and for that i'm feeling thankful.

have you ever made cranberry sauce from scratch? 
what are your thanksgiving plans this year?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

gratitude practice: day 26

this morning when my alarm went off, jesse was already awake and reading through the news on his phone. he mentioned that there was a new edition of mean tweets from jimmy kimmel that we had to watch. if you've never seen mean tweets, it's basically celebrities reading not-so-nice tweets about themselves. it is *sososososo* funny. and of course, one video led to another led to another.

i wouldn't want to start every morning looking at a tiny phone screen. but this morning, i had so much fun just laughing in bed with jesse and i'm so thankful that we took that time to be together. it really kicked the day off in a great way!

Monday, November 25, 2013

gratitude practice: day 25

it's been quite chilly here in portland the past week or so - dropping down into the 30s at night, getting close(ish) to 50 during the day. i know for anyone reading this that lives on the east coast that probably doesn't seem that bad. but for someone who spent the past four years living in the extremely temperate bay area, it's friggin' cold. and when it gets chilly, i don't feel my usual cravings for smoothies and salads. 

via // via // via

to counteract the cold today, i put together a quick soup with the ingredients i had on hand - carrots, celery, onion, potato, and chickpeas. i simmered them in some veggie broth for a little under an hour. the whole house smelled delicious. so today i'm thankful for the simple things that bring warmth and joy, like sharing a bowl of homemade soup on a brisk november afternoon with someone that you love.

what's your go-to meal in the colder months? 
do you have a favorite soup recipe?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

gratitude practice: day 24

one of my priorities when i was moving to a new city was to find a yoga studio that i loved. truthfully, i like most yoga studios that i visit but it really takes something extra special to make me want to call a studio hOMe (what can i say? i was spoiled by my time at tranquil space! i still tell anyone who visits DC that they absolutely *must* take a class there). during previous trips to portland, i had the opportunity to practice at yoyoyogi but it wasn't until i lived here that i really got to experience this amazing community. 

i had such a good time, i forgot to take pictures!

tonight was the feast of gratitude at the studio and i couldn't think of a better way to head into the week of thanksgiving. students and teachers gathered together for an unbelievable potluck meal that included everything from stuffing to kale salad to cupcakes to pumpkin pie! jesse and i made some winter sangria to share because what party isn't complete without a sangria. live music was provided by the talented ryan vandordrecht (he can play guitar and harmonica at the same time!) and the room was full of conversation, laughs, and hugs. 

i couldn't be more thankful to be a part of such a community and so happy to have a place that i can call my yoga hOMe!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

gratitude practice: day 23

i love when someone is amazing at what they do. today jesse and i went over to the nearby macy's because they were having a sale and he was in the market for a suit (i mean if he's gonna get that pHd soon, he ought to have a proper suit, right?). neither of us really knew what to consider when picking out the perfect suit so it was slightly intimidating walking into that section of the store. when the saleswoman first approached us, we gave the standard "just looking" response. 

for your listening pleasure

after a few minutes, she chimed in again when we mentioned that maybe navy would be a good choice and ended up making a few great suggestions as well as telling us about an additional friends and family discount. not much later, jesse was trying on a couple options and ended up picking out a charcoal set that made him look oh-so-handsome. this woman was not only an expert in picking out a great suit, she did it in such a way that jesse felt really good about what he was getting and not forced into getting something just because (and that takes some skill. trust me, i've worked in retail before). so today i'm feeling thankful for diane at macy's and anyone who is awesome at what they do!

Friday, November 22, 2013

gratitude practice: day 22

nothing makes me happier than finding an amazing new song. i love that song even more if i can fit it into one of my class playlists. i try to keep my playlists fresh - always circulating in new finds and old goodies. but sometimes i hit a rut and i can't seem to find any new music. i can spend hours looking through blogs and sampling songs on itunes and still come up empty. the music gods and goddesses must have been smiling on me today though because i found not just one but TWO songs that i'm absolutely loving and i wanted to share them with you.


first up is stars (hold on) by youngblood hawke. i found this song browsing around on itunes. once i bought it, i listened to it three times in a row (at least!) and immediately put it on my class playlist for this weekend. it's fun, upbeat, and will put a huge smile on your face.


the second song came to me while listening to the alexi murdoch (who i *love*) station on pandora. megan by anesthesia struck me right away. i just sat and listened to the beautiful melody and knew it would be perfect for a blissful savasana. onto the playlist it went!

so today i'm super grateful for these new-to-me artists and their creations that they've put out into the world. 

what song (or songs) are you totally in love with right now? 
what's your favorite song to hear in a yoga class?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

gratitude practice: day 21

along with my daily gratitude post here on the blog, i've been participating in an instagram challenge led by danielle diamond. every day, she gives a prompt of something to be thankful for that day. some of them have been easy and others have been a little harder (especially trying to take a photo that capture my thoughts for the day).

today's prompt had to do with appreciating the kindness of strangers. at first, i couldn't figure out what i wanted to post. then as i was scrolling through my instagram feed, i got present to the impact that the comments left by others had on me in my day. it always feels good to have someone leave words of appreciation, encouragement, or support on a post. and there are so many folks that i follow and interact with on instagram that i've never met in person, who at first were strangers to me. over time, as i see their pictures, they feel like friends. friends that i never would have had if it weren't for the technology we have today.

and yes, we might all be better off with spending less time looking at a screen and more time with the people and the world in front of us. however, when i invite mindfulness into my use of technology (e.g. leaving thoughtful comments), i actually feel like my time is well spent creating connections that would not have existed otherwise.  today i'm feeling loads of gratitude for the community over on instagram - for all of the inspiration, support and fun!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

gratitude practice: day 20

via // nick kroll at the aladdin

when was the last time you laughed until you had tears in your eyes? the answer for me was tonight. jesse and i had a mid-week date to the aladdin theater to enjoy the comedy stylings of nick kroll (aka ruxin from the league). there is nothing better than taking a couple hours to just laugh. and laughter is totally good for you too - among its benefits are stress relief in the body and a big boost to the immune system. and so tonight i'm super thankful for the laughter, especially in the company of someone i love.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

gratitude practice: day 19

i saw this post the other day on the blog a beautiful mess about using natural ingredients simmering on the stove to fill your home with scent. i filed it away in the back of my brain to attempt one day. during our weekly shopping trip today, i made sure to pick up some of the recommended items so that i could give this a try. as i write this, i have oranges, orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and cranberries on the stove and the house smells simply *amazing*.
via a beautiful mess
not only am i thankful for the wonderful scent filling the house but i'm also feeling grateful to elsie and emma for the inspiration (there blog is over-flowing with great ideas). i know i'm already dreaming up different combinations that i can use throughout the cooler, darker months to help keep our home feeling cozy, welcoming and warm.

would you give this idea a try? what would your ideal scent combination be?

Monday, November 18, 2013

gratitude practice: day 18

today i woke up earlier than i have in a very long time. i was subbing a class at 6:30am and was so anxious about oversleeping that i set my alarm crazy early (like pre-5am early). the morning went along quickly but by the time i finished teaching my second class of the day (around 1pm), i was feeling pretty spent. 

tub toes // my monday evening

one of my favorite things to do at the end of a long day is take a bath. the steam, the warm water, the bubbles - pure bliss and tranquility and they help my mind settle. add in yummy smelling products (hello, LUSH bath bombs and bubble bars!) and i could soak for hours (ok, usually it's around an hour). and so tonight, i ran some hot water, poured in an aura cacia mineral bath from my tranquility tour goody bag and grabbed my book that i can't put down. 

now i feel relaxed, full of gratitude for the simple luxury of taking a bath and oh-so-ready for some quality shut-eye.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

gratitude practice: day 17

there are times when i prepare for a class and inspiration is flowing and ideas are pouring out - sequences come together seamlessly, the perfect songs line up on my playlist, the ideal quote pops off the page. of course that is not always the case. it feels like i've spent my entire weekend laboring over my plan for a sixty minute class.
via // via
when my brain seemed to have come to a complete halt, i moved the couch, rolled out my mat and started moving around - not thru a specific sequence or with any end in mind. just movement for the sake of movement. eventually an idea or two popped into my head and little by little, my class came together. 

it's easy to get stuck and to stay stuck (in class planning and in life). today i am thankful for my mat and the movement it supports. it's always there for me when i need it the most.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

gratitude practice: day 16

since i chose to pursue my dreams of teaching yoga back in 2009, i've had a less than traditional schedule. no more 8-5 monday thru friday in an office with two back to back days off that i could use however i pleased. in fact, appreciation for the weekend all but disappeared because i was usually working on saturday and/or sunday. 


even though i taught a class this morning, today felt like the perfect leisurely saturday. breakfast and kitty cuddles in bed. an easy lunch out with jesse. a cup of tea before diving into a home project and some laundry. a homemade dinner while catching up on parks & rec. nothing felt rushed. nothing felt required. it was pure and simple bliss. saturday - i am ohsothankful for you.

Friday, November 15, 2013

gratitude practice: day 15

as i write this, i hear the wind blowing around outside and the rain falling on the ground. i couldn't be happier. since august, i've enjoyed sunny days with temperatures in the 90s as well as overcast days with temperatures in the 40s. i've seen cloudless blue sky with mountains in the distance, leaves that turned from green to vibrant shades of yellow, orange, and red, and lightning dancing among the clouds. 

mt. hood in the distance // my hiking buddy // rainy bridge

i've been warned that i'll tire of the darker days where the sun will stay hidden from sight. but honestly, i couldn't be more thankful for this weather. when it's sunny, i seize the opportunity to take a hike with jesse in the woods. when it's rainy, i relish being able to stay inside with my kitties and craft projects. so today i want to send out a big shout of gratitude to the weather here in the gorgeous pacific northwest.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

gratitude practice: day 14

letters to loved ones // via

it's so easy to send a quick note to someone with today's technology. whether it's an email, text message, or comment on facebook, we have the ability to connect right at our fingertips. but there is something that i just *love* about pulling out a pen and paper or picking up a beautiful card and writing a letter to someone special. but it doesn't stop there for me. i pull out stamps and washi tape and markers and decorate the envelope. when the letter arrives in the mailbox, they know they've received something special (because who doesn't love getting mail that isn't bills or catalogs or credit card offers?). 

i've mailed out some notes recently so i wanted to take the time to be thankful for the postal service. without them, my pretty letters and all the love they contain wouldn't get to where they need to go.

have you written a letter to someone lately?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

gratitude practice: day 13

anyone who knows me knows how much i love cats. and not just my two darlings, vincent and theo. i love *all* cats - big, little, tabby, grey, male, female - if it's feline, it's already won my heart. take me to a party where there's a cat and i will spend most of my time with the cat guaranteed. cats get me and i get cats. most aren't as quickly or easily won over as dogs and i respect that i have to earn their affection.

cute little grey kitty who lives down the street // joey the tail-less kitty cat!

one of my favorite things to do is to go out on a "cat walk" - aka a walk around the neighborhood to see the kitties that might be hanging around. lucky for me, there are plenty of cats in my neighborhood here in portland. today i got to meet a super sweet black and white kitty with no tail named joey. he was lounging in the sun on his porch and as we walked by i said hi to him and he trotted down the steps looking for some pets. moments like this brighten my day so much and so today i am thankful for all the kitties in my neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

gratitude practice: day 12

i have loved the library since i was a small child. i remember coming home with a stack books (i was so excited that i could borrow all of these books for free!) and devouring them one after the other - sweet valley twins, baby sitters club, goosebumps - just to name a few. beyond the books, the library offered a bit of tranquility, a break from the rush of the every day, a place where it was ok to be quiet.


my love for the library continues to this day. one of the first things i did when i moved to portland was get a multnomah county library card. thanks to the library i'm able to indulge my curiosity - whether it's in jewelry-making, vegetarian cooking, or home decorating - and keep myself entertained with the latest novel from a favorite author or the latest season of game of thrones. so today i am thankful for the library and the world that it opens up for me and so many others.

Monday, November 11, 2013

gratitude practice: day 11

whenever i go to the market this time of year, i'm drawn to pomegranates. this beautiful red fruit looks so special. the juice-filled seeds resemble precious jewels and taste sweet with the perfect hint of tartness. however, i usually talk myself out of purchasing one because i don't want to deal with the mess. red juice spots and stains all over myself and the kitchen. 

this time around, i picked one up and took it home with me. it's been sitting on the counter now for about a week. but this afternoon, while jesse dove into some work he had to finish, i decided to open up my pomegranate. i wasn't in a rush to get the seeds. i took my time and enjoyed the process. what in the past had been a kitchen nightmare turned into a mindfulness meditation. i connected with my breath as i slowly cut across the top of the fruit, being careful not to pierce too many of the seeds. then segment by segment, i coaxed the seeds away from the pith and dropped them into the jar. 

i don't know how long it took me to gather all the seeds but really it didn't matter. it was about the process. about being totally absorbed into the moment. and so today i'm thankful for that pomagranate and it's reminder to be present.

today, i'd also like to send a deep bow of gratitude to all the women and men who serve and have served in the military - your commitment and sacrifice provide me (and so many others) with the freedom to live this life that i love each and every day. thankyouthankyouthankyou.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

gratitude practice: day 10

today my younger brother texted me wondering if i was around to skype with him. since i don't make it back home very often to see my family, skype is a life-saver, offering that much needed face time without the expensive ticket and terrifying plane rides. but i'm not writing about the wonders of technology today. i'm writing about something (someone) so much more awesome. let me introduce you to edward james hughes IV, aka my (not-so-)little brother.

 oh edward - he's so cool // from his visit to SF in 2010

now i think my brother is the coolest kid around and i'm pretty sure there are a lot of people who will agree with me on this. he's thoughtful, funny, talented, and has the biggest heart of anyone i know. this guy is in his senior year of college with tons on his plate but he still finds time to reach out to chat just because he hadn't talked to me in awhile. 

and that just makes my heart smile. so today i'm thankful for edward, the absolute best brother any girl could ask for.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

gratitude practice: day 9

i led two back-to-back classes this morning. i'm still getting to know the students in this community since i've only been with this studio for about a month or so. i was extra lucky this morning because one of my students from back in berkeley came to class. she was visiting friends in the area but made a point to show up on her mat, to support me in my passion. i love my new home in portland but it was so very nice to have a familiar face in class. moments like that are very affirming as i wander down this path.

even though i've been teaching now for almost five years, i still am filled to the brim with gratitude when people show up on the mat. as much as they benefit from their individual practice, their presence and energy allow me to do what i love to do. how can i *not* be thankful for that?

Friday, November 8, 2013

gratitude practice: day 8

i've been going to a 9:30am yoga class every Friday for the past few weeks, trying to add some structure to my very unstructured life. this morning in practice, the teacher had us grab a couple of tennis balls and a block toward the end to use for some myofascial work. we laid back with the tennis balls right beneath our shoulder blades and it was like my body let go of a huge breath it was holding onto. after a few minutes on the tennis balls, we placed the base of the skull on the edge of a block and s.l.o.w.l.y moved the head side to side. i could feel tension melting away from neck and shoulders.


if you've never done this kind of work before, it's like a cross between blissful relief and self-torture and i highly recommend it. you can target pretty much anywhere on your body (hamstrings, calves, IT band, forearm, shoulders - the list goes on) and there are numerous benefits, including improved joint range of motion and muscle soreness relief.

adding these pieces to my practice this morning reminded me of how thankful i am for props in yoga and how they offer me support and the opportunity to deepen the work i do on the mat. 

not sure how to start incorporating props into your practice? check out this article from yoga journal and this awesome infographic from fitblogger! questions? leave me a comment!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

gratitude practice: day 7

last year, i participated in an online course called 90 Minutes to Change the World. i don't remember how i came across the course and the organization that produces it, 90 Monkeys, but i'm so thankful that i did. 90 Minutes to Change the World is an online business of yoga and professional development program that focuses on common challenges faced by yoga teachers and studio owners today. led by the infectiously positive Amy Ippoliti, it is overflowing with insight, inspiration, and relevant advice for yoga teachers. 

how cute is their logo? // the lovely amy

this year, they offered the same course again in a two-day intensive format. i eagerly enrolled knowing that it would provide me with the opportunity to review where i am in my teaching and to identify areas where i could hone my skills further. being a yoga teacher can become quite the solitary endeavor. it takes more effort to create community not just among students but among my fellow yoga teachers since we are usually just passing by each other on our way from teaching or going to teach. so one of my favorite parts of the course is the community of teachers that i'm now connected to via facebook. these teachers are all over the globe and i know i can reach out at any time for feedback on a new class theme, input on a challenging student situation, or kudos for accomplishing a goal.

so today i am thankful for Amy, the incredible team at 90 Monkeys and all my fellow 90 Minuters around the world for committing to be the best and to change the world - one mat, one student, one class at a time. i'm so lucky to be part of this community!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

gratitude practice: day 6

michael franti & spearhead's latest album // post-yoga teaching, pre-concert this past august

while i was helping out at the studio today, i decided to put on some michael franti to keep me energized. if you've ever been in any of my yoga classes, you've most likely heard some of his music. the energy and message that he shares is incredible and every time i listen to his music, i find myself smiling and dancing and loving life.

thanks to the magic of social media, i had the unbelievable opportunity to lead a private yoga class for michael (plus j and sara and jesse!) before his concert at the edgefield this summer. he was down to earth, present, and so full of life. i'm pretty sure that day was one of the best in my life. 

as if he wasn't inspiring enough thru his music, he and his girlfriend sara started the do it for love foundation earlier this year. the foundation is a wish-granting organization gifting people who are living with advanced stages of life threatening illnesses live concert experiences and meet-and-greets with their favorite artists. their facebook page is constantly updated with heart-warming stories of how michael, sara, and his band have connected to (and uplifted!) people all over the country. check out the work they do and share the love. 

so today i'm thankful for michael franti, his music, his work and his message.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

gratitude practice: day 5

loves of my life - vincent + theo // sweetest pup around - momo (kristi's dog)

some days are harder than others and today was challenging for me. i can always count on some "fur therapy" to get me through a rough spot. lucky for me, i had numerous opportunities to get some lovin' from the animals in my life (in fact, as i type this, vincent is curled up behind me). 

and for that i am thankful.

Monday, November 4, 2013

gratitude practice: day 4


my alarm went off this morning at 5:30am. it was monday. it was chilly. it was rainy. but i was so thankful my phone beeped this morning because it woke me up in time to attend a blissful morning practice at the studio led by the beautiful terri cole

she shared a story about having lunch at a friend's house recently. her friend asked her to go and pick out a mug for tea. terri replied (as most of us would i'm sure) that any mug would be fine. yet her friend insisted that terri should pick out a mug because only she would know if it was the right color, weight, etc. and in that moment, terri realized that this mug, this cup of tea, this time with her friend was a reminder to s.l.o.w.d.o.w.n and appreciate the moment. 

when i made my cup of tea this afternoon, i took my time. i let the tea steep for a few minutes while i watched the steam rise off the water. and i savored every sip. that class, that story was the ideal start to my week and it wouldn't have happened if it weren't for that alarm clock. that alarm clock that i may curse many other mornings. that alarm clock that i've chosen today to appreciate.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

gratitude practice: day 3

mellow sunday that began with work at the studio and then heading to lunch with jesse to catch up with a friend. we were supposed to meet up at 1pm but by 2pm, our friend hadn't showed. he sent us a text that he wasn't going to make it. 

i don't always handle last-minute cancellations well but today i chose to be thankful because i was able to spend some much-needed quality time with jesse. nothing to do but just be together. 

a sweet, simple, perfect way to end the weekend. 


Saturday, November 2, 2013

gratitude practice: day 2


after a morning of teaching yoga followed by lunch and errands, i decided to lay down for a bit. i had no intention of falling asleep, just wanted some time to relax and maybe read. the moment i got into bed, the cats jump onto the blankets and want some cuddle time.

not too much later, i started to get drowsy. i set my phone timer for twenty minutes, giving myself permission to take a catnap (literally - ha!). a full hour later i woke up and the guilt started to set in. i didn't mean to sleep as long as i had. my mind started running with the list of things i could've been doing to be more productive.

then i remembered that it's daylight savings time and that we would be setting the clocks back an hour tonight. in that moment, i chose to release guilt and instead be *thankful* that i had listened to my body and given myself that hour to rest and snuggle with my sweet orange kitties.

now tell me - what are you thankful for today?

Friday, November 1, 2013

gratitude practice: day 1

i wrote earlier today about my goal to make gratitude a priority this november - here we go!

you know those days where you wake up and things just feel hard? that was this morning - it was like my brain hadn't quite turned on yet. all i knew is that i needed to make it out the door to yoga class. 

running a few minutes behind schedule, i made it out the door and into the car. i was feeling hurried on my drive to the studio but all my cares went away once i realized i was hitting every single green light. 

and that was my first conscious moment of gratitude this month. being present enough to notice all those lights turning green, helping me get to class. i made it to class with plenty of time to settle in before practice started, carrying with me an attitude of gratitude for all those little things that brighten the day. 

for november, gratitude

ahhh november! a month that always brings my mind back to the practice of gratitude. being a part of the yoga community, i hear reminders to be thankful quite often. to be honest, those reminders can come so frequently that they go in one ear and out the other. 

so this month, i'm making gratitude my priority. my goal is to post daily about what i'm grateful for and i'd *love* to have you join me in this practice. leave a comment on my daily post about what you are thankful for that day and let's spread the love! you game?


p.s. i'll also be participating in danielle diamond's gratitude challenge via instagram so follow me there for an extra dose of appreciation this month :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

playlist: short and sweet

"spiritual growth involves giving up the stories of your past so the universe can write a new one."

do you know those days where you get the phone call you don't want to answer, the email that you weren't expecting, the text message that makes your stomach drop to the ground? yeah? me too. 

today may or may not be one of those days. maybe it's the shifting seasons. maybe it's karma. maybe it's the mercury retrograde that just kicked in. and maybe it's just life - ebb and flow, gain and loss, birth and death. change is the only constant, the thing we can absolutely count on. 

i definitely have a love/hate relationship with change (as i'm sure many of you can relate). when it's something i've planned or that i want, i'm all about it. but if it's something unexpected, i'm resistant, stubborn, and full of doubt. so what to do when i'm faced with the latter?

there's a lot of ways to work with these not-so-pretty feelings. i start with intention (of course) and my intention is to transform my uncertainty and fear into something greater, that serves, that uplifts. typically this transformation takes the shape of yoga, music, and journaling. i put together this short & sweet playlist to inspire you (and to remind myself) to embrace change with grace - so unroll your mat, grab your journal and a pen, take a deep breath and let go!

Friday, October 18, 2013

desire to inspire: full moon edition

october's full moon is also known as the hunter's moon - this is the time of year that we are hunting and gathering what we'll need to carry us through the winter months to come. to celebrate this full moon, i've pulled together some inspiration for you to enjoy.

along with the full moon, a lunar eclipse will be happening tonight. even though most of us in the states won't be able to see the eclipse, we can still enjoy this gorgeous depiction of a lunar eclipse. or you can snatch up these leggings from etsy for a yoga practice while the moon is rising. bonus - they glow in the dark!

via // via

if glow-in-the-dark leggings aren't you thing, you can still wear a subtle reminder of the eclipse with species by the thousands' elegant cuff. or enjoy the tranquility of this metallic art print during a seated meditation or yin practice.

via // via

maybe you feel a shift in your energy (or sanity) around the full moon - embrace that need for play! i love how many houses in my neighborhood have swings hanging from trees in their front yards and you better believe i'm going to be swinging in the moonlight tonight! wear this super soft tee from soul flower throughout the month to remind you to give in to your inner wild child.

via //via

you can wear this full moon pendant to carry the vibrancy and energy of the full moon when you review your intentions and goals for the month. it's hard to believe that november is right around the corner. now's the time to cut out what hasn't been working and to recommit to any intentions that may have fallen to the side. grab your calendar (or print one out for the month - i've been loving this watercolor image on free people's october calendar all month long. it makes me want to pull out my watercolors and create the night away!) and block out some time for yourself to do what will make your heart shine like the light of the silvery moon!

happy full moon, darling!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

tranquility tour love

last night, i had the pleasure of joining kimberly wilson (who was my mentor during teacher training at tranquil space back in '09 and is one of my favorite people ever)and wonderful group of women for a tranquility pop-up event in SW portland. the event was part of the tranquility tour, kimberly's lastest adventure where she and her beau (aka tim mooney) are traveling all over north america to live simply and spread tranquility wherever they go! our evening was full of mindfulness, self-study and sensory indulgences - from lavender oil to chair yoga to tonglen to collage. total bliss!

 creative play + finished product

one of my biggest take-aways was actually a reminder. at the beginning of the year, i stumbled upon the quote "little by little, one travels far." it resonated with me and i've carried it in my back pocket since then. during the wheel of life exercise, kimberly asked us to choose an area that we ranked low in satisfaction and create two action steps to elevate this area by the end of the month. my area that i chose was do-gooding. just as i was about to write down some grand plan to reach out to this organization and that charity and volunteer numerous hours per a week (which to be perfectly honest would not have been reasonable for me right now), kimberly reminded us to keep it simple. she brought me back down to "little by little" and now i have the (much more realistic) action steps of donating some clothes to goodwill and sending out snail mail love to my family.

 kimberly & i (with her dreamcatcher handcrafted by moi and photobomber Tim) + podcast in action

it was so much fun reconnecting with old friends and creating new connections! kimberly and tim still have 7 more stops on the tour (the next one is in the Bay Area and the final one is in my hOMetown of Richmond, VA!) and if they are coming to your town, you should definitely join in the tranquility fun! i also want to give a little shout-out to the lovely luna jaffe who hosted the event last night in her beautiful office - she does some amazing work with creativity and money!

portland pop-up ladies + goody bag & kimberly's new book tranquilologie

Sunday, October 13, 2013

all you need are books and tea

in anticipation of the rainy weather to come (and all the time i'll get to spend inside curled up with my kitties and a fuzzy blanket), i thought it would be fun to put together a few book & tea pairings. just like a meal can be elevated with the right wine, nothing goes better with a good read than the perfect cup of tea.

like many people, elizabeth gilbert came into my life through her best-selling memoir eat, pray, love and now i'm looking forward to her latest fictional endeavor. the story is set all over the globe and is described as bold and spellbinding which is why smith's bonbon herbal infusion is the perfect companion. the ingredients, which include cinnamon bark from vietnam, pacific northwest peppermint leaves, and pakistani licorice root, come together together in one perfectly charming cup of tea.

i've loved mythology ever since i was young. i probably checked out every book on greek mythology from my local library. when i started practicing yoga, a whole new world of gods, goddesses, heroes, and stories opened up to me. sally kempton's book focuses on goddesses, such as lakshmi (who bestows prosperity) and bhuvaneshvari (who creates space for transformation). i'm excited to learn more about these faces of the divine feminine and how they can show up and be brought forth in our every day lives while enjoying an uplifting cup of this fruity green tea.

we all have our guilty pleasures. two of mine are YA fiction and chai lattes. elle recommended this book (along with the other two in the series) and i'm looking forward to diving into the fantasy world of katsa while enjoying a homemade chai latte made with my fave vanilla almond milk.

so now tell me - what are you reading and what lovely libation will you pair with it?

Friday, October 4, 2013

what can we gain by sailing to the moon...?


i love creating intention. when i take the time to acknowledge what i want my day/month/life to feel like, it transforms my everyday experience.

today, october 4th, is the new moon (you can find out exactly when the new moon happens where you live by visiting here). every month, the new moon invites us to release what no longer serves, to create what we desire, to renew what we are committed to, and to begin right here, right now. it is a time to plant seeds and make plans, to start a project or release a habit, to choose trust and let love grow.

i'll be settling down to create my dreams for this month and i encourage you to do the same. here are some ideas to help you get dreamy with the new moon.

  • with your eyes still closed, ask yourself what you want to create this month. listen to what bubbles up in the mind. is it a feeling? is it a specific goal? is it something that you want to release? honor and acknowledge whatever comes up for you.
  • after listening for a few minutes, take pen to paper and write out your intention(s). be as specific as possible. i like to end my list by writing "i accept these things into my life now or something better for my highest good and for the highest good of all concerned."once your list is complete, read it aloud. notice how you feel when you hear you intentions spoken. 
  • conclude this time by closing your eyes, taking a few more deep breaths, and giving thanks. when you're ready, blow out your candle and choose what you want to do with your list of intentions. i keep my journal bedside so i can read through my list daily. maybe you take your list and post it on the bathroom mirror. maybe you place your list in a special place on your desk where it won't be disturbed.

throughout the month, notice how your intentions impact your experience. and don't forget to mark your calendar for the next new moon on november 3rd!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

the in-between state

i had an audition today at a local yoga studio. typically, auditions go something like this - you walk in, teach a little demo, chat for a few minutes, and then wait to hear back about if they want to bring onto the team.

that was not today. 

today the studio owner simply wanted me to teach a few postures - a standing pose, a seated pose, a twist, a backbend, an inversion. easy enough, right?

wrong! after i taught, we spent a good chunk of time discussing why i said certain things, made certain adjustments, could've done things differently. i kept a calm demeanor on the outside but on the inside my mind was raging, creating story after story.

"he is so much smarter than me. he's totally not going to hire me."
"i wouldn't want to teach here anyway if he's going to be so nit-picky."
"i really love teaching though and he is making some good points."
"i'll never be as good a teacher. maybe i should get a real job."

and on and on and on. 

then, in the middle of all that story, i chose to take a breath and be present. 
to simply listen. really listen.
to open up to his questions. 
to respond rather than react.
to let go of the need to be perfect. 
to walk the middle path.

honestly, it was probably the most challenging audition i've experienced. but i am so thankful for the challenge because it provided me with a beautiful reminder about what pema chödrön calls the in-between state. 

"when we find ourselves in a place of discomfort and fear...we'll find that we want to blame, to take sides, to stand our ground...for the warrior, 'right' is as extreme a view as 'wrong.' they both block our innate wisdom...the in-between state - where moment by moment the warrior finds himself learning to let go - is the perfect training ground...to know that we are always in transition, that the only time is now." 
- the places that scare you

after i stepped back from the drama in my mind and rested in my in-between state, i was able to have a genuine connection with the person right in front of me. it wasn't about right or wrong, better or worse, good or bad. it's as simple (but definitely not easy) as that.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

a graceful welcome to autumn

wise words from ms. anne lamott paired with a mosaic in the lake oswego public library

The past couple months have been a time of transition for me. Moving to a new city has been excitement, nerves, happiness, and challenge all rolled into one. 

Change is most definitely never easy. 

And now with autumn upon us, signs of change are all around - the leaves changing color, the cooler temperatures, the desire to stay home snuggled under a blanket (yes please!). This season is about gathering and so it felt appropriate to create this space where I can gather my thoughts, my inspirations, and things that I love and then share them with others. You can expect quotes, pretty pictures, some good music, and maybe even a yoga sequence or two. 

I hope you welcome this season of fall with open arms (and maybe a pumpkin spice soy latte or two)!