Category Archives: Live

(i’m still here!)

 am painfully aware of the fact that my mantra lately for this space is something along the lines of “life is busy, but I have lots of stuff in the works!” Lately, this is more true than ever, as annoying as it is. I would love to be updating the site like I used to, and I really do have things in the pipeline (aka my drafts folder) but in the interest of actually graduating next month and working my little behind off for my amazing job, I’ve had to prioritize, and unfortunately, my blog has been a casualty. BUT, though it’s currently chilling on the back burner, please know that it is still stewing (couldn’t resist the crappy metaphor; apologies). And once some other loose ends are tied up elsewhere in my life I do have some exciting plans for it, so stay tuned. (And I hope I haven’t lost too many people along the way.)

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travel // weekend getaway.

A couple of weekends ago, my roommate and I both decided to take a plans-free Sunday as an opportunity to get out of the city. So we took a little day trip up to the Massachusetts/Vermont border for the Fresh Grass festival at MASS MoCA. It was a long drive both ways, but since my sister was lucky (and ridiculously intelligent) enough to go to Williams for her undergrad years, I’ve done that road trip many times before–and it’s a beautiful one. We were a few weeks too early to really experience the Berkshires at their autumn best, but the scenery was still gorgeous.

I’m not super familiar with bluegrass music, but it was still an awesome time, and MASS MoCA is seriously the coolest space ever. It was also freezing–we should have remembered that fall reaches New England much more quickly than the city, and doubly so in the mountains! I managed to snag the last cup of vegan quinoa chili from one of the food vendors, and basically inhaled it to stay warm.

Again, it was a quick trip–we were only at the venue for a few hours–but we arrived back in Brooklyn that night with our lungs full of fresh mountain air and our wanderlust quelled for the time being. I’m admittedly already antsy to travel again–it probably doesn’t help that I didn’t stay in one place last spring for longer than five days at a time. I will be going to Florida in a few weeks for a family wedding, but other than that, I’m staying put for awhile. Although, there have been whispers around our place of going apple picking…

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Filed under Live, Travel

Weekend DIY: The Perfect Bubble Bath

Baths aren’t the most eco-friendly thing in the world, but when used sparingly, they are a godsend. Feeling overworked, anxious, stressed… or even sick? Taking a bath can be an economic and therapeutic fix. There are a few ingredients that can make a bubble bath positively blissful, as it should be… and the great part is that how you mix and match is totally up to you and your mood.

  1. Epsom Salts
    Benefits
    : draw out toxins; increase magnesium in the body which leads to a boost in serotonin, elevating your mood
    How to use: add 1-2 cups to your warm bath. Sea salt is a decent alternative.
  2. Bubble Bath
    Benefits:
     depends on the kind you choose, but most will soothe and soften your skin
    How to use: I always add it to the bath as it’s running, right near the faucet so that the bubbles foam up immediately and I can gauge how much I want. Shower gel can be a good alternative, though it might not foam up as much. Pamper yourself! I just splurged on this the other day: It was amazing. I’m definitely on a budget, so I usually just grab my liquid shower soap and use that, but this proved that it is definitely worth it.
  3. Temperature
    Benefits: depending on how hot you make it, warm temperatures are soothing while hot temperatures are detoxifying
    How to use: this sounds like an inane detail but it can actually make or break the experience. It really falls to personal preference- do you want a loooong, relaxing time to read a book? Then keep the temperature on the warm-hot side. A shorter, detoxifying experience? Make the bath super hot (but not scalding- think a hot jacuzzi; you don’t want to burn yourself!) and sweat it out for 15-20 minutes or so.
  4. Essential Oils
    Benefits: Here are some of my favorites:
    lavender: lowers heart rate and blood pressure for anti-anxiety; helps insomnia; soothes inflamed skin
    eucalyptus: decongestant; soothing for sore throat and cough; soothes muscle pain; rejuvenating and de-stresser
    jasmine: anti-depressant; relieves muscle spasm (including coughing); de-stresser.
    rose: anti-depressant; soothes coughing and muscle pain
    bergamot: anti-anxiety; relieves soreness
    patchouli: anti-anxiety; antidepressant; soothes skin; helps fluid retention
    There are soooo many more. I almost want to do a post with a more complete guide… maybe I will eventually. Just have fun experimenting and even do a little research on what the benefits might be.
    How to use: mix and match your favorites- most will compliment each other pretty well, as long as you keep it to two or three, tops. Just add a couple of drops of each to the bath as its running. Use sparingly- essential oils are expensive, and they’re strong. You don’t want to feel high from the fumes!
  5. Ambiance
    Light some scented candles, dim the lights, pour yourself a glass of wine, have a few magazines or a good book at the ready, and turn on some Bon Iver. Oh, and for the love of God, turn off your phone.
  6. And extras
    Do whatever you want! I like to smother my hair in coconut oil and pile it on top of my head to soak. I also have this amazing lemon sugar scrub that I rub all over my legs to slough off dead skin and it makes them soooo smooth. Whatever floats your boat.

Happy relaxing!

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Filed under Beauty, Live, Make

What We’re Capable of Accomplishing

Anything that I get to cross off my bucket list is a source of pride for me; however, some mean more to me than others.

I have been working on my headstand in yoga for almost a year now. It’s one of those parts of my practice that represents my inner strength for me, and the process of finding that balance and support within myself has been a little frustrating at times. However, I spent every day this week at my new yoga studio (which you’ll hear more about in a couple of days) and found that it wasn’t necessarily a question of strength or balance, but of method… it turned out that the way I had been taught by a teacher in L.A. wasn’t the ideal path to achieving a proper supported headstand. When one of my new teachers taught me the right way to do it, I was able to accomplish it with her help on the spot.

Still, the eureka moment for me came a few days later, when I started the motions in class towards balancing on my own, rather than making it halfway, stumbling, and landing on all fours once again, I suddenly realized that, slowly and steadily, I was moving up, up, and completely straight into the headstand of my dreams. Did I stay in proper form forever? Hell no. But I have a lifetime of mastering that aspect and right now I am reveling in my personal accomplishment.

I have to admit, at first I was iffy about dedicating a post to this, but then I realized that there is no reason why I shouldn’t feel proud of myself. Yoga has become an indispensable part of my life and with each step and goal I attain I have found an even deeper connection with my body.

Finding out what we’re capable of accomplishing is one of the best challenges we can constantly maintain in our lives. In other words, in my opinion, when we can surprise ourselves with our strength, intelligence, curiosity (the list goes on and on…)that is how we can live our lives to the fullest. It’s the best possible way to be selfish! And when you’re on the road to such self-discovery, I bet you’ll find that you make the most of relationships with others and the world along the way.

So whether you’re mastering a headstand, running a marathon, writing a book, or working for that promotion, even when times are tough, just think about how good it will feel when you reach that goal!

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Filed under Live, Move, The Bucket Lists

“Fried” Cauliflower “Rice”

That’s a lot of quotation marks for a recipe title.

But it’s necessary, because this fried rice recipe is not actually fried, and *surprise!* doesn’t actually have a grain of rice in it. But trust me, you’ll be tossing your takeout menus in no time with this healthier but equally tasty option. It fit in my detox, it’s macrobiotic, vegan, gluten free, low-carb, blah blah blah. Most importantly, it tastes amazing.

“Fried” Cauliflower Rice

½ head cauliflower

½ medium onion

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tbsp sliced leeks or scallions

5-10 baby carrots, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

4 oz. silken soft tofu (gluten free)

1 tsp ground ginger

vegetable broth

soy sauce (gluten free)

“Rice” the cauliflower with the onion in a food processor. Set aside. Saute the garlic over medium heat on a pan that has been lightly spritzed with cooking spray. Add the cauliflower “rice”.  Stir and add the veggies and tofu. Once the tofu has scrambled and is evenly distributed throughout, add some vegetable broth (1/4 cup or so) and continue to stir so that it all cooks evenly. Add the ginger. Once the liquid has evaporated, add a couple tbsp of soy sauce and stir. Once the liquid has evaporated, the vegetables are cooked, and the “rice” is slightly browned, remove from heat and serve. Makes 2 large servings.

In other news, today is Day 5, the final day of my detox!

I feel great, I ate well, and slept better than I have in a while.

Lessons learned?

  • I can definitely move my caffeine intake wayyyy down. I’m talking like a small cup of coffee a day rather than my usual 2-3 huge mugs.
  • I used to add way to much salt to things! Food tastes better when I don’t!
  • Realists might call me crazy, but this Ayurvedic stuff totally works. I feel so much more in tune with myself and balanced. And the macrobiotic aspect? I miss the nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, etc.) but I will be lessening my intake a lot… to maybe just 2-3 times a week. I also miss greek yogurt, but will be lessening my intake of that as well.

I call that success!

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Filed under Appetizers and Sides, Eat, Gluten Free, Live, Main Dishes and Entrees

Mantra of the Week

How’re your Mondays going so far?

Mine’s a little slow, but that’s a good thing! It’s always nice to have a day where you can just do what you want because we have some free time. We shouldn’t feel guilty for “wasting time” when we’re relaxing and passing the day by feeling happy!

My day so far:

Slept in late, and had a nice yoga session upon waking up. I’m still feeling that hike from the other day, so it was nice to stretch so much.

Then, breakfast, including this:

A Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte!

2 heaping tbsp canned pumpkin

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

pinch of allspice

sweetener to taste

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup almond milk (or other milk)

coffee

Mix all the ingredients except the coffee in your coffee cup. Add the hot coffee and… Drink up!

Starbucks doesn’t hold a candle. Trust me. Plus mine doesn’t cost $4. Or 400 calories. Not even close.

Anyways, I’m off to enjoy the rest of my day… probably a little boxing to expend some energy, and I’m thinking tonight is a good night to light a fire and snuggle up with a good book. Or my Free People catalogue :)

And a decaf Pumpkin Spice.

Happy Monday!

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Filed under Eat, Live, Move

Remembering.

Where were you?

I was 9, almost 10; an excited 4th grader who was almost double digits.

I was one of the first kids pulled from school, so when I was called to the main office to go home with my mom for an “appointment” I was confused but giddy about the unexpected day off. Me and a few other neighborhood kids walked home with our parents, who told us at first that we were having a spontaneous continuation of the block party we had the previous weekend.

Skipping home, one of my neighbors ran up and told me that her dad had just told her what really happened. “A plane crashed into the World Trade Center!” Used to hearing them referred to as the Twin Towers, I had to ask what the World Trade Center was.

It’s funny how that part is so vivid, but honestly, the rest of the day was a blur as my 9 year old brain tried to comprehend the weight of the tragedy of what was unfolding. I remember the TV being on for hours. I remember my mom beginning to cry, spurring me to do the same really because I hated (as I still do) to see her upset. I think the first moment that I began to grasp the devastation was the first glimpse I caught of my father’s face when he made it home from the city late that afternoon (he still won’t talk about that day).

I owe so much to a decision that my mother made that day: to take my siblings and I on a hike that took us to the highest viewpoint of all the trails in the park near our home; a view that, on such a crystal clear day as that Tuesday, would all but guarantee a perfect Manhattan skyline, the Towers always the easiest to make out. Instead, nothing but haze and smoky plumes. Another parent might have wanted to shield their children from such a view, but my mom understood that by having us witness it, no matter how far away, with our own eyes, we would never, ever forget just how terrible that day was and what and who were lost. From that clear memory, my understanding of it has never waned. Pulling from a 9 year old’s mind, I think that’s pretty amazing. And since then, I’ve made it a tradition to make that trek every year.

Life goes on, and we have rebuilt the city and ourselves. But regardless, we can never forget. I know I will never ever let myself.

In the meantime, we can continue to make new, beautiful memories with our families and loved ones, because these memories are the ones that help us to heal, and we know now that we can’t afford to waste a second.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

¾ cup brown sugar, packed

½ cup rolled oats

2/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

½ cup butter, softened

2 tbsp soy milk

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp almond extract

½ cup white chocolate chips

½ cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and oats in a large bowl. Add the butter, one bit at a time, and combine with a pastry cutter or by hand until fine crumbs start to combine a little.

Add the soymilk and extracts, and combine. Add the white chocolate and cranberries and combine until evenly distributed. Drop in rounded tablespoons onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 7 minutes, until edges are very slightly browned. Let cool on cookie sheet before transferring to cooling racks.

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Filed under Eat, Live, Move

Mantra of the Week

I was planning on posting this yesterday, but ran out of time. Sorry! But it’s truly a beautiful statement and a good thing to think about.

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Filed under Live